Ulysses is a great tool for writing your book, making it easy to package your writing into the EPUB format. Here’s how to export your book project as an EPUB file ready for submitting for digital delivery.
Getting Everything Ready
First, make sure your writing is where you want it prior to exporting. You won’t be able to make any changes once you export your file, so double-check everything before you export it from Ulysses.
Make sure the content is exactly how you want it. You can’t go back and make changes to your ePUB file, so double-check everything before you export it. If you have the ability to have an experienced editor look through your manuscript before you publish it that’s ideal, but if not you can still use a service like Grammarly to make sure it’s as clean as it can be before you release it to the world.
Depending on the length of your ebook, it may make sense to break apart your writing into chapters. You can create separate sheets for each chapter if you’d like, allowing you to rearrange them prior to exporting while still giving you the ability to export everything together.
Make sure that you have any images you want included attached to your sheets in Ulysses. When selecting images for your ebook, make sure they are high quality so they don’t look pixelated on export. An app like Apple Books will scale your image down to the available page width depending on the current window size, giving the reader a full view when double-clicking or double-tapping the image itself.
You can drag and drop images into a Ulysses sheet on your Mac, or if you’re working on iPad or iPhone, use the IMG tag in the Ulysses button row to add an image. Then you can either choose one from your library, import it from external sources such as Dropbox, or even take a photo with your camera.
For any image you add to Ulysses, make sure that you put the appropriate metadata. You can do this after the fact by double-clicking on the Mac or double-tapping on iOS to get the image preview. When publishing an ebook, whatever metadata you put into the image description field will be displayed as a caption. The title will display in Apple Books for Mac when readers move their mouse over an image. The URL field is not relevant for EPUB exports, so you can leave that blank.
You’ll want to make sure that you have a good looking cover image ready for your ebook. We recommend that you use a JPG file and that the resolution is at least 1600px wide and 2560px tall. This will make sure that your book cover looks great, even on high definition devices.
Exporting Your Ebook
Once you have everything ready to go, select the sheets to be included in your ebook and click the Quick Export button. Then select EPUB → next, add the author and title, and drag and drop the image you want to use as your cover image. You can also select between different formatting styles for your book and click the Preview icon to see what they look like prior to exporting.
(Ulysses comes with a couple of EPUB export styles out of the box, but you can download additional export styles via the Ulysses Style Exchange.)
Once you have all the options set, you can click the Save button to save the file to your hard drive. This will allow you to submit the file for digital distribution, but you can also see what your future readers are going to see by clicking the Open in… button instead and selecting Apple Books.
Exporting to EPUB on iOS works very much like it does on the Mac. Tap the Select button in the upper right of the sheet list. Tap the sheets you want to include on export, then tap the Export button on the bottom of the screen. Select EPUB as the publishing format. Choose your style, put in the title and author metadata, and add an image for your cover image before tapping Done.
The preview opens with the selected style applied and you can tap the ellipses (•••) in the upper right to select whether you want to send this EPUB somewhere using the share sheet, open it in another app like Apple Books for previewing, or you can upload it to a location in the Files app (such as iCloud drive or your Dropbox folder).
Distributing Your EPUB
There are several popular services you can use to distribute your EPUB file once you’ve exported it. Three of the most popular are Amazon KDP, iBooks, and Gumroad. EPUB support is fairly new for Amazon KDP, wo you may want to run your file through an online EPUB validation tool like this one first. With all of these services, you’ll need to create an account before you can upload and distribute your EPUB file.