New on the API – import & export files

You can now use the Zamzar file conversion API to import files for conversion from Amazon S3, HTTP / HTTPS URLs and FTP / SFTP servers. You can also export converted files back out again too.

transfers-overview

This opens up some interesting possibilities:

  • Convert files that aren’t on your servers
  • Import files from one location and export elsewhere
  • Grab files from password-protected URLs / FTP servers
  • Use AWS credentials for access to Amazon S3

To test this out, first make sure you are signed up for a an API account, then check out our docs on:

For example, here’s one single cURL command which will grab the Twitter logo, convert it from PNG to JPG and upload the  JPG file to a public Amazon S3 bucket:

curl https://api.zamzar.com/v1/jobs -u GiVUYsF4A8ssq93FR48H: \
-X POST \
-d "source_file=https://developers.zamzar.com/assets/app/img/social-twitter.png" \
-d "target_format=jpg" \
-d "export_url=s3://zamzar-public/"

We’d love to hear your feedback on these features – please let us know what you think! We’re also here to work with you on any issues you hit getting up and running, so do get in touch.

Happy Converting!
The Zamzar Team.

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How to write and publish an e-book

e-book concept design, vector illustration eps10 graphicWith the advent of e-books anyone can now be a best selling author. No longer do you need to beg a publishing house to take you on. Those days are long gone. Self Publishing means it now takes around four minutes for the words on your page to be accessible to anyone around the world.

One success story is Mark Dawson who has sold over 300,000 copies of his crime series and regularly returns yearly revenue in the six figures.

So what are the steps involved in successfully publishing an e-book?

 

Step One – Write!

typewriterAll writers are faced with the tyranny of the blank page but writing regularly and churning out words is something you just have to go through. You don’t need to download a fancy programme to write. A simple word document (.doc, or docx) is fine – you can Zamzar it at a later date to put it into the right format.

Some writers aim to write a certain amount of words every single day whilst others prefer to write when they are inspired. Find out what works for you and then get into a routine and stick to it.

Whatever route you go down you have to get the words onto the page, unless you plan on releasing a book like this.

 

Step Two – Design your Cover

 

Almost as important as the content you write is the cover you design. To stand any chance of your book being downloaded it has to stand out. Amazon has over four million self published titles for users to download to their Kindle and so with competition that fierce you need to grab the shoppers’ eye. If you are not blessed with a paintbrush then you can use a service such as 99designs to get a professional looking cover done for little money.

bookshelf

All you need to do is create a spec for what you  want the designers to create – include your favourite existing titles, and styles that you like – and set a price for how much you are willing to pay. Designers then put designs together and you pick your favourite. The great thing about 99Designs is you can give designers feedback so that they can tweak their designs to meet your needs and at the end of it all if you don’t like any of the designs then you don’t pay!

At the lower end of the price bracket is a service like Fiverr where you can pick up a design for $5. But, as you might suspect, designs can be very hit and miss so do your research and find a designer on Fiverr who comes highly recommended and produces designs that catch your eye.

Depending on where you are publishing your book, your book cover will have to be in a certain format. We’ve got you covered as you can convert any of your images into the required image format.

 

Step Three – Pick the right self publishing tool

 

Pick the right self publishing tool for you and this means you may want to consider cost and ease of creating the book, distribution and finally how much of a cut do  you get when you make a sale.  There are two types of publishing channels available to you – single channel and multiple channel – and you need to decide which of the above criteria is most important to you as you pick your preferred publishing channel.

Antique printing press

Single channel distribution is as it suggests – distribution via one retailer via one device. For example, Kindle Direct Publishing for Amazon Picking this option allows you to retain almost total control of your book, and its profits, and you can generally produce a book cheaply but the onus will then be on you to try and sell it and get momentum. Single Channel is also best for those who like the DIY side of creating a book – i.e. creating your cover and formatting the book yourself. It is also the route taken by those who write novels and whose books contain text only, rather than a bunch of images. If you’re creating a book that’s packed full of multimedia then you may want to consider heading down the multiple channel route.

Multiple channel is best summed up as a middle man who pushes your work out via various channels. So you write the book, upload it to a site (or create it on the site using their editors) like Smashwords, LuLu, Blurb or BookBaby and then your book is pushed out to multiple retailers. However, you tend to have to pay either an upfront fee or give away a large slice of your book to these multiple channel distributors. Multiple channel is often recommended if you are feeling somewhat overwhelmed at the thought of having to format and convert your own book. If instead, you want a nice tool that allows you to drop text and images into pages from a template then this could be the solution for you. Multiple channel is also especially good if you have special layout requirements or there’s various multimedia being used. For example, if you’re creating a coffee table book full of pictures then a service like Blurb would probably be best for you. This CNET article takes you through the pros and cons of all the different multiple channel publishers if that’s the route you are leaning towards.

 

Step Four – Convert your file

 

No matter what service you decide to use it needs to be in the correct format. The three most common formats for e-books are EPUB, MOBI and PDF. You can use Zamzar to convert your word document into any of these formats, or any other e-book format. EPUB is considered the global standard for e-books and works on almost any device as it is an open e-book file format. MOBI is the format that is ideal for the Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks. For a full list of e-book formats head over to our file format pages where there’s a more in-depth appraisal of all of your e-book file format options.

zamzar

 

Step Five – Format your book

 

CMYK poster

Formatting your e-book is key. There’s nothing worse than someone downloading a book of yours only for the formatting to be skewed, words spelt incorrectly or a whole chapter missing!

Use a tool such as Calibre to format your book after you have converted it. If you’ve decided to head down the multiple  channel route then you’ll find that some publishers such as blurb have a built in editor that you can use.

 

Step Six – Publish and then get to work!

 

So you’ve written your book, created your cover, gone through all the different publishing options, converted your work into the right format and then checked that you’ve not accidentally omitted a key chapter; you’d think that’d be you done right? Wrong! Depending on the ambitions you have for your book the really hard work starts now and that is the marketing you have to do to make sales.

As we said earlier there are four million e-books on the Kindle platform alone. So it’s hard, really hard, to stand out from the crowd. Some people will update their Facebook status and send out a couple of tweets and think that’s all the promotion they need. But for you to make serious money from your book then you need to create a website,Website.jpg which you can do via a service like Wix or SquareSpace. One self published author, Ben Galley, said of a website “Some people survive off Twitter or a blog, but you need an online presence. Most people who buy your book want to find out more about you and they can’t find that from your Twitter feed,” he says. “A website is a sales platform, it’s a marketing platform and it’s a global presence if you do it right.”

Next, identify all the key people (bloggers, journalists and people of influence) within the genre that your book sits within and approach them. Remember to make the pitch personal [avoid calling them the wrong name!] and punchy – make it stand out from the crowd. Maybe offer them a free or discounted book and try and offer them something in return, for example, offer them a guest blog post for their site and maybe share their works on your website. Get creative. Ultimately if you want your book to gain momentum it needs to get a groundswell of support and therefore needs good reviews which are only likely if people of influence are talking about it.

Run giveaway competitions. For example you may want to give away your book for free to the first 1000 people who share it or review it. Again, creativity will win the day here but the more you can get people to talk about your book the greater chance you have of it being a success. Fifty Shades of Grey began as a simple free PDF that gained momentum like a runaway train – in the UK E.L. James, the author, has sold more books than J.K.  Rowling. 

Hashtag gold medal athlete takes a selfie in front of the colorful Selaron Steps in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilFinally, when you use social media  – and you should use it extensively – and partake in forums don’t just spam users. Users will spot a spammer and probably go out of their way to submit negative reviews or press which can ultimately kill your book.

Instead, engage in conversation, play the long game. It’s an awful lot of work and there’s no quick way to success but  given you’ve already slaved away on the book a few more months of hard work makes sense.

As you can see publishing your own book has never been easier, but publishing a successful book still requires lots of hard graft and a little luck.

dave eggers quote

Happy Writing!
The Zamzar Team.

Convert pdf to jpg, pdf to png, pdf to tiff, pdf to gif and more !

PDF iconWe’re excited to announce another new conversion type – you can now use Zamzar to convert PDF files into a variety of different image formats, all online and for free !

We hope this will be a handy addition to any of you who want to convert your PDF documents for display within websites (we recommend converting to .png or .jpg if you’re doing this).

Converting a PDF into an image also allows your documents to be viewed by anyone without the need for specialised viewing software such as Adobe Acrobat.

Zamzar now supports conversion of PDF’s into the following formats:

  • bmp – Windows bitmap
  • gif – Compuserve graphics interchange
  • jpg – JPEG compliant image
  • pcx – PC Paintbrush Bitmap Graphic
  • png – Portable Network Graphic
  • ps – Postscript document
  • thumbnail – Thumbnail image
  • tiff – Tagged image file format

If you want to try it out, just head over to Zamzar !

Happy Converting,
The Zamzar Team.

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Download DailyMotion videos and convert to multiple formats

We’ve fixed up Zamzar to allow you to download and convert videos from DailyMotion, the popular video sharing website.

You can convert videos into a variety of different formats, including avi, mov, mp4 (ideal for iPhone), wmv and more.

So why not go our URL page and grab this video of a man balancing a car on his head !

Happy Converting,
The Zamzar Team.

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Announcing the Zamzar Ask Toolbar !

ask-logoWe’re excited to announce a new partnership with the Ask Partner Network !

The Zamzar Ask toolbar is free and can be installed into your Firefox or Internet Explorer web browser to give you access to tools designed to make browsing and file conversion more convenient:

  • Search the Web anytime using Web search from popular search engine Ask.com
  • Get access to key Zamzar functions and news at the click of a button
  • Find the most popular videos being converted on Zamzar
  • Grab information on different file format types

The toolbar is free, so why not grab it, give it a spin, and let us know what you think in the comments below:

This is the first release of the toolbar, and we hope to add more advanced and exciting features in future releases. Stay tuned for more !

Happy converting,
The Zamzar Team.


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Convert CAD formats – dwg, dxf to pdf, jpg, gif and more

Throw away that ruler. Convert CAD files with Zamzar !We’re pleased to announce you can now use Zamzar to convert two of the most popular CAD (Computer Aided Design) formats around – DWG and DXF – which are both used in AutoDesk’s hugely successful AutoCAD program.

Converting these files can be useful if you need to share them with friends or colleagues who don’t have AutoCAD installed – Zamzar now allows you to convert them to the following formats:

  • bmp – Windows bitmap
  • gif – Compuserve graphics interchange
  • jpg – JPEG compliant image
  • pdf – Postscript document
  • png – Portable Network Graphic
  • tiff – Tagged image file format

We hope this helps all of you out there who use CAD files, and need to share them with others. If there are any other CAD conversion requirements you have do let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to look into them …

Happy converting !
The Zamzar Team.

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Convert pptx files to ppt, odp, html, pcx, pdf, png, ps and swf

Great news ! We’ve been working hard here at Zamzar to round out our support for Microsoft Office 2007 files, and we’re pleased to announce that you can now use Zamzar to convert “pptx” files generated by Office 2007 to a variety of different formats, including “ppt” (enabling you to view and edit your presentations in older versions of Microsoft Office) and “odp” (allowing you to use OpenOffice).

A variety of other formats are also supported, enabling you to convert your pptx files into whatever format is most useful for the program that you happen to be working in. The full list of supported formats is below:

  • html – Hypertext Markup Language
  • odp – OpenDocument presentation
  • pdf – Portable Document Format
  • png – Portable Network Graphic
  • ppt – Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation
  • ps – Postscript document
  • swf – Macromedia Flash Format File

Why not convert some pptx files right now ?

Happy Converting !
The Zamzar Team.


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