"Ksenia, [I] have a .doc file that was set up for print [that I] want to convert to an ebook. Saw some stuff about converting it into a PDF but [is] that really the way to go? Should it be a different file type? Want it to be read on most devices."
Jim, it's funny how converting text to an ebook is such a non-brainer to me now that I don't even think it could be a hassle when you're self-publishing. It certainly was when I started, and I was lucky enough to find Stuart Whitmore of Crenel Publishing who formats all my books, which is waving a magic wand (he totally has a magic wand, I'm sure) and making flimsy capricious Word files into nice sturdy PDFs and EPUBs and MOBIs. Which are really the only three formats I use for my ebooks: PDFs for free downloads on my site and on sites like Scribd and to submit to CreateSpace; EPUBs and MOBIs for free downloads on my site and for sites like iBooks (they accept EPUBs) and Amazon (they accept MOBIs for Kindle or they convert your PDF to MOBI for you). So. Here is the truth.
I DO NOT CONVERT TEXT TO EBOOKS MYSELF.
Darling Stuart does all that for me, and I encourage you to email him and ask him questions and hire him to do it for you. His rates are very affordable and he does excellent work. I know that for formatting he uses Word and Adobe Acrobat and Sigil. Beyond that, I don't know how he does it. But because I struggled with conversion BEFORE I found Stuart, I will point you to a few resources that might help.
Joel Friedlander is the author of The Book Designer blog that has tons of excellent posts on everything from book formatting to cover design to distribution. Great resource for self-published authors. Here is a template in Word you can start with, and here are some tips for formatting them yourself, including links to other resources. Spend some time there looking at his posts on book formatting, and I'm sure you will find what you need.
The community on CreateSpace is also a great resource on how to do it yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide to formatting your book interior before you convert to other file formats (and here is the guide from the Kindle people). This guide assumes that you write in Word. If you write in Scrivener, I have no idea how to convert it to Word, but I'm sure someone out there in the wild land of the Internets has an answer. They also offer you their own pre-formatted Word templates. I use my own template that I have found about 5 years ago, created by Bill Womack for Words For Writers (the site no longer exists). It's the old-style Courier New manuscript that used to be the submitting standard in traditional publishing and that adheres to the recommendations in the Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino. However, here is the same template updated by Michael H. Haspil (it's the one I'll be using in the future) and here is a YouTube tutorial on it.
However, if you want your ebooks to go through IngramSpark, they have their own guide on how to format your book and it's different from the one CreateSpace offers. In my case, I use CreateSpace to put my ebook to Kindle and I upload other file formats for distribution myself (like to iBooks, for example). I have more control this way. You can choose to make your own EPUB file (I hear people use Calibre for it, but I've never used it) and distribute it on your own, or you can choose to go through folks like IngramSpark and they'll do it for you. How they convert it, I have no idea. I seem to remember that Barnes & Noble Nook site offers to convert your PDF to EPUB when you upload it, but I'm not sure. It's been a while since I've done it. I do know that when you get it to Kindle you can download the MOBI file they make for you. So that's something.
You can see that it's quite a jungle to navigate if you want to format and distribute your ebook yourself. I would recommend doing everything by hand as there is no way to predict how those automated systems will do it for you. I'm a control freak and my books have to look perfect, so Stuart makes them perfect and then I upload them everywhere by hand. I'd say, either work with a professional formatter or figure out how to do all three formats on your own. This is as much as I know so far about creating ebooks.
Guys, if you know of any other resources, please, chime in. Is there some software you use? Someone whose service you use? Anything will help. I'd love to learn more about this too.