Thursday, April 28, 2011

Epub Format: Friend or Foe

Celebrating number twelve of my early books, now up at Amazon and other places.The Wedding Gamble is one of my favorites and stuffed with great reviews. I designed the cover, learning as I go.

But who said epublishing was easy? Not so, my friends.

There's much to learn, different formats and many different ways to apply everything at Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, a popular aggregator.

I've just done my first workshop on introducing this tangled stuff and learned a lot from the small group of my lab testers. I've wiggled into my own comfortable eformat, thanks to Alison Kent and Nadia Lee's CSS guide.

It's been about a year now, testing, buried in code, futile attempts at perfection, and trying to write a bit along the way, but what a journey.

I learned more from the workshop's attendees and am going on record to say that any writers' group that has not addressed epublishing is not doing its best job for members. (Mm. Maybe I've stressed that earlier.)

Factoid: Love paper books or not, epublishing is here to stay. MS Word is the software in business and formatting (Or OpenOffice), and the standard space between sentences is ONE.

Factoid: WordPerfect Lovers, all I can say is a great big Hug to you.

If you're just starting out, be prepared to dig in and learn quite a bit of software, including Word 2003, Calibre and Mobicreator, all free software, plus Adobe Digital Editions. The last three are good "testers" and all I can say here is test, test, test. Also test on Kindle for PC and Nook for PC and other applications.

If you are NOT prepared to learn a big wide list of how-tos, you might consider services, i.e. cover designers, formatters, ad/promotion services. However, you are probably going to spend over your profit. And that comes down to what you really want. The more you can do yourself, or you can barter for services, the more your profit has potential.

Notepad and Find/Replace are my biggest tools while creating .html necessary for Nadia's version of CSS format.

Judith Tramayne has great tools over at YouTube. And she makes a point in her videos about the heavy html coding in Word and OO (OpenOffice, also freeware).

Her mission and Nadia Lee's is to get clean code. You can see just how dense Word and OO's coding is by opening Notepad and then at File, open your html file.

However, I differ with Judith's method of transferring paragraphs by copy and paste each individual paragraph, and came up with another method. This because my books are 50-100k, and I'd go numb with copy/pasting paragraphs. Watch for that how-to at a later post.

Of all the methods I've tried, all the tips and headaches, Nadia's CSS code produces the cleanest html to insert into Mobicreator for Kindle or Calibre for Barnes and Noble.

I'm still learning and just picked up a tip from Judith Tramayne.

And after all that, any beginner has 2 choices: 1.) either decide to work demon-hard and learn, chipping away at a mountain of info and software tips, or 2.) hire services.

And guess what? At this date, my calculations are that formatting, cover design, etc. is just 40% of the journey. 60% is marketing, something I'm learning now.

And loving the journey.

A Lady's Choice now on sale until 5/1/11 for .99

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