I originally published this post on Joel Friedlander’s wonderful resource for self-publishers, TheBookDesigner.com
If HTML is the blueprint, showing how an ebook (or a web page) should be laid out, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the interior design, saying how everything should look. While that may sound superficial, in fact learning to use CSS can have a profound impact on your ebook.
This is a somewhat complicated topic, so I am going to take three posts to cover it. This time round, I’m going to show you what CSS is and how to apply it. In the second post, I’m going to look at some of the different properties that you can use to define how your ebook looks. And in the last post, I’m going to talk about how to know which rules take precedence when.
If, as I keep saying, an ebook is just a website a box, then in order to know how to get in and edit your ebook, you’re going to want to know some HTML. However you choose to work on the file, knowing the basic building blocks is essential in creating a finishedproduct that presents your book to its best advantage.
When we talk about HTML, we’re actually talking about two separate things:
This is the sixth installment in my series of posts about ebook creation. Like the others, it was originally posted on Joel Friedlander’s wonderful resource for indie publishers,TheBookDesigner.com
The Ebook Retail Universe
I realized after my last post (looking at ebook conversion tools) that in my excitement in finally getting to the nuts and bolts of ebook creation that I’d skipped over online conversion tools. Most of those tools either are directly attached to ebook retailer websites or are attached indirectly through distributors/aggregators. So I’m going to have to backtrack.
This month I’ll talk about the retailers and distributors that you are going to be interested in, and next month I’m going to talk about the conversion tools that they offer.
This is the fifth installment in my series of posts about ebook creation. Like the others, it was originally posted on Joel Friedlander’s wonderful resource for indie publishers,TheBookDesigner.com
Over the last few months I’ve discussed preparing your manuscript and your images for conversion into ebook form. This month, I’m going to look more closely at a subject that I’ve touched on: choosing an ebook conversion tool. Just to review, I suggested that there were four basic ways to convert your manuscript into ebook format:
Saving from a word-processing or page-layout application into ePub format
Using a conversion app or online service
Hiring a designer
We’re going to ignore option #1 — if you’re the kind of person who wants to dig that deep into the guts of ebook creation, I don’t think that you’re going to be patient with this process. I’m not going to dwell on option #4 (or the second half of option #3), since the emphasis of this series is how to create your own ebooks. Using a conversion service or ebook designer is always an option, and I’ll discuss later how to choose one. But for now, we’re going to look at choosing the software that you can use to create a book yourself. Here’s the list of software that I will look through with you: .Continue reading Jump in the Convertible: Ebook Conversion Tools→
Last month I discussed how to clean up your manuscript to prepare it for ebook conversion. This time I’m going to be looking at how to do the same thing with images.
There’s one big difference, however: where the advice that I gave you about getting your text squeaky clean was equally valid for preparing to convert your words to either print or ebook format, these suggestions are ebook-only.
What’s the difference?
Well, in either case, you’re going to start by finding the perfect picture to go with your words. You’re going to crop the picture (cutting out any extraneous bits) and enhance it (or get someone who knows how to do so) so that it looks beautiful.
However, there are two enormous differences between the image files you want to use in an ebook and ones you’re going to get printed on paper:
In a print book, color is expensive, while in an ebook beautiful color costs (essentially) the same as black andwhite.
On the other hand, in print, you want the image file that goes off to the printer to be as high quality (that is to say, large) as possible, while in an ebook, every kilobyte costs you (I’ll explain how below).
Recently, I was honored to have been invited to post on Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer on the subject of ebooks — a subject I love talking about, having been designing ebooks since 2010. (In this industry that makes me practically an old-timer.) This is the first of a monthly series of posts on the subject. It was originally released here.
There are lots of very complex questions when it comes to ebooks:
text and image formatting,
different file formats,
various workflows for creating ebooks,
and much more.
For this post, before we get into the more esoteric issues of ebook design and publishing, I’d like to start by defining the subject: just what is an ebook?
This may sound like a very simple question to answer, but it isn’t as straightforward as you might think, and being able to answer it correctly will make many of the thornier issues of creating ebooks just a bit easier.