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:
Over the next few posts, I’ll be showing you how ebooks are coded and formatted. We’ll look at the anatomy of an ebook, and what makes it tick.
You’ve heard me call an ebook awebsite in a box. This time we’re going to talk about what’s inside the box.
First thing’s first: let me share an ebook with you. It’s the ePub file for a short story of mine called White Robes.
You’re welcome to read it, obviously, but for the purposes of this post (and the next two), we’re going to be opening up the box and dissecting the ebook.
This is the actual production file that I’ve uploaded to Amazon, by the way — it includes all of the coding and formatting that I typically include in creating an ebook. It will be the model that I’ll be using over the next few posts in discussing an ebook’s innards.
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