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.
You only THINK you know
what happened at Waterloo.
The real story involved more monsters.
And a lot more time travel.
“Waterloo and time travel are made for each other and Heather Albano has done a wonderful job of giving us a delightful cast of characters, tasked with stitching together the proper nineteenth century while fending off several monstrous alternatives. Propulsive adventure with historical insight.” – Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars and 2312
Keeping Time: A Steampunk Time Travel Adventure Trilogy by Heather Albano
It’s 1815, and Wellington’s badly-outnumbered army stares across the field of Waterloo at Napoleon’s forces. Desperate to hold until reinforcements arrive, Wellington calls upon a race of monsters created by a mad Genevese scientist 25 years before.
It’s 1815, and a discontented young lady sitting in a rose garden receives a mysterious gift: a pocket watch that, when opened, displays scenes from all eras of history. Past…and future.
It’s 1885, and a small band of resistance fighters are resorting to increasingly extreme methods in their efforts to overthrow a steampunk Empire whose clockwork gears are slick with its subjects’ blood.
Are these events connected?
Oh, come now. That would be telling.
About Heather Albano
Heather Albano is a storyteller, history geek, and lover of both time-travel tropes and re-imaginings of older stories. You most likely know her from her game design work (which most recently included A Study In Steampunk, produced by Choice of Games, and contributions to TimeWatch and The Dracula Dossier, both published by Pelgrane Press)—but she writes non-interactive fiction too. Like the Keeping Time trilogy.
I just had a conversation with a friend about the issue of piracy. I thought I’d share this post on the subject I wrote for Joel Friendlander’s TheBookDesigner.com:
I hear from a lot of authors — traditionally and self-published — who are panicked to find their work being stolen. “I just did a Google search,” they’ll moan, “and found a site that’s giving my book away!”
I take a deep breath, pour myself some (metaphoric) rum, and prepare to repel pirates — but mostly imagined ones.
It’s true: as long as there has been a commercial internet, there have been sites and apps that operated to “share” intellectual property illegally, to indulge in what is colorfully known as piracy.
Everyone remembers Napster: it was a peer-to-peer (P2P) app dedicated to sharing MP3 files across the internet back at the height of the so-called dot-com boom at the turn of the twenty-first century. The music industry did its best to shut Napster down by attacking its servers, its founder, and its users, and it did eventually force it out of business in 2001. But this didn’t stop P2P sharing; it simply moved the sharing on to other vectors — Limewire, BItTorrent, and many more.
However, a funny thing happened, also in 2001, that made music sharing less of an issue to the musicians and music companies: the launching of Apple’s iTunes (along with the iPod) made it easy actually to buy music through legitimate channels. Some folks still shared music online — but far more bought the music and downloaded it legitimately. iTunes became to music what Amazon has become for books: a way for even the smallest label to reach an audience and make some money. In some cases a lot of money.
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).