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:
As a matter of principal (both personal and professional) I spend quite a bit of my time keeping up to date with what’s new in the eBook publishing world. Having built up a relatively substantial feed to scroll through, it recently occurred to me that I’m not the only one who could benefit from a list of new ePublishing articles to peruse while I’m going about my day.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to start publishing a weekly list of recent articles I think are important, interesting, innovative, etc. Here are this week’s choices:
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.
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.
I had a client ask me recently why you can’t price an ebook as free on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. The author wanted to promote her first book by giving it away — she’d been told that was the best way to make a splash.
I told her that you CAN “sell” your ebook for free on Kindle Direct Publishing — they just don’t make it easy. And it often isn’t a good idea.
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→
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