You might want to consider using markdown, with a good editor that has an html preview. I tried this for a book of poetry a while back
. My recommended apps are Mac based, if you're on Windows I'm sure there are similar alternatives, Markdownpad
comes up first in Google and seems to fit the bill.
There are several advantages here:
- some plain text editors can be order of magnitude more distraction free vs. Word - there are several markdown editors capitalizing on this such as iA Writer
- With Mou or Markdownpad you can create a standard css file for the final output, and preview this in the editor.
- Mou can export extremely clean html straight to Sigil, and you can use the exact same css in Sigil you were using in the Markdown editor.
- You could take Calibre out of the ePub production workflow, which I think is a good thing for retail/commercial books. You can still use Calibre for converting to mobi though.
Special formatting - e.g. the centered text example here, would need to be handled by inserting html directly into the markdown text, basically just wrap those lines in <div> or <p> tags with a class assigned, and have that class defined in your css. There are examples of that in the thread I linked.
If you really wanted to stay away from Sigil Calibre could also convert the markdown text to ePub, and you'd just take the css from Mou and stick that in Calibre's extra css settings.
Markdown in general has become my preferred way to fix up horribly formatted books vs. trying to massage the existing html or using Word/rtf.