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Old 09-27-2011, 04:24 AM   #1
Aspic8
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From the beginning ........


Hope this is in the right thread .....
London (UK) and despite telling myself I'm smart - I am totally lost when it comes to deciding on a format for the book I am about to write.

Not my first novel, but first one I want to sell on Amazon for Kindle. Bear with me if this is too simple, but it has lost me! I would appreciate any replies to the following:

1. Do I write my novel in Open Office (which I use) and then format it for Kindle?
2. Do I use some software programme to write in instead of using OO?
3. If I write it in OO/software, how do I then format it?
4. Despite reading and researching, not sure I understand if I can sell my novel (I hope!) on Kindle through Amazon and also other ways?
5. I don't want to pay anything more for someone to format my novel - so if I have to do it myself, how hard is it? (Keep reading how easy it is and "all you need is a basic idea of HTML." Not interested in that - I just want to creatively write!)
6. Any other advice for a man baffled by technology would be well received.

Thanks

Mike
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:24 AM   #2
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Open Office should be fine. Calibre will reformat from there to pretty much anything.
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Old 09-27-2011, 06:58 AM   #3
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You really DO need to have a basic knowledge of HTML, Mike. This is simply a part of the writer's "toolkit" and there's no getting around it. It's as basic a requirement as a carpenter needing to know how to use a saw. Both the popular eBook formats (ePub and Mobipocket) are HTML-based, and being able to "tweak" the HTML that the tools generate for you is vital.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:42 AM   #4
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You really DO need to have a basic knowledge of HTML, Mike. This is simply a part of the writer's "toolkit" and there's no getting around it. It's as basic a requirement as a carpenter needing to know how to use a saw. Both the popular eBook formats (ePub and Mobipocket) are HTML-based, and being able to "tweak" the HTML that the tools generate for you is vital.
Harry is right that some knowledge of HMTL is a useful skill in getting your work presented just so. However, there are various tools available to convert formats, and lots of people (in this forum, for example!) who can help if you get stuck with something in particular.

By far the hardest part is writing the novel in the first place

You won't do any harm by writing your novel in Open Office, and converting it when the time comes into the various target formats that you might choose. Nobody writes in ePub from the get go - never mind in HTML.

My advice would be to write the novel, do a basic conversion to the target format in Calibre, then ask for help on any specific queries to get it to look how you'd like.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:52 AM   #5
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Open office can speak something like 120 different langueges so you can offer your work in absolutely any languege your customer speaks. When you get your work listed on an electronic store I would list an english and spanish version, perhaps a german version and offer to your potential customers any languege at all.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:16 AM   #6
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Thanks Ben - not sure the 'hardest' part is writing the novel in the first place!
Written two already - just issues with publishers who are not interested in publishing unless you're a name. Victoria Beckham or Jordan can get published because millions (sic!) want to read what they have to say (did I actually write that with a straight face?) But I understand it's a business. I just want to go ebook and reap whatever rewards (£1 - £10,000) I can.

I've downloaded Calibre and it looks very interesting. Still can't find out how I format my novel with it ........ I wonder if this is a mental block on my part!
Do I ....................... what in Calibre ................. with my copy?

Last edited by Aspic8; 09-27-2011 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
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Save it as an RTF file and add that to Calibre. Add your cover and convert it to epub. Open the epub in Sigil and check/fix any layout problems. Use the styles in Sigil to change any chapter headings to one of the header styles, and use Control-Return to make chapter breaks. Save that, then convert the epub to Mobi in Calibre. Delete the RTF file, but keep the epub so that you can fix your typos when someone tells you about them.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:42 AM   #8
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typos?
I have no ideeeea what you'reee talking abuuuut?
Thanks for the info - that makes it a lot clearer.
I just need to finish the last two chapters of my notes and then crack on.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcohen View Post
Open office can speak something like 120 different langueges so you can offer your work in absolutely any languege your customer speaks. When you get your work listed on an electronic store I would list an english and spanish version, perhaps a german version and offer to your potential customers any languege at all.
How would you do that, unless YOU can translate your book into those languages? Open Office won't translate it for you!
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:51 PM   #10
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The Kindle Publishing Web site has some pretty straightforward instructions that helped me get my first few novels ready for publication.

I saved my Word-format file in filtered HTML, then converted it to MOBI using the MobiCreator program. That program will also create a simple table of contents if you placed your headings correctly. The instructions provide a pretty clear overview.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:51 AM   #11
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How would you do that, unless YOU can translate your book into those languages? Open Office won't translate it for you!
I am very curious about this as well. I was reading along, then was like "Wha...?" There may have been some drool involved with the idea of easily translated books.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:37 AM   #12
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Lazybones
Thanks for the info: I was taking Ben's idea and saving it in OO and then using Calibre to format it.

I have written my novella (8,000 words) called "Invisible" and just editing it.

I'm rather taken with this Kindle Singles idea, hence the need to pick up formatting asap.

I was intrigued by you saying you save in word-filtered HTML. Do you know how I would do that in OO if I wanted to go your route and use Mobi?
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:57 PM   #13
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Lazybones
I was intrigued by you saying you save in word-filtered HTML. Do you know how I would do that in OO if I wanted to go your route and use Mobi?
I just hit "Save As..." and save it as an html copy. Then I just use MobiCreator.

Plus, if you make a .mobi or .prc, you just add it to Calibre then hit convert to epub. I've had a pretty good result doing it like that.
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:21 AM   #14
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How would you do that, unless YOU can translate your book into those languages? Open Office won't translate it for you!
Yeah. Having a spellcheck for a lot of languages does not an instand translation program make.
And even if it would translate books for you, machine translations do not deliver good results. It will involve the program picking the wrong meaning of words, it will be ungrammatical, and all around a pain to read.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:09 AM   #15
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2. Do I use some software programme to write in instead of using OO?
This is what I do; I write in Kate- a Linux version of Notepad- and then import the .txt files into OO or LibreOffice. Not having to worry about formatting while you're typing makes a huge difference, especially if you've had issues with some kind of formatting option that gets accidentally turned on and you can't figure out how to turn it off.
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