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Old 04-22-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
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Ebook Writing Software..?

Hello all-

So, I come from a world of writing my articles in MS Word, and sending them in saved as .doc files.

However, i am contemplating the idea of self-pubbing a book idea as an ebook.

What I want to know is, is there an MS Word add-on or some stand-alone program (free) used to write your book from scratch that formats it in (a variety of) ebook format? Something that will create the TOC etc...

Something where you don't have to get caught up in the prgramming of it, or use a word processor and then "convert" it into an epub or something?

I'd like epub and PDF

Thanks for any thoughts

JAmes
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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James,
Adobe Reader can be downloaded to any PC for free, and will convert your Word file to a PDF very easily. If you intend people to read those on any e-book reader, you should select the ISO-compliant setting, which will tag the PDF for reflow. Keep in mind, though, that many e-book readers don't support reflow, so your PDF may require them to scroll left to right, as well as down, to read your text... prepare to hear howls of discontent over that!

As for ePub: Word files are notoriously bad when it comes to converting from its native format to any strain of HTML (of which ePub is based). However, ePub creation programs like Sigil will allow you to copy and paste your book (chapter by chapter is usually best) into the document window, and it will do the rest. The additional steps you'll need to take (checking that your TOC is properly set up, adding a cover, etc) are few and easy.

There is a Word plug-in that is designed to convert Word files to MS Lit, another e-book format. However, most users have reported problems with the process, usually resulting in bad e-books, so I can't recommend it.
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
As for ePub: Word files are notoriously bad when it comes to converting from its native format to any strain of HTML (of which ePub is based). There is a Word plug-in that is designed to convert Word files to MS Lit, another e-book format. However, most users have reported problems with the process, usually resulting in bad e-books, so I can't recommend it.
Does this not make Smashwords a bit of a problem when uploading as they insist it's in a word document?
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickSpalding View Post
Does this not make Smashwords a bit of a problem when uploading as they insist it's in a word document?
Smashwords' uploading software seems to do a decent job creating their files from Word docs... not perfect, but decent. The Kindle store can also upload Word docs decently. Both can introduce anomalies in the resultant code, however, and they are usually caused by the original code in the Word doc.

Of course, I was just talking about Word and stand-alone apps, not uploading systems. James, if you want to publish your works, it would behoove you to check out Kindle's service, as well as Smashwords... between those two, you could get your books out to cover 95% of the market.
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:46 PM   #5
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Thanks Steve--

Was wondering though if there is such a beast as a stand alone program that is a Word Processor AND Ebook compiler ... I mean, you don't need to "convert" or cut and paste anything. you type and save and you can then hit compile, or whatever and boom..?

thanks mates

ps- I was looking into smashword etc...

thanks

jb
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:51 PM   #6
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I've published several e-books on CD with mp3 audio and illustrations. My advice: save as a text file and format in the e-book software! Doc files have all kinds of embedded characters that mess up formatting, especially HTML. If you have to, copy and paste your DOC into notepad and save as a text file.
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:52 PM   #7
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cancelx, that would be Atlantis Nova:

http://www.atlantiswordprocessor.com/en/

http://www.atlantiswordprocessor.com...html/ebook.htm

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Old 04-23-2010, 10:57 PM   #8
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Will....thanks Atlantis looks great, but I'm only looking for a FREEbie, if it exists ?

Thanks !
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:11 PM   #9
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I was also reading there were epub macros for MS Word...but i can't find them.

Lastly, suggestion was to write your ebook in Word and save as an HTML file, then convert it to epub using Calibre.

Question, will that then create the TOC? I know if using the above listed Atlantis program, they say to format the Chapter Headings using Heading 1, 2, 3 etc... but would I still do the same... In Word write the thing, Label Chapters using Heading 1,2,3, then save the thing when done as HTML, and Calibre will turn out a TOC based on that ?

Anyone?

PS------ if the book will have diagrams/photos, is my only option in that case to create a PDF ?

Thanks again.

...now...if I can find out why my Twitter won't post (shows up in my Home page, but does not post to the recipient, does not show up in a from:username search or to:recipient Ahhh.....
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:28 AM   #10
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Here's how it works: if you have a document in one format and just want to read it on a device that uses a different format, Calibre is the tool. However (and there is one exception to this however), if you want to produce a commercial quality e-book with working TOC and other format-specific features, Calibre is not the best tool.

Back to the however's exception -- if you have a good Word doc and want most formats from it, Smashwords is your perfect answer. Smashwords uses Calibre but not straight out of the box, which is the basis for its exception. The "meatgrinder" system they've developed adds a great many custom scripts to achieve results that exceed any other method. But don't expect to buy that in a software package any time soon. That's their edge -- their proprietary scripting, an edge they deserve to have and keep. It's a large part of what makes Smashwords so valuable compared to countless other content posting sites.

So back to where I began -- if you have an e-book you'd like to read and the format isn't to your liking, there are plenty of software tools, and it appears Calibre is the most versatile, making it the most useful. On the other hand, if you are hoping to produce a commercial-quality e-book, EPUB for example, that is best done in a good text editor by a talented programmer who at least knows HTML, more is better. Either learn to program or hire someone who already knows how. Which is how most everything works in this world, you know? Like your car, learn mechanics or hire a mechanic. Specialization does have value. Anyway, in the hands of a talented programmer, then you can have a TOC and yes, even pictures with some compromises, for which you do not have to limit yourself to PDF. Don't get me wrong, I'm a long-time proponent of PDF in graphic systems, it being the perfect page container as I predicted over a decade ago. But when it comes to e-books, there are FAR better choices like EPUB.

About starting with Word, that is fine. I make lots of HTML from Word then massage the code. The thing is, make it a clean Word doc. It should use few styles, body text, chapter heading, chapter para 1, passage para 1, passage break, an italic character style perhaps (and maybe bold also if non-fiction). A few more if really needed, but if you have 72 variations of body text with override upon override applied to one style... well, yeah, the resulting HTML is a freakin' nightmare, no doubt. Fix problems upstream and the river flows clean...

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Last edited by William Campbell; 04-24-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:38 AM   #11
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Sigil will create industry-compliant ePub files... but not from Word docs saved as HTML. For best results, you'd need to copy your text from Word and paste it into Sigil's doc window (as opposed to the design window), and let Sigil handle the formatting.

If you have chapter headings, Sigil will let you see the list of headings... you can choose which headings will remain in your TOC, helpful if you used subheadings, H2, H3, etc, and don't want them in your TOC. You can also easily add your meta information in a separate window. Then add your cover, and save your file.

It's actually quite simple, and results in excellent ePubs with the least amount of effort. I would recommend trying it, or visit the Sigil forum here on MR.
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Old 04-24-2010, 10:07 AM   #12
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Looks like a great word processor... and so easy to use... I think I would buy that, if I wrote a lot of stuff.
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:05 AM   #13
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IF you use MS Word, I reccomend the following - Use Bookcreator V3 on this site which is a template for word, with some programming in the background. It then uses Calibre to create files in various formats for various readers Such as EPUB and Sony LRF

See this link

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28313
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:06 AM   #14
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Oh and its all free
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