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Old 12-24-2012, 05:39 PM   #1
mishagale
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Editing/Conversion workflow for publishers?

Dear MobileReaders,

I am shortly going to be publishing an eBook online, which is a first for me. I'm a fairly experienced developer, and have a decent grasp of HTML/XHTML/CSS, but no much experience (except as a reader) of ebook formats.

I'd like to offer the book in as wide a variety of (non-DRM!) formats as possible to make it easy for readers to use on whatever device they have; at the least PDF, ePub, MOBI and AZW.

What I'm wondering is how best to go about the conversion process? I'd like the book to be at least as high-quality as those you buy from Waterstones or B&N, so I'm not averse to a little hand-editing, but I'd rather not have to manually edit every format.

So, given that the manuscript is a Word 2003 document:
  1. What is the best approach for initially "typesetting" the manuscript, i.e., getting it into a form suitable for conversion to ebook; normalising chapter headings, setting up table-of-contents, removing extraneous metadata, headers and footers... What about the Book Creator word template?
  2. What would be a suitable "master format", i.e. a format from which I can generate all the others with minimal hand-editing. XHTML? ePub?
  3. Having created a master document, what is the best conversion software to use? Calibre?

Thanks in advance,
Misha
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:44 AM   #2
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Someone else will probably give a more extended answer, but here's a quick summary of what I'd do (well, maybe not exactly what I'd do now, but what I'd do your description applied to me ):

1. From Word, I'd export to HTML and probably use something like Toxaris's macro here. Then work in Sigil.

2. As can be deduced from above, the master format would be ePub. That's because it the most feature-complete, and can be easily edited and exported (it's just a zipped bunch of plain text files, plus images and the like).

3. I think it's better to use Amazon's converter (kindlegen or whatever it's called) to create the Amazon formats. You may need some tweaking in the ePub file to get a "perfect" result, though. For PDF (or PDFs, as several page sizes are recommended), I'd use Prince through something like this script. With some careful styling, you can get page numbers, headers and footers, hyperlinked TOC, etc.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:47 PM   #3
William Ockham
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What type of book are you publishing? My suggestions will be very different depending on how complex the structure of the book is and how graphics intensive it is. Publishing a graphic novel is very different from publishing "8088 Assembler Coding for Fun and Profit" which is very different from publishing a YA Urban Paranormal Lesbian Romance Fantasy novel.

Are you using this as a learning experience? If not, just pay someone to handle the formatting for you. If you are an experienced developer, your time is worth more than a good formatter's. I can recommend some good formatters.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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If it is primarily a text based book (typical fiction/non-fiction) Word is the place to start.
Make sure that all of the formatting is done with styles. Parts, Sections, and chapters should use the built in heading styles. No Ctrl-B to make text bold!
Save as filtered html
Bring the html file into Sigil to clean up, and you now have ebook in the epub format.
Use Kindle Previewer for PC to convert the epub file to a mobi file.
With these two formats you have all the options that count covered.
Bob
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