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Old 06-29-2015, 04:42 AM   #1
outofcatch22
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Question E-pub advice

Hi all, I'm new to all of this and not even sure if this is the place I need to be I recently had a book that I'd written converted to epub so that I could put it on Lulu and sell online however it hasn't turned out how I imagined.

Before I reformat and try again I wondered if people could give some advice?
- do links work in epub? Mine don't seem to at the moment
- Should I just put everything into the same font and font size?
- Is there anyway to keep certain aspects together? For example if I have a quote I would like it all to show on the same page and not be split up?

As you can probably tell I'm not that literate with all of this however I love learning this stuff and I'm eager to get things looking good so I can get my book out there.

Thanks so much if you have made it this far in reading my essay!
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:09 AM   #2
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Sigil might be something you will find useful.click If you have your book in text file or html format you can easily import it into Sigil and create a working TOC file for it. I use the program all the time for fixing epubs from Project Gutenberg before uploading them here at MR.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:27 AM   #3
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crich70's advice is good, Sigil can be very helpful. There's lots to learn, so you will have lots to love!

You say "had a book that I'd written converted to epub" - which implies you used a third party service. If so, and if it was a paid service, then you have a right to expect some reasonable quality in what they produced.

Of course, some manuscripts can be very complicated and many services aren't really geared to cope (it's one thing to offer to create an epub for a typical fiction novel, it's quite another to do it for a text book with images and references and so on). A lot will also depend on the starting point (what was given as the source for conversion), and how carefully that was prepared.

If your book is, in format terms, comparable to most fiction novels and the source is in MS-Word/OpenOffice/LibreOffice, then tools exist to help you automatically generate an EPUB for yourself which can subsequently tidied up in Sigil. To do this effectively will mean learning some basics about styles (*Office and CSS) and HTML. Most of this is not difficult (at the fiction novel format level), but if you want to do it yourself you must be prepared to spend the time.

Any book more complex than a fiction novel is probably best given to a (reputable) third party that knows what they are doing. It may not be cheap, but getting a reliable EPUB for complex layouts takes experience.

ETA: I forgot to reference your questions:

"- do links work in epub? Mine don't seem to at the moment"

Depends partly on the ereader and partly on what you're linking and partly on the quality of the conversion process.

"- Should I just put everything into the same font and font size?"

This question implies that you have not learned how to use styles effectively (or your editor doesn't support them). Styles are very important critical if you want a good EPUB.

"- Is there anyway to keep certain aspects together? For example if I have a quote I would like it all to show on the same page and not be split up?"

This suggests a complex layout. Yes, there may be ways to achieve this (within reason, and exactly how the result is presented will depend on support at the ereader), but you are getting into more complex areas of CSS and HTML. This is where experience really starts to count.

Last edited by gmw; 06-29-2015 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 06-30-2015, 01:35 AM   #4
outofcatch22
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Thanks for the advice crich 70

Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
Sigil might be something you will find useful.click If you have your book in text file or html format you can easily import it into Sigil and create a working TOC file for it. I use the program all the time for fixing epubs from Project Gutenberg before uploading them here at MR.
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Old 06-30-2015, 01:39 AM   #5
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Great info, thanks gmw for such a detailed answer. Yes, it is a more complex manuscript as it is a 12 week life coaching course. I've had in in PDF format with links to you-tube videos and it has worked really well. Obviously I'm new to the epub world and it is a big learning curve. I got the conversion done on fiverr so it was good for the price, just not what I imagined. Looks like I'll have to invest some more time into working this one out so that I can keep in budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
crich70's advice is good, Sigil can be very helpful. There's lots to learn, so you will have lots to love!

You say "had a book that I'd written converted to epub" - which implies you used a third party service. If so, and if it was a paid service, then you have a right to expect some reasonable quality in what they produced.

Of course, some manuscripts can be very complicated and many services aren't really geared to cope (it's one thing to offer to create an epub for a typical fiction novel, it's quite another to do it for a text book with images and references and so on). A lot will also depend on the starting point (what was given as the source for conversion), and how carefully that was prepared.

If your book is, in format terms, comparable to most fiction novels and the source is in MS-Word/OpenOffice/LibreOffice, then tools exist to help you automatically generate an EPUB for yourself which can subsequently tidied up in Sigil. To do this effectively will mean learning some basics about styles (*Office and CSS) and HTML. Most of this is not difficult (at the fiction novel format level), but if you want to do it yourself you must be prepared to spend the time.

Any book more complex than a fiction novel is probably best given to a (reputable) third party that knows what they are doing. It may not be cheap, but getting a reliable EPUB for complex layouts takes experience.

ETA: I forgot to reference your questions:

"- do links work in epub? Mine don't seem to at the moment"

Depends partly on the ereader and partly on what you're linking and partly on the quality of the conversion process.

"- Should I just put everything into the same font and font size?"

This question implies that you have not learned how to use styles effectively (or your editor doesn't support them). Styles are very important critical if you want a good EPUB.

"- Is there anyway to keep certain aspects together? For example if I have a quote I would like it all to show on the same page and not be split up?"

This suggests a complex layout. Yes, there may be ways to achieve this (within reason, and exactly how the result is presented will depend on support at the ereader), but you are getting into more complex areas of CSS and HTML. This is where experience really starts to count.
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Old 06-30-2015, 03:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outofcatch22 View Post
Great info, thanks gmw for such a detailed answer. Yes, it is a more complex manuscript as it is a 12 week life coaching course. I've had in in PDF format with links to you-tube videos and it has worked really well. Obviously I'm new to the epub world and it is a big learning curve. I got the conversion done on fiverr so it was good for the price, just not what I imagined. Looks like I'll have to invest some more time into working this one out so that I can keep in budget
Video links? Well, you've hit a major point of contention right there. Yes, in theory EPUB is multi-media capable, but you run into all sorts of issues.

Firstly: most of us here write for the (mobile) reading market (as opposed to (mobile) watching market), so you aren't likely to find much experience with multi-media EPUBs here.

Secondly: E-Ink ereader devices don't play video. So what you are creating will be automatically limited to use on PCs, tablets and phones etc., and of no use to the e-ink devices many of the readers here prefer.

Then you get onto the the difference between theory and practice. Yes, the EPUB standard has multi-media features defined, but (good) software support for it remains sparse and inconsistent (at least, that's what I've read, I don't have any experience to back that up).

I am tempted to suggest that a web-based solution may be better for your work than EPUB, at this time. After all, you are expecting people to be online to access the video links, so why not online for all of it? You will have many more options and features (reliably) available to you with a web-based solution.
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