Author Topic: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?  (Read 5485 times)

Offline slightlysmall

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Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« on: August 31, 2015, 02:27:24 PM »
I'm converting a print book to ebook for a client. Know all the basics and have it sorted... sort of. My client wrote a kind of pamphlet with a lot of white space between paragraphs and a lot of quotes (I'm using an indented, italics style for those). I'm pleased with everything except the spacing.

I did a lot of styles formatting in Word (I'm good at Word and can avoid its usual glitches), converted to .epub using Calibre, then used Sigil to format the epub a little farther and get rid of some inconsistencies. While in Sigil, I added in a few hmtl-style breaks where I wanted to make sure the spacing was clear (after bullet lists, before and after bolded statements and questions at the end of each chapter, etc.). I checked the html behind it, and it looked good. So I opened in Calibre again and converted to .mobi to check on my Kindle. On the Kindle, only some of the spacing that I coded shows up, and it seems to be random. The tightness between regular and quote paragraphs is especially annoying. When I open the .epub for viewing on my computer (via Calibre), the white spaces are HUGE.

Any ideas for getting consistent (as in, a percentage of the type size, rather than the same amount constantly) line spacing? I'm getting super frustrated...

Offline Tabris

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Re: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2015, 02:46:37 PM »
I use Calibre to take it directly from Word to .mobi. I have no idea why they recommend converting word to HTML and then HTML into .mobi when even Calibre says it's better to convert from Word than HTML.

As for line spacing, I set it to 1.15 in Word for my Kindle books and it's always worked as you say, as a percentage of the typeface size rather than a set amount.

Offline TerryRodgers

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Re: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 03:24:36 PM »
Another thing to check for is soft returns versus hard returns. Soft returns screw up when converting. So do tabs.

Offline slightlysmall

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Re: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2015, 03:48:59 PM »
Another thing to check for is soft returns versus hard returns. Soft returns screw up when converting. So do tabs.

I don't have soft returns or tabs. That's one of the things I know to avoid. :)

I use Calibre to take it directly from Word to .mobi. I have no idea why they recommend converting word to HTML and then HTML into .mobi when even Calibre says it's better to convert from Word than HTML.

As for line spacing, I set it to 1.15 in Word for my Kindle books and it's always worked as you say, as a percentage of the typeface size rather than a set amount.

I guess I worded my complaint wrong... My line spacing is fine--it's the spacing between paragraphs I'm not pleased with. I had used "space after" to put just over a full line space between each paragraph, but that didn't convert at all. The html I added in Sigil is working inconsistently (although Sigil was great for some other minor changes I needed to make).

If you want to use paragraphs with no indents, would you just do a hard return (in Word) between each paragraph?

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 08:52:47 AM »
I use InDesign CS5 for my e-formats. (I've self-published 5 ebooks in .mobi, epub and pdf.)

The spaces between lines is "ledding" and the spaces between paragraphs is - I forgot what it's called - but using styles takes care of everything.

I've never used other programs, I find them too primitive. But they work and are mostly free. I suggest you look to see if they have "Styles". If so, that will make your life a lot easier.

Good luck, JP

Offline slightlysmall

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Re: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2015, 10:37:57 AM »
I thought the space between lines was called "leading," not ledding.

Microsoft Word has styles. I used them, and they worked great. I didn't lose any of the formatting when I ran it through an .epub/.mobi converter. I was converting from InDesign, and the book was inconsistently formatted to start with.

It ended up turning out well. I have a phone call with the author next week to talk over some kinks (although I'm 90% sure he's just going to be mad that it doesn't look exactly like his chapbook does) and we're all set.

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2015, 10:56:09 AM »
You're probably right about "leading."

I just did a down a dirty .mobi conversion for an agent who asked to see my first 100 pages. Some folks save the whales (worthy) while I save agent's eyesight.

I'm not sure what a chapbook is, but when I want a specific page to look an exact way, I jpg it and then "Place" the jpg on the page. Every chapter in all my ebooks have titles, and each one of them is like a book cover.

Also, if you have ID and Acrobat (or just ID), you can also pdf it where every page is a picture.

A question for you, Small: I use ID CS5 and when I try to do TOC links, they don't work. Do you know how it's done? With epub that feature is built-in.

Thanks in advance,
JP   

Offline Doggy Teng

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Re: Those of you who self-pub... Help with ebook formatting?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2015, 02:01:40 PM »
I'm not sure what a chapbook is, but when I want a specific page to look an exact way, I jpg it and then "Place" the jpg on the page. Every chapter in all my ebooks have titles, and each one of them is like a book cover.

This is the same thing I discovered; I ended up turning the entire title page into an image, so that I could keep all the fonts and proportions, and then inserted the image in the eBook file -- that way it will look exactly the same as it does in the printed version.

As I mentioned here before, I went through a lot of frustration and trial and error trying to format an eBook before I found this source: http://www.amazon.com/Zen-eBook-Formatting-Step---step-ebook/dp/B00KJAH4HS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441392939&sr=1-1&keywords=zen+of+ebook+formatting 

You do have to take pains to follow all the steps and clean up the formatting exactly as he says, but if you do that his method seems to work quite well.