The eBook revolution is upon us. Apple, B&N, Amazon, Kobo, SONY and Smashwords make it possible to electronically deliver your work to readers with no upfront costs, agents, or publishers. This is nothing short of astonishing, and I wanted to use it to put RATS in the hands of readers.
However. You, or someone you hire, has to create the proper ePub or MOBI file that will be uploaded to the above-mentioned distribution channels. There are a raft of books out there on how to do this. Most are incomplete. Some are simply wrong. I’ve read a bunch of them. And then I finally found a book by an ex-Navy guy living in Thailand and was released from ePub hell.
The challenge is this. Word processors think you’re going to make paper. An eReader isn’t paper. An eReader is actually a web browser (some even use Webkit internally). The text of your book is flowed by the eReader based on its size, the font, the font size, orientation etc. So to design your book, you are actually designing a very specific kind of website using, you guessed it, web technology. Your eBook uses HTML, CSS and XML to control formatting, and the ePub standard for structure including the Table of Contents.
Fun fun fun. And thanks to Paul Salvette you can learn exactly how to do this to produce a professional quality eBook. He takes you step by step through the technology, then step by step through building an eBook. Along the way he provides boilerplate files you can use as templates to build your own book much more quickly (including incredible detail on how these files must change for Kindle). Then he shows you where to find the HTML and ePub validators on the web so you can test your files until they’re correct without pulling your hair out.
Finally, he takes you through the steps to build that all important MOBI file using Kindlegen from Amazon.
This book is the finest technical reference I’ve seen on the process of making an eBook. Kudos to Paul for producing such a complete treatise on the subject and putting it in our hands for only $6.99. Something that itself couldn’t have been done before the dawn of ePublishing.