ePublishing; pain + persistence = perseverance… Does it = published?

Ok, so now I’ve finally finished a working ePub draft of the first full poetry anthology entitled “Poemetics: Suspiciously Cute, Ode to a Total Stranger”.

Yes, that was the name of a previous shorter ‘volume’ of poetry.

I have ‘unpublished’ that volume (and the others) and combined them all into a single volume, plus a few more poems I had left out of the original 3 volumes.

Altogether this comes to 30-something poems. This anthology will soon be available on both Amazon & Smashwords – I am trialling and erroring my way to the ‘right’ way to ePublishing in a slow elephantine manner. We will get there in the end!

I promised an update on my ePublishing experience, so here it is:

First off, Jutoh works on a Mac. (That’s all I know about the Mac side, seeing as I do not have one to hand to test further – I just know it does work.)

On my laptop (PC / Windows-based) Jutoh ‘feels’ like Microsoft Word, with a lot of the similar commands for selecting text, simple formatting (bold, italic) for easy formatting and editing.

As a first point, I would advise creating ‘Chapter’ or ‘Part’ demarcations, even for something like poetry, as the ‘import’ function (when creating a ‘new project’ in Jutoh) creates a separate ‘Document’ within your ebook for each titled segment.

This is useful as it means that your ebook is broken up logically into bite-size chunks instead of being one long text file.

It also allows Jutoh to automatically generate your ebook table of contents – each document is treated like a different web page within that ebook, allowing for easy browsing and ‘jumping to’ desired sections for your readers.

They can also ‘bookmark’ pages for returning to and re-reading later (assuming their ereader supports bookmarking).

This splitting of the main sections of the ebook up automatically along with creating an automatic table of contents based on those ebook sections is a great improvement over the Smashwords interface.

In Smashwords you are forced to create bookmarks for each section of your document, manually create a list for your table of contents, then highlight each part of your table of contents and ‘hyperlink’ to the relevant ‘bookmark’ section. This is a seriously labour intensive piece of work for any document over ten sections.

The additional benefit of Jutoh ebook formatting over Smashwords is the splitting into separate sections for each segment (Chapter or Poem) as part of the import – Smashwords creates a single long text file which is unwieldy and relatively unattractive in ereader format.

There are also additional benefits of Jutoh over Smashwords in that Jutoh allows you to modify the layout, pages, document, paste in graphics, links, formatting or whatever else you like, as well as choose what outputs you wish to ‘compile’ your ebook to, including specifying the settings you would like to default to for that type of output (targetting Mobipocket-friendly styling, for example).

If needed (such as for my Poetry book) after importing into Jutoh you can go into the document pages in your new ebook and delete the ‘Chapter’ or ‘Part’ text from the titles, select text, format, insert graphics and play til your heart’s content.

To see what the end result ebook looks like (once you have ‘compiled’ and ‘tested’ your newly created ebook), you can download and install Calibre’s free ebook viewer (for both PC’s and Macs).

When you then select ‘Launch’ for your ebook within Jutoh (once the correct format, i.e. ‘epub’, has been ‘compiled’ and ‘tested’) Calibre will automatically launch and import the book into its library. (I presume this standard functionality and that Jutoh will target the ‘launch’ function at whatever ebook reader you may have installed. I may test this further later with Mobi readers.)

You can then review the output in epub format in an ereader to see whether you need to go back and modify anything prior to publication.

Once you’ve formatted your ebook to your heart’s content you can setup a free account on kdp.amazon.com (Amazon’s own Kindle Direct Publishing self-publishing service), ‘add a new title’ and follow the guidelines to publish your epub book.

I used to believe I would have to use the publishing company I setup to buy ISBN numbers to allow my ebook to be published online, however I think there is a way around this.

ISBN numbers are useful for allowing all major distributors to ‘order’ your book. However if you self-publish your book on each of the major online bookst├Żores (i.e. Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble Nook and Pubit – forgive me if I have missed any off this list – I am only just beginning my self-publishing journey), unless you desire to have your ebook searchable by ISBN number there will be very few missed sales in my estimation.

(Let’s be honest, how many people do you know to go online and type in an ISBN number to find a book they want, instead of searching on the title, author or genre? This will be a small minority who would also search by title, author or genre if the ISBN search came up blank.)

I followed the above process using precisely the tools I mentioned above (Word to Plain Text to Jutoh to Calibre…and onto Amazon Kindle for starters) to self-publish my compilation of poetry entitled ‘Poemetics – Suspiciously Cute, Ode to a Total Stranger’.

Please have a look and let me know what you think!

Please Note – I have only just uploaded ‘Poemetics’ to Amazon – it can take up to 24 hours to be ‘vetted’ before being available on Amazon’s website.

Therefore if you are unable to find it the first time you check, please have another go tomorrow.

Your feedback will be much appreciated!

Until next time, keep writing, keep publishing, never surrender.

mE (Em)

2 thoughts on “ePublishing; pain + persistence = perseverance… Does it = published?”

  1. How did formatting go for Kindle devices? since those use a different format from epub (a Nook format).

  2. Hello Greg,

    The package I used to create all format versions of my ‘Poemetics’ ebook, Jutoh, allows you to directly output to most ebook formats, including allowing you to format the book once, then select the format of ebook you want, e.g. “Amazon Kindle”, click the “Compile” button and hey presto – a kindle-friendly formatted book is ready for the reading or uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.

    To ensure the output works, you can download the free kindle app for your PC and open the Kindle friendly formatted ebook in that application.

    As the software package actually ‘compiles’ the ebook specifically for Kindle (or whatever format you choose) from the HTML-like WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) Jutoh interface, the output is Kindle friendly.

    This does mean that, because of the variances in reader software (i.e. Kindle, eReader, Nook or iPad) formatting can vary slightly as well. In other words, the text and layout may look slightly different in each of the different readers.

    Remember, an ebook is not like a Adobe Acrobat pdf (protected document format) document, which is a self-contained single file.

    An ebook is actually more like an application or mini self-contained website than a document. This is why the Jutoh software I use ‘compiles’ the ebook – ‘compile’ is the process by which software developers package their software code into readable formats for computers to run. Selecting ‘Kindle’ then clicking ‘compile’ tells Jutoh to package my ebook and all formatting I have made such as font size into a packaged application (ebook) which a Kindle reader can then run (‘read’).

    Therefore whether your ebook looks good or even works in a given format is as much reliant on the system you run it on (Kindle, iPad, Nook reader) as it is on the ebook itself.

    Your best bet is to use a piece of software like Jutoh create your ebook and export it to the relevant format, then test opening it in a free ebook reader like Calibre or Kindle’s own app, to check the formatting came through as you desired.

    Obviously this does mean there is going to be a certain amount of ‘tweaking’ of your original document in Jutoh to get it just right in the relevant reader.

    I hope this answered your question. Please let me know if you have any other questions I might be able to help with.



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