Thursday, June 30, 2011

Final Steps

I've given the words themselves one more going-over--by printing it out and scribbling corrections on the pages, funnily enough. It was a little trickier making the corrections directly in the HTML code, but I kept an eye on the results in my favorite browser and reloaded with each change to make sure I didn't bork anything.

Unfortunately, I still did bork something, but it was undetectable until I converted the results into ebook form. Since I'd been using Calibre for conversion, I also took advantage of the ability to construct a Table of Contents that certain ebook reading devices can access. This requires using HTML tags at the start of each chapter and then telling Calibre which ones to detect and use accordingly. Initially, I'd used 'a name=' tags so I could also construct a working Table of Contents within the book itself. This did odd things to the TOC when I read it on my iPhone (it kept duplicating each chapter heading each time the book was opened) so I swapped over the the ever reliable 'h1' tag after a quick lesson in how to tweak the CSS code to make it look a little less out of place. This played nicely with iBooks, but resulted in the MOBI version being unopenable on the Kindle app I've been testing my drafts on. So now I've forked the code, if you will, and saved one version for iBooks (with h1 tags intact) and another for the Kindle (with h1 tags removed.) Both are now fully functional on my iPhone and iPad on three different reading apps and I think we're about ready for prime time.

As it is, I needed to construct two separate versions anyway since I'll need two different ISBNs to identify them. After sniffing around and finding how much a pack of ISBNs cost, I've cut a deal with Lullwater Press to obtain the ISBNs and put the books out under their imprint. (Note that "cutting a deal with Lullwater Press" is a formal way of saying "Um, Dad, I need some ISBNs, can you help?") Were I not in such deprived financial circumstances, I would have sprung for the $250 for a block of ten ISBNs myself, but it's not an option right now.

So I'm this much closer to joining the ranks of the e-published. No telling what comes next.

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