Book Formatting Changes

Book Formatting Changes

Okay, so, a long time ago I shook up how I made the ePub versions of my books. Times changed. Many things changed, actually. It’s been over three years since then (!!). That’s a long time and in that time I’ve put out more books. I’m at nine now and going at ten. I’m at scale for managing my book copies.

And at ‘scale’, I’ve experienced the pain with how I was doing things in the past with regards to managing the different book formats (print and ePub). I used to maintain three book files: an iBooks Author file for ePub, a print formatted copy, and my core manuscript. It was very time consuming/painful maintaining multiple copies of each book. If I needed to update the series listing after a book came out, I had to do it for each book twice (manuscript didn’t matter). It wasn’t fun.

So I decided to simplify the process dramatically. The world helped me make the decision to do this now rather than later. The iBooks Author application that I used for ePubs was getting unstable for me…I was trying to get it to import properly for Emerald Haze and it kept crashing. So that forced this ‘long term thinking’ into the immediate present. I wasn’t really intending to do all these changes for Emerald Haze, but here we are.

Changing from iBooks Author to using Pages directly to make ePubs wasn’t a hard change at all. The cost came in the final ePub product. Exporting to ePub directly from the Pages manuscript means no glossary, images, or pop-up footnotes, though. It’s a sacrifice in ‘prettiness’, but actually, it flows very well and endnotes are not as bad as I recall.

But that’s the ePubs. What about print? So the manuscript works for making ePubs just fine, and it also works with print with some adjustments. I simply formatted it for print as well: so configuring facing pages, adding headers/footers, page count, etc.. None of these things ‘keep’ or even work for ePub so the same file can push to both easily. This print change comes at a good time as Lulu also changed their print book maker interface. I am going to learn how to use it for Emerald Haze and when I get that settled properly, I will then update the print copies for the old books using the new flow.

I also have to update the print copies to add Emerald Haze to the series list and to change the new chapter decoration. I’ve been wanting to change like the chapter markers for some time, and the ePub changes forced me to really do that as well since I noticed how blocky/not-flowy the old two chunky lines were. So I whipped another chapter decoration marker that takes up much less space and is more minimalist. It reduces space utilized so the page count is lower and the ePub flows easier. I really love the new chapter decoration for its aesthetics and practicality.

New chapter decoration
New chapter decoration

So…after all that, I only have one file to maintain that creates streamlined print and e-copies of each book. It is a great deal of change in this tedious part of the process, but it’s going to make my life a much easier in the long run compared to how I was doing it. Success!

Note/FYI: Whilst starting to update old manuscripts, I noticed that, I think, that HTSW’s print copy had some typos/issues that were subsequently fixed elsewhere, so that’ll be resolved when I rotate Lulu print copies. The same will probably hold for the other earlier books.