I’m so glad to report that I have been extremely busy and productive since my last update. I’ve been learning new software to help with book formatting, both for eBook and print, and it has been a long, somewhat frustrating journey. This knowledge will help when I begin my reformatting and editing journey for The Phoenix Curse, because I do plan on a re-design of all the books currently published.
On my formatting journey, I first tried Kindle Create. It’s a nice, easy to learn program, but it’s very restrictive. It doesn’t offer much in the way of options or personalizing an eBook, but it’s convenient to use. The file type it exports to is KPF, which supposedly will convert straight to print book in the Kindle upload. I didn’t make it that far. The print book is so incorrectly formatted with no option given to the user to change it, it makes Kindle Create unusable. My next stop at Reedsy resulted in the same.
I then moved on to Scribus, which is a free typesetting program for print books. The program was absolutely baffling to me when I first opened it, so I spent a few days watching YouTube videos to learn how to use it. Not only did I learn that everyone, and I mean everyone, pronounces Scribus differently, I also found out Scribus would give me the freedom to create a print book the way I wanted to, but it would take time. All good things take time, so I got to work.
I learned how to set up my Master Pages and chapter headers just how I wanted them. I formatted my book with proper front and back matter, as well as made sure the beginning of the chapters printed on the proper page (something that Kindle Create and Reedsy lacked.) Things were starting to look promising when Scribus shut down on me unexpectedly.
Hrm… Not good.
I booted up and was able to continue my work, but the unexpected shut down was disheartening. I finally finished the chapter headers so the Table of Contents (TOC) could be generated when I realized… Hey, where did all my italics go? Again, not good. This would slow me down considerably, but it was still possible to go back and add in all the italics, even though it would be incredibly time-consuming. Not a deal breaker. Thankfully, I decided to figure out how to create the TOC, which…. corrupted my file and shut down Scribus. Ehh…
I tried a few times with the same result, so I completely wiped the file and started from scratch. I only edited a few chapter headers to capture in the TOC creation this time and immediately tested it out. No dice. File corrupted and Scribus shut down.
After two days of lost work, my search continued for a more reliable program. That’s when I discovered Affinity Publisher. It’s a paid program, but they offer a 7 day trial with COMPLETE access. So wonderful. Since I had picked up the basics of how to typeset while watching Scribus videos, I only had to watch one quick vid for Affinity before jumping right in. This time, the first thing I checked when I pulled my text over was the italics. They were there! Then I checked the TOC. It compiled beautifully. I was good to go to finish creating my first proof.
Of course there were some learning opportunities along the way, but I ended up with an awesome proof in my hands a week later. I purchased Affinity and now plan to use it to create all my print books.
The downside to Affinity is that it currently only supports PDF exporting, which doesn’t result in a nice, re-flowable text eBook. My search for an eBook formatter continued, because Kindle Create and Reedsy still didn’t offer the amount of freedom I wanted to create my eBook.
This time, I found Jutoh. This program gives you unrestricted access to their base program, although anything that’s exported will have a watermark as the first line. That was fair. If the program could produce the results I wanted, I didn’t mind paying for the cost to the developers.
First time out of the gate, I was able to create an ebook with all my personalized fonts that closely matched the print version. Being able to embed these fonts into the eBook for them to show up in kindle nearly sold me immediately. The TOC compiled well, and the book looked beautiful. Then I got to the last chapter and…. No italics!
So I started over again, this time opening the document as the project instead of a cut and paste. There were some issues with removing the ad hoc styles when doing it this way, but I was able to preserve my italics. Woo Hoo! I finished creating the eBook yesterday, and it looks splendid. I now have both my print and eBook files formatted and ready to go for book one.
I’m currently receiving chapters back from my editor for book two.
I’ve started the rewrites and editing for book three.
Guys. We’re getting close. I can sense a release update coming REAL SOON. So… Is everyone ready to take a Walk?