Sigil is an ePub editor that lets you build e-Books from scratch. It has two views: Book view and Code view. Book view is what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG), and Code view is for those more comfortable with editing HTML.
One of the dangers of Book view is using it in conjunction with an existing rich text editor, like Microsoft Word. If you type up your book in MS Word and paste it into Sigil’s Book view, it may look pretty on the outside. But beneath the covers, you might see something like this:
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-size:14.5pt;font-family:"Garamond","serif";mso-bidi-font-family: Garamond"><o:p> </o:p></span></p>
Do you know what that means? It means you have a heavily styled space (as in, you hit the space bar, once). There’s nothing of value in there, and it’s all courtesy of Microsoft Word.
That extra code isn’t necessary, not to mention it can create formatting issues in your e-Book (and other places). It’s not Sigil’s fault. Any WYSIWYG editor which converts text to HTML will do this, including WordPress and Blogger.
A quick way to clean HTML is to use one of the online tools. Since several pop in over time, try searching clean ms word html. Some will have options to get rid of those useless paragraphs and make your document web friendly. What do you lose? Font choice. But embedding fonts directly into paragraphs isn’t a good idea anyways, unless you’re sure it’s a CSS Web Safe Font. Otherwise, it’ll look horrible for anyone who doesn’t have that font installed. Plus, you have the option to embed fonts in Sigil.
How do you go from ePub to mobi (Amazon) format? That’s where Calibre comes in. Import your ePub into Calibre, and use it’s conversion tools.
That’s the quick and dirty way to create an e-Book. If you spend some time, you can learn other formatting tricks, such as using Small Caps, changing the indents, or adjusting justification.
Do you create your own e-books? How do you do it? Do you have any other suggestions?
You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. Today is the website’s 1 year anniversary, and to celebrate, they are creating an e-Book to assist other writers on the journey. Hopefully some people find my entry helpful.
Many thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for thinking this blog hop up.