The Third 5 Topics in Introduction to eBook Formatting

I’ll be teaching Introduction to eBook Formatting at the University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies as an elective in their editing program on March 14–16. This course is appropriate for publishing professionals, writers and authors, K–12 and college/university-level educators, homeschoolers, librarians, and document specialists in any line of business. I thought I’d give potential students a taste of the contents by reviewing the main topics in a bit more detail than you’ll find in the syllabus. I covered the first 5 topics in this post and the second 5 topics in this post. Here, we get down to the nitty-gritty:

11. eBook Set-Up Steps Having either removed or adapted any print-specific features, we are now ready to treat the document from beginning to end, styling each element for its eBook appearance and functionality..

12. The Table of Contents and Heads eReaders and eReading apps build the navigational table of contents from the headings in the body of the document. We’ll style them, check them, and consider the advantages and steps to make a linked internal table of contents.

13. Formatting Text Text forms the main content of many eBooks, and we’ll discuss the different practices for styling paragraphs, eBook and eReader indentation, and workarounds for documents with issues in their text formatting (from, for example, OCR or PDF export).

14. Formatting Images and Ornaments Particularly because eBooks are a newer technology, as well as because eReaders and eReading apps have different capabilities, images are handled differently in different environments. We’ll practice several different approaches, as well as the treatment of text ornaments.

15. Simple Lists and Tables After paragraphs of prose and images, lists and tables are probably the next most oft-found elements in eBooks. We’ll go over several different approaches to lists and tables, as well as a couple of clever tricks you can do with them.

Having covered all the major formatting steps, we’ll then discuss Document Review and Client Approval, which includes checking and validating your EPUB and creating at least one proof for your client (or yourself).

In the next post, I’ll review the extra topics that—if there’s time—we’ll cover (choice of topics tbd by majority vote).

Sign Up Here For more information about Introduction to eBook Formatting, offered March 14–16, 2013 at the University of Chicago Graham School at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, click here.

For the next article in the series, click here.

Four Reasons for Authors to Learn About eBook Formatting

Many writers have wondered whether they should format eBooks themselves or give them over to someone else to do. But there are reasons to learn eBook formatting even if you’re not going to format yourself. Here are four good reasons for learning eBook formatting, whatever your plans:

1. Grasp the Possibilities and Limitations. The differences in creating eBooks and print books favor eBooks for some particular content types and print books for others: eBooks have some capabilities that print books do not, but also have some limitations that don’t apply to print. If you understand the possibilities and restrictions, you can make better decisions and choices, whether you go one to do all your formatting yourself or not.

2. Save Money. You can cut eBook publishing costs by have a good basic EPUB document that you can then hire someone to tweak or tweak yourself rather than having to pay for a conversion that starts from .doc, .docx, .txt, .odt, or .pdf.

3. Get Started on the Way to HTML and CSS Editing. You may have a plan to eventually build your own eBooks from scratch, but starting with coding right off the bat is taking on a major learning curve. By beginning with a solid understanding of EPUB and the eBook testing procedures and taking the time to see the effects of various choices made in a word processor, you can gain valuable experience that will underpin your plunge into coding.

4. Save Time with Useful Workflows. Whichever way you go about formatting your work for eBook publication, there are valuable approaches and strategies that can help you produce high quality work, and which can be demonstrated in the familiar context of word processing.

Learn More. Writers might not see themselves as the target students for a course on eBook Formatting offered as an elective in an editing program. But the University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies has a new offering, Introduction to eBook Formatting, that can serve writers as well as publishing professionals with editorial and production positions.

Details. Introduction to eBook Formatting is offered by author/educator Mary Elizabeth, who has worked in both editorial positions in print publishing and as a writer for over 30 years, as well as being involved in design, layout, and music engraving.  As an eBook formatting specialist, she has worked with many types of books, including novels; books of poetry; business, tax, and finance books; cookbooks and nutritional guides; scientific and medical books; scholarly works; travel books; spiritual and religious books; children’s books; article collections; autobiographies and memoirs; and works of history and philosophy. Whatever genre(s) you write, you are likely to find one or more samples used in the course that are related.

For more information about Introduction to eBook Formatting, offered March 14–16, 2013 at the University of Chicago Graham School at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, click here.