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Thread: Best EBook EPub Editor?


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S.Todd

Posts: 55
Registered: 11/23/14
Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 11, 2015 3:18 PM
 
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I went through HELL with my first book, dealing with all the formats, etc, etc.

For my next one I want to start and finish in one program and upload the file and be done with it. Been reading around about some EPub editors, but I'd really like to hear what the authors around here are using and finding that works best to write an ebook. I am going to stay as far away from MS Word as I can possibly get this time around! Assume with your answer that it will primarily be for Kindle. Thanks.
Donald Roble

Posts: 1,030
Registered: 12/15/13
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 12, 2015 11:30 AM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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S.Todd wrote:
I went through HELL with my first book, dealing with all the formats, etc, etc.

For my next one I want to start and finish in one program and upload the file and be done with it. Been reading around about some EPub editors, but I'd really like to hear what the authors around here are using and finding that works best to write an ebook. I am going to stay as far away from MS Word as I can possibly get this time around! Assume with your answer that it will primarily be for Kindle. Thanks.

Umm, you do have to write in some word processor. Epub is a format. I write with Open Office. I know how to write html and css (enough for my purpose). I then convert that to epub for other places.
jm14

Posts: 2,651
Registered: 10/06/11
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 12, 2015 12:31 PM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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I use a professional interior designer and formatter myself, sending her my Word doc.

But Atlantis, a modestly priced Word-like text editor, will save your doc into a properly formatted epub version as well as into Word doc, rtf and other formats if you wish.

How to do that former (save to epub) in the program is relatively easy to learn through the clear video tutorials they offer.

Good luck.
arthurcentral

Posts: 112
Registered: 12/12/09
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 12, 2015 4:23 PM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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You can always write a book with any text editor, but really, HTML is better (I use DreamWeaver) because an ebook is essentially one long HTML file. If you can't handle basic HTML, just write it with your computer's text system and upload it to SmashWords and let it handle all the different file formats, etc.
S.Todd

Posts: 55
Registered: 11/23/14
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 12, 2015 10:07 PM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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Well since I don't write constantly, I had forgotten all the tricks you need to know to do it in Word. But it all quickly came back to me once I reviewed the final document for my first book. The learning curve to get there and finally end up with a document that worked was pretty steep, with a lot of stumbling blocks and sheer frustration along the way. I nearly quit and said screw it.

This next one should go a lot smoother. I'll use the first one as a template. But the reason for the thread is I figured by now there were probably some simplified programs geared towards writers. It's a double edged sword though; make it too easy and everyone can, and probably will, do it. The market's saturated enough already. Writing takes work from that standpoint too- learning the tricks of the trade. I figured since we have all managed to get over that hump in one way or another by having works accepted and selling, it would be a safe question in here.

I hadn't considered the other aspect of this though, which is "enabling the competition." The more we each learn about those tricks, the faster and easier we can bring a quality product to market. And that makes one more of a threat- especially on KU. Funny place this is. Authors all talking to each other. Some subjects are sensitive. I get it.
Michael Robinson

Posts: 444
Registered: 12/26/12
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 13, 2015 11:31 AM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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Shrug ...

For my first books, I went the "Word + Calibre + Sigil" route and came up with a very nicely-formatted book that, Apple then informed me, didn't match current EBook technical standards.

And so, I switched to using Pages on my Mac. Of course, Apple's site has no problems with books that are formatted as EPub using Pages. I don't publish to Apple's proprietary format, but I do use the EPub file produced by Pages in all the venues to which I publish.

"Formatting? Fuhgeddaboudit!"

To me, quite frankly, the most important consideration is simply to get the book out. To get lots of books out, and to be sure that they're technically acceptable everywhere. Instead of poring over a single book for a month or two, as I used to do, I'd like to get one new book out every week ... maybe two. (I'd love to think that I could crank out a book a day, and have a catalog of 365 titles in one year.)

They're short, cost two bucks (or less) and can be read in an hour or three. I imagine that you're taking a cross-country flight and need something to read, and that I'm just competing with your third second gin and tonic. Just gimme two bits and I'll help keep your mind off those valley-girl cheerleaders in the back of the plane.
Notjohn

Posts: 23,720
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 14, 2015 2:52 AM   in response to: Michael Robinson in response to: Michael Robinson
 
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Instead of poring over a single book for a month or two, as I used to do, I'd like to get one new book out every week ... maybe two

God help us.

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Formatting Your E-book for Sale on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Etienne

Posts: 1,877
Registered: 08/20/14
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 14, 2015 10:01 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
 
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Notjohn wrote:
Instead of poring over a single book for a month or two, as I used to do, I'd like to get one new book out every week ... maybe two

God help us.


You snatched that thought right out of my head.
Michael Robinson

Posts: 444
Registered: 12/26/12
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 14, 2015 12:57 PM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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Hey, I don't apologize. Consider how many books the Stratemeyer Syndicate put out ... Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins ... and how fast they did it, and how much money they made.

(The authors didn't do so fantastic, but the Syndicate made a ton.)

Instead of poring over a particular title, as you might do with print ... and as you could justify doing with print because you knew in advance how the book would look "when printed" ... just write another title.

Format it so simply that any book reader can read it, then release it simultaneously to the native bookstore of every book reader, in a non-exclusive program at whatever royalty rate that calls for. You have no idea and no control over exactly what device is in their hands. You have three fonts to choose from: serif, sans, mono. Bold, italic, underscore. The Gentle Reader might have eyes as bad as mine. Format accordingly.

Write a good book, mind you, but write it quickly. Short is better than long; cheap is better than pricey. Give 'em a few hours' entertainment for half the price (heh...) of one iced coffee. Or, give 'em one intensive take on a non-fic subject, with other takes in other book(lets), instead of one long diatribe. Give the reader something that he will "read completely." Draw him into actually reading the whole thing because he can do so in just a few sittings.

Twenty little oil wells on a hillside, none of them doing more than so-so, but the owner's rich. One such well, even with an elaborate paint job and a neon sign, and the owner's poor. Conventional publishing went for the "gusher," because they had to. You don't have to. They needed to find a volume big enough to let them reap an economy of scale. You don't.

Just "a different take" on the publishing biz, but I think it's a valid one. Books have no distribution cost, no shelf space, and are first sold by an image the size of a postage stamp. So be it. Write that way to sell that way. But always give the reader more than they paid for. Always respect the reader and give her your best work, even if you do it in small doses. Give 'em reason to want to buy another of your "little books." I've still got a complete collection of Tom Swift, Jr. and every one of 'em only cost a dollar. (In hardcover.) That first book sold 'em all to me.
Charlie

Posts: 228
Registered: 06/17/15
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 15, 2015 5:22 PM   in response to: Michael Robinson in response to: Michael Robinson
 
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As a famous author once said of a hack, "That's not writing; that's typing."

~~~

eBook Pioneers Formatting We do print books too!

"Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?" ~ Leonardo da Vinci
billhiatt

Posts: 3,505
Registered: 09/15/12
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 16, 2015 10:06 AM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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S.Todd wrote:
I went through HELL with my first book, dealing with all the formats, etc, etc.

For my next one I want to start and finish in one program and upload the file and be done with it. Been reading around about some EPub editors, but I'd really like to hear what the authors around here are using and finding that works best to write an ebook. I am going to stay as far away from MS Word as I can possibly get this time around! Assume with your answer that it will primarily be for Kindle. Thanks.

I use Scrivener. It doesn't have all the sophisticated formatting Word has, but you don't need those features, especially for an e-book. Scrivener provides more than enough word processing features to get the job done. The best part, though, is the exports. Scrivener does a great job of exporting to Mobi or Epub. I do have Sigil if I need to make adjustments in the Epub, but generally Scrivener produces just what I want. For readying the print edition, Sigil also exports to RTF, doc, and Open Office Writer formats (and PDF, but you'll probably want to tinker in a word processor, so you may never use the PDF part).
Michael Robinson

Posts: 444
Registered: 12/26/12
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jul 16, 2015 7:40 PM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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In my own defense ... "this is, basically, an HTML page." You literally don't know what sort of device is going to be called-upon to display your page. It could be the most sophisticated Macintosh with a dazzling Retina display ... or, it could be a monochrome first-generation Kindle and a limited selection of built-in fonts. You don't know.

Any paper book, on the other hand, is prepared in advance by the printer and his printing-press. As an author, you can work carefully with the publisher who will work with the printer to produce ... and to forever fix as ink-blots on paper sheets bound into a volume ... "what you had in mind."

For an electronic book, however, there is: "rendering." The device, the whole device, and nothing but the device ... is wholly responsible for the rendering of the file that you have published. Therefore, it is prudent to consider the least common denominator.

And Please Note: I am perfectly aware that some other participants have "written a book on" e-book formatting, and I actually do not wish to put myself at odds with them, nor to besmirch their expertise. My viewpoint, actually, stands alongside theirs and is not meant to conflict. I acknowledge it completely: if ever I want to do an e-book project that calls for formatting, I'll be first in line to buy that book. (In fact, I would not attempt such a project without having done so. As an expert, I know and respect expertise.) I mean these statement seriously and sincerely. I am sensitive to these concerns because I routinely encounter them with regard to web sites.
Hal Barwood

Posts: 1
Registered: 11/19/13
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 3:51 PM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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I use Calibre. It's very powerful, but you have to know some epub stuff (I do) and you have to grind through Calibre's crazy way of adding styles (replace with your own from Word, etc.).

Couple of caveats: for a nicely formatted Kindle and Nook ebook, you need to submit an epub file, with chapters separated, etc. Also: beware -- late versions of Calibre on PC can make false saves that magically don't include everything you did. Next time you open the program, your file will show up as defective. So, after every save, manually check the exact size, just to be sure.

It's worth the learning curve to become familiar with the nuts and bolts of the epub format. But -- because of Calibre's idiosyncracies, I'm looking for a better replacement.
Ralph E Vaughan

Posts: 3,425
Registered: 12/01/12
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jan 1, 2018 9:49 PM   in response to: Hal Barwood in response to: Hal Barwood
 
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Hal Barwood wrote:
I use Calibre. It's very powerful, but you have to know some epub stuff (I do) and you have to grind through Calibre's crazy way of adding styles (replace with your own from Word, etc.).

Couple of caveats: for a nicely formatted Kindle and Nook ebook, you need to submit an epub file, with chapters separated, etc. Also: beware -- late versions of Calibre on PC can make false saves that magically don't include everything you did. Next time you open the program, your file will show up as defective. So, after every save, manually check the exact size, just to be sure.

It's worth the learning curve to become familiar with the nuts and bolts of the epub format. But -- because of Calibre's idiosyncracies, I'm looking for a better replacement.


It's too bad you didn't tell S. Todd this thirty months ago.
Chris Stead

Posts: 16
Registered: 11/14/15
Re: Best EBook EPub Editor?
Posted: Jan 3, 2018 4:03 AM   in response to: S.Todd in response to: S.Todd
 
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We design all our ePubs in Indesign, which can export as an ePub.

But even with that file, there is still tinkering to do with each different format. If you are dealing with text (rather than pictures) primarily, ePubs convert to mobi files pretty well, too.
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