Before I set out on this epublishing journey, and one of the biggest reasons I did, has been my ignorance and bewilderment – what is epublishing? Ok, you put in a book or a document, and you get out an ebook, but how? You’d hope that authors don’t need to know…
I have to choice but to know! I must advise my fellow authors using our automated authorform, my fellow bewilderees – after all, I’m the go-between – so won’t I have to know? But what if someone finds me out? and now it’s happened. I’ve been found out.
The problem, if you think I”m exaggerating: when I greedily encouraged Libby Hathorn to digitise her beautiful paper book,Women’s Work – she anthologized it and then published it after the standard publishers wouldn’t touch it, “Poetry doesn’t sell” -I was greedy not only to champion this brilliant act of heroism, but I was greedy also for Wuthering Ink to be adorned by this blast of joy with memorable poems and pretty illustrations swirling around them –
BUT it came out a disaster! Instead of ferns and leaves curling up near, under or beside their intended poem, the beautiful illustrations made cranky holes in the text, lines of poetry meandered off their own page and settled on some other page, and poets’ names abandoned their poems.
We gazed at the ebook in stupefaction.
Libby spoke for both of us: “But isn’t scanning photographing? Why didn’t they photograph it properly?”
Her question went to the heart of why I daren’t and couldn’t digitize my new manuscript, The Oldest Song in the World back in January 2011, even though I was determined to join the revolution. My incompetence and ignorance was where and why this daydream began, and why this site almost exists.
Now, at the last moment, I’m dragged kicking and screaming, into admitting- I know nothing.
On the automated authorform, authors are asked: what format do you want?
Blithely, and still hoping I don’t have to know, I asked the digitizers to send a list of formats, their explanations, and their uses, all as if I knew what I was doing, as if I just needed a bit of tech talk. Maybe it will be be yet another editing job, and I’ve been editing all my life, it seems. But back came this answer:
2 EPUB Fixed LayoutFixed layout content. we can retain the layout as per pdf ipad, Readium Reader
3 AER Fixed format, supports for web services Adobe Reader, ADE
4 PRC Reflowable content contains set of structured html or xhtml files Kindle Fire, Kindle Reader, Amazon kindle
5 PRC Fixed LayoutFixed layout content, with popup feature to read the text Kindle Fire, Kindle Reader
Thanks & Regards,
How on earth was I to edit THAT?
One of those awful moments. There’s no one around. You’re home alone. You’ve just got to roll up your sleeves, bite the bullet, face it.
I’m anovelist and I know the way out of most intellectul problems is to visualise. So I visualised an author as luddital as me (could there be one such left in the world?) – it was a him, sorry, ladies, but there he was in a grey suit coat with thin black vertical lines, and somewhat plump and slouchy. His suit coat hung on his sloping shoulders the way Clive Palmer’s does. I thought of that disaster with Libby’s book- and it’s ridiculous I know, but it bouyed me up, that I’d learned one thing more than I’d known in 2011: books with pictures are much more trouble than books with only text. That’s not much to have under my belt, but something. With a lot of chewing of my metaphorical quill, wall to wall cups of tea and an entire block of Old Gold Rum and Raisins, I emailed back my text for the site:
This is the moment when you have to become someone working an old-fashioned printing press, and consider the needs of your book’s text and its most relevant format.
1. EPUB: If your book has text that flows uninterrupted from page to page, with no scattered images, graphs, columns etc, this is for you. Novels and scholarly works without such interruptions are fine- chapter divisions are fine. Blocks of illustrations or photographs (such as some travel books) are fine. ( – TRUE?) Because of our work involved, of all the choices this option is the least expensive. You can also include in your text audio, video and interactivities. (PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT THE LATTER IS)
2. FIXED FORMAT: If your book has scattered images, graphs etc that must be placed with specific text, then this is for you. It’s particularly suitable for children’s picture books, or poetry, where the layout of the line is important. We can retain your layout.
3. AER: Like 2, but it includes web services. So for example if in a scholarly work, you refer to web articles which you want to reader to be able to click through to, then this is for you. (TRUE? And WHAT ABOUT IF ALL THE TEXT IS FLOWABLE, BUT AT THE END OF THE BOOK, OR AT THE END OF CHAPTERS, THERE ARE WEB REFERENCES – IE A MIXTURE OF REFLOWABLE AND AER- WOULD IT ALL HAVE TO BE DONE IN AER?)
4. PRC: If your book is like 1, but it needs htiml or xhtml files ( PLEASE EXPLAIN, I DON’T UNDERSTAND)
5. PRC: If your book is like 2, but it needs a popup feature to read the text (PLEASE EXPLAIN AGAIN.)
The digitizers, possibly reeling in amazement, sent back no answers but a document which explained some things but further mystified others. I went out for another Old Gold, devised draft two that was a combination of my first draft and the bits I could understand of their document, sent it off and waited.
The digitizers are always polite, always pleasantly formal. At such undignified moments, and there are many, I truly love politeness. They’ve already intimated they’d prefer not to Skype me on this- I’m sure that means they can’t trust themselves, they might fall from the screen and roll around the floor screaming with laughter… She’s been pulling the wool over our eyes! she’s in charge of this website?? Who gave her the job?….
Oh, they’ve written back…kindly.!