Tag: self publishing

Using Word Headings and calibre to Format ebooks

I see discussion on the writers loops about formatting ebooks, so I thought I’d put in my two cents. Here’s how I format my  ebooks using the free program calibre. And, by the way, I’ll be using a PC and Word throughout.

I am not particularly tech savvy, and this was one of the easiest things I  had to learn.You can give it a try at no cost and preview the results on your kindle or the calibre ebook viewer.

I do a straightforward ebook, with consistent chapter headings but no flourishes. When I’m reading, I find fancy chapter headings distracting once I’m into the book. You could probably figure out how to make your ebooks fancier in calibre too, but I have never bothered. I do put a page with images of my other books and links in the back, though.

This post is in two parts: Headings, and calibre.

Using Headings

Headings are a Word function that many ebook formatting programs use to identify chapters. It is also a useful editing tool while working on picture of an open word documentyour manuscript (ms). The first thing to do is to open the Navigation Pane in your document, (the column on the left in this image. Called Document Map in older versions of Word and, confusingly, is still called that if you try to Customize the Ribbon, as I have done here.)

If your open window does not show the Navigation Pane like this, go to the VIEW tab and click on Navigation Pane. This also opens your search/Find bar. I use the navigation Pane to jump between sections of my document and, with headings and subheadings, it makes an outline of the story as I go.

To set up your manuscript in Word with Headings, go to Headings in the HOME tab, usually on the far right.

headings
Find Headings in the HOME tab

The body of your ms will show as Normal. If you want to setup a chapter heading or Part One, Part Two type of division (as I’ve done here using the days of the week) and chapters as sub-divisions, you can do that in headings.

  • in my case I highlighted, “Saturday, Day 1”, at the beginning of my ms, clicked on Heading 1, and my highlighted words showed up in the Navigating Pane
  • then I highlighted “Chapter 1”, clicked on Heading  2, and Chapter 1 showed up as a sub-heading. I always put chapters as Heading 2. 
  • when I’m working on a ms, I also label the scenes and call them Heading 3 (Rocky apologizes.) for my Nav. Pane outline.

I also put word counts in the headings, and often label structural points, “End of Act 1”, “Mid-point”, etc., as Heading 1. You can add anything you want to keep track of or find again to the Headings. You end up with a brief outline in the Navigating Pane, and as a bonus, you can drag headings around in the Nav. Pane and the whole section moves within the document but your can’t copy the Navigation Pane to use as an freestanding outline.

When I’m ready to format the ms as a book, I save the document with a different name and, in the new ebook version, take out all of these headings notes-to -self and scene headings and just leaving the headings as I want them to appear in the book. Chapter One, etc.

To reformat the look of the headings, change one to how you want them all to look, font, size, bold, italics centered, whatever. Then highlight it and go to that heading tab, right click, and click Update Heading 2 to Match Selection. All parts set in Heading 2 (all chapter headings)  should change to match.

Using Calibre

calibre icon on my desktop
calibre icon on my desktop
  • Download calibre, install on desktop and open.
  • click Add books (top left, red icon)
    calibre open on my desktop
    calibre open on my desktop
  • click on ms file you want to format and it appears in the blue line at the top of your list.
  • Click Convert books and open this panel.
  • set Output format to MOBI for kindle or EPUB for everything else.convert-books
  • I fill in title, author, author sort, publisher, tags, series, and book #, and up load my cover image.
  • DO NOT CLICK OK AT THIS POINT
  • I click on Look & Feel in the left menu, it opens to the Font tab. Choose a font
  • click on the Text tab, click on Justify
  • click on Layout, Insert blank line between paragaphs, change  Line size: to  0.2 em I find this a pleasant spacing to read,
  • go to the left hand menu and click on Table of Contents and click on Force use of auto-generated Table of Contents. This is where your Headings will be picked up on calibre (and other programs) to make your Table of Contents.
  • NOW CLICK OK AND CALIBRE WILL FORMAT YOUR EBOOK AND MAKE A NEW FILE CALLED “CALIBRE” ON YOUR COMPUTER TO STORE YOUR EBOOK FILES .
  • At this point you can go back and change the Output format and it will have saved all your settings and format the new ebook. If you change the output format before clicking OK you will lose all your settings and have to start from square one.
  • If you saved a MOBI file, you can email it to your kindle. Find your kindle’s email address in the settings of your device. This way you can see exactly what your readers will see when you upload your file to their kindle. For EPUB files, I open them on Calibre’s e-book viewer by double clicking on the name in the blue line.

Piece o’ cake! Any questions, I’d be happy to try to answer them, but this is really all I  know. Works for me.

Judy's signature

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Introducing – The Good Neighbor

Cue the trumpets! Ta -da! Here is the gorgeous cover for The Good Neighbor, the next book in the Fortune Bay series.

(For those of you who have read Summer of Fortune, TGN  is Sean and Frankie’s story. 🙂 )

I’m moving right along. Since the launch party for SOF, I finished the final edit of The Good Neighbor.  (Whose bright idea was it to put out another book every two months this year?! Oh yeah. Mine! This falls under the category of, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” LOL)

The release date is August 23rd, and I know it will be here before we know it. The Good Neighbor is already up for pre-order on amazon, with more platforms coming soon. (See the side bar for links.)

Now I’ve taken a week off before going back to work the final book.

The original recipe with currents and spice.
The original recipe with currents and spice.

A week to do some normal things, like baking cookies. Not just any cookies, but the original recipe for Children’s Delight that I promised at the end of Summer of Fortune I would share on my website.

Currents and spice – these are delicious!

(More about the Great Cookie Battles of 2016 next week when, I promise, I’ll put up the recipe.)

 

Great graphic set. They always do a good job.
Great graphic set for Footloose. They always do a good job.

 

And I went with a friend to see a rousing version of Footloose at the Chemainus Theater. I have fun memories of volunteering there a few years ago, helping with props.They always do a fabulous job of set design, and of course the food, in this case lunch, was great.

 

DAYLILLIES AND LAVENDER
I love the bright orange-red of the day lilies against the purple lavender.

And let’s not forget weeding. This is one of the better areas of my wild garden.

After all the rain we’ve had, I really will get out this weekend and weed.

They said in the paper that the weather will be warming up, so here’s hoping next week I’ll be ensconced on the back porch, deep in the fun part of being a writer again – writing new scenes for Home for Christmas.

I can hardly wait.

Come back for the cookie battles next week, but until then, get out and enjoy the summer.

Judy sig

 

 

 

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Publishing. Step by step. Inch by inch.

There was a line from a movie in my childhood that for some reason we thought was hilarious and repeated over and over.

“Slow-w-w-w-ly I turn. Step by step. Inch by inch.”

I forget the context, heck I forget the movie, but sometimes indie publishing feels like you are dragging a log around behind you. Step by step. Inch by inch.

Today the words keep going through my head as I try to figure out if I have my first two books on all the online book sellers (probably not). As ebooks? Maybe.

Kindle, check. Kobo check. Barnes and Noble (that was a tricky one since Canada is not in their list of acceptable countries. Seriously?!) Check! and ITunes. Check.

There are quite a few authors named Judith Hudson though. On goodreads they had me confused with an author writing about a boy growing up in Africa, and on ITunes, well,

ITunes error

 

I’m pretty sure I didn’t write The Hudsons Go Farming.

Barnes and Noble, who don’t even sell in Canada, were closer, running an ad for a Nook Muskokalodge (love the name! Logging Chain Lodge) the was about 10 miles away from our old cottage in Ontario that was so much of an inspiration for the first book, Lake of Dreams. Weird.

And what does it have to do with Errol Flynn as Robin Hood? In the end, I went looking for the “Slowly I turned” reference on Utube – Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges, and all seemed too violent in retrospect. But one version had A & C with Errol Flynn (be still my beating heart) and one thing led to another. You know how that goes.

So I will leave you on a lighter note with  this trailer of Robin Hood, as they modestly say, “The Most Glorious Romance of All Time!” (Are those sequins on his tunic?)