Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to prepare your own books for self-publishing?

For good and for bad, the paper books sales and consumption is on sharp decline, since more and more people switch to reading content digitally.

You may have already enjoyed the epublishing revolution as consumer, using different ebook readers, tables, or big-screen smartphones, betraying your home library. However, have you thought to join the revolution as content creator? Why not? You do not need to spend your financial resources anymore to publish your books. Fast, easy, does not require special knowledge and expertise.

And here, I would like to present the smart, free, and user-friendly assistant, which will help you to convert your novel in any text format to the special ebook format EPUB. Sigil is a multi-platform EPUB ebook editor, developed by Strahinja Markovic, and currently appearing on the top of the most popular open-source applications’ lists. This open-source tool takes a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) approach to putting together your finished manuscript, and comes with all the basic formatting tools you need.

Just import your finished text into EPUB as plain text and you’re ready to go. A WYSIWYG editor lets you edit e-books in something as close as possible to their final form, which greatly improves not only editing accuracy but also the appearance and presentation of the text. It's critical for readability in both traditional and electronic publishing formats.

Your work is divided up into separate XHTML-based chapters, and by styling up your text using headings you can generate a full table of contents with a single click, allowing your readers to jump around your work quickly and easily. You can even insert images into the text, including your book’s own cover. Make sure it’s 590 pixels wide by 750 high, and then place it at the beginning of your document and insert a chapter break immediately after it and before your text. Finish by expanding the Images section of the Book Browser pane, then right-click your cover image and choose Add Semantics > Cover Image.
Sigil also features a tool that will check your EPUB file for errors – click the green tick to verify it’s problem-free before distributing it.

Main Features
  • Free and open source software under GPLv3
  • Multi-platform: runs on Windows, Linux and Mac
  • Full UTF-16 support
  • Full EPUB 2 spec support
  • Multiple Views: Book View, Code View and Preview View
  • WYSIWYG editing in Book View
  • Complete control over directly editing EPUB syntax in Code View
  • Table of Contents generator with multi-level heading support
  • Metadata editor with full support for all possible metadata entries (more than 200) with full descriptions for each
  • User interface translated into many languages
  • Spell checking with default and user configurable dictionaries
  • Full Regular Expression (PCRE) support for Find & Replace
  • Supports import of EPUB and HTML files, images, and style sheets,
  • Documents can be validated for EPUB compliance with the integrated FlightCrew EPUB validator
  • Embedded HTML Tidy: all imported files have their formatting corrected, and your editing can be optionally cleaned

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