COFFEE, CHOCOLATE AND WRITING
Best Free Websites with Weebly
by Amy K. Jones
If you're a writer, blogger, or artist who's just craving a fantastic place to show off your master skills, Weebly offers the best, easiest free and low cost websites around. I'd offer you instructions for how to get a Weebly site, but it's just not necessary. The folks at Weebly have made it so simple to get a free website & blog from them (scroll to the bottom of this page and you'll see what I mean), there's nothing more to explain.
Often, free website hosts leave their users high and dry when it comes to support. Not so Weebly! While there's lots of information available to help you create just what you're dreaming your website should look like, if you run into an information dead end, their support staff is on the ball, ready to help you out. And, at Weebly, you even get quick and informative video tutorials to help you get started.
Now I ask you, what could be nicer than to do business with these kind of folks? Plus, when you're ready to invest in a website, financially, you'll already know what sort of treatment you can expect if you've seen how attentive and helpful they are when they're giving you such a nice start-up website for free.
***Special note to former and current Myspace (now My_) users: Weebly offers you all the great things Myspace once offered, plus a ton more. So, if you're ready for all the advantages of a fresh start, it only takes a few seconds to get your own website and start personalizing it, and inviting your friends. And hey, you can even add a forum to your site; hows that for a great freebie!
Previewing Your .epub in Kindle Previewer & Calibre
by Amy K. Jones
You’ve got your .epub formatted ebook all ready to submit to a publisher and now there’s one more necessary step before you put it up for sale: previewing your book in the Kindle Previewer and in Calibre Ebook Management Program. Before you do anything else, make a backup copy of your .epub file and save it somewhere safe under a different name. Now, here’s how to make sure your book looks fantastic!
Preview in the Amazon Kindle:
I receive no reward of any kind for references to this book retailer and I do not work for them, though I am a published author selling through them as well as a member of their affiliate program.
You’re about to submit your book to Amazon ebooks for digital publishing - Congratulations! There is one vital step you simply must take before you submit your work, though. I’ll walk you through the very simple process.
1) Get the Kindle Previewer: Go to the Amazon Kindle for authors site (link above) and download their ‘Kindle Viewer’ for authors. Install it on your computer. (Don‘t confuse yourself by downloading anything else at this time. You only need the viewer.)
2) Preview Your Ebook: Open your Kindle viewer and click on ‘Open Book’. Select your copy of the .epub book file and click open. Your book will appear in the viewer. Flip through your book and enjoy that heady feeling of accomplishment you’re due. Make notes of anything you’re not entirely thrilled with as you go and make changes by uploading the .epub file to Sigil - Don’t forget to save your work!
3) Verify All Shortcut Features: When you’ve finished making any adjustments you wanted to make and saved your work in Sigil, upload your book (.epub file) to the Kindle Previewer again. Use the ‘Go To’ button at the top panel of the viewer and select each of the offered shortcuts to specific locations. Verify that the viewer displays each of these options acceptably.
The Amazon Kindle Previewer doesn’t seem to recognize that you have a Table of Contents in some cases. This issue has been addressed in numerous forums around the net, but I have yet to find a solution for this problem. Your document (assuming you used Sigil, following my previous article’s directions) does contain an active Table of Contents that is readable and functional. You can and should verify that the rest of your book functions and looks good in the Kindle Previewer, taking the .epub back to the Sigil program to make adjustments as necessary, then go ahead and submit your file for digital publishing.
Preview in Calibre Ebook Management Program
You’re getting ready to submit your ebook for publication in the .epub format - Congratulations to you! Now, use Calibre to ensure that your book will look stunning on just about any ebook reader available in the marketplace today.
I cannot say enough good things about this program. It is just beautiful and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading digital material on their desktop. I am not affiliated with the product or its developer; I just love the program.
1) Download Calibre Program: Download and install from the above link.
2) Preview Your Ebook: Open Calibre and use the first button in the top panel to open your .epub book file, then double-click on it in the center panel when it appears. A book viewer screen will open and your book will load. This will tell you whether your .epub document (book) will look good on devices other than the Amazon Kindle.
3) Editing Your .epub Further: You can make more adjustments to your .epub file using this program and save them, or just load up all your book and magazine subscriptions and read/manage them on your desktop beautifully!
Previewing your work in both of these programs is well worth the extra effort and will save you time and hassle as you move into the wonderful world of online publishing. Your .epub book file will be readable on just about every device available today, and .epub is the file type the US Library system has decided to use because of it’s versatility and simplicity. Now get your book out there for all of us to enjoy!
Programs Discussed in This Article:
Sigil: http://code.google.com/p/sigil/ *Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac Computers
Calibre Ebook Management: http://calibre-ebook.com/ *Runs on Windows, OS X, Linux & Portable
Amazon Kindle Previewer: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000234621
*Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac
Copyright © 2011 Amy K. Jones
Preparing Your ebook for Kindle: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide
by Amy K. Jones
Have a book you’re dying to share with the world? Sigil is an open source program available for free online that will allow you to quickly and easily convert your book to the .epub format for submission to Kindle ebooks and elsewhere.
Publishing options for ebooks abound, but if you’ve honed in on the opportunity to self-publish your ebook with Amazon - for the Kindle - or elsewhere and need an .epub format file, you probably need some words of encouragement, a pat on the back for writing a worthy and unique book, and a little help converting your book to the proper format for publication. I’m here for ya! I’ll walk you through the wonderful Sigil Program .epub formatting process and tell you how to preview the results in both the Amazon Kindle Previewer and the awesome Calibre Ebook Management Program. All the programs discussed are completely free and fabulous.
Alright, the first thing you’re going to want to do is open your document in whatever program you’ve created it in and use the ’Save As’ feature to save the document as .html. Then go online and grab a free program called Sigil (http://code.google.com/p/sigil/) and install it on your computer. Open your .html document in Sigil and immediately use the ‘Save As’ feature to save your document with an .epub extension (It‘s the only option available in the program.). Now you have a document that is in the correct file type for submission to Amazon’s kindle ebooks, but don’t stop now; your book still needs to be properly formatted - this is where you’re going to fall in love with Sigil! (^)
Here are the 6 steps to follow to convert your document using Sigil:
1) Separate Your Book into Sections: Scroll down your document until you find the your first ‘Chapter’ break and use the Sigil squiggle button (fifteenth option from the left on the top panel of screen) to create a break in the document. Repeat this process throughout your document wherever you want a separation in the document. (Save your work!)
*If you observe the left column of your screen as you work you’ll notice that each time you click on the Sigil squiggle a new file is created - pretty cool, hunh? ;) This is the feature you’ll use to separate your cover page from your copyright page, dedication page, chapters, etc. It’s fast and easy: place your cursor where you want a break and click the Sigil squiggle!
2) Creating Your Table of Contents: In the left-hand column, double-click on the first file. The first section you created will appear in the main window. Highlight the title of your book and use the dropdown menu to select ‘Heading1‘(the little window in the first position of the second row at top panel). Highlight your name and select ‘Heading 2 from the dropdown menu. Move (double-click on second file in list on left) and highlight ‘Chapter 1’, then select Heading 3 from the dropdown menu. Follow this procedure throughout your book files.
(You know it: Save your work!)
*If you need help selecting a heading type while you’re running through your document, simply hover your mouse over the little heading window where the dropdown menu is and a popup tip will appear advising you that ‘Heading 1 (H1) is best suited for Titles, Heading 2 (H2) is best for Authors, Heading 3 (H3) is best for Chapters and Headings 4-6 are best for subsections.’ (Sigil program tip)
Curious about what’s happening? Click on the ‘Tools’, then ‘TOC editor’ and you’ll notice that the title you’ve highlighted and assigned ‘Heading 1’ appears, in outline form, in a small window that pops up. Just under the title, your name (which you‘ve assigned heading 2) appears. This is your Table Of Contents. You may use the checked boxes on the right to remove items you do not wish to appear in your table of contents.
3) Add Your Cover: Double-click on your first file on the left panel and place your mouse cursor just before the first letter of your title. Click the Sigil squiggle to create a new section. In the left panel, double-click on the new first file and place your mouse cursor in the center of the main area, then click on the ‘Insert’ button on the top panel and select image (or use the add image button that has the image icon on it, in the top panel). Find your cover image file and add it. The image will appear. (Save your work!)
4) Identify Cover Files: Right-click on the first file in the left column and select ‘Add Semantics’. Click on the word ‘Cover’. Then scroll down the left column to the file titled ‘Images’. Double-click on this file, then right-click on the image you’ve added as your cover and select ‘Add Semantics’, then click on ‘Cover’. This will tell ebook reader programs that this is your cover. Do not assign this title to any other image.
5) Identify Book Files: Right-click on the second file in the left column and select ‘Add Semantics’, then click on ‘Title Page’. Follow these steps to assign semantics (identifiers) to each of these files: Cover, Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, assigning ‘Text’ to the file where your first chapter is located. (Save your work!)
6) Verify Your Reformatted Document: Select ‘View’ from the top panel and click on ‘Validation Results’, then select ‘Tools’ and ‘Validate Epub’. This feature will check the document for structural errors that need to be fixed before you submit your book. The lower portion of the screen will either say ‘No Problems!’ (I‘ll keep my fingers crossed for you.) or a list of issues will appear for you to address. When you see “No Problems” you’re done! …Now save your work!
(^) I am not affiliated with the Sigil program or its developers, nor do I gain any reward for mentioning/endorsing the product. It’s just a fabulous, free, time-saving product that I use and love.
Copyright © 2011 Amy K. Jones
Author, Amy K. Jones
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Specifically for ebook readers/writers/publishers, this blog is intended to provide accurate, helpful, FREE information about the best FREE programs available online.