Tag Archive: learning

What I have learned about ePubs

Still struggling with the first part…


After mucking about with InDesign for a few weeks trying to get my eBook thing going, I spent many a frustrating hour figuring out the whole process.

This and This video were key to my understanding the whole thing. They cover pretty much the whole process and every weird bit you’ll run into.

Here I’ll try to offer some helpful tips that came to mind as I got my feet wet in the whole self-publishing ocean and the bit where I stepped off the beach-shelf and got dragged to the murky depths.

Please keep in mind that the following tips relate to InDesign, but your own DTP program might suffer similar issues (or similar delusions of grandeur, as it were)


  • Don’t bother with Master Pages, headers/footnotes, page numbers, or many other fancy things outside of what you can pull off in a Character or Paragraph style.  The HTML style format and the fact that an ePub can resize a page means that these things get stripped away, no matter how good they look.  Save all this for the PDFs or other formats.

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The last week or so has seen my first steps to publishing an e-book and its been quite an eye-opening process, even after my glancing experience in typesetting from way back when.

A probably very confusing teaser for the (hopefully) forthcoming “Unorthodox Eater” e-book.

The e-book itself is a compilation of my Phileas McNeil pieces, two of which are available on this site (http://ps-ana.com/writing/) and a third, along with an appropriate forward, cover artwork and perhaps even an annotation or two. A simple project, so I can progress through the stages. Assembling the materials into an electronic document was not a problem, but finessing into a presentable e-book was something else. I had hoped for something a bit more streamlined in Adobe InDesign in terms of the e-pub conversion, but I think support for it was kludged in.  During the course of one day, I re-did the book about in about three arcs: #1 being the “it looks nice as a PDF” run, including headers/footers, the whole nine yards; #2 being the “reality check” as an e-book doesn’t use those fancy doobries and doodahs, which led to #3, the “Start from scratch and create a hyperlink stack”, which is vaguely how an e-book is stuck together.

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