Been a while since I posted. I have just re-read my previous contribution and discovered that I wrote 'pout' when I meant 'put'. Apologies to anyone who noticed this faux-pas. I wasn't intentional.
Things are developing on the book front. To begin with, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing - Amazon's self-publishing on the Kindle subsidiary) now accept ePub files for submission. ePub (the initial letter must always be lower case for reasons known only to computer geeks) is the industry standard format for electronic books, being the format used by iBooks, Nook, and Kobo. What this completely fails to take into account is that the biggest-selling ebook reader, by far, is the Kindle, which uses a format called Mobi. Fortunately, ePub and Mobi are very similar in reality, so converting one to the other is not that difficult. In the bad old days of a few months ago, KDP accepted Word, Html and Mobi files.
For a writer like me, this was bad news. I write on an iMac and my word processor of choice is Apple's Pages (which is a very fine word processor). It does not, however, output an Html file. Instead, you have the choice of its own (Pages) format, Word format, Rich Text, Plain Text, Pdf or ePub. What I had to do was write and edit the book in Pages, then save it as a Word document. This I then opened in Word to make an Html copy, which was converted into Mobi for upload by a free program, called Calibre.
A few months ago, KDP began rejecting submissions that had been converted with Calibre because they were developing the Kindle range and absolute compatibility was no longer assured. At that point, I started just submitting the Html file and letting KDP do the conversion. That worked reasonably well. Now, however, KDP have refined their Kindlegen format converter to include ePubs. This is wonderful news to me because it means I no longer have to go via Word (a program that I detest, although millions love it) at all. Having exported the file as an ePub, Pages is no longer able to open it. You need an ePub reader for that. Fortunately, they are available free of charge, so I have two: Adobe Digital Editions and Pagina ePub Check. Getting it to behave itself, however, was a little tricky. Sigil (another free download) was recommended to me. It is an ePub editor. I tried it, but I didn't like it very much. Then the answer suddenly appeared. Apple produce an 'ePub Best Practices' document, which is also a free download. This is simply a Pages document that has all the relevant styles (Title, Author, Chapter, Body Text etc.) in the Styles Drawer and they all have the appropriate ePub tags embedded in them. An ePub file is simply a text document with formatting tags embedded. Everything is now simple. I create and edit the book as before, then paste it into the Best Practices document, which is now my template. The result is a clean ePub that converts like a dream.
I am now in the process of going through all eight of my published novels, eradicating the last lingering errors (there are very few) and republishing them as ePubs. So far, I have done five. This has also enabled me to sign up to a new publishing venture, called Uncovered Books. Uncovered is an exciting new development, designed not only to make books available to customers (they all do that), but also to help in marketing them. It hasn't launched yet (that happens later this month) but it will be interesting to see how it develops. Uncovered pre