August 21, 2011

eBook Formatting Tutorial Series

Thank you for visiting this eBook design tutorial. We now have an eBook design startup—BB eBooks—dedicated to helping independent authors and small presses get their eBooks formatted, converted, and ready for sale at all the major online retailers (e.g. Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble's Nook, iBookstore, Smashwords, etc.) Please contact us for a no-obligation quote. For those writers, editors, and publishers looking to go the DIY route for eBook production (you probably are if you visited this page), we offer free online tutorials and apps to help you professionally design your eBook. Please visit our Developers page and let’s work together to improve the overall standards of eBooks. Also, please sign up for the mailing list for promotions, design & marketing tips, plus eBook industry news.

Warning This Content is Out of Date. Please head on over to the BB eBooks Developers Page for the most up to date information on eBook creation.

The full tutorials for the eBook formatting series include a basic XHTML tutorial, a tutorial for converting your manuscript into XHTML, and a Calibre tutorial for converting XHTML into eBooks. For those looking for something more advanced, you can also peruse the Regular Expressions tutorial, as well as the EPUB and KindleGen tutorial. Templates for XHTML and EPUB are also available for your formatting arsenal. Additionally, there are some helpful hints for formatting for Smashwords in this tutorial.

Table of Contents for XHTML Tutorial
Introduction to XHTML
Basic XHTML structure
Paragraph and Break Tags
Styling Your Paragraphs
Italics/Bold/Underline in Paragraphs
Adjusting Font Sizes
Changing Margins around Paragraphs
Text Alignment
Page Breaks
Altering Styles within a Paragraph
The <div>, <p>, and <span> Hierarchy
Adding a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)
Bulleted and Numbered Lists
Adding Hyperlinks
Adding Anchors
Adding Images
Adding Comments
Special Characters
Using Non-breaking Spaces
XHTML Not Used in this Tutorial
XHTML and HTML Differences

Table of Contents for Turning a Manuscript into Clean XHTML
Introduction to Converting a Manuscript into XHTML
Prepping Your Word Processor's Document
Adding the Fancy Special Characters
Preserving Italics/Bold/Underline
Preserving Hyperlinks
Nuking Your Word Processor's Formatting
Cleaning the Raw Text
Dealing with Special Characters
Stopping Point for Formatting Both EPUB/MOBI and Smashwords
Converting Special Characters to HTML
Wrapping Text in Paragraph Tags
Coding XHTML around Italics/Bold/Underline
Adding Your Document to an XHTML Template
Styling Your eBook with CSS
Adjusting the Default Paragraph Style
Formatting the Title/Copyright Page
Formatting Chapter Headings
Formatting Section Breaks
Styling Material in the Back
Adding Unordered and Ordered Lists
Adding Images
Adding Hyperlinks and Prepping the Table of Contents
Adding External Hyperlinks
Anchors and Internal Hyperlinks
Discussion of the Table of Contents
Adding <div> Anchors for NCX and Traditional Tables of Contents
Establishing Anchors for a more Customized NCX (Optional)
Verifying your XHTML
Video Tutorials

Table of Contents for Calibre Tutorial
Introduction to Calibre
Adding XHTML Source Code to Calibre
Adding Metadata
Converting XHTML into EPUB and MOBI Formats
An Overview of Conversion Options
Creating your EPUB eBook
Verifying Your EPUB eBook
EPUB Verification Checklist
Troubleshooting EPUB
Verifying Your EPUB
Creating your MOBI eBook
Verifying Your MOBI Format
MOBI Verification Checklist
Troubleshooting MOBI
Verifying MOBI
Video Tutorial

Table of Contents for Regular Expressions Tutorial (Advanced)
Introduction to Regular Expressions
The Find Function
Multiplying Operators ?+*
Matching Non-standard Characters
Using Anchors
Using Substitutions
Useful Regular Expressions for eBook Formatting

Table of Contents for EPUB and KindleGen Tutorial (Advanced)
Introduction to Advanced Formatting
Prerequisites for Manually Coding EPUB and MOBI
EPUB Structure
The mimetype and container.xml Files
The content.opf File
The toc.ncx File
Compressing the EPUB File
Creating Your Own EPUB Files and Prepping for MOBI Conversion
Adding Embedded Fonts
Running KindleGen to Create MOBI
Troubleshooting KindleGen
Video Tutorials

Video Tutorials

Converting Your Manuscript into XHTML

Converting eBooks with Calibre

The EPUB File Structure and Working with KindleGen


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