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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blog to Book - How Did it Come Out?

Welcome everyone to this edition of Self-Publishing Central.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about converting your blog to an eBook. In that post, I told you all of the how's and whys concerning this process. Now I'm back to report the results of my blog-to-book ePublishing experience.

How did the conversion go?

When you last heard from me, I had turned the PDF of my eBook over to Bob Mehta at ebookconversion.com to complete the process of making my PDF book a Kindle Book and an ePub (Nook) Book. I ordered the regular speed service. I ended up receiving an email with the draft ePub conversion for my review about ten days after I sent it in.

I was really excited to see how this thing would work. Lacking a dedicated ePub reading device, I downloaded a free copy of Adobe Digital Editions to allow me to read the file. I opened the file and it looked pretty much as I had expected. The rather crude formatting of the PDF had been retained. But the Table of Contents now hyperlinked to each Chapter (blog post) in the book.

That was nice.

I continued through the book, checking each web link to make sure it worked. For the first 60 pages or so, all went well. When I clicked on a link in Adobe Editions, the corresponding link opened in FireFox. Of course, this would work with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari just as well.

When I reached page 63, I started to find lots of web links that were not "live." Apparently, they had not been correctly converted to ePub. The remainder of the book had literally hundreds of such inactive links.

So . . . I sent the draft back to ebookconversions noting the numerous inactive links as "nearly all web links after page 63."

About a week later, I had a new ePub version of my blog. This time, ALL the web links worked great. I emailed back that the ePub version was a "Go," and they should proceed with the Kindle conversion.

A few days later, I had the Kindle version (a PRC) file in my email inbox. I immediately loaded this one onto my Kindle to check it out. This time, all of the web links and hyperlinks worked beautifully. Since my Kindle was connected to the web, clicking on a link on the Kindle book would open a browser window with a black and white version of the appropriate web page.

Success! The book's format worked out fine on the Kindle and the web links were all live.

Additional suggestions.

I could probably stop right there and declare the blog-to-book conversion a success. But there is more you should probably know.

Although I could, indeed, read the book and follow the web links on my Kindle, the display of the web pages was tiny and clumsy. Sure, I could "zoom in" to magnify parts of the web page at a time. But I found this less than optimal.

Therefore, when you buy a Kindle eBook with lots of web links like mine, I recommend reading the book on your computer using the FREE Kindle to PC or Kindle to Mac software. That way you can get clear and readily viewable web content without the limitations of the Kindle Device itself.

I'm going to be publishing this book on B&N's Pubit soon. So those of you who have a Nook can see whether you feel the same way about the limitations of that eReader. It's already available on Kindle.

Conclusion.

After initial hiccups, the conversion was a huge success. I designed my own cover (which you can see in the right hand column of this blog). And I'm quite pleased with the whole project.

I only wish I had all of the valuable information contained in the blog and in the hundreds of web links available to me when I first set off on my publishing journey. One self-pubber has already commented to me that he thought he would have saved at least $1500 if he had possessed even a portion of the book's storehouse of information.

So the book is done. The information is easily accessible. I hope someone decides it's worth nine bucks to take advantage of the tips and analysis the book contains.

That's it for today.

Shameless Plug: Please consider buying the Kindle version of the book (link above or on the right). I'll have the Nook version available on B&N online soon.

Cheers!

John

9 comments:

  1. Hi John. A question and a comment. Is it permissible to link to websites in your book without getting permission from the website? I want to link to several scientific sites in my children's book and don't want to contact each one.

    And, take a look at Scrivener. Writing software that can format for mobi (Kindle) and epub. I'm using it for my book. I'll let you know how it does. Tough learning curve though.

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  2. Hi Ben,

    I'm hesitant to give legal advice about web links, but I really can't imagine providing a web link being any sort of copyright violation. It's like citing a resource - you're telling the reader where to find the answers. Personally, I hope my blog get cross-linked a lot!

    I'll be interested to hear how Scrivener works for you. This book, in particular, had LOTS of web links and hyperlinks. Smashwords wouldn't convert those properly. If Scrivener would, that would be a way to save $200.

    Thanks for stopping in.

    Cheers!

    John

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  3. John and Ben,

    Hi to Each of You,

    And, Congratulations on the successful upload of your serialized blog. ePubbing a blog, book, or article - even with live links - is a pretty simple process, actually; but for busy writers 'why NOT' get a contract-publisher to help with the layout. Smart!

    On getting permission to include links in your eBook manuscript.... No, it is not necessary to ask permission of the URL holder. It would be like needing to getting permission to type the words 'The LA Times' in a print book. If you TAKE content from the URL [or from an LA Times article for that matter], you'd need attention. It's comparable. I'm not a practicing attorney, but that IS my experienced opinion.

    I think it's nice to let the URL holder know that you have mentioned their URL in your manuscript. 'Just in case you've just created a firestorm of upticks in their traffic.

    Emily Hill, www.AVHarrison-Publishing.com

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  4. Emily,

    Thanks very much for your input on the conversion and web linking issues.

    I would be curious to know what software you use to convert the web links to Kindle and/or ePub. I'm sure my readers would love to save the money on conversion if they could.

    Thanks again for stopping in and commenting.

    Cheers!

    John

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  5. Thanks John. I am book marking this for future referencing and telling friends. Reggie Ridgway

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  6. Reggie,

    Much appreciated. Thanks for commenting.

    Cheers!

    John

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  7. Wow there is so much to learn. Thanks for this. It is part of my present learning process.
    Wayne

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  8. Wayne,

    That's a great thing about life...always more to learn. :)

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Cheers!

    John

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