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thewitt

Going from Stoyist to Self-Publication

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I'm working on getting my second novel ready for release, and I've found I really don't have a good process. I was hoping that some of you might be able to assist me in cleaning things up.

 

I need the following formats for self-publication.

 

ePub

Mobi

PDF

 

I have not found that a DOC file submitted to Draft2Digital, SmashWords or CreateSpace gives me a suitable result.

 

Here's my process today.

 

I write in Storyist, which I love, on my Mac and my iPad. This file is my "Master" for my book.

 

I then go through these steps....

 

1) Export to RTF

2) Import into OpenOffice and save as a DOC file

3) Upload to Draft2Digital *

4) Download the D2D ePub

5) Load into Sigil, fine tune - mostly CSS changes, front and back matter adjustments

6) Save a Generic ePub *

7) Save a SmashWords specific ePub *

8) Save as MOBI

9) Load a CreateSpace template into OpenOffice and load from Sigil Generic ePub *

10) Edit and save as CreateSpace PDF

 

Ugh...

 

I now have properly formatted ePub, Mobi and PDF files, but it was painful to get here.

 

I would like only one Master source file, but with all these steps in the preparation for publication process, I really have multiple files I can update if the change is small. A small change takes less time to update in several places than it does to regenerate these files.

 

The files that have become "publishing masters are"

 

Original Storyist Source

Generic ePub edited in Sigil

SmashWords specific ePub

OpenOffice OTD file for CreateSpace PDF

 

I also have 10% ePubs for use with SmashWords and any other site that allows me to upload a sample - like GoodReads. These have links in the backmatter to buy the book.

 

There really has to be a better way.

 

I just did six small updates to my first novel and edited all of the "Master" files.... It felt very wrong and prone to error.

 

I know Storyist is not a tool for creating documents directly suitable for publishing, but it could be...

 

Why so many steps? I'll answer in a reply to this post....

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I then go through these steps....

 

1) Export to RTF

2) Import into OpenOffice and save as a DOC file

3) Upload to Draft2Digital *

4) Download the D2D ePub

5) Load into Sigil, fine tune - mostly CSS changes, front and back matter adjustments

6) Save a Generic ePub *

7) Save a SmashWords specific ePub *

7a) Save a Kindle specific ePub *

8) Save as MOBI

9) Load a CreateSpace template into OpenOffice and load from Sigil Generic ePub *

10) Edit and save as CreateSpace PDF

 

 

I export to RTF to save the special formatting, like embedded Letter styles. RTF will preserve the intending, margins, etc.

 

I save as DOC and upload to D2D, then download an ePub because it will take things like my imbedded letters and make BLOCKQUOTES out of them, with nearly correct CSS sheets preserving the formatting for the ePub.

 

I could skip this step if Storyist let me add CSS sheets directly to the manuscript and saved them when exporting to ePub. I might be able to skip this step and add them directly in Sigil, however I've not tried that yet.

 

The D2D ePub is still not exactly what I want. The TOC is never right and the front and back matter need adjustments, so I pull the ePub into Sigil to make these changes.

In addition, SmashWords wants some things in their ePub, and will reject if there are purchasing links to other online stores etc, so I have more than one version of the final ePub

 

The "Kindle" version of the ePub gets exported to MOBI format. The only thing that is different in that version are purchase links for the other books as specific Kindle links, and not simply a link back to my website.

 

Last, CreateSpace cannot seem to deal with formatting my book from the DOC file correctly, so I've found that using their template and massaging the formatting directly, then saving this as a PDF results in a more predicable end result.

 

There really must be an easier way to do this...

 

In my simple mind, I see all of this possible within Storyist... with the following changes.

 

1) Let me embed my own CSS into Storyist to go along with Styles I create.

 

 

With this change, I can have specific front and back matter pages for the various online retailers that fit their requirements, and specify these files in my Export Presets

 

2) TOC manipulation. Let me tweak the TOC within Storyist so I don't have to use Sigil to generate a new one. The Storyist TOC never seems to pass the ePubValidator directly.

 

3) Support Export to ODT with all of the style changes supported. I don't believe I can use Storyist to generate a CreateSpace formatted PDF, so I still think that will have to be done with their template loaded into OpenOffice and then chapter by chapter manipulation. This is the most painful of the editing processes however, and somehow should not be...

 

Anyway, here's my process end to end.

 

What should I be doing differently?

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I don't think there's any "should" it's all about what works for you. That said, while Storyist capable of doing a whole lot of things that's not to say other, specialized tools are better for the task. I have just released my third novel in The Sedumen Chronicles. My flow is basically the following:

 

1) Work on the novel from research to final draft in Storyist.

2) export an RTF

3) import RTF into word and clean it up and save as .docx for InDesign.

4) import .docx into my InDesign template for my novel.

5) save as PDF for CreateSpace

6) save as ePub for Sigil

7) clean up CSS in Sigil and upload ePub everywhere but Amazon (ePub is accepted everywhere, even Smashwords)

8) launch KindleGen and save mobi to upload to Amazon

 

I am extremely happy with the results of my process. The results are as clean and professional as any other book, print or digital, on the market. And it doesn't bother me that I use Word, InDesign, and Sigil in addition to Storyist. I don't expect Storyist to be the kind of professional desktop publishing tool that InDesign is. I don't expect Storyist to be the kind of ePub editor that Sigil is. The only opportunity to save a step would be if InDesign could directly import Storyist files, or if Storyist's .docx output was clean (which it's not, it doesn't preserve formatting). But even as is, I don't mind it.

 

I wouldn't worry so much about Storyist doing everything, just find applications that work best for what you want to do. I mean, sure you can use a sword to slice an egg, but that doesn't mean it's the best implement, you know?

 

Orren

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Like Orren, I use InDesign for typesetting and export to a CreateSpace-specific PDF from there. (I just load the Storyist-generated RTF into ID, though; I don't bother to go through Word.) I use Storyist to create ePubs until the final stage; although I'm experimenting with outputting through InDesign, so far I hate the look (I think I need to learn more about CSS).

 

Two thoughts that may simplify things:

1. Can't you define your Storyist styles to match those in the CreateSpace template, then apply them in Storyist and export to PDF from there? It will never produce output as good as ID, which is designed for professional publishers, but it should be able to match Word.

 

2. If you are editing the ePubs in Sigil anyway, why not edit the Storyist ePubs in Sigil? Even if Storyist is not so bright about CSS style sheets, it can't be worse than the multiple editions you're currently developing.

 

Storyist can't do everything, as Orren notes, but I think it can probably do more than you're asking of it.

Best,

M

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Like Orren, I use InDesign for typesetting and export to a CreateSpace-specific PDF from there. (I just load the Storyist-generated RTF into ID, though; I don't bother to go through Word.)

Question for you: do you use italics? How do those come through in the Storyist->RTF->InDesign transfer? I found that they often didn't survive, and I'd tried both using "style exceptions" (meaning, just CMD+I in the Section Text style) and trying to map an italic style in Storyist to a Character Style in InDesign.

 

I use Storyist to create ePubs until the final stage; although I'm experimenting with outputting through InDesign, so far I hate the look (I think I need to learn more about CSS).

InDesign does a really great job with metadata, TOC, file size, and clean XHTML. It does a fantastic job with page breaks, unbroken spaces, it has a ton of options. But it's CSS has lots of stuff that isn't necessary and you ABSOLUTELY don't want to do things like embed fonts, which InDesign will do to try to force your ePub to look like the book. What I do is I have a "style.css" document that has all the styles I use in my book, export the ePub from InDesign, and then delete all of the InDesign style sheet and paste in mine.

 

2. If you are editing the ePubs in Sigil anyway, why not edit the Storyist ePubs in Sigil? Even if Storyist is not so bright about CSS style sheets, it can't be worse than the multiple editions you're currently developing.

I would load one of Storyist's ePubs into Sigil, then load an InDesign ePub into Sigil. You will definitely see the difference in construction, not just CSS.

 

Take care,

Orren

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I haven't had a problem with italics in the RTF. I typically apply them with Command-I in Storyist, which for some reason carries over into the ePub file whereas the styled italics don't (although it should be the reverse, based on the little I know about ePub).

 

Before exporting anything to ePub from InDesign, I run a global Find for the Italic font and replace it with the pre-defined character style "Italics," then specify in the export options that Italics should become Emphasis.

 

But I'm only now really learning how to work with ePub file creation. Storyist is fine for all the months when I'm reading versions of my text. I also used it to create the ePub and MOBI files that I uploaded for my first two novels (I have very simple formatting), and I had no trouble with them passing ePub validation unless I first opened the file in iTunes, which tossed in some line of code that caused validation to fail (fortunately Apple seems to have fixed that problem).

 

For the journal I edit, I've been working with Scrivener, because historians love footnotes, so I produced the later ebooks for publication through Scrivener (exporting RTF from InDesign). But one of my coworkers is big on using InDesign for ePub exports, so I'm looking into it now. Someone also told me that Scrivener doesn't include proper CSS style sheets; I don't know whether that's true or not. But both it and Storyist produce better-looking books than I have so far succeeded in wringing out of ID. That could be my problem more than the program's, though. :)

 

Do you have any suggestions, Orren, on how to find out what needs to go into something like your style.css document? And if you assign that css file during the export from ID, does ID still gunk up the file with unneeded style info?

Thanks!

M

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