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Zen of eBook Formatting: A Step-by-step Guide To Format eBooks for Kindle and EPUB

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Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting! “If you’re looking for the gold standard on ebook formatting, this is the only guide you’ll ever need.” — NYT, USA Today & WSJ bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves This is the revised, second edition! Step by step, “Zen of eBook Formatting” takes a detailed look at the process that Guido Henkel has used to format close to a thousand e Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting! “If you’re looking for the gold standard on ebook formatting, this is the only guide you’ll ever need.” — NYT, USA Today & WSJ bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves This is the revised, second edition! Step by step, “Zen of eBook Formatting” takes a detailed look at the process that Guido Henkel has used to format close to a thousand eBooks over the past years. Formatter to New York Times bestselling writers and indie authors alike, Henkel makes the process understandable and easy to follow for anyone. Whether you want to create an eBook for Kindle, or you want to format your manuscript as an ePub file, "Zen of eBook Formatting" is the perfect companion for the task. “Zen of eBook Formatting” covers the entire process from basic clean-up of the manuscript to basic HTML tagging, all the way to advanced features, and error-checking, teaching you the skills necessary to give your own eBooks the professional polish they deserve. Here is a look at the Table of Contents, to give you an impression of the breadth of subjects covered in the book. Table of Contents Preface Introduction 1 - The Road to Right 2 - Data Structure 3 - Cleaning Up the Manuscript 4 - From Word Processor to Programming Editor 5 - General Techniques 6 - Advanced Techniques 7 - eBook Generation 8 - eBooks Outside the Box Parting Thoughts Appendices Note: I would like to point out that the “Look Inside” preview is currently garbled and the formatting is off. Amazon is aware of the problem and working on it, hopefully rectifying the error in their previewer as soon as possible. I think it is important o point out that the formatting in the actual eBook is working correctly and does not suffer from the same flaws.


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Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting! “If you’re looking for the gold standard on ebook formatting, this is the only guide you’ll ever need.” — NYT, USA Today & WSJ bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves This is the revised, second edition! Step by step, “Zen of eBook Formatting” takes a detailed look at the process that Guido Henkel has used to format close to a thousand e Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting! “If you’re looking for the gold standard on ebook formatting, this is the only guide you’ll ever need.” — NYT, USA Today & WSJ bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves This is the revised, second edition! Step by step, “Zen of eBook Formatting” takes a detailed look at the process that Guido Henkel has used to format close to a thousand eBooks over the past years. Formatter to New York Times bestselling writers and indie authors alike, Henkel makes the process understandable and easy to follow for anyone. Whether you want to create an eBook for Kindle, or you want to format your manuscript as an ePub file, "Zen of eBook Formatting" is the perfect companion for the task. “Zen of eBook Formatting” covers the entire process from basic clean-up of the manuscript to basic HTML tagging, all the way to advanced features, and error-checking, teaching you the skills necessary to give your own eBooks the professional polish they deserve. Here is a look at the Table of Contents, to give you an impression of the breadth of subjects covered in the book. Table of Contents Preface Introduction 1 - The Road to Right 2 - Data Structure 3 - Cleaning Up the Manuscript 4 - From Word Processor to Programming Editor 5 - General Techniques 6 - Advanced Techniques 7 - eBook Generation 8 - eBooks Outside the Box Parting Thoughts Appendices Note: I would like to point out that the “Look Inside” preview is currently garbled and the formatting is off. Amazon is aware of the problem and working on it, hopefully rectifying the error in their previewer as soon as possible. I think it is important o point out that the formatting in the actual eBook is working correctly and does not suffer from the same flaws.

30 review for Zen of eBook Formatting: A Step-by-step Guide To Format eBooks for Kindle and EPUB

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eldon Farrell

    Let me just say that for a while now I have wondered why some authors pay for formatting their ebooks and some don’t. I couldn’t grasp why anyone would because formatting seemed so simple. How wrong I was. Reading Guido Henkel’s wonderfully informative book has opened my eyes to the complexities involved in ebook formatting and shown me that if all an author does is allow Amazon or Smashwords or whoever to convert their file for free, they run the real risk of sending a flawed book out into the w Let me just say that for a while now I have wondered why some authors pay for formatting their ebooks and some don’t. I couldn’t grasp why anyone would because formatting seemed so simple. How wrong I was. Reading Guido Henkel’s wonderfully informative book has opened my eyes to the complexities involved in ebook formatting and shown me that if all an author does is allow Amazon or Smashwords or whoever to convert their file for free, they run the real risk of sending a flawed book out into the world. The variety of devices upon which readers will read the book means redundancies need to be put into the HTML source code to ensure an enjoyable reading experience for all. Something a meat grinder “one size fits all” approach will never accomplish. As I move forward with my publishing, this book will be an indispensable resource on the process of formatting. Any author out there who doesn’t want to hire a professional to format their ebook needs to read this book!! 5 stars and bravo Mr. Henkel!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Bell

    I've just spent the last few days reading this book while simultaneously formatting a book for ePub. It is an extremely valuable resource. I could not have done such a precise job without this book! For the past few years I've been formatting Microsoft Word docs and converting them. While my Microsoft Word formatting has been working brilliantly for Kindle (hyper-linked contents pages and all), I have been having a really hard time getting my ePub line breaks and page breaks to work the way I wan I've just spent the last few days reading this book while simultaneously formatting a book for ePub. It is an extremely valuable resource. I could not have done such a precise job without this book! For the past few years I've been formatting Microsoft Word docs and converting them. While my Microsoft Word formatting has been working brilliantly for Kindle (hyper-linked contents pages and all), I have been having a really hard time getting my ePub line breaks and page breaks to work the way I wanted. I really just did not have the time or money, to figure out why, or to send it to a professional formatter. So what I've been doing up till now is scrapping the page breaks altogether in my ePub files, and inserting a few manual returns to get some space in between chapters. To avoid the huge spaces in between paragraphs, I've been using manual returns instead of paragraph breaks. The ePubs did actually look fine that way. They really did. But not as good as they could have. PLUS, I had no idea that my precious hyper-linked contents page (though it did link extremely well to my chapters), wasn't accessible from the "go-to" pages of the devices it was being read on! Ugh. What a disappointment. So I bought this book. I've literally just finished fixing an ePub file following the steps in this book, and it has turned out brilliantly. On another note, the book I was fixing was nonfiction and had so many more fiddly things to deal with than a novel does, such as heading and subheadings that varies in size, line breaks that varied in size, images, etc. And even though this book was primarily written for formatting novels (which is pretty straight forward), it was not difficult at all to use the instructions to implement unique needs that weren't outlined in the book, for example, having different styled chapter headings. My only tiny problem was while implementing the steps in the chapter about inserting images, there was no explanation about what a "directory" and "sub-directory" was when being told that the html file would locate the image in the sub-directory. The wording was a bit confusing. I was totally oblivious to the fact that it just meant that the image file had to be in the same folder, or subfolder, as the HTML file on my computer, and I spent ages Googling how to get my image into the "sub directory" of the HTML file. Would have been nice if it just said "Put your image in the same folder as your HTML file," for those of us unfamiliar with the terminology. :-) Other than that? Brilliant book. Highly recommend. No more ePub glitches!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. Guido Henkel did my ebook formatting but I bought his book so I could give it a try on my own—which he heartily encourages. And having read through it, I’m pretty confident I have the information I need to turn out a professionally formatted ebook. Henkel takes the reader through the various stages needed to produce an ebook free of errors and fit to display on any ereader, no matter how old. Which means, as you’d guess, that this is a back-to-basics app Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. Guido Henkel did my ebook formatting but I bought his book so I could give it a try on my own—which he heartily encourages. And having read through it, I’m pretty confident I have the information I need to turn out a professionally formatted ebook. Henkel takes the reader through the various stages needed to produce an ebook free of errors and fit to display on any ereader, no matter how old. Which means, as you’d guess, that this is a back-to-basics approach that gets down to the html and css, and gives you clear and simple instructions on how to produce a straightforward fiction ebook with just a few little flourishes to make your chapter headings and such look nice. If you’re looking for instructions on how to format anything more complex than that, you might want to look elsewhere—or you might want to simply read this book anyway to get a grasp on why the ereader world really isn’t ready yet for the kind of snazziness you can achieve with print. Furthermore, you get the lowdown from the point of view of both a programmer and a print fanatic, since Henkel is both. Having learned basic html years ago, I’m pretty sure I would have gone wrong with respect to sizing up fonts if I hadn’t read Henkel’s explanation of how to do it right. My only gripe is that there’s no paperback version, because now I’m going to have to go through it again and write my own instruction sheet with just the bits of code I need for my purposes. Eh, that’s not such a big deal. This ebook is much easier to follow than Henkel’s blog, where for years he’s made this information available for free, so if you want to try your hand at formatting your ebooks I recommend making this very small investment in your business.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tara L. Campbell

    A lot of detailed information that makes the process a whole lot less intimidating. Each chapter builds on the knowledge of the one before which is helpful. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding why you must be flexible with design and not force ugly font or other styling on your readers. Suggestions: include a step-by-step section at the end after reading the in-depth how-to part. Drop the anti-Windows platform sentiments; it is petty and detracts from your value as an expert.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Nassise

    Absolutely fabulous! A first class guide to teaching both basic and advanced techniques for proper ebook creation from a highly-experienced teacher. Well worth it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amanda King

    The first few chapters are fairly easy to follow and quite helpful, but around chapter four, Henkel seems to assume readers have picked up more about coding versus just following his instructions. Good starter, but outdated in many ways. Should not be the only resource used when learning ebook formatting for the first time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    P.A. Nash

    Excellent. Used it to format my novels

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate Arms

    Not just a how-to, this is one of the books on e-book formatting that talks about why. Looks at the technology behind ebooks and principles of good book design and putting them together.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lee Dunning

    It's that time again, when I sit down and try to turn my 110,000 word novel into something that won't makes people's eyes vomit when they bring it up on a Kindle. Last time I used Paul Salvette's "The eBook Design and Development Guide" with good results. However, it's about three years old now and Guido's book is into it's second edition, so I figured it would have newer information. It does, but not necessarily in areas that will revolutionize eBook formatting. He has more up-to-date info conc It's that time again, when I sit down and try to turn my 110,000 word novel into something that won't makes people's eyes vomit when they bring it up on a Kindle. Last time I used Paul Salvette's "The eBook Design and Development Guide" with good results. However, it's about three years old now and Guido's book is into it's second edition, so I figured it would have newer information. It does, but not necessarily in areas that will revolutionize eBook formatting. He has more up-to-date info concerning graphics (which for some folks could be very useful). He lists a lot of caveats concerning items, especially in css design, and provides work arounds whenever possible. I also liked his section on meta data and how taking a little extra time with it could pay off in the future as eReaders become more sophisticated. In some ways it's better organized than Paul's book, but at the same time I wasn't comfortable sitting down with his step-by-step process, where Paul's was concise without a lot of sidetracking. Do this. Then do this. Where many people may find Guido's book more useful is he utilizes Calibre to do the html conversion into the different eBook formats while Paul utilizes command line utilities that may turn people off. I think both ways are valid. I'm comfortable with command line work, so I don't mind using Amazon's KindleGen compiler. Guido puts his css information right in his html file, which I feel makes the html file more cumbersome and difficult to read. When you go to make changes, and you WILL have to go back and make changes, it's much easier if you're looking at a much smaller file without a lot of styling information getting in the way. He also builds one large html file, while Paul suggests breaking your files down by chapter. This makes sense to me, again, because when you go back to make alterations, you have less mess to wade through. Paul suggests this method also makes for faster loading times for eReaders. That may be becoming less of an issue (which might be why Guido doesn't subscribe to it) since eReaders are capable of more, but it's possible some of the folks who buy your book are still rocking a first or second gen Kindle. It might sound like I completely prefer Paul's book over Guido's but when it comes down to it, both are highly valuable. I would get both, read them each twice - carefully, and then pick and choose from each book which advice you wish to follow. Paul provides some boiler plates for css you may wish to utilize, while Guido goes into greater depth on fancy characters (like drop caps). Both are very strong in the areas of stripping out extra white space and adding in special formatting (like italics) to your word document and text files. I hate sounding like a weasel and saying "get both", but in this case I honestly think both have much to offer folks just learning to format eBooks. Neither is expensive, so you may as well have access to all the information and choose which method(s) you like best.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Allan Walsh

    The Zen of eBook Formatting is a book for writers who want to know how to format and create eBooks. Written by Guido Henkel, a writer and an experienced programmer, for writers. This book provides a step by step guide on how to correctly format and produce your own eBooks. The Bad Stuff: If you are just looking for a book that says do this, then do that, this book may frustrate you a little. There is a lot of explaining, but to be fair, it is of value to know 'the why' behind what you are doing. The Zen of eBook Formatting is a book for writers who want to know how to format and create eBooks. Written by Guido Henkel, a writer and an experienced programmer, for writers. This book provides a step by step guide on how to correctly format and produce your own eBooks. The Bad Stuff: If you are just looking for a book that says do this, then do that, this book may frustrate you a little. There is a lot of explaining, but to be fair, it is of value to know 'the why' behind what you are doing. I think the book would benefit from a summary at the end, that details what you have learned in the book without all the explaining in between, and can be used as a quick reference guide. The Good Stuff: This book gives you a great insight into how to format and create an eBook, from cleaning up your manuscript to adding the cover. Guido provides all the code and links to the tools you will need within the pages, making the process as simple as possible. I certainly recommend you read this book if you are looking at publishing your own eBooks online. I have definitely gained some knowledge in the process that I will be putting into practice in the future. This is a great addition to the toolbox of Indie writers. It will save you time and effort, and could even prevent you damaging your brand name as an author, by giving you the advice you need to produce quality eBooks. I'm giving it 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

  11. 4 out of 5

    W. Lance

    For indy writers who really want to take control of the whole process of taking their words from a word processing program and shaping it into an ebook, of most any popular format, from start to finish, this is THE book. We're talking control down to the individual character level, and being able to tell whatever reading software to line brake or not after m-dashes and ellipses. Not for technophobes, this is CSS and HTML. You don't have to be a coder, all the code is in the book, but you need to For indy writers who really want to take control of the whole process of taking their words from a word processing program and shaping it into an ebook, of most any popular format, from start to finish, this is THE book. We're talking control down to the individual character level, and being able to tell whatever reading software to line brake or not after m-dashes and ellipses. Not for technophobes, this is CSS and HTML. You don't have to be a coder, all the code is in the book, but you need to be okay with < I > and other fun things. I used it to republish my novel A Perfect Blindness on Amazon. You can also use it for epub and pdf versions. Walks you through Word/Scrivener to TextMate to Calibre (the path I took). Other options are suggested. But this ain't Vellum. This is hands dirty, grease up to your elbows control. Feels great to know that mainstream publishers get a lot of this wrong, and you don't have to.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    A life saver. I'm a first-time self-published author who was very nervous about formatting my own eBook. Guido's guide made everything so simple and straightforward. It took me about a day to do my first book and now I think I could do it much quicker. My only complaint is that I could only find this book on Amazon -- I wish it was available as an ePub on other retailers. Otherwise, I recommend you spend the $5 on this book and save yourself the $200 for professional formatting. You'll be so gla A life saver. I'm a first-time self-published author who was very nervous about formatting my own eBook. Guido's guide made everything so simple and straightforward. It took me about a day to do my first book and now I think I could do it much quicker. My only complaint is that I could only find this book on Amazon -- I wish it was available as an ePub on other retailers. Otherwise, I recommend you spend the $5 on this book and save yourself the $200 for professional formatting. You'll be so glad you did. I am!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shay

    If I could, I'd give this book 2.5 stars. I learned a lot and I am very interested in the subject. I look forward to applying this knowledge for creating ebooks. The resources were really good too. I give it a 2.5 because I had a serious issue when I read this on one of my devices. I wasn't completely wowed by the content enough to give it a higher rating, nor was I crazy about the writing. Nonetheless, I like this book enough to use as a resource. I really enjoyed his "Take pride in your ebook If I could, I'd give this book 2.5 stars. I learned a lot and I am very interested in the subject. I look forward to applying this knowledge for creating ebooks. The resources were really good too. I give it a 2.5 because I had a serious issue when I read this on one of my devices. I wasn't completely wowed by the content enough to give it a higher rating, nor was I crazy about the writing. Nonetheless, I like this book enough to use as a resource. I really enjoyed his "Take pride in your ebook formatting" series which led me to buy this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adair Hart

    This is a great guide that steps you through everything you need to go from a finiahed manuscript to a polished ebook. As a developer myself, it was good to see the technical details laid out. I used Visual Studio 2010 as my html editor, and had to make some adjustments on the regular expressions part that weren't in the book, but nothing too wild. Although I am having my ebook fancied up by another formatter, I will do book 2 completely with the formatting from book 1 applied to it. After going This is a great guide that steps you through everything you need to go from a finiahed manuscript to a polished ebook. As a developer myself, it was good to see the technical details laid out. I used Visual Studio 2010 as my html editor, and had to make some adjustments on the regular expressions part that weren't in the book, but nothing too wild. Although I am having my ebook fancied up by another formatter, I will do book 2 completely with the formatting from book 1 applied to it. After going through the process laid out in this book several times, I can do it pretty quick now.

  15. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Klemme

    Great information! The author takes the mystery out of some of the problems I've encountered while attempting to build robust ePubs. It's evident he has formatted a myriad of books, and has developed a deep knowledge in the subject. I don't think this book is for self-publishing novices, unless they're familiar with coding or have done some work with HTML. Although the instructions are clear, I could see where it might be a bit intimidating for the first-timer. As someone who has tackled a few ePub Great information! The author takes the mystery out of some of the problems I've encountered while attempting to build robust ePubs. It's evident he has formatted a myriad of books, and has developed a deep knowledge in the subject. I don't think this book is for self-publishing novices, unless they're familiar with coding or have done some work with HTML. Although the instructions are clear, I could see where it might be a bit intimidating for the first-timer. As someone who has tackled a few ePubs, I consider this eBook a necessary addition to my collection.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chad Gramling

    Answers all my questions and more! I am so glad I read this book! I have been working on my own ebook and learning what I can about various softwares and eReaders along the way. This book addressed many of my worries about silly formatting glitches and other problematic things I have seen in ebooks over the years. Definitely encourage any aspiring self-publishing writer to read this one before committing their final draft to production.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Morris Graham

    Wow! This tells you why you should format your own eBook, and then tells you how. Some little tricky things like Calibre scaling your font sizes so that no matter how hard you try, they aren't the size you wanted. This book is full of tips, tricks and downright instructions on how to do it right. If you are going to produce an eBook, don't do anything until you read this book first. I wish I had read it when I published my first book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chele Cooke

    I loved reading this book. Formatting can be a pain for a lot of authors and Guido Henkel completely changes that. He walks readers through a detailed way of creating beautiful and working eBooks whilst also taking the time to explain each aspect so that, not only does formatting become interesting, but is also logical enough to progress on your own. If you want to get your geek on about formatting, this is the book for it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anna Adler

    This book was a life saver. I was determined to do my own ebook formatting, although I had less than no idea at all what it meant. Thanks to Guido's clear, step-by-step instructions, a clueless newbie like me was able to put together an ebook and feel accomplished about it. Even more importantly, I learned a ton about coding and that the whole process is not so scary, after all. I actually know what's in the guts of the ebook I created. Thank you, Guido!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan McGirt

    Excellent detailed guide to ebook formatting. I have long used Mr. Henkel's blog posts on ebook formatting as a reference, so I am delighted that he has updated and compiled his advice in this book. An excellent resource for anyone preparing your own ebook for publication.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    If you're at all interested in self-publishing, I highly recommend this book. Everything you need to know to prepare your own book for digital distribution is right there in easy to understand language. And I can report firsthand that the author is a pretty good guy too. Recommended!

  22. 4 out of 5

    A.J. Navarre

    This has become an invaluable tool for me in understanding how to format an ebook from scratch. The instructions are in-depth and easy to follow, with step-by-step explanations that occasionally use visual examples as reinforcement. Without a doubt, the best formatting guide I've found so far.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paula Radell

    This book is extremely helpful - and rapidly gets highly technical - it's great for understanding how formatting works, less so for being able to directly apply the knowledge.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina Flynn

    Very clear, and easy formatting instructions. Easy to follow.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hunt

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathrese

  27. 4 out of 5

    Connor+Lindy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ethelinda Webb

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Kos

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Penn

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