The proof of my second book, Simply Prayer, finally arrived in the mail this week and I’m happy with it overall. I admit, though, that I had to beg my husband to read through it just to make sure the errors I found needed to be fixed or if I was just being a perfectionist. Usually I would have simply buckled down, fixed the errors and, as I want it available by Ash Wednesday, ordered an expressed shipped proof. However, I ran into a snag with the digital files — which is the point of this post.
If you use InDesign CS4 you probably know about the book feature where several separate files can be compiled into a single book. It’s a great tool that keeps file size down and makes it simpler to print a single chapter.
The downside, as I discovered after sending my .pdf to CreateSpace, is transferring all those files into an ebook. You can’t simply re-save the book with a new name and expect the chapter files to save themselves as new files too. You’ll have a newly named book using the original chapter files instead.
What that means is that any re-formatting you do to your chapters will be saved over the original files. For instance, I wanted to include the pictures from the print edition in the ebook edition, but I wanted them to be seen just before the section titles. To do that I followed Elizabeth Castro’s instructions from EPUB Straight to the Point and pasted them directly into the text box. It looks great in the epub, but when I went back to check something in the original book file (after making those changes to two entire chapters!) I discovered that change was there as well. Not good.
If I had already approved the print edition and had no plans to ever release a second edition similar to the first, then it wouldn’t be a problem. Now, if I wanted to make any changes to the print edition, it will be a major headache. I’ll have to re-format the print files, getting them back to the original as close as I can, before I can correct those little things I didn’t like.
The good news, at least, is that I’ve learned a valuable lesson I can pass on to all of you.
- Save the original files in a single folder, including images and anything else contained in your print edition.
- Copy everything from that folder into a second folder strictly for epublishing and web content.
- Re-name everything in the second folder. I chose putting an “e” in front of each file name to make it easily identifiable.
- Open the new “eBook” in IDCS4, select all the old chapter files, click the remove button, then add the new “eChapters.”
It’s a little bit of work to create a second set of files in a new folder, but believe me when I say a little work now will save a lot of work later. What other tips and tricks have you learned while putting your book together?