Creating an ePub File

I’ve passed the 25% mark on the second draft of the novel. As I mentioned previously I am writing the novel using a simple markup language that I can then ‘export’ to Word. However I realized that most of the time I am then converting the Word document to an eBook for my reader’s reading and so decided to add an ‘export to epub’ option to my exporter.

It was both very simple and very difficult.

The exporter takes the novel text and then breaks it into chapters, autonumbering them and doing other nice things that will save me work later on. I then add the epub file to Calibre. I found I could read the book using the built in ePub viewer. But when I transferred the file to Stanza I got a bizarre error about being unable to read the .opf file. This file is used to indicate the contents of what is in the epub and as far as I could tell, it was correctly formatted.

So I spent a few hours trying different things and none of them ended up working.

What did work was this — After adding the epub to Calibre I converted the epub to an epub. As far as I know I shouldn’t have had to do this, but after ‘reconverting it’, it worked on Stanza. So in three steps (export, add to Calibre, transfer to Stanza) I can load the book onto an iPhone or iPod Touch. And when I have time I’ll be able to tweak the formatting, getting it to look even better. And of course this process will work for the other novels I end up writing.

I’m still working on a good footnote system but am having some struggles to do anything fancy. Ideally I’d love to have popup footnotes, but I don’t think Stanza on the iPhone or even the built in viewer in Calibre supports these (please correct me if I’m wrong, I’d be grateful for any info to the contrary).

Anyways, while formatting the novel is fun, I really gotta get back to writing it…

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Brent Knowles

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