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Old 05-29-2014, 05:59 PM   #1
marlene's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,419
Default Formatting a Word file for ePub conversion

A client has sent me a Word file that I need to copyedit/proof and get ready for ePub conversion, and I know nothing about ePubs except what I googled this afternoon.

I won't be doing the actual conversion -- a service called bookbaby will do that -- but I need to properly format the Word file before sending it to them.

I gather (from my googling) that ePubs are strictly for reading on tablet-type devices and maybe phones (not real computers?) and display as one long continuous stream of text (not individual pages) that will rewrap depending on the device's screen size. Apparently page numbers are not used, but I'm thinking I can leave them in during the proofing/editing process, and could delete them (headers/or footers) before sending the final file out for conversion.

And I've also read that I should delete all of the page breaks, which makes sense.

The doc uses Times New Roman only, so I don't think I need to do anything about changing fonts. Body text is currently 11 pt -- maybe I should go up a point?

Right now there's an extra linespace between paragraphs, after heads and subheads, etc.. I'm thinking I should change that to "space after" instead.

I'm confused as to whether the table of contents can have page numbers. And the author wants an index.

What about page size and margins? Doc is letter-sized now. Margins are inconsistent.

I can contact the bookbaby people with questions, but would like to have at least a vague idea of what I'm talking about before I do.

FWIW, this doc needs to stay in Word -- I don't have the option of working in InDesign.

TIA for any enlightenment, suggestions, etc.

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Old 05-30-2014, 05:45 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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I know a little about epub conversion through Smashwords. I suspect that bookbaby's conversion system is similar, but you should follow the bookbaby instructions to the letter.

InDesign would not be in the least way useful, because, as you realize, you are not laying out pages.

Font and font size are meaningless, because these are controlled by the reading application. Page size and margins are meaningless.

For the table of contents, you need instructions from bookbaby. It may be as simple as applying a specific heading style to all chapter heads. The essential point is that the TOC has to be built partly by the conversion system. I haven't had to think about indexing and it is possible that Word's index feature (on the Reference tab in Word 2010) would transfer.

An alternative might be to convert all the way to epub using Sigil, which is free. You have more control over the outcome that way, but I don't know how it compares with what bookbaby would do with a Word file.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:58 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 10,478

Hey Paul...

Did you see Kayza's thread (Steps to Publish)? I figured you might have some advice for her based on your experience with your last book.

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