Over the past few weeks I’ve been working to put a large project to bed. What started when a potential client contacted me about producing an ebook ended with the development of a combined ebook and PDF build system that saved a bunch of time when last minute changes were needed. This project built on what I learned from a previous project where I paired an overly-complicated makefile with Pandoc to generate an ebook in French.
I’ve been working on this article for a while. Ever since I started experimenting with ePubs exported from Ulysses, I’ve been blogging my results. Now I’m ready to share a full eBook production process using Ulysses and my KBasic style. After introducing my KBasic style, I found that I still wanted to make some adjustments to it. Actually it was more than just a few adjustments. I tried the style on several eReaders and found that I needed to change the text markup too.
The Ulysses app can do a lot besides writing. I’ve written a lot about how I abuse the poor thing. Its export options offer a variety of formats. One that was convenient was the RTF option. It meant I had one click export to a standard rich text format that’s usually requested by publishers. The v2.1 Ulysses update replaced RTF with DOCX, the new Word 2007 format. These files aren’t usually accepted via email because of the chance that they carry a macro virus.
I just uploaded a style sheet for the Ulysses writing app that I’ve been working on to the Ulysses Style Exchange. It’s called KBasic and it’s meant to make creating ePub files easy. I’ve been fighting with ePub formatting for a while now. It turns out I was trying to do too much. The eReaders (hardware & software) do a great job of displaying even unformatted text. I even experimented with using a blank stylesheet to see what would happen.
We have been looking forward to this day just as much as many of you. Our inboxes have been flooded in recent weeks by people asking us to stop teasing and finally announce a release date. Thank you all for your excitement, here is your answer. § Yay! As it stands in the beta version, exported ePubs will validate.
This morning I received an email from the Ulysses developers about the ePub bugs I reported. One thing that surpised me was a request to update my script that fixes the playOrder incrementing. One thing that came to my mind: since you already developed a small Ruby script, could you integrate the unzip and zip process within the script, so users wouldn't need this extra step anymore? — Götz So I did!
Ebook publishing seems to be my theme of the week. It’s something I didn’t know much about. I’ve managed to learn quite a bit this week. The most important thing I learned is about workflow. There are lots of ways to make an ePub file. Amazon KDP will take just about any file and convert it to their .mobi format. Smashwords has a converter (“Meatgrinder”)that take a Word (.doc) file and do the conversion to ePub.
This is what seems to be the second in a series about making ePub format eBooks with Ulysess III. Yesterday, I compared a few options for making eBooks. I found the least troublesome way was to just simply export from Ulysses using a custom stylesheet. Today’s post is about how to fix an annoying export bug. Ulysses is a three-paned editor. The second pane is a list of sheets in the current working folder.