My partner here at Make-It-Do Farm and Tucker Creek Creative (she is also the creative force behind Daisyblend Organic Creations), Kaleesha, just recently published her first book. In fact, the Kindle and ePub versions have only been out a week and the print copies are due to arrive next week so when I say recently what I really mean is just! It is an understatement to say we are excited about her accomplishment!
I’m happy to have been able to play a supportive role in the effort. Relative to the writing of the book, my tasks were fairly quickly and easily accomplished. In preparation for publishing the book we set-up her Kaleesha Williams author website months in advance to allow time for google and other search engines to find it. We added in book teasers and she actively provided book excerpts and other related content to the blog.
After months of writing and editing she put the final touches on the book and we assembled it first in Apple’s iBooks Author. Strangely there is no easy way to export from Apple’s Pages app directly to iBooks Author so I added the chapters one by one. The final result is very nice but still waiting approval on Apple’s end. Next was publishing from Pages to ePub which is an export option and was fairly easy to do if one pays attention to the details. To get it all right it is essential to use properly named styles. For example, each chapter title should be a Header 1 style which helps to create the Table of Contents. Another important point, block quotes need to be in a style named block quote. It may seem obvious but if you’ve not used Styles with Pages it requires a bit of digging. It is the “proper” way to do long form layout and a real time saver. Using styles allows the designer to make changes throughout the publication in just seconds. Decide you want less of an indent in the block quotes? Just update the style and the changes occur throughout the document. Very similar to using CSS style sheets in html documents.
One hang-up that was not resolved: Kindle formatting. While the ePub translated fairly well into Pages and third party ePub readers such as iBooks and those available as extensions for Google’s Chrome browser, the Kindle platform has become fragmented. While our export was technically correct and works perfectly on most Kindle versions some formatting is lacking depending on the device and app used. It’s not a deal killer but would certainly be nice if the engineers at Amazon would unify the layout on the platform. We persevered and finally got the Kindle version published.
Last and probably the most exciting was laying out the book to be printed at Amazon’s Create Space. The process was fairly straightforward with just one big hiccup. The newest version of Apple’s Pages, 5.1, no longer allows for layout using facing pages which is essential. As a result we exported to the old version of Pages and designed the print version from Pages 09. It required a few tweaks but nothing too difficult. The cover was designed to Create Space specifications using Photoshop. We received the proof copy yesterday and are now awaiting the first shipment of books!