There have been no posts here recently because of the attention being paid to organizing and launching the Rivulet Ferry Press.
Its first book is Going Up South, a collection of stories from New York State’s North Country in the 19th century featuring: anti-Civil War activists; an outdoors-loving vice president; a radical preacher and feminist; Mohawk Indian lacrosse players; a widely-respected philosopher; a prominent U.S. Senator; a possibly autistic, blind piano virtuoso; and sundry words of wisdom.
The book was initially formatted to be printed on paper, which required mastering Word's "styles" system for chapter headings, the body text, citations, and the bibliography. There was no choice in the matter because if styles were not used, the printing company's conversion system would not work properly, and odd characters and spaces would be inserted into the text when the book was printed. In addition, the illustrations for the book had to be kept at a resolution of 300 ppi or they, too, would not print well. This became a problem because Word automatically compressed the resolution of images to 72 ppi whenever the manuscript was saved.
|Wilber, the GIMP mascot|
A free image manipulation program called GIMP came to the rescue by making it relatively simple to rescale images back to the proper resolution when necessary. GIMP was also indispensable when it came time to design a front and back cover.
The running heads and the page numbers refused to play nicely with each other, continually disappearing, and then when they were found, they often changed from the correct heading and number to the incorrect heading and number. Patience and long hours eventually brought order and harmony to the manuscript. CreateSpace, a printing company owned by Amazon, was selected to print the book largely because it also provided easy entry into Amazon's online bookstore.
Formatting the ebook version of Going Up South led to another round of learning experiences. The manuscript in Word's .docx format had to be converted into the .mobi and .azw3 formats for distribution to Amazon's online bookstore as a "Kindle" version. As of this writing, there are five Kindle tablets and four Kindle eReaders—they each are known to display the text differently, no matter what formatting changes are made!
Formatting a version of Going Up South for the other major online ebook stores, which include Barnes & Noble (for the Nook), Apple iBooks (for the iPad), and Kobo (for the Kobo eReader), presented another set of hurdles to leap over. Again, the .docx format had to be converted, this time into the .epub format. The conversion was not as simple as it sounded because not only is there .epub, there is .epub2, and .epub3. And once again, all the different kinds of ebook devices that read the .epub format, are known to display the text differently.
|Calibre by Kovid Goyal/CC BY-SA|
Fortunately, another free program, Calibre, solved many of the formatting issues. Once the Word document was added to Calibre's library, a few tweaks to the metadata and the clicking of an icon converted the .docx file to an .epub file in a matter of seconds. Calibre even has its own built-in viewer making it possible to examine the converted document before uploading it to an ebook aggregator for distribution to online stores. Rivulet Ferry Press launched Going Up South in paper to online bookstores on June 29, 2016. The ebook version was made available to online stores and subscription services between June 30 and July 8, 2016. The author, formatter, designer, publisher, and business manager are all currently on break, planning the next publishing venture.