Making a multiformat multimedia e-book

Each book I publish catapults me past what I needed to know & do for the last one! This is partly because I’m not fluent in Geek, the language of most advanced how-to guides, & partly because of big gaps in the overlap between publishing technology & software technology.

Edward Gorey On Stage will debut this month, fingers crossed, for Kindle, Nook, the iP*ds, & smartphones. It features color photos, B&W drawings, text of multiple sizes (captions were a challenge!), & live links. I’m using Apple’s Pages software because that lets me include all of the above & export the finished ms. as an e-pub, which even Kindle now promises they can handle (they refused until a few months ago).

Fallen by the wayside: Pages’ capacity to embed video clips does NOT export (I’ve had to use links instead), nor do its handy internal bookmarks (would have been great for image citations)–a problem because the auto-TOC won’t recognize figure captions.

The reason I’m posting this is a duh! moment yesterday. I knew that for my images to do the Alice-in-Wonderland size changes required by the enormous variety of e-readers, they’d have to be LARGE. So, OK; max pixels.  The pictures looked fine on Mac or PC, but they shrank beyond teeny on my smartphone! Why? Duh! For image size to matter, the book itself had to be large! I’d created it in the same 5.5 x 8.5 page size I’ve used for most other books, which take both e-book & POD form. For EGOS, which is an e-book only, I knew I could get rid of margins, since it would have no fixed pages. The breakthrough was realizing I could use whatever page size worked best for the images. POD size was too small (postage stamps); 8.5 x 11 was too big (accidental cropping). With a calculator plus some trial & error, I picked 6.5 x 10 as the page size where most images fill my Android phone side-to-side, & also show up large & clear on both my computers.

Now if I could just find a way to get distributors to accept the book with a combined cover & title page, instead of requiring one of each, which in an e-book is a waste of space!