This is How I Get It Done: Making a quick ebook with Jutoh

This one’s going to be short, because I’ve kind of been looking at this screen all day.

A few days ago, I asked if anyone would be interested in getting all of my NaNoWriMo advice posts pulled together into some kind of epub format.

The answer was “yes.”

I kind of ignored that for a bit, because frankly I didn’t know where to start with creating something like that, beyond a PDF; all the stuff I used a few years ago is abandonware.

But today someone sent me an ebook they’d ‘just slapped together’ in eCub, so I went and looked at that.

It seemed fine, but I did notice this bit:

eCub does not do WYSIWYG or syntax-highlighted editing.

Hmm. I may be reading that wrong, but it sounds like it doesn’t do something like “highlight that word and hit ctrl-I for italics.” So… may a little simpler than I wanted.

But then I read:

You may like to consider the Jutoh ebook editor for easier, WYSIWYG editing, more sophisticated import, and greater configurability. Jutoh also handles footnotes, index entries and other aspects.

Well, that certainly seemed a lot closer to what I was looking for.

So I grabbed it, installed it, and got to work. First, I saved copies of all the individual posts as html files, then I pointed Jutoh at that directory full of a mess of html files, images, links, and… you know, stuff, and said “Do something with that, wouldja?”

Here is the result — This is How I Get It Done – Daily Kicks in the Ass for NaNoWriMo Authors, in:

It took me longer to get a decent picture of a composition notebook cover than it did to format the first chapter.

Now… it wasn’t THAT easy — I spent most of the afternoon cleaning out text I didn’t need, and dropping some (but not all — or even most) of the comments from the posts. And I had to recenter pictures and format the captions and…

Okay, yeah, it took awhile, but it was a piece of cake.

The end result (at least for the .mobi – I can’t check the others) is a document that Kate can read on her Kindle and I can read on my phone. The text formating is clean, the pictures are totally legible, the table of contents works perfectly, and all the links to other people’s websites (the commenters, for example) are live and do exactly what they should. I’d love to hear how it works for you guys on your readers of choice.

Unavoidable Snark: A whoooooole afternoon to format a clean, readable, twenty-three thousand word ebook with pictures and an extended reading list that reaches out to the rest of the internet. Yeah. Wow. I can totally see why publishers are charging as much for ebooks as hardbacks. Totally. Yeah.

Finally, for those folks who just want it in their browser, here’s the complete collection of the original posts.