James Lindquist Books

James Lindquist Books


(x)html and css coding | Uploading to Amazon Kindle

Lets face it, the paperback is not going away anytime too soon. However, electronic/digital books (ebooks for short), are doing quite the business, about two-billion dollars a year. It would be foolish not to tap into that market. The only trouble with ebooks is that a person has to be versed and efficient in xhtml (xml and hypertext markup language) and css (cascading style sheets). Minimum would be HTML, but they have abrogated much of this coding.

Many writers do not want to mess with learning a computer language just to get their book on the digital market. Anytime away from their writing is time they could be spending. . .writing.

Your file will be the finished product. So check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. All word processors do a fine job of checking these basic problems. I'll give you some links below to guide you to editors, and a graphics designer. They are all the best in the business.

(1) .mobi (Amazon's Kindle)
(2) .epub (Barnes and Noble's Nook and the industry standard for ebooks)

While you are proofing your manuscript, here are some things to look out for, some of which I have already mentioned above.

1. Spelling

  2. Grammar   3. Punctuation

You have probably spent the last year and a half, or better, on your manuscript, so I'll take it for granted that you know your way around Word. However, as a hint, use Styles to accomplish what you want. This could possibly mean a "Clear Formatting" command will be necessary, but only as a last resort. Do not use any double returns for paragraphs or space bar for indents. Use Styles.

NOTE: Before you do anything make a copy of your manuscript. NEVER work from the original especially when making changes.

Obviously, there are many differences between fiction and nonfiction and it is why it costs a fair amount more for a professional coder to format a nonfiction work into an ebook. I'll show you below. I can also show you some basic coding.


The basic work of fiction needs three elements:
1. Chapter Numbers
2. Paragraphs
3. Cover Image

NOTE: Some fiction authors require titles for each chapter. Not many do but once in a while someone wants titles for each chapter, which is great, no problem. This means a TOC page (Table of Contents). I'll show you how to code a TOC page.


A basic work of nonfiction can use many elements, all of which the programmer has to format.
1. Chapter titles
2. Subtitles
3. Headings
4. Subheadings
5. Bold
6. Italic
7. Underline
8. ellipses
9. EM-dash
10. Blockquote
11. Endnotes
12. Superscript
13. Subscript
14. Table of Contents (TOC)
15. Navigation commands file (NCX)
16. Manifest file (OPF)
17. Cover Image file

As you can see, the nonfiction is much more work in terms of formatting. Can a work of fiction contain more than four elements? Certainly. Not many do, however and although a Table of Contents requires navigation commands, not many works of fiction need them or use them either.

I did a nonfiction once that had close to 600 Endnotes, (which means about 1200 pieces of lengthy coding for both the link and anchor). Took me two and a half days just to do and test them all. I was cross-eyed before I finished. LOL.

I can put you in touch with a cover graphics designer who will give you an estimate. She is very good. I can also put you in touch with a couple of editors who can copyedit and edit your manuscript. All are very good and quite thorough.

Below are some people willing and able to help you in your writing project listed in the order that you might use them.

Sandra Byrd: Manuscript Editor and Copyeditor
Karen Oconnor: Manuscript editor
Kimberly Vanmeter: Cover Graphics Designer

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Copyright © James C. Lindquist 2005

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