View Full Version : [Ebook Production] Basic HTML

AW Admin
10-16-2013, 07:43 AM
Now, don't be frightened. It's not that hard, and you don't really need to thoroughly learn HTML to self-publish professional looking ebooks. You just need to have some familiarity with it, though more is of course, better.


Quite often, if you're using MSWord for Windows, you can simply use the Save as Filtered HTML and you're good to go. But MS Word for Mac doesn't have that option, and you might decide you want a little more formatting control over your book—especially if you're incorporating verse, images, or you'd like to control the way your Table of Contents looks.

So the following are some started guides to HTML. HTML is really just plain text, .txt or ASCII, with little formatting codes stuck in it to turn things like bold on or off, or indicate where a paragraph stops and starts. These codes are called tags.

Each ebook platform and vender has a different set of HTML tags it supports; they all have lists and formatting guides (the Smashwords Guide may be the place to start, honestly).

Here for instance is the Amazon guide to formatting for Kindle by converting files (https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2GF0UFHIYG9VQ); note the links to HTML formatting and supported tags (https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2GF0UFHIYG9VQ#zip).

HTML Tutorials

The Pocket HTML Tutorial from Evan Goer. (http://www.goer.org/HTML/)

Evan is a writer. He writes spec fic mostly, but in his day job he's a technical writer, so he's perfectly suited for writing a pocket tutorial for writers.

The W3 Schools Web Tutorials

This is an actual course; you can follow it through and learn far more than you need. It's also super for looking up how to do that one thing when it's 2am and you've pulled out half your hair.(Mine grew back; I'm sure yours will too, but I didn't have this resource when I started using HTML).

HTML and Text Editors

You can use WordPad on Windows to edit or write HTML. Remember, HTML is .txt. There are also pricey spiffy HTML/Web editors, but honestly, they're usually overkill for making ebooks. You only need about ten tags. I'd use WordPad on Windows, and TextWrangler on Mac OS X; both are free. WordPad comes with Windows. TextWrangler can be downloaded (http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/).

That said, I should confess that I'm a fan of Bare Bones Software's Text Editor BBEdit. It has a lot in common with Text Wrangler, but it has tools specifically for HTML and CSS that Text Wrangler doesn't. It's also Mac only.

There are several free HTML editors for Windows, but I'll have to go check them out; it's been a while since I looked at them. Here's one list of free HTML editors for Windows (http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-html-editor.htm). This site lists and reviews a number of webdesign.about.com[/COLOR]/od/windowshtmleditors/tp/free-windows-editors.htm"]Windows free or inexpensive HTML editors (http://[COLOR="DarkRed"]
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You can do this! Don't despair. Yes, it takes patience and persistence, but honestly, it's not rocket science, or I wouldn't be able to do it.

Really and truly, patience and persistence are the core skills for making ebooks AND HTML.

Writing the book was the hard part.