I have received several inquiries lately about the programs and methods I use to create my ebooks. Some individuals I have talked to have complained about how difficult the coding is for making an ebook, and asked me if I was finding it difficult.
Frankly, for me, making the ebook was the easy part. I had a marginally more difficult time creating the format and cover for the paperback version. This was mostly due to the math involved in figuring the dimensions of the book based on the thickness of the number of pages, and the creation of images of a high enough resolution that they would not print blurry or pixelated.
Having studied in both computational linguistics and library science, I am a(n increasingly less) rare hybrid of an individual who understands both the form and function of technologies used for storing, sharing, retrieving, and presenting. I love answering questions and learning new technology.
Because I already had a good grasp of XML and CSS going in, making an ebook was a relatively easy task for me. Of course, I did have (and still have) a fair amount of problems to troubleshoot, but these tend to go easily when patience is high and energy drinks are plentiful. When these things are in short supply, it's better to walk away for a while.
Because I seem to find myself explaining exactly how I do things a lot lately, I am planning to start doing some posts on this blog directed at other indie authors who may or may not be struggling with how to self-publish their books on the digital frontier. These posts may or may not be useful to everyone, but I'm hoping that they are at least useful to someone. I will write what I know, hopefully in a form that is easily followed in a step-by-step manner, and if anyone has a way to improve upon my methodology, I hope he or she will be compelled to share his or her knowledge as well.
I am a fan of all things free and open source, so every program I talk about will be available free for download online. I don't have the money for fancy or expensive publishing or graphics programs, but I have found that a willingness to learn what is out there for free does just as well.