Progress Report 4: Lost Girls Publishing

September 27, 2013

This past week we concentrated on wrapping up the promotional piece (website) and finalizing the InDesign version for our print book, the goal being to allocate the last week towards epub production and presentation prep.

Status of Book:

Our InDesign book building process has been fairly straight forward, and so our print version is almost press ready! A new cover page was designed to align with our marketing plan – it’s a colour sketch of Neverland (aka an island in the Salish Sea).

We drafted copyright, dedication and acknowledgements pages, and as a team sifted through Tumblr, Pixiv and Deviant Art for images. Notes about picture selection:

  • Our initial intention to obtain creative commons artwork didn’t pan out. It would have taken time away from epub development, which deserves more attention. We’re still adhering to fair dealings since this is an academic project, and out of respect and courtesy have assigned credits to all illustrations.
  • We avoided Google to reduce the amount of Disney illustrations the search drew.
  • Ensured each image was reflective of chapter content, and were all of varying artistic styles in order to support our claim that every pictures was drawn by a different student.
  • Placement: pictures are on the first page of each chapter, creating a spread with the chapter start.

Status of ePub:

We exported the InDesign file into HTML three times to no success, the fourth time turned out to be the charm. Below is a summary of the process and problems.

  • Exported first ePub file from InDesign
  • Unzipped ePub file to access XHTML files (as per the Castro Method)
  • Attempted to insert custom stylesheet and realized it would require too much editing to use in timely manner
  • Deleted leaf tile background because it wouldn’t be sustained in the ePub format (it would only appear in HTML)
  • Made first attempt to customize existing stylesheet
    • Failed
    • Realized existing stylesheet was being resistant to change because of formatting redundancies
    • Deleted redundancies
    • Exported second iteration ePub file from InDesign
    • Attempted to customize with new stylesheet
      • Realized existing XHTML needed editing because it conformed to old formatting redundancies
      • Edited XHTML files for testing purposes
      • Decided external footnotes wouldn’t work
      • Formatted for in-text footnotes
      • Began formatting TOC files
      • Exported third iteration ePub files from InDesign
      • Anchored illustration and caption elements
      • Edited XHTML files to remove formatting redundancies
      • John advised us to use Sigil to properly rezip files into epub file
      • We intend to publish with Readium (and project on screen for presentation)

Lessons Learned

  • Drop caps have particular specifications. If you can’t design them properly don’t use them at all (or learn how to but we don’t have the time…so we converted our drop caps to small caps).
  • Footnotes formatted in InDesign will export to ePub. This week we designed 83 individual jpgs for each definition, and posted the images in the multimedia folder on our WordPress site, with the intention that the definitions in the XHTML file would link to the corresponding URL for an aesthetically pleasing ePub reading experience. Once we learned that the footnotes could be imported with minimal formatting we decided to move them to the end of the ePub chapter, hence no jpgs required. Readers can click on the word and will jump to the chapter end for the definition. We also considered that linking the footnotes to our website would limit the readership as only those reading the ePub on a tablet with web access would be able to open the link (not ideal).
  • Page breaks (and numbers) aren’t needed in the ePub. John advised us to keep in mind that not all browsers are calibrated the same, therefore we don’t need page breaks or page numbers, which automatically change with format.
  • Proper copyright needs to be given even on a fictitious work. In terms of copyright placement, the ePub copyright goes at end, while the print book copyright appears at the beginning.

What’s Left?

Book: pagination, proofreading and print! ….and a visit to the used books store to buy and gut a 6×9 hardcover.

ePub: formatting, export a single ePub file and posting to Readium.

Plus a summary of this whole experience, which we’ll post by Wednesday.

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