Thursday, 14 March 2013

Creating Your Ebook the Right Way: Part 5

You can read the previous parts of this Ebook conversion series here:

In the last part, we finally finished the lengthy process of cleaning up the Word document so that it could be converted to a flawless ebook.

And it was a lengthy process. Which is why, before I show you how to turn the Word document into an ebook, I want to take a quick moment to introduce you to a way of speeding the process up.

If you're likely to ever convert more than one ebook, it would be utterly crazy to plod through every step I've outlined, one at a time. You'd never get finished.

Which is why Macros were invented.

A Macro is simply a recording of bunch of actions that you take in Word. Here's what you do:
  1. Start to record a Macro.
  2. Carry out the formatting actions in exactly the same way that you normally would.
  3. Stop recording the Macro.
  4. Now, whenever you want to repeat those actions, you play the Macro, and Word carries out the actions automatically exactly the way you recorded them.
Sadly, Macros aren't suitable for every bit of the process of creating an ebook, otherwise this job would be trivial. But you can use them for the parts that you repeat over and over again in exactly the same way.

For example, remember when we converted all our bolds and italics into weird code? Then later we fixed some issues regarding spaces and line breaks in the weird code and converted back to bolds and italics? Those two processes would each make a good Macro. They were a pain to carry out, but the process for each will always be identical.

So, you'd record those two Macros, one at a time, and save them as something useful (such as 'ConvertBoldItalictoCode' and 'TidyUpandConvertBacktoBoldItalic'. Or whatever. In my version of Word, at least, you can't have any spaces in the names.)

Things that wouldn't be suitable for Macros:

- Removing multiple spaces and multiple line-breaks (because you have to repeat these actions until you get no more replacements)
- Copying your text from Word to a text editor and back again (because those actions don't only use Word)
- Searching for and fixing apostrophes at the beginning of words (because you need to confirm these manually).

Hopefully, you can go through and figure out what you can save as a Macro and what you can't.

Recording a Macro

Go to Tools > Macro > Record New Macro...

Enter a name for your Macro (no spaces!) and hit OK.

You'll know the Macros is recording because you'll see a little thingy pop up with pause and stop option. Now just go ahead and carry out the formatting actions exactly as you want them to happen.

To stop recording the Macro, just press the stop button.

As usual, expect this to look slightly different on your version of Word. But you'll have the facility in there.

How to Run a Macro

Go to Tools > Macro > Macros...

Choose the Macro from the list. Click Run. It will now perform all the actions you've recorded in a tiny fraction of the time.

Learn how and when to use Macros, and they'll save you hours.

That's it! Next time out, we'll actually be making the ebook, and all this will seem worthwhile.


Bob said...

Did I miss something, or is there no final part to this series that actually shows how to make this into an ebook?

Patrick Samphire said...

Sorry, Bob. Work got in the way. Hopefully, this will get finished one day, but in the meantime, Amazon and SmashWords both accept Word documents (which Amazon didn't when I started this series). If you've formatted the Word document using this guide, you should be in a pretty good position to upload the Word document and get a good result.