Something you learn about editing: checklists are good. No matter how many times you think you’ve looked at something, unless it’s marked off on your checklist, you probably haven’t looked at it that one last time that it needed to be looked at.
I had to get this down quick because someone asked for it, but I’ll put it in the editing series again when I get that far.
Here’s my current building-an-ebook checklist, the short version:
- Ensure content is complete, content-edited, and copy-edited.
- Build draft cover.
- Write short/long blurbs and tagline (if any).
- Update cover with tagline, if any, and finalize.
- Add cover, content, and blurbs to Smashwords version.
- Add cover credits to Smashwords version.
- Add Read More content to Smashwords version, including cover, blurb, and content.
- Add any additional content (story notes, nerdy explanatory text, cute puppy pictures).
- Scan through ebook to make sure that all content is present.
- Check links.
- Check to make sure no hidden links were added during link checking (uncheck the box and recheck).
- Check typesetting.
- Check formatting/layout.
- Spell check.
- Check for a couple of typesetting mistakes I often make while proofreading.
- Spell check again.
- Sanity check for big uglies in formatting.
- Declare Smashwords version final and save a backup copy.
- Save new version for XHTML versions.
- Strip out images, extra hard returns before chapter breaks.
- Flag italics/bold so they’re easier to convert.
- Convert to text file.
- Format for XHTML.
- Insert into XHTML template and convert to .html file.
- Test .html file.
- Sanity check for .html file.
- Convert using Calibre into .epub/.mobi formats.
- (If it’s my book, read in bathtub and note any last-minute stuff, doing spell check and check for common errors afterwards.)
- Sanity check Calibre formats, including testing all links.
- Post on various sites, and sanity-check conversions, including links.
I haven’t had a project yet where I didn’t have to do a Smashwords version, but I think if that were the case, I’d still put everything together as a word document first, so I can visualize it better. I just wouldn’t have to do a bunch of formatting stuff to it. Eagerly awaiting the day when Smashwords will let you uploat .epubs and .mobis and not have to use Meatgrinder. It’s good at what it does, but…we ask it to do more than is possible, really.