I gave the Ebook Formatting 101 presentation last night for PPW. The first hour was the formatting side; the second hour was the slideshow (much meatier than the one in the blog post) plus questions.
Oh, man. People said it went well (aside from my learning curve with the microphone), but I saw a lot of glazed-over eyeballs. It was a lot of information. Someone (Laura Harvey?) mentioned that it might work better as a hands-on class, and I have to agree. Bring your laptop and a five-page story, and walk out with an ebook. We could do it. However, it would take a logistics person to pull it off, and I am not that person.
I think the slide show went particularly well, and I’m going to try to work that into an ebook. I might have to split it in two: Formatting 101 and Covers 101. I’m interested in picking up specific ebook covers to help flesh out the cover images slide show; contact me if you’re interested in letting your cover be part of a discussion. I’m paying $5 for rights to use each cover in blogs, ebooks, and a possible print book later (much later). For the class, I used some covers I didn’t have rights to, and I want to swap those out. I might have to link to some of them: the Robert Jordan covers for the Wheel of Time series in print vs. ebook are an excellent illustration of why some things work better as print covers than ebook covers.
Something that was driven home to me last night: for the most part, writers don’t know how to use their word-processing programs at more than a basic level, for the most part. I had to explain what m- and n-dashes were. What curly quotes were. I’ve been using Word long enough at an advanced level that I forget sometimes that most people don’t need to know these things. So when I put the ebook together, I may have to put in an appendix on advanced word-processing topics and link back to it as needed.