There are many ways to create an ebook – most of them both confusing and tedious. I know this because I’ve tried many of them. Thanks to Legend Maker [Mac -$24.99], book-building becomes not only easy, but almost even fun. The beauty of Legend Maker is that you use whatever writing platform you prefer to write your manuscript. The only requirement is that it needs to support rich text format (.rtf) as a save/export option. This means I can write in Pages, Microsoft Word or even Scrivener. As a result, I’ve finally published The Future of Memories as both ePub and Kindle books without giving up on the graphics that are an integral part of the book. Here’s a sample.
The Legend Maker manual provides specific instructions for formatting your manuscript. All text should be single spaced using the Times New Roman font set at 18 points. This is because book reader devices allow the reader to choose the font and size they prefer for reading. Times New Roman/18 point provides a generic “jumping off point” for your book. Forget headers, footers and tables of content. Legend Maker takes care of that. You are encouraged to use styles to define format options for headings, paragraphs, lists and other text features. These styles will migrate to your finished book.
Your writing project should reside in its own folder. This folder will also hold any images you include in your book. Yes, images are separate files – because, like your blog, the basis of an ebook is HTML. The manual provides details on how to size and format images to include in your project.
Within your manuscript, you’ll add tags to identify the structure of your book and where images should be placed. There are only a few tags so they are easy to remember. First, there’s the bookmark tag. It looks something like this:
It gets put on a line by itself within your manuscript. In this case, it should be put on the line above the heading for the section/chapter you are defining. The text after the colon is the text that will appear in the ebook’s table of contents. Each bookmark tag also generates a page break. The section/chapter being defined will always start on a new page. There’s also a tag to just define a page break, but these should be used sparingly.
At the point you want an image to appear in your manuscript, you use the image tag (image:filename.png) on its own line. The actual name of the file must follow the colon and that file must be saved in the project folder.
Footnotes are drop-dead easy too. Actually, they are endnotes rather than footnotes, because it’s impossible to define the bottom of a page in an ebook. All you do is add your citation immediately following the referenced text – enclosed in “broken brackets” (<< citation >>).
. . . can be found in Pioneers of Southern Literature.<<Link, Samuel A. Pioneers of Southern Literature. Nashville, Tenn: Pub. House M.E. Church, 1899. Print.>> You will also notice that . . .
When converted to an ebook, Legend Maker will replace the tag with a citation number that links to the citation at the end of the book. The citation will end with a ♠ character that links the reader back to the point in the document they just left. How cool is that? But how does Legend Maker know where to collect the endnotes? They’ll go right after the bookmark:endnotes tag you place in your manuscript.
Legend Maker can even handle audio and video within the manuscript although I’m not quite ready to try that – yet . . .
Once you’ve marked up your manuscript, exported it to RTF format and saved all your images within the project folder, you’re ready to turn Legend Maker loose.
Click the Select Manuscript button and choose the manuscript file, add the metadata for your book, choose the conversion options then click Make A Legend. It just takes a few seconds to pull your book together.
Building a book – whether it’s for print or ebooks – is still a challenge. Legend Maker has made it a whole lot easier for us “regular people” to build and publish an attractive ebook.