|Submitted by Paul Elard Cooley on Wed, 06/03/2009 - 11:04|
First off, I've been podcasting my fiction since September 08. I was very very green in the gills when I first recorded "The Hunt". I think it turned out okay, but I'm definitely going to re-record it before DragonCon.
That said, I have received numerous requests (including many people I know who do not like podiobooks as a rule) to create "text" editions of my work. In the past, I have just given them a .pdf of the document and been done with it. But, it's not that simple.
The way I write, I tend to put all the files for a single story in a directory. The files are numbered (so I know what order they go into) and then I use a *nix command called "cat" to take all the files (in order) and put them into a single text document. The resulting text document is then placed into OpenOffice, formatted to make it pretty, and then exported to a .pdf.
As you might imagine, this is a SIGNIFICANT pain in the ass. It requires me to engage in a multi-step process that is error-prone and difficult to reproduce smoothly. As a software developer, this is a great anathema to me.
For DragonCon, I'm going to produce CDs that have all my fiction podcasts (up to August) as well as the textual versions of those stories. But .pdfs suck. I don't want to use them. .pdf is a great format if you want a document that can be easily printed and shared. But, as far as viewing them on devices, they are total shite.
iPhones, Crackberrys, Kindle, etc are capable of reading formats like amazon's proprietary kindle format, or .epub books. The .epub is obviously more ubiquitous since it is supported by both free and non-free software. I will support the kindle format too, but the most immediate need is to get .epub working first.
Now, before some of you start throwing furniture at me, asking why the hell I'm inventing something that's already out there, let me say this: no, it's not out there. To create .epub books, the tools out there assume you're using the great hated satan (m$ Word) or openoffice writer, or .rtf or some other format I don't want to use.
Why don't I just change my writing style? Um, right. Why don't you change how you say certain words? Or better yet, switch your handedness. What it comes down to is this: for longer works (novellettes, novellas, novels), it's much easier for me to break things up into their constituent pieces. So every chapter/subchapter gets its own file. The great thing about this is that I can re-order the files anyway I want without all that copy/paste bullshit.
I HATE THE MOUSE! I want to do things that are predictive, reproducible, and reusable. So, I need a converter.
So that's all the rationale I currently need in order to justify myself. I'm going to keep some blog topics on this and keep going until I succeed in making the entire process work. It'll bore the shit out of some people. But for us authors who hate using clicky-buttony thingies that get in the way of us being productive, I think it's a very useful conversation.