Friday, March 9, 2012

Getting Started Making Enhanced Ebooks (1) Basic Tools

Without giving too much of a recap - the epub3 is one of the options a newbie can use to make an enhanced e-book. And a very labour intensive option it is. In fact, it is probably way too much for a single author to publish on their own - even if they are an IT specialist. It's a lot of work. However, shorter children's books or novellas might be do-able. And if it's kept fairly simple - with sound effects, some video and voice added - it might still be possible to make a novel.

This is the most basic place to start. Getting audio tracks for your e-book made.  You can begin here if you want to make something better than just sticking with the read aloud feature available on your new high tech e-reader, phone or tablet. Even if you don't have the expensive fancy software to pull it all together - at least you can get started.

Try following the instructions for making a podcast/podiobook.  It is an older way to go about it - but it's very well spelled out for complete beginners. Beware: it's a huge amount of work. There is a lot of information in the link below. Run through it all first and wait for the panic to subside. It walks you through making an audio track in 12 detailed and time consuming steps, but you're probably only going to use the first six for making a track (i.e. many, many tracks) for your book. You'll probably need some variation of the remaining steps later if you want to have a sample to share (for marketing and promotion).

Programs you'll need for creating an audio track:
Audacity (freeware)
Levelator (sound level editor also free)

Sound effects (cheap) and creative commons music:

For audio: mp3, mp4, and  AAC LC files are listed in the specification for epub3. (See the full file spec. here - images, text, application types -

NOTE: There is an upcoming NISO webinar on the epub3 specifications and metadata. It is pricey and technical but if you're up for it - register by March 14. Link here: