eBook Formatting, Part 3 – Calibre

When it came to transforming my book into the recognised formats, .epub for Kobo, and .mobi for Kindle, I pretty much followed Guido Henkel’s guide to the letter. Therefore, I will simply link back to that, as he explains it much better than I could.

Guido Henkel’s Take Pride In Your eBook Formatting Guide

Here, I have specifically linked to Part IX of the Guide, as this is the one that deals completely with Calibre.

The only segment that I didn’t get on with was the section regarding Table of Contents. While Calibre sets up a perfectly working table of Contents, I found it impossible to use for my requirements. I like having the chapter number and the chapter title in slightly different formats (for aesthetic purposes) which means that Calibre won’t pick up the entire thing. It will collect the number source, but not the title, and who likes having a number without a title in a table of contents? It also makes it more difficult when you have Prologues.

I have two Prologues, classed as such because they are the only two chapters told from the perspective of someone other than my main character, Georgianna Lennox. I didn’t want to call them chapters, because that gives the impression that the rest of the book will follow other characters as well.

The way I have gotten around this is by creating the Table of Contents directly in Microsoft Word. Using my source document, I edited it to include a table of contents after the title, copyright, and dedication page.

I linked these to the chapters following this guide directly from Office.

Once that was done, I saved the whole file as a .html file (a different file to the one I’d been working on) and used that in Notebook ++ to format into looking like the rest of my book, importing it into my original file before moving over to Calibre.

This allowed me to alter the table of contents however I liked, putting in the chapter titles as well as the numbers, to list the Prologues simply by their chapter name, etc. By using it purely in HTML, it gave me ultimate control in exactly how this table of contents looked, instead of using the pre-generated one that Calibre creates.

Unfortunately, it was only after I completed all of this that I realised that I should have formatted my print version first, because there are a few times when I needed to add or remove some words to fit them to the page properly. – I’ll go into that in my Print Formatting post, which will be posted in a few days.


About chelecooke

Self-Published author of the Out of Orbit series and the Teeth series. UCL Residence Assistant, obsessive cross stitcher, avid reader and TV show watcher.
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