Microsoft Word wasn’t made for E-books. But we have to start there anyway.
My college poetry teacher was adamant on this point: Never apologize for something you are about to do. Either don’t do it, or don’t apologize. Well, I’m sorry, but…I’ve created this whole tutorial workflow using Microsoft Word as the starting point. Hear that noise? That low, distant howl? That’s an Internet full of E-book editors who believe MS Word has no place in E-book production. (Some of them aren’t wild about the hyphen in E-book, either.)
I actually agree with them. I think MS Word is a fine writing tool. Great for school papers, business memos, and publishing contracts. Books and E-books? Not so much. Word creates needlessly bulky .xhtml files. It gives InDesign fits. If I had to make a Bicycle Comics book in just Microsoft Word, I’d howl, too.
It would be simpler, and cheaper, to use a basic text editor such as TextEdit for Macintosh. And OpenOffice added an EPUB tool recently…
But I’m picking my battles, here. MS Word may not be an ideal E-book tool, but it’s nearly universal. You may not have the Adobe Creative Suite, but you probably have Word. Chances are, you used it to write and revise your poems. So we’ll start there.
If you have intermediate or advanced coding skills for HTML/CSS, or if you simply can’t abide a detour through MS Word, fear not! We’re only using Word to get to an HTML/CSS baseline, anyway. Catch up with us after we’ve finished Step 2 and ride the rest of the way through xHTML, external CSS, .ncx and .toc files, indexing, and so forth. We’ll put a link right here when we get that far.