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February 19, 2007

Preparing eBook Content using OpenOffice.org’s Writer

Category: eBook Marketing & Publishing — Answers 2000 @ 1:37 pm

We’ve been preparing some tutorials on how to create eBooks using various pieces of software. One of the revelations has been just how easy it is to make eBooks using OpenOffice.org (which is a free office suite, although you can buy a copy of OpenOffice.org if you prefer). In my opinion, it’s easier to create eBooks using OpenOffice.org than it is us the far more expensive Microsoft Office.

So without further ado, here a tutorial on creating an eBook using Writer - the word processor in the OpenOffice.org suite.

Before the text, a quick legal notice, which OpenOffice.org’s marketing people said I should include: OpenOffice.org is a registered trade mark used with permission of the OpenOffice.org Community, http://www.openoffice.org.

Anyway, here’s the tutorial for OpenOffice.org Writer - it’s equivalent to "Step 2" in the Getting Started section of the Activ E-Book Compiler Help. For the record, these instructions were prepared using OpenOffice.org version 2.1 - so it is possible if you have an older version, some details of the screens may differ.



Creating Your Source Files Using OpenOffice.org Writer 2.1

This page shows you how to create the the content that will go inside (the source files) your E-Book using OpenOffice.org Writer 2.1.

Before You Start

There are a few key points to understand before you start:

  1. Each document in OpenOffice.org Writer will be converted into 1 HTML file. Each HTML file becames one scrolling "page" in the E-Book (although if printed the HTML file may actually come out longer than one printed page).

    You will probably find it easiest to logically subdivide your work between HTML files, rather than trying to make each HTML file correspond to one printed page (which would probably virtually impossible anyway). For example, you could make each HTML file contain 1 chapter or section of your E-Book. It does not matter if some HTML files contain more text than others, because when the user views the E-Book, the scrollbars will appear and adjust automatically to the length of the page. Or to put it in other words, we recommend that you create separate documents (in Microsoft Word which are then converted to HTML) for each chapter or section of your E-Book.

    • The conversion from a OpenOffice.org Writer document into an HTML file is done from within Writer (but don’t worry, we explain the steps below).
    • As you will probably want more than 1 scrolling "page" in your E-Book, you will need to create a series of HTML files from OpenOffice.org Writer (in the example below we create 2 HTML files).
    • You must save the main file (the first one that will be displayed when your E-Book opens) into HTML format, with the file name index into your source folder. OpenOffice.org Writer will automatically add .htm to the file name, thus giving index.htm (again don’t worry the instructions below show you what to do).
    • You can save your other files with any name you like (although we recommend sticking to letters and numbers, and avoiding spaces and special characters), but again they must be saved in the source folder.
    • If any of your Writer documents contains pictures, then provided you follow our instructions below, they will be saved automatically as separate files in the source folder. Writer 2.1 will do this completely automatically, provided of course you follow the procedures below.

  2. You can create hyperlinks between your HTML files, or from your HTML files to web sites (we show some examples of this below).
  3. Please be aware that OpenOffice.org Writer’s feature that converts from its own document format to HTML may have some limitations, so it is possible that you may lose some details of your formatting during the conversion process in Writer. If you have some information that absolutely can not be reformatted, the best idea is to create that information as a picture (e.g. in PNG format) using a graphics program and then insert the picture into your OpenOffice.org Writer docuent.

Let’s Get Started…

We are not going to prepare some content for your E-Book. You should store all the source files in their own folder, for example, a folder called. C:\MyBook\source\. If you used Activ Quick Project, you should already have an empty folder created and ready to work in.

  1. Start OpenOffice.org Writer 2.1. settings you will be presented with a blank word processor document and be ready to start typing. Do not do enter anything yet.

    Instead click Close on the File menu

    OpenOffice.org Writer should now appear as a blank screen containing no documents, as follows:

    Writer 2.1 with no documents open

  2. Now select HTML Document under New on the File menu.

    Writer 2.1 with an empty HTML document open

  3. Before you start typing, let’s pick the file name, and save to HTML (the web page file format that you need to use for Activ E-Book source files).

    Click Save As… on the File menu.

  4. You will want to save this file as index (as it will become the main page of your E-Book) in the HTML Document format, into the source folder, for example, C:\MyBook\source\.

    Writer 2.1 Save As

    Here are the exact steps, if you have never done this before:

    • Drop down the Save in dropdown combination box, and find the source folder (you may need to do this more than once if your source folder is a folder inside a folder).
    • Click inside the File name text entry field, and type index. Do NOT press Return!
    • Drop down the Save as type dropdown combination box. Make sure that HTML Document (.html) is selected - this item should in fact be already selected.
    • Click Save

  5. Now start entering the text of the first page of your E-Book into Writer.

    Writer 2.1 index page

    Don’t forget, if you like, you may use text formatting as in this example:

    Writer 2.1 index page with formatting

  6. When you are done with your first page, click Save on the File menu.
  7. Next, we’ll create a second page. Do not close Writer yet, we want to keep using it for a while…
  8. Click HTML Document under New on the File menu. This will create a second HTML document.
  9. Before you start typing, let’s pick the file name, and save to HTML (the web page file format that you need to use for Activ E-Book source files).

    Click Save As… on the File menu.

  10. You will want to save this file under another file name as it will be a different page of your E-Book (do not use spaces in the file name), for example, as page2. Whatever name you pick, you need to save in the HTML Document format, into the source folder, for example, C:\MyBook\source\.

    Here are the exact steps, if you have never done this before:

    • Drop down the Save in dropdown combination box, and find the source folder (you may need to do this more than once if your source folder is a folder inside a folder).
    • Click inside the File name text entry field, and type page2 (or whatever name you want to use). Do NOT press Return!
    • Drop down the Save as type dropdown combination box. Make sure that HTML Document (.html) is selected - this item should in fact be already selected.
    • Click Save

  11. Now start entering the text of the second page of your E-Book into Writer.

    Writer 2.1 second page

  12. If you click the Window menu in Writer, at the bottom of this menu, you will see menu items to switch between the various documents that you have open.
  13. Next, we’ll create a hyperlink between the main page and the second page. This will allow a person to read the first half of our poem, and then click on a link to continue reading.
  14. Select the page you want to link from (for example index - it should be listed on the Window menu).
  15. At the bottom of the page, add some text that will eventually become the hyperlink.

    Writer 2.1 index page - preparing a hyperlink step 1

  16. Select the text that you just added using the mouse.

    Writer 2.1 index page - preparing a hyperlink step 2

  17. Click Hyperlink which is on the Insert menu.

    You will see this dialog box:

    Writer 2.1 inserting a hyperlink

  18. Select the Document option (on the left hand side) as we wish to link to another page within the E-Book:

    Writer 2.1 inserting a hyperlink

    Also remember, that for links between files that will make up the pages of you your E-Book, both files must be located in the same folder.

  19. In the text field labelled Path, we should enter the file name of the page that the hyperlink will lead to.

    For example, since you want to link to page2.html (the second page of your E-Book that you created and named earlier in this tutorial), you should enter page2.html:

    Writer 2.1 inserting a hyperlink

    You may, if you wish, use the little folder icon to the right of the Path field to browse a file name (do not change folder if you do this), but if you do so, the Path field will display something like C:\MyBook\source\page2.html which is incorrect. You must then edit the path, to just contain the file name (in this example page.html), or otherwise you E-Book will not work correctly when compiled (because it would depend on specific folders and files on your own PC that your readers would not have).

    Click the Apply button to place the hyperlink, then click Close.

  20. The hyperlink has been made, and will show up as blue underlined text.

    Writer 2.1 index - your hyperlink is ready

    To see the text clearly, you may wish to move the text insertion point using the mouse (and clicking elsewhere in the document) or by using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

    Writer 2.1 index - your hyperlink is ready

  21. The hyperlink that we just added one page, leads to a different page within the E-Book. We will now learn how to add a hyperlink that goes to a web site.
  22. Select the page you want to link from (for example page2 - it should be listed on the Window menu).
  23. At the bottom of the page, add some text that will eventually become the hyperlink.

    Writer 2.1 page2 - preparing a hyperlink step 1

  24. Select the text that you just added using the mouse.

    Writer 2.1 page2 - preparing a hyperlink step 2

  25. Click Hyperlink which is on the Insert menu.

    You will see this dialog box:

    Writer 2.1 inserting a hyperlink

    Select Internet option (on the left hand side):

    Writer 2.1 inserting a hyperlink

  26. In the text field labelled Target, we should enter the URL of the web page or web site that the hyperlink will lead to. Always include the http:// at the beginning of the hyperlink.

    For example - even though we commonly say www.yahoo.com or just yahoo.com, the full URL is really http://www.yahoo.com - and we must always use the full URL when setting up hyperlinks.

    Writer 2.1 inserting a hyperlink that goes to Yahoo!

    Click Apply thenClose on dialog, and you have added your hyperlink which will show up as blue underlined text.

    Writer 2.1 page2 - your hyperlink is ready

    To see the text clearly, you may wish to move the text insertion point using the mouse (and clicking elsewhere in the document) or by using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

    Writer 2.1 index - your hyperlink is ready

  27. Before we finish, let’s see how to add an image to a page.

    Start your favorite graphics program, clip art program, your copy of CoverFactory, or if you have none of these, the Windows Paint accessory. Then use it to place a graphic of your choice, in JPEG, PNG or GIF format, in the source folder (the same folder as your HTML files), in this example, C:\MyBook\source\.

    • If using Windows Paint, use Save As… on the File menu to do this - make sure you set Save as type to an appropriate format in the Save As dialog box.
    • In most graphics programs, you also would use Save As… on the File menu to do this - make sure you set Save as type to an appropriate format in the Save As dialog box.
    • In clip art programs, you would generally use an option called something like Save As or Export to do this - again make sure that you save/export in an appropriate format.
    • If using CoverFactory, you should use the Render To File… option on the Render menu to do this - CoverFactory will give you the option to render into JPEG, PNG or BMP format. We recomend that you choose PNG as this will produce the best quality results while retaining a small file size.

    Now switch back to the OpenOffice.org window contaiing the file in which you wish to insert your picture. Then move the insertion point to where you want to insert the picture - in my example, under the Yahoo! hyperlink (then hit Return a couple of times to add a couple of blank lines), then click From File… which you’ll find under Insert top level menu (note: you must use From File… and not File…).

    A dialog will displayed - use this to choose the graphics file that you created earlier:

    Writer 2.1 with no documents open

  28. You have now finished writing the text of your first E-Book, so now you want to save your work and exit Writer.

    Click Exit on the File menu.

    • Writer will ask you: Do you want to save the changes made to each file (Save, Discard or Cancel) - select Save.
    • You will be asked these questions for each file in your E-Book: just remember to always say Yes when asked if you want to save, and Yes HTML is a satisfactory format.

  29. Eventually, Writer will close itself, and you are now ready to compile an E-Book from the pages that you have created.

   

• • •

CBRocket 2.10 Released

Category: Company Announcements, Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 6:03 am

CBRocket is our PHP script that allows webmasters to allow their visitors to search ClickBank without leaving their site. And set up targeted text ads. A new release, version 2.10, fixes the limitation that had recently appeared, and which I wrote about in a recent blog post. As well as fixing this limitation, we’ve taken the opportunity to add a neat new filter feature, which is explained below. If you want to upgrade to the new version, we’ll provide it free to existing customers - so please contact us including the receipt number of your original purchase.

CBRocket: Filtering the ClickBank marketplace

CBRocket also now includes a feature that allows you to filter out product listings from ClickBank’s results, based on keywords that you specify.

Why would you want to do that?

Although ClickBank contains many excellent products, there may be some products that you feel are inappropriate for your site.

For example:

  • There might be some products that you consider unsuitable for your audience. For example, in site that is principally aimed at families,
    you might not wish to list products relating to nude photography, or improving your casino and gambling skills.

  • Many affiliate programs and advertising programs have restrictions on what type of content may appear on the same site as their ads. For
    example, you may not be allowed to put gambling ads on your web site. For this reason, you wouldn’t want CBRocket to display ClickBank products
    related to gambling, betting, casinos, poker, roulette, etc.

So how does this feature work?

First you set up a list of keywords describing products that you wish to filter out. And, from then on, whenever you retrieve the last ClickBank
data (by clicking a link in the admin screen of CBRocket), any products which contain any of these keywords will be automatically removed from your copy of the ClickBank marketplace.

Example: if you set this parameter to "casino,roulette,poker,horse racing,bet,bets,betting,gambling" it would filter out any ClickBank products which contained any of these gambling terms in their title or description.

If you ever want to narrow or widen the criteria, you can simply change the list of keywords, and click the retrieval link (in the CBRocket admin
screen) to update your copy of the ClickBank marketplace. It really is that easy.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •


 
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