Sunday, July 13, 2014

Some Technical Notes

Just uploaded the Kindle-specific version of Charlotte. (If you're looking and it has an ISBN number that's the direct conversion, the kindle version will say Kindle version).

I used LibreOffice to write the book. It generally works very well for this. The alternative program I could have used was word (though not on my machine because for some reason I love Linux!)  Unfortunately Amazon really needs a native Word document, so I had to borrow my BFF's windows machine to make the kindle version. So I can give a relative assessment of the strengths of the programs.
  1. Basic functions. Format/font/spellchecking. There's not a lot of difference in function here, but LibreOffice is easier to use. It is easier to pull down and modify elements of the template to do things like change font or margins. My BFF finds that above a certain size document word stops the spellcheck. Libreoffice continues no matter how large the document (although the check document seems to stop at a certain length too).
  2. Grammar functions. LibreOffice uses an addin called Languagetool. It is pretty good, and I used it for Charlotte. It has a few quirks, my favorite having 'to Bath' (as in 'they drove to Bath') flagged as an error; it wanted me to say either to the bath or to bathe, which doesn't quite mean the same thing. It's also very sensitive to the use of some, as in 'some of these'.  Word's tool is still a bit better at catching homonymic miss-spellings and dropped letters (a instead of at, though instead of thought). So this is one good reason to use word.
  3. Table of contents. Word rules here. The current version of LibreOffice simply does not support generating a good table of contents. This is a pity because the older versions were very good at it (much better than word).
  4. Word format. Open office is good at it, word is almost, but not quite perfect.