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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Update on the Book Cover Generator

Hello! The Leebre Team is working a lot to get ready. We'd like to thank you again for your support, and we're really impressed with your generous pledges and the emails we are getting with comments and suggestions. Thanks a lot!

We recently improved the book cover generator. As an author who's looking forward to publishing with, I felt really excited to show it to everyone who's been supporting us. This tool is one of my favorite, actually. When it comes to publishing my work independently, I'm always worried about how to make my novels look attractive and professional looking. I had been using 'regular' photos as my only option and doing nothing special with them. In fact, I've seen many independent authors doing the same, and it's a little disheartening to make them when most of us don't know a lot about design tools.

Well, with the book cover generator you'll be able to turn the 'regular' photo you use as book cover into something way more interesting. Authors will be able to use and combine different book cover styles with color schemes. You'll be able to choose from the old photo look, black & white, blurry themes and a lot more. Check out these photos, and feel free to send your comments, suggestions, questions. Also, not shown in the photos there are going to be a bunch more exciting themes (sci-fi, fantasy, and other goodies).

I hope you liked it!
-- Becca, on behalf of the Leebre Team

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update on book editor

The book editor's most useful feature, probably, is the ability to paste in arbitrary text from Word or LibreOffice, or any other source. It will then, locally in the browser for maximum speed, process that text and convert it into Leebre's format. This enables authors to easily fall back to formatting things in tools they are familiar with. For example, if an author is annoyed that Leebre did not recognize the chapters in his or her novel, and if the author isn't sure how to format it so that Leebre would recognize the chapters, the author can always "fall back on" just copy-and-paste each chapter one at a time. Of course, I will try to make it as automatic as possible, but it's always good to be able to fall back on good ol' copy and paste!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Introducing the Book Editor

Hi guys,

We've been fairly active these last few weeks, preparing for Leebre's launch in February.

One feature we've been working on recently is the book editor. The primary focus of the online book editor is this: After you upload your book, you can use this online interface to edit it, correcting mistakes, and eventually helping edit other people's work in the "crowd-sourced editing" feature of Leebre.

The book editor is not like Word or most online text editors. Instead, it is a "semantic editor". The idea is to tell Leebre what you mean as opposed to how you want it to look. For example, instead of making chapter headers by centering text, typing in "Chapter III", and increasing the font-size, you instead will have the option to click a "New Chapter" button that inserts a chapter break where you specify, and takes care of formatting for you. Then, if you change the style of the book, it will update everything to be consistent: for example, changing chapter headers to be left-aligned, or using Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals. This applies to all aspects of the book, and is intended to be quick and easy to get used to, and hopefully as frustration-free as possible!

First, here is a screenshot of editing a paragraph:

Instead of editing the text as one long continuous flow, paragraphs are edited individually by clicking on them. New paragraphs can be made by hitting Enter twice, or by inserting one with a button. When you are done editing a paragraph, you just click somewhere else, or move on to the next one. This keeps mistakes down to a minimum.

Also, to keep mistakes and frustrations at bay, like in many popular chat programs (Google) and forums (Reddit), editing paragraphs will use notation like _this_ to indicate this, or emphasized (ie, italicized) text. When you "deselect" the paragraph, it will update to preview how it will look in book form. This keeps it clear when editing paragraphs where exactly the emphasized text begins and ends, unlike in word processors where you may find yourself squinting to see if you accidentally selected the first letter of the next word when adding some formatting.

Here's what it looks like when a paragraph is deselected:

Here we see the insertion toolbar -- we can insert chapter breaks, section breaks (often with a horizontal rule), images, and comments. Comments won't actually be published: they are just for your own use, or for use during collaborative projects.

Let us know what you think!