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Create non-fiction pamphlet on Linux?
#1  cootcraig 10-04-2018, 01:58 PM
My primary workstation(s) run Linux. I've started reading ebooks and use Calibre as my ebook archive. I've gotten interested in creating non-fiction pamphlets for my own use and on occasion for direct distribution to others.

I have a private personal journal I keep with Nanoc, a static site generator. Vim is used as the editor. Yes, I'm a tech geek (now retired).

In the past I've used LyX – The Document Processor for work related technical reports. In fact, my first thought is write in LyX and then convert to epub in Calibre.

Discussion please. Let me know about existing threads to look at.
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#2  rcentros 10-04-2018, 06:47 PM
I use Linux and have created a few ePub documents, but my method is extremely simple. Like you, I use a text editor for the initial writing (Jstar, a WordStar-like Joe variant), then I read that file into LibreOffice Writer (after removing the extra hard carriage returns so the text will flow, probably not necessary in vim). Then I format the document however I want, save as ODT and read that into Calibre. And then just convert to ePub. It comes out pretty well. Nothing fancy. No diagrams or images.
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#3  cootcraig 10-04-2018, 07:12 PM
Quote rcentros
I use Linux and have created a few ePub documents, but my method is extremely simple. Like you, I use a text editor for the initial writing (Jstar, a WordStar-like Joe variant), then I read that file into LibreOffice Writer (after removing the extra hard carriage returns so the text will flow, probably not necessary in vim). Then I format the document however I want, save as ODT and read that into Calibre. And then just convert to ePub. It comes out pretty well. Nothing fancy. No diagrams or images.
I will try LibreOffice Writer. I'm likely to want images and diagrams occasionally, Writer might be just the thing.
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#4  gmw 10-04-2018, 11:27 PM
Note that LibreOffice v6 has an epub filter of its own now. I have not yet tried it out, but you may be able to avoid the Calibre step for epub construction - if you want.
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#5  cootcraig 10-05-2018, 12:38 AM
How about HTML -> pandoc -> epub
This looks promising to me. I have actually used "Pro Git"


Creating an ebook with pandoc


A real book

To see what this would look like for a real book, let’s convert Scott Chacon’s book Pro Git, which he wrote using pandoc’s markdown variant and released under a Creative Commons license. (If you use the book, please consider buying a copy to help support his excellent work.)
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#6  gmw 10-05-2018, 05:49 AM
If HTML is what you write in then pandoc might be a reasonable choice.

I try to keep the production chain as short as I can. I write in LibreOffice and from there I can go direct to epub (ebooks - currently via plug-in but now hopefully by built-in filter) or to PDF (print books), so I'm covered. But narrative fiction is easy. For non-fiction you're going to have to shop around until you find what works for you, starting with the base/original source material - whether that be raw HTML, LaTeX or whatever. (Saying you use Vim as an editor doesn't actually tell us what you're creating.)
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#7  cootcraig 10-05-2018, 09:46 AM
The thead so far

rcentros workflow

Quote rcentros
my method is extremely simple. Like you, I use a text editor for the initial writing
...
then I read that file into LibreOffice Writer
...
the text will flow, probably not necessary in vim). Then I format the document however I want
...
save as ODT and read that into Calibre. And then just convert to ePub.
gmw suggestion all in LibreOffice Writer

Quote gmw
Note that LibreOffice v6 has an epub filter of its own now.
pandoc markdown -> pandoc -> epub

And another workflow. I work with Nanoc already and have programmed with Ruby

Nanoc static HTML site generator like Ruby Red Bricks with follow up

All in LIbreOffice would be the most direct route.
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#8  rcentros 10-05-2018, 10:17 AM
Quote gmw
I try to keep the production chain as short as I can. I write in LibreOffice and from there I can go direct to epub (ebooks - currently via plug-in but now hopefully by built-in filter) or to PDF (print books), so I'm covered. ...
If Writer in LibreOffice had the WordStar keystrokes I might write directly in it more often. But I'm not that fond of WYSIWYG for the writing process because I'm always worried about "how it looks" instead of what I'm writing. And text files will always be readable and easily manipulated. But mostly it's the WordStar keystrokes and commands that I want. They're hard-wired into my fingers from my DOS days.
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#9  gmw 10-05-2018, 11:15 AM
Quote cootcraig
[...] gmw suggestion all in LibreOffice Writer [...]
Not sure I'd characterise my posts as suggesting "all". My first post merely suggested that you might try doing the "to epub" step using LibreOffice. The second post mentioned that I do it all in LibreOffice but was not supposed to indicate that I expected you to - that is going to depend on the requirements of your non-fiction publication. However, I do stand by the idea that keeping your toolchain as short as you can is a good thing (unless you also want to publish a book called "the making of my book" ).

Quote rcentros
If Writer in LibreOffice had the WordStar keystrokes I might write directly in it more often. But I'm not that fond of WYSIWYG for the writing process because I'm always worried about "how it looks" instead of what I'm writing. And text files will always be readable and easily manipulated. But mostly it's the WordStar keystrokes and commands that I want. They're hard-wired into my fingers from my DOS days.
It took me a long while to get comfortable with OpenOffice (before LibreOffice) - from my WordPerfect days - but mostly I get along okay now. You might find that someone has built WordStar key support for LibreOffice if you were tempted to go down that path - chances are that you're not the only one with fingers wired that way.
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#10  cootcraig 10-05-2018, 11:37 AM
Another approach. Ruby Red Bricks writes about Ruby ePub with Franklin

Franklin is a static-site framework, optimized for online books.
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