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Sigil Tutorial - Importing Your Content:


1. Overview | 2. Importing Your Content | 3. Formatting Your Content  | 4. Walkthrough

There are several different ways to get books into Sigil:

Typing a Book in Sigil

Sigil offers almost a full word processor interface, so you can type your book into Sigil, but that's not really what it's designed for.

It'll work, but you lose a few options, such as: scene and character building tools in programs like Scrivner; editable format for editors and critique partners; ability to put you document into standard manuscript format for submitting to agents and editors.

Sigil is for editing ePub files, and works best when used that way, to take an existing ePub file, and make it both beautiful and functional enough for digital publication. So, I'd recommend typing your rough draft in .doc format (Using MS Word, Open Office, Pages, or your other favorite editor), then importing into Sigil when you're ready to publish it.

Open an existing ePub book

This is easy. Click the "Open" button on the Sigil toolbar, and it'll open right up.

Right about now, some of you may be thinking, "Why even use Sigil, then, if it can only open ePub files, and not import anything?"

For one, Sigil is about making ePubs, and editing ePubs. There are other programs to convert to ePub, and more and more programs have options to export to ePub.

"Okay," you might say, "That's nice, but why do I need Sigil if I can export to ePub using that other program?"

Well, go ahead and export your book (Which is in standard manuscript format, right?) using the export to ePub option, or something like Calibre.
Look at the output. Yeah, it's readable (depending on what you converted it from), but is it pretty? Is it what you'd expect from a professionally published eBook? Yeah, I didn't think so. That's what Sigil is for.

Use another program to convert them to ePub, then edit with Sigil

This is how you're going to get most of your content into Sigil. Since the content is already in ePub format, you open it the same as above.

Most of the manuscripts you want to convert to ePub will probably be in .doc (MS Word) format. Programs like Atlantis, or Open Office (with an add-in) do a decent job converting .doc files into ePub books, but you'll probably want to tweak it a little. Adjust chapter breaks if the conversion program either missed or put an extra one in, format the chapter headings, paragraph margins, tweak the meta data (author, title, genre, ISBN, etc), and anything else.

Copy and paste the text into Sigil, then edit it

Sometimes, you have a format that just won't cooperate. (I'm looking at you, PDF!) In that case, you can copy the text, and paste it into Sigil. This used to be used the most with Project Gutenberg books. Being all text, they needed some special loving care when converted to ePub. Nowadays, though, you can download them in ePub.

You might also need to copy and paste the text in if the conversion program you're using happens to do a really bad job for some reason or another, or you can't afford or just don't trust an automated program to import content properly. (Calibre really does do an adequate job converting from most formats, and it's free.)

    >> Continue to Part 3 of the Sigil tutorial: Formatting Your Content

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Comments? Questions?

If you have any comments, notice any bugs, or have any questions on any of the steps here, please e-mail me at: yoda47 (at) jedisaber (dot) com