I’ve just finished creating the e-versions of Third Person Press’ new anthology release, Airborne. While I was at it, I created new formats for our first anthology, Undercurrents, which previously existed only in .pdf format. I did that because with Jutoh from Anthemion Software, it was so easy.
I’ve spent some time experimenting with, and ultimately being frustrated by, other ebook creators (this over a period of several years). I’ve tried some that were proprietary and some that claimed to handle multiple file formats, but it seemed to me that all of them were difficult to figure out, required enormous and time-consuming amounts of hand-correcting, or simply did not produce properly-formatted, readable output in a reliable way. Then I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Jutoh.
I was already a fan of Anthemion’s Writer’s Cafe, which I know I’ve spoken of here before in glowing terms. I don’t tackle any large writing project now without using its Storylines feature to keep track of my…well, storylines. I rarely write a short story without using it, either. I can see after using Jutoh for just these two projects that it has also become an indispensable tool for me.
My other reason for heaping praise on Anthemion is the absolutely superlative support offered. Questions are answered promptly and personally, and guidance is always close at hand when needed. Their software is also extremely reasonably priced. Writer’s Cafe is $45US and Jutoh is $32US…although buying both together nets you a deal on Jutoh. As a registered WC user already I inquired about the Jutoh discount and was promptly afforded it. I really can’t say enough good things about the support!
As for usability, with Jutoh I was able to take an already-heavily-formatted, multiple-chapter document and convert it with only a minimal amount of hand-formatting into epub, mobipocket, and Smashwords-ready formats. Other formats are also available, as well as export as an .mp3. I expect that the program would have dealt even more handily with a document that was not already extensively setup for its print format. Next time I will create the ebook version first and then do the formatting necessary for print, and see how that works.
The user interface is easy to understand, and upon launching a new project, a wizard walks you through the process of getting started. I particularly like this feature, as opposed to some software programs that seem to sit smugly waiting to see if you will be able to figure them out. In addition, Jutoh has an excellent help file which opens in the workspace, so that you can read instructions and carry them out without a lot of switching back and forth between windows. A sample file is included if you need some visual cues to get started with the program. A built-in “check” feature also reviews ebook files after they are compiled, and offers warning and error messages when problems are encountered. A cover designer with several templates lets you create a cover easily if you don’t already have one.
I did encounter a slight error when using the “find” feature, however, the program automatically generated an error report which was submitted to the developer, and I had a reply to that report in short order. That’s what I mean about the superlative support–they’re actually paying attention to their customers’ experiences with their products. I have seen this in action before with the mailing list for Storylines, where there is a lot of interaction between users and the developer so that everyone’s experience of the program is improved.
If you are interested in creating ebooks of any sort in multiple formats, I recommend Jutoh very highly indeed.