2nd September 2012, 8:19 AM
The Serebii Mobile Library
Approved by Dragonfree!
Kindles, iPads, Nooks, and other electronic readers are all the rage these days; practically everyone has one. But did you know you can put more than just books you actually buy on it? Okay, yeah, you probably did, but to make a long story short, wouldn't it be cool to put fanfics from right here on Serebii on your e-reader to take with you when an internet connection isn't readily available?
If you said "yes" to that last question, you've come to the right place! This is the Serebii Mobile Library, a nifty little thread where writers can drop reader-compatible files for readers to download, transfer to their mobile device, and enjoy on the go – because sometimes, you just can't find a good wi-fi connection to get to the forums, right?
Uploading and downloading is super-simple, but let's take one thing at a time.
Authors: How To Convert Your Story
Let's start off with the basics. Before you start, make sure you have all three of the following programs:
One: Word Processor
- Microsoft Word
- Google Docs (Browser-based, free to use so long as you have a Google account.)
- OpenOffice (Downloadable for free.)
Two: PDF Converter (OPTIONAL if you have OpenOffice, Pages, or Google Docs; REQUIRED if you have Word)
- Adobe Acrobat (Not free but a powerful tool.)
- CutePDF (Converter only/no built-in reader; customizable.)
- Nitro PDF (Free version also comes with a reader.)
Once you have all three programs installed (or available), the first step is to convert your fic to a PDF. This is easy. If you've already got your work saved in a word processing file, open it up and bring up the print menu. For most programs, this is File > Print. Do not hit the print button that is in the toolbar. This will automatically print your work to your default printer.
Note: If you don't have your fic saved to a word processor, please create a new document that contains your fic. This can be done by hitting the edit or reply with quote buttons on the posts that contain your story, copying the contents, pasting them into a word processor, and editing out all the BB code with visible formatting (read: making things marked with [i][/i] italics and so forth). Do not highlight, copy, and paste the posts outside of a text box. That will screw up your formatting.
After you open up the print dialogue box (i.e., the print menu), go to the top of the window. You'll see a drop-down box containing the name of your printer. (It's usually the first drop-down box at the top of the print dialogue box anyway.) Click on it and select the name of your PDF converter. Then, hit OK/Print/what-have-you, and a second box will pop up asking you where you want your PDF to be saved and what you'd like to name it. Make sure you save your PDF to a place that's easy for you to get to, and don't forget what your file's name is.
To make things easier, look at the next few screenshots to understand what I mean. Please note that because I'm right now running on Windows 7, my screen may not look like your screen. On the other hand, a lot of these are basic features, so once you check these out, it'll hopefully be a little bit easier to find things on your own machine.
By default, if you have a PDF reader installed on your computer, your document will open up as a PDF automatically after your PDF file has been created. Take the time to check everything over, and if everything looks good to you, you're ready to move on to the next step.
Edited Note: The above is only one possible method. There are various others, depending on which program you want to use. These include:
1. Opening up Adobe Acrobat (if you have it) and creating a new PDF from a file.
2. (For OpenOffice and possibly also Pages) Exporting the document through the "Export as PDF" option in the File menu. Finishing the conversion is only a matter of saving to an easy-to-access directory after that.
3. (For Google Docs) Using Download as > PDF in the File menu. Ditto, pretty much.
Feel free to use whichever method you're comfortable with. This part of the tutorial just outlines in detail the long route because Word doesn't have its own built-in converter (because, well, it's Word), and the print method works for all processors.
Step two is converting your PDF to a MOBI or EPUB file. This is also super-easy, and it's where calibre comes in. If you need help finding anything in order to follow along, feel free to use the screenshots on calibre's website and video tutorials to clear things up for you. What we're about to do is a very basic process for the program, so you'll find a lot of documentation on how to do it.
Start off by opening up calibre. In the upper left-hand corner of its window, you'll see a button that says "Add books." Clicking on it will allow you to add one book (or PDF) from a single directory. Unless you want to add multiple files at once, that's the option you'll want, so click on the button. Find your PDF and hit "open" to add it to your calibre library.
Once it's in your library, the next step is to edit the title and author of your book (because both fields will most likely be a little messy thanks to the fact that calibre is pulling all of that data from your filename and the name you used to register your PDF converter). This can be done one of two ways. First, you can hit "Edit metadata" (after selecting your book by clicking on it) to fix just its metadata. That means you can edit the title, the author, the cover, the tags, and a few other details.
The other way is by hitting the "Convert books" (also with your book selected) button. On the left-hand side of the conversion window (i.e., the window that pops up as soon as you hit that Convert books button), you'll see a series of tabs. Using those, you can edit everything from the title and cover of your book to the table of contents and the font. It's really a more in-depth way of editing your book, and you'll be in that menu anyway in the next step of the process. But if you just want a simple, straightforward method of editing your book that carries absolutely no risks of screwing up your contents, go with the Edit metadata button.
Finally, the last step is to convert your book. With your file highlighted (read: click on it first), click the button that reads "Convert books." This will bring up a new menu with all kinds of fancy bells and whistles. In the top right-hand corner of this window, you'll find a field marked "Output format." Make sure it's set to either MOBI or EPUB, and if not, click the drop-down box and change it. After that, make sure all of the fields below it are correct and finish up by hitting OK.
You can tell if you've done everything correctly by looking at the right-hand sidebar. That sidebar will contain your book's cover, your name ("Authors"), and the file's format ("Formats"). If it's a reader-compatible file, the Formats field should be marked with both PDF and either MOBI or EPUB. If neither MOBI or EPUB are there, try again.
In short, your steps are these:
1. Open your word processing file.
2. Open your print dialogue box through File > Print (or whatever keyboard shortcut you use).
3. Change your printer from your default one to your PDF converter.
4. Check the PDF.
5. Open calibre and add your PDF to the library.
6. (Optional) Edit your metadata.
7. Convert to EPUB or MOBI.
And three of these steps are literally just clicks of buttons. Pretty simple, no?
Authors: How To Upload
Once you have your MOBI or EPUB created, you still have the task of getting it on the internet. vB's uploading system in general does not allow you to attach EPUB or MOBI files to a post, and PDFs and ZIP files are frequently too big for Serebii's file size limit. What you'll need to do is upload it off the site and then create a post that includes a download link.
For this, I would recommend Dropbox, if only because it's simple, it's secure, and there may or may not be a shared folder for our Dropbox users to browse for fics in the future.
In any case, follow the steps you would normally use for the uploading site. Dropbox users, remember to put your files in the folder marked "Public." Otherwise, you won't be able to get a public link for us to use.
Once you have your file uploaded, use this form to submit your file to this post:
Public Link: (Please do not use the URL tags to create links that say "here" or "link here" or what-have-you. Simply copy and paste your URL into this field. DO NOT MODIFY IT.)
Summary: (Short snippet that describes your fic.)
Fandom/Original: (Is this a Pokémon fic or not? If it's a Pokémon fic, please put "Pokémon" here. If it's a non-Pokémon fanfiction, please list the fandom or fandoms you're using. If it's original, please simply put "Original.")
Genre: (See the next post for a full list of genres. Like the Fan Fiction Catalog, we ask that you only include up to three genres, and the first one will be your main one – as in, the one your story will be listed under.)
Type: (Choices include One-Shot, Chaptered – Complete, and Chaptered – Incomplete.)
Title: Adventures In the Generic Region
Public Link: http://uploadedepub.com
Summary: This is the story of Bob's travels through the Generic Region
Genre: Trainer Fic, Adventure
Type: Chaptered – Incomplete
If it looks A-OK, the library will be modified to include your shiny new work. For example:
Adventures In the Generic Region, by Author Name
This is the story of Bob's travels through the Generic Region
Pokémon, Trainer Fic/Adventure, Chaptered – Incomplete
Readers: How To Add Books Using Calibre
For readers, the process of downloading books and adding them to your devices is a lot simpler. In order to do this, you'll still need calibre, but that's really just about it.
Your first step is to find a fic you'll want and follow the link to download it to a folder that you can find easily.
Once it's on your computer, open up calibre. Just like authors, you'll want to add your new book to the library, so hit "Add books" and find the file you just downloaded. Open it up and calibre and go grab your USB cable.
Step three is to connect your reader to your computer. calibre will automatically detect your device as soon as your computer does, and a new button, "Send to device" will become available. If the button doesn't become available, check the connection between your reader and your computer.
Once the button appears, make sure your book is in the correct format! Kindles use MOBI files; most other devices use EPUB. To check, click on the title of your book and look to the sidebar to the right of the screen (the one that contains the author of the book, the format, and so forth). On the sidebar, you'll be able to see which format your book is currently in. If your new book is in the wrong format, it's very simple to convert it to the correct one. Simply click on its title, hit "Convert books," and make sure that the drop-down box in the upper right-hand corner (the one that says "Output format") shows you the file type you can use. For example, if you have a Kindle, make sure it says "MOBI." If you have anything else, try EPUB first. Once that's corrected, hit OK, and the sidebar should automatically update with the format your book is available in.
After you ensure that it's in the correct format, make sure your title is highlighted (read: clicked on) and use the new button to send it to your device. It should happen in seconds, so right after you hit the button, you're free to eject your reader and check to see if your library has updated with your new book. If it has, then enjoy! If not, feel free to try again.
In short, these are your steps as a reader:
1. Find and download your reading material.
2. Open calibre and add your new book to the library.
3. Attach your reader to your computer via USB magic.
4. Check the format. If it's in the wrong format, convert!
5. Send to your device.
Readers: How To Add Books Without Calibre
Alternatively, once your reader is connected to your computer, you can open up your electronic library's folder by accessing your device the same way you would a flash drive. (As in, open up My Computer/Explorer/whatever you would use to access files on a flash drive, locate your device, and keep digging until you find your library.) Then, you can manually drag and drop your reading material directly onto your device without using calibre. However, please note that there's no guarantee that you'll be able to open your new books because they may be in the wrong format for your e-reader. If that's the case, then you would need calibre.
Questions: All the Things Not Covered Above
Q. I want to submit my story to the library, but it's not finished yet! What do I do?
If your story isn't finished yet, you have two options. The first is to wait until it's finished and then submit a complete file. The second is to continuously update your entry every time you submit a new chapter. Please note that public links frequently change every time you upload a file, even if it's the same file with added material. If you choose to do the second option REMEMBER TO SEND YOUR NEW LINK. To make things easier, you do not need to resubmit the entire form every time you resubmit your link. You do, however, need to tell us which story you're updating.
Q. Can I submit multiple EPUB or MOBI files, one for each chapter?
A. Please don't. There is no easy way to merge EPUB and MOBI files into one giant file, and some readers (like the Kindle) will hate you if you add tons of separate files to it.
Q. Do I need to convert my work to a PDF?
A. It's the best way to ensure that your formatting will be preserved in the conversion process, so it's highly, highly recommended that you do. The other option is to save your work as an RTF, but this tends to be less reliable in terms of preserving formatting than saving it as a PDF. There is a third – to save as a TXT – but this will strip every use of italics, bold, and alignment (among other formatting features) from your story. You cannot open DOCs or other word document files in calibre either way.
Q. Can't my readers just pull my fic off their browser themselves?
A. Unfortunately, this is weirdly difficult! Grab My Book (a Firefox plugin designed to create MOBI and EPUB files from text on webpages) likes to select random posts within a thread instead of the entire thread or the first post, and Fanfiction Downloader (which… is exactly what it says on the tin) is only compatible with fanfiction archives like AO3 and Fanfiction.net, not fanfiction forums like Serebii's. Copying and pasting your work into a word document risks messing up your spacing and formatting, and copying and pasting your fic via the reply box leads to the tedium of finding and editing all of your tagged items (like anything in italics or anything centered). It's really quicker, easier, and more reliable if the author converted their original files to PDFs and then to a mobile format.
Q. Can I submit really old work, or does this archive only accept newly completed or in-progress fics?
A. You can submit anything you want! Go ahead!
Q. Can I submit a shipping fic?
A. Absolutely! Please note that shipping fics, because of the definition of what they are, must be filed under the romance or friendship categories (depending on the type of shipping) as their primary genres, but you're certainly free to specify secondary/tertiary genres.
Q. Can I submit a crossover?
A. Absolutely! Just remember to specify all of the fandoms you're using in the Fandom/Original field.
Q. Can I submit something that hasn't been posted to Serebii?
A. Sorry, but no. This library is for making work that's on the forums available to readers who might not be able to sit down and read on an internet connection all the time.
Q. I really like this fic by this one author, but there's no mobile file for them. Can I create one and submit it to the thread?
A. Check with the author first. If they say yes, go right ahead. Please note that if the author approaches us to tell us they don't want their fic added to the archive, the link will be taken down.
Q. Okay, I need specifics. Which file type should I convert my PDF to: EPUB or MOBI?
A. Either one! You can even upload both and then ask us to display both links on your entry. But if you only want to create one file and convert your file once, rest assured that your readers can easily convert your book to the correct mobile file for them by themselves.
Q. Can I just upload a PDF?
A. The end result is the same, but uploading an EPUB or a MOBI file allows readers to drag and drop your book onto their devices without downloading calibre. Most readers can handle PDFs as well, but for some Kindles, doing so would require having to scroll to read each page.
Q. Why isn't my book listed?
A. If you've just posted, it may be because the library has yet to be updated. Please be patient, but if a week passes with no updates, feel free to drop the mods or me a line to see what's up.
If your book was on our list but isn't anymore, please check your download link to make sure it's not expired. Every so often, links will be tested to make sure your book is still publicly available using the original link you gave us, and if it isn't and if you've posted within the past month, we'll give contacting you for a new link a shot. If we don't hear back from you within a reasonable time frame (a month), then your fic will be pruned off the list.
The only other possibility for why your book isn't on the list (besides a lack of author's consent) is because it might not be an EPUB/MOBI file of a fic that's on Serebii. Sorry, but please don't post download links for things that aren't books or for stories that aren't available on our forums.
Q. I'm a reader, but I'm a little bit wary about all of these links. Can you guarantee that I'm downloading exactly what I think I'll be downloading?
A. Absolutely! Each link is tested and verified before being added to the archive, so you'll always know you're going to be downloading an EPUB or MOBI of your fics of choice.
Last edited by JX Valentine; 3rd September 2012 at 12:51 AM.
Reason: Tweaking the tutorial.