me as the author of DocBook XSL: The Complete Guide.
Now I have written another book on a completely different topic:
solar energy. Since I produced my new book using DocBook, I'm
taking this opportunity to tell the DocBook community about it,
and I describe how I produced it at the end of this message.
Replies about the DocBook process can go to the whole list if
you think it's appropriate. If you want to reply about the book's
content, please reply just to me so we don't burden the mailing
pleased to announce that my book Power Shift: From Fossil
Energy to Dynamic Solar Power has been unleashed from its
long development and is now available to the world. If you have
any interest in solar energy, then you should read this book.
change researchers sometimes paint a bleak picture of our
current global-warming crisis, but rarely explain how we got
into this predicament in the first place and how we get out of
it. Now, for the first time, my new book does just
that. Power Shift retells human history through the lens
of energy, explains the science behind the crisis--in clear,
succinct language that anyone can understand—and provides a
detailed blueprint for the future, from governmental,
commercial, and individual perspectives.
Wondering if the book is any good? Here is what others are
"Solar is surging all of a sudden, and if you read this
book you’ll understand why!" -- Bill McKibben, author of The End
"An energy book that is a pleasure to read" -- Kirkus Reviews
"visionary and brilliant" -- NASA Researcher Joe Jordan
"Exceptionally well written" -- Midwest Book Review
"lucid, convincing" -- Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth
"points the way to a clean energy future" -- California
Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird
or check out the reader reviews on Amazon
After teaching solar energy for many years, I spent over 15
years researching and writing this book, all while living the
life in the off-grid solar home we built. This is my lifework.
been a long road to publication. I handed out the first
draft in January 2000, and many things have changed
since then. Now I get to report on solar energy's success
instead of just wishing for it. I'm self publishing
the book, because as an unknown author I could not
interest a publishing company, and because they don't
offer much in the way of marketing for new authors
anyway. So I started my own publishing company,
Sandstone Publishing (www.sandstonepublishing.com
whose catalog contains exactly one book.
Now I get to market my book, an activity for which I am
totally unsuited. My low-budget marketing plan consists
of getting good reviews, and word of mouth. So if you
read the book and like it, please write a review on
Amazon or Goodreads, and tell your friends and family
about it. Even climate skeptics can get something out
of this book.
The book is available in paperback and
Kindle at Amazon
in paperback and Nook Book at Barnes
, in iBooks at the Apple
and in Kobo from Kobo
. And if you can't afford one, convince me and
I'll give you an Ebook copy. 8^)
By the way, although you know me as Bob Stayton, I'm
publishing the book under my full name Robert Arthur Stayton
as a gesture to honor my father Chester Arthur Stayton, Jr.
and my grandfather Chester Arthur Stayton, Sr., with whom I
share my middle name.
Producing Power Shift with DocBook
I wrote the book in DocBook 5 using XMetal 7. I started
off writing it in modular fashion, but found that it got in
the way of continuity. This
isn't technical documentation, after all. 8^) So I
merged all the files into one big book file and finished the
book that way. That allowed me to easily find something for
cross referencing and to keep the narrative flow moving.
Searches for indexterms were much easier in a single file,
and I used XMetal macros to assist with inserting
I hired a book designer for the interior and implemented the
specs from the InDesign file she gave me in DocBook XSL.
From that I could generate the PDF for the book's interior.
I had hoped to be able to show you the page design by
referring to the Look Inside the Book feature on Amazon, but
for some reason they put the Kindle version in there and I
have not been able to reach the right person at Amazon to
replace it with the PDF version I submitted to them two
weeks ago. One of the many trials of working with automated
For the cover, I started with a cover template in InDesign
that I generated from Lightning Source, which is the
print-on-demand vendor that I'm using. They provide a form
to enter the book's dimensions, paper type (which determines
thickness), and page count, and they generate an InDesign
template for the cover spread (back cover on left, spine in
center, front cover on the right). I could then fill in the
text in the appropriate boxes. I left the cover in InDesign
rather than try to implement it in DocBook. From InDesign I
produced the PDF for the cover.
Then it was just a matter of setting up the book at
Lightning Source and submitting the two PDFs. Since I
already had an account at Lightning Source for my DocBook
book, I just had to add another book. If you are new self
publisher, they will likely try to push you over to Ingram
Spark, their service that is intended for self-publishers
with little publishing experience. Lightning Source does
much less hand holding than Spark.
Lightning Source has some specific requirements for the PDF
files you submit. All fonts must be embedded, including
those of any SVGs you insert. They also came back and said
the cover colors were too rich and had to be scaled back. I
was able to fix all the PDF issues using PhotoShop and
Acrobat Pro's Preflight tools.
In January of this year I ordered the first Advance Reading
Copies (ARC) to send to reviewers that want the book months
before publication so they can write a review. The ARC
version predated the final copy edit, the index, and other
final details. The great thing about print-on-demand is
that I could order only as many copies as I needed. In
April I completed the final revisions in XMetal and
submitted my revised PDFs. It cost only $40 each to update
the book block and the cover. Once I approved the test
book, Lightning Source arranges for the book to be posted on
Amazon and listed in Books-in-Print.
I also used the DocBook tools to produce Ebook versions with
the epub3 stylesheet. I ended up producing four different
epub3 flavors for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Kobo. They
differ mostly in the CSS used, because their readers are not
at all consistent about how CSS is handled. It reminded me
of the bad old days of HTML browser incompatibilities. I
then had to set up accounts on each of the systems to become
an Ebook seller. The biggest pain was iBooks, because Apple
*requires* you to use an Apple computer to run the software
they use to manage iBooks.
Just when you think you are done, you realize that no one is
buying your book because no one knows about it. So I had to
start a whole new career as book marketeer. Not much help
from DocBook there.
bobs <at> sagehill.net