PePcon Speaker Dossier: Laura Brady, Ebook Converter Extraordinaire
In the PePcon Speaker Dossier series we’re getting up close and personal with some of the coolest people on the planet: the print, PDF, and digital publishing gurus who’ll be the speakers at the conference! You’ve read their books, seen their videos, and liked their Facebook posts, now you can get to know them a little more personally, and have something to talk about when you meet them in person at PePcon.
“What’s a PePcon?” you ask. PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference is a massive 4-day multi-track extravaganza of all things print, PDF, and digital publishing, produced by the same folks that bring you this web site, InDesignSecrets.com. The seventh annual PePcon will be coming to San Diego, June 5–8.
The Laura Brady Dossier
Founder of Brady Type, a cutting-edge ebook developer based in Toronto, Canada, Laura Brady is committed to the art of type—in print or digital format.
Hails From: Windsor, Ontario and to this day remains a Canadian Native.
Short Bio: Ebook Developer, ebookcraft planner, mom, errant cyclist.
First Job: My first professional job was working as a typesetter at one of the oldest publishers in Canada (McClelland & Stewart). In my first six months on the job I met Pierre Trudeau, Leonard Cohen, and Robertson Davies. I was too young and stupid to appreciate how incredibly charming a job that one was.
First computer: A Mac, naturally.
Lefty or righty: Right handed, but a solid left-brain/right-brain tendency that makes me a coder with a designer’s eye.
Geeky or Nerd: Both?
Do you prefer pen and paper or keyboard? I would almost always rather type but I bought myself an expensive note pad and a really nice pen and am astonished at how much I love using them.
What were your favorite subjects in school? History and English
Favorite TV shows? Why? Finding Your Roots, and storytelling worlds like Game of Thrones, Vikings, Bletchley Circle. Engaging my attention is all about deep storytelling.
What’s in your pockets right now? A toonie. I was about to make a Tim’s run. (I bet that sentence doesn’t make sense to a non-Canadian.) (translation: Laura has a Canadian two-dollar coin, and she is off to purchase an amazing goodie or one of their fantastic coffees from Tim Horton’s Cafe & Bake Shop!)
Math is…a puzzle. I like puzzles.
At 6:00 a.m. I am usually: at the Mainline Coffee Company.
Current projects: I am a straight-up ebook developer. I love making ebooks and would love to spend 100% of my time just making. There is deep satisfaction in the actual doing for me.
If you could only use one piece of software for the rest of your life what would it be? Is this a trick question? How would I live without InDesign?
What is your favorite InDesign feature? I still find it magical when fields like the running heads auto-populate with the title of the chapter. I love making this work, and showing others how to make that work.
Something must people wouldn’t know about you: A few years ago my youngest son decided that baseball was his thing. Like a good mom, I jumped in with both feet and supported his passion. We now have regular seats to the Blue Jays games, and quote stats at one another while constantly assessing the Jays’ bullpen. Who wants to talk about Josh Donaldson? I’m ready.
Her PePcon 2016 Sessions: EPUB: Beyond the Basics and Beautiful Typography for the Screen. One of Laura’s primary focuses has always been making cleanly-coded ebooks that are still nicely designed and appealing. She has started to focus lately on accessibility issues as well and will demo some of the ways to make ebooks easier to use for all readers.
The EPUB session is for people with more than a passing familiarity with EPUB. It’s not a beginner session. Laura Brady will drill down into advanced InDesign EPUB export features, and will show code on the screen.
An eBook tip from Laura:
The Object Export Options dialog box (found in InDesign’s Object menu) is the source for making a lot of magic happen when you export an InDesign file to EPUB.
For example, I frequently group items — a chart or graphic built in InDesign — and then use the Preserve Appearance from Layout > Rasterize Content menu choice to export the whole as one piece of artwork in the resulting ebook.
When you tell InDesign to rasterize text frames in this way, you need to make the text accessible to people reading the ebook with assistive devices. You can use the Object Export Options dialog box for that, too.
What attendees have to say about Laura’s conference sessions:
“So much information, a lot to digest, but so efficient. Thanks a lot for this superb presentation. Laura does definitely knows what she’s talking about.” ~ PePcon 2015 attendee
“The best hands-on best practices demonstration I’ve seen at PePcon. I’m very glad Laura Brady shares her real world experience and takes the shine off the marketing promises of EPUB publishing.” ~ PePcon 2015 attendee