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Old 01-24-2013, 08:45 PM   #16
caleb72
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Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
I am not "unwilling" to deal with their issues, and I am not using their BETA software. Clients are. Not the same thing, at all. Anytime you think you can tell clients NOT to upload a file somewhere that takes their fancy, knock yourself out. Quite bluntly, I'm not here to do SW's work for them. They requested test ePUBs nearly what, 8 weeks ago; I presume that after that Alpha, they presumed that their Beta was ready. What it sounds like is that their Alpha isn't even finished.

If they're running ePUBs through the Grinder, this should not be happening. If they are only validating the ePUBs, this should not be happening. So: WTF is happening? Some half-baked in-between?

Of course I'm irritated, because their Beta is interfering with my actual work. And, for anyone that has NOT been paying attention, who does make books professionally, now this means--pay attention--not only a Kindle book, but now THREE ePUBS; one for Apple and its incredibly bloated cover size, plus the display-options file, so as to ensure that the fonts display, plus all the added coding to make simple things like "center" happen; one for Nook, and now one for Smashwords, since they won't let it "pass Go" without the big bold text "SMASHWORDS EDITION" on the copyright page (forgetting even the absurd font issues). if you think that fonts throw SW a curve, I can't wait to see what happens when they trip over the display-options file for Apple.

They should have kept the testing Beta closed (for professionals only, to submit files) until they had garnered enough ePUBs--if they really wanted material for testing, they could have found HUNDREDS of ePUBs right here on MR--until they had the biggest kinks worked out. That my client's file failed, with almost NOTHING in it, is not a good sign.

Everyone on this forum has been bemoaning how the retailers and distributors are driving the various ePUBs further and further apart; Apple with ePUB3 and multimedia and other standards peculiar only to it; Nook with its endless hyphenation and other bugs, and now Smashwords, for which, it seems, not only will we have to go through the trouble of making a new ePUB with its self-glorifying text on it (which is nothing but that, as it gets paid by ISBN, not title nor name nor anything else), but we'll have to make a completely less-than-even-vanilla ePUB that looks like someone uploaded--wait for it--a Word file.

I think I'm going to hang out a sign in our FAQ/KB, etc.: NO SMASHWORDS FILES until they get their act together. Making one MOBI and three bloody ePUBs is 1 too many ePUBs for me, and most of my clients already have distro to Apple and Nook; if they want SW, they want it for the other even smaller eBook retailers than Apple.

Bloody hell.

H
I'm definitely not a professional ebook creator so bear with me a little. I am interested in what you're talking about with Smashwords from an academic point of view.

If you make a Smashwords edition - fitting all their criteria, do they pass on that work automatically for B&N and iTunes? Would that make it so you'd only need one ePub?

I hope that's not an extraordinarily stupid question, but I thought that was meant to be one of the advantages of submitting to Smashwords. If it's not that simple, then I wonder what the advantage of Smashwords actually is for content creators. I always thought Meatgrinder looked a bit painful for someone unless they were going to get the advantage of all distribution channels (iTunes, B&N, Amazon etc..)
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:42 PM   #17
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I'm definitely not a professional ebook creator so bear with me a little. I am interested in what you're talking about with Smashwords from an academic point of view.

If you make a Smashwords edition - fitting all their criteria, do they pass on that work automatically for B&N and iTunes? Would that make it so you'd only need one ePub?

I hope that's not an extraordinarily stupid question, but I thought that was meant to be one of the advantages of submitting to Smashwords. If it's not that simple, then I wonder what the advantage of Smashwords actually is for content creators. I always thought Meatgrinder looked a bit painful for someone unless they were going to get the advantage of all distribution channels (iTunes, B&N, Amazon etc..)
Arguably, it would, except that most of my clients are sophisticated enough in that they know that they're already paying 50% to Apple and 30% to B&N, and don't want to pay another 14% to Smashwords, so they upload themselves directly to B&N and those who can (Mac owners), upload directly to Apple. What most of my clients want is distro to the much smaller retailers like Diesel, etc., that they can't get to without distro or an Aggregator.

I have a few that can't upload to Apple directly, so they want distro there (at least, until they've got a year with iBooks under their belt and have seen what type of sales it garners), and yes, those folks would then ONLY need two; one for B&N and one for SW.

The "advantage" of SW has been, over the past few years, primarily that people with books on Amazon use it as a tool to force Amazon to price-match to a free book. Most of the clients that we have who've asked us to make Word files from their final ePUB files to create SW books (prior to the great SW experiment) tell us that they're simply using the ability to set (mobi-formatted via Calibre) books to free on SW as a way to leverage Amazon into price-matching. {shrug}. That's all I really know, other than, what I see is not less than two ePUBs and now maybe three. I would expect very few of my clientele to actually use SW for distro to those outlets that they can do themselves, since this is, after all, business, and 14.25% is a good-sized chunk of cash.

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Old 01-24-2013, 09:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by caleb72 View Post
If you make a Smashwords edition - fitting all their criteria, do they pass on that work automatically for B&N and iTunes? Would that make it so you'd only need one ePub?

When I first started I pushed a word file to Smashwords, and a mobi to Amazon. Through those to outlets I got my book out to 95% or better of the ebook market place (US Market at least).

But now I make :

1) One EPUB for B&N
2) One EPUB for Kobo
3) One WORD file for Smash
4) One MOBI file for Amazon

The reason is partly speed and partly accuracy. For example, B&N represents a large (maybe 20%) piece of my sales, but going through Smash can delay releases/updates as much as 2 months. Kobo I think is poised to become a major player, so I am hedging my bets and treating them as one ahead of the game but currently they are a distance 4th behind Apple in my sales.

I have dealt with other small outlets, like Bookiejar, and etc, directly but it frankly is not worth it. I really only sell via those 4 files mentioned above, and pretty much with my forth novel I have abandoned the rest.

Smash also gets me in Libraries, but that is a new market for them and still being developed. I know of no other way for me to get in to libraries.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:03 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
When I first started I pushed a word file to Smashwords, and a mobi to Amazon. Through those to outlets I got my book out to 95% or better of the ebook market place (US Market at least).

But now I make :

1) One EPUB for B&N
2) One EPUB for Kobo
3) One WORD file for Smash
4) One MOBI file for Amazon

The reason is partly speed and partly accuracy. For example, B&N represents a large (maybe 20%) piece of my sales, but going through Smash can delay releases/updates as much as 2 months. Kobo I think is poised to become a major player, so I am hedging my bets and treating them as one ahead of the game but currently they are a distance 4th behind Apple in my sales.

I have dealt with other small outlets, like Bookiejar, and etc, directly but it frankly is not worth it. I really only sell via those 4 files mentioned above, and pretty much with my forth novel I have abandoned the rest.

Smash also gets me in Libraries, but that is a new market for them and still being developed. I know of no other way for me to get in to libraries.
See? What he said. Dang, if I'd waited ten minutes, I wouldn't have had to type at all. ;-)

P.S.: I concur, 100%, about Kobo. They are poised for big biz in the Far East.

H
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:01 PM   #20
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What Smashwords needs to do is put up a list of what they expect from this new direct ePub upload so then it can be ripped apart so the stupid shit can go.
Yes, and for anyone who's been following this thread: we've now issued SEVEN ePUBs for this client. Purportedly, the only issue for the last SIX that has been keeping it from intake is the "copyright" information, which has to have "SMASHWORDS" all over it in big type. I've actually removed the "real" copyright page, (and, BTW, the various book credits that belonged to everyone who worked on the book, including the cover designer, etc.) after the 5th version, and replaced the client's title page to match a previous title page he'd done in Word that did intake successfully. The book allegedly passed intake, and then three days later, he got the same error message about the "copyright information," which, FWIW, I copied-and-pasted directly from SW's Guide.

I told the client today that we would not provide any further ePUBs for "testing" at SW. I've had no end of back-and-forth emails with "just change this!" and "just change that!," and "advice" from (wait for it SMASHWORDS FORMATTING EXPERTS that the client contacted, who said "follow the formatting guide and use the "nuclear" option (i.e., remove all formatting)...and I said, enough of this crap.

I told him we'd give him the books in Word format, and he can format them to his heart's content. This is a simple fiction title. Nothing fancy. No embedded images, no dropcaps...not even smallcaps. It should have been a near-perfect test ePUB. Seven "versions" later, the book is still not in, for absolutely no apparent reason.

So, our participation in this experiment is over. I never thought I'd say that Apple had been surpassed in their ridiculousness in intake, but, they have been. Maybe people who are bookmaking for a hobby, or to blog about it, have the time to play around with making and remaking titles to see what submits, but we're producers, not authors or publishers, and we don't. Worse, since there's no such thing as publishing "draft," it's not like we can even test the intake for ourselves, so...it's over for us. If and when SW gets their procedures down, and has an actual Guide that can be relied upon, and if we have a client that wants to submit there (we get a few a year), then, great, but until then...enough already. Creating a Beta with no visible rules, requirements, standards, etc., is just absurd. if authors want to be tortured trying to hit an invisible target, and want to spend all their time doing so, great, but, that's not for us. I'm out my own time on this, and as we only get 2-3 requests a year for SW "formatting," I won't earn it back any time soon.

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Old 01-29-2013, 07:18 PM   #21
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[...]Purportedly, the only issue for the last SIX that has been keeping it from intake is the "copyright" information, which has to have "SMASHWORDS" all over it in big type. [[[.]
I find this an odd requirement. Are they a distributor or a publisher? If the latter then I understand the requirement, if the former then they have no place being mentioned inside the book at all.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:07 PM   #22
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Purportedly, the only issue for the last SIX that has been keeping it from intake is the "copyright" information, which has to have "SMASHWORDS" all over it in big type.
Where's the problem? It says you have to say 'SMASHWORDS EDITION' on the copyright page, right there in the style guide.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:10 PM   #23
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"One option is to do a CTRL-A and change everything to Normal style, then modify the style to enforce the characteristics you want."
Hmm...

I make epubs in Sigil. There is no "CTRL-A" option for all files, and there is no "Normal" style.

Sounds like the epubs are being run through the Meatgrinder's verification process, rather than anything that checks "is this a valid EPUB," and doesn't worry about whether it's compatible with other formats, which won't be generated from it.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:24 PM   #24
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Where's the problem? It says you have to say 'SMASHWORDS EDITION' on the copyright page, right there in the style guide.
Which effectively makes Smashwords the publisher, does it not? Lightning Source doesn't require me to say "Lightning Source edition", and BookBaby doesn't require that I say "BookBaby edition", because these are true distribution services.

Of course Smashwords, being a free service, have to pay their way somehow, and hitching an advertising ride on each "edition" they publish is one of those ways. I'm not saying it's wrong, just saying that it changes what they are, despite their insistence to the contrary.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:00 AM   #25
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Where's the problem? It says you have to say 'SMASHWORDS EDITION' on the copyright page, right there in the style guide.
Yes, which we've put on there for the last SIX editions. I don't know what the problem is; if I did, I'd fix it. Or, rather, I would have, for the last 5. I originally put in on the copyright page, and that was rejected. Then I added the additional License Notes (which was their next request). Then we tried something else; then I nuked our original copyright page altogether (along with all the proper credits) and put the SMASHWORDS EDITION on the Title page, as previous approved .doc files had displayed. Then I added the License notes to the title page, which was their NEXT requirement. Now that's been rejected, again, for "copyright issues," even though I've taken the wording, verbatim, from their Guide. So, I don't KNOW.

@elfwreck: Of course there isn't (a way to do that in ePUB). That's their instructions on how to "clean" a Word file, for crap's sake. That was their "expert advice" on the second pass.

@gmw: Yes, of course they're the publisher, despite Mark Coker insisting that they are not. Easy way to prove it? Try to take an ePUB you've made at SW with a SW ISBN--even the "premium" ISBN--and try to pub it anywhere else. It will be rejected. Why? Because by using a SW ISBN, that makes them the Publisher of Record. Mark can try to hair-split and call himself a "distributor" or "aggregator" from now until Hell freezes over, but when buyers pay a company the monies for purchase, and they in turn pay them to the content creator, that makes the company receiving all the money from sales the PUBLISHER. Because they control the ducats. The whole point of ISBN's, despite enormous popular misconceptions, is the supply and payment chain. That's why you can't use a SW ISBN at, say, B&N if you try to publish it yourself with your own publishing entity.

SW isn't a "free" service. AFAIK, they earn 14.25% of the sales, so it's not exactly free.

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:22 PM   #26
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I originally put in on the copyright page, and that was rejected. Then I added the additional License Notes (which was their next request). Then we tried something else; then I nuked our original copyright page altogether (along with all the proper credits) and put the SMASHWORDS EDITION on the Title page, as previous approved .doc files had displayed. Then I added the License notes to the title page, which was their NEXT requirement. Now that's been rejected, again, for "copyright issues," even though I've taken the wording, verbatim, from their Guide. So, I don't KNOW.
There've been other cases of this problem with the standard word doc upload--SW's auto-recognition of copyright/SW Edition statements just flat-out doesn't work sometimes. I expect it's worse with EPub.
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