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Old 04-03-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
yarndog
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Smashwords and ePub format question

I created an open office writer .doc of my business book and used the Smashwords style guide to format it, then submitted it. It was accepted and entered into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. However, I noticed my book never got shipped to Apple, even though I followed all the Apple guidelines. Upon further searching I discovered I should download the ePub version of my book from Smashwords and run it through an epub Validator, such as threepress.org. I have done so and fixed all the errors in the ePub version, however Smashwords only accepts .doc format. I do not see a straight forward way to fix listed ePub errors in my .doc document. What I currently do, is tell open office to save it in html format, then check the ePub errors, then go see what that translates to in html, then go find that spot in my .doc document, then I copy this document into Sigil, create a new ePub version, then run it through threepress.org. This seems very convoluted and inefficient. Is there a better way? What I am discovering is that the epub validator doesn't like my blockquote, I think, because by default a blockquote tag indents. My solution is to go into the quotations style on open office and modify the style so it doesn't indent. This just seems like pulling teeth. Is there a better way to do this? The Smashwords help and FAQ just say to download the epub from their website, run it through the validator, fix the errors, then upload the revised version. Very mysterious on how to translate an ePub error into a fix in my open office .doc document. Finally, when I upload a new version I end up going through the whole process of review and waiting and then approval, then wait to ship. My book has been shipped to everyone but Apple, but it seems now I have to start over. Is there a better way? Thanks for listening and thanks in advance for your answers.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:50 PM   #2
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I am coming to my own conclusion

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Originally Posted by yarndog View Post
I created an open office writer .doc of my business book and used the Smashwords style guide to format it, then submitted it. It was accepted and entered into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. However, I noticed my book never got shipped to Apple, even though I followed all the Apple guidelines. Upon further searching I discovered I should download the ePub version of my book from Smashwords and run it through an epub Validator, such as threepress.org. I have done so and fixed all the errors in the ePub version, however Smashwords only accepts .doc format. I do not see a straight forward way to fix listed ePub errors in my .doc document. What I currently do, is tell open office to save it in html format, then check the ePub errors, then go see what that translates to in html, then go find that spot in my .doc document, then I copy this document into Sigil, create a new ePub version, then run it through threepress.org. This seems very convoluted and inefficient. Is there a better way? What I am discovering is that the epub validator doesn't like my blockquote, I think, because by default a blockquote tag indents. My solution is to go into the quotations style on open office and modify the style so it doesn't indent. This just seems like pulling teeth. Is there a better way to do this? The Smashwords help and FAQ just say to download the epub from their website, run it through the validator, fix the errors, then upload the revised version. Very mysterious on how to translate an ePub error into a fix in my open office .doc document. Finally, when I upload a new version I end up going through the whole process of review and waiting and then approval, then wait to ship. My book has been shipped to everyone but Apple, but it seems now I have to start over. Is there a better way? Thanks for listening and thanks in advance for your answers.
I am thinking it just plain might be easier if I submit my epub version to Apple directly rather than going through Smashwords. It just seems so convoluted and I have spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make the corrections in my open office document to comply with the epub validator. I have already submitted an application to Apple for the iBookstore, I hope they accept me. Then I will just submit my epub file straight away and make any corrections straight away. No fuss, no muss. I would hope that Smashwords would give better guidance on how to fix ePub validator errors successfully in a .doc document.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:48 AM   #3
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The validator errors usually have little to do with the doc, but with the conversion or creation. Blockquotes are totally allowed, but not within a paragraph.

What did the validation within Sigil have to say about the epub?
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:04 AM   #4
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I make it through Sigil just fine, I make it through meatgrinder just fine. The problem is I get rejected by Apple because my final epub doesn't make it through the threepress.org epub checker. It doesn't like blockquotes so I Changed them to <div> tags. I am now guessing based on your feedback it is because I probably have the blockquotes inside <p> tags. Anyways that part is fixed. It also doesn't seem to like the attribute tags inside the <img> tag, meaning border=0 align=left, etc. Again, in the straight epub file I can fix those, in fact I downloaded the Smashwords created epub file, made the changes and ran it through threepress.org and it came out fine. My problem is how to change my doc document so it makes it though both smashwords meatgrinder(which it will), and the threepress.org epub check. I also seem to be getting a missing dc:title and dc:language metadata error, of which I don't know how to fix in the doc document either. Anyways, that is where I am at and thanks for the info.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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I think I found another, somewhat convoluted, solution. I tried an experiment on a Microsoft Word 2007 document and it worked, so I am thinking the same thing with Open Office. I will save my Open Office document as an xml file, then using an XML editor go in and make the changes. Then I will open the modified xml file back in Open Office, then save that as an HTML file, then open in Sigil, where I will save it as an epub document. I do realize there is an epub extenstion for open office I could use, but I like sigil for a variety of reasons. Well, off to experiment. See if I write long enough and babble long enough and search long enough and then babble some more, the answers start flowing like a river.
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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This is proving to be a little more challenging than I originally thought. I may have to just stick with my original solution of just dealing with Apple directly so I can edit the epub and leaving Smashwords out. Well, one more try.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:09 PM   #7
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Well, I feel whipped. I switched over to LibreOffice. My document path goes something like LibreOffice>Doc>HTML>Sigil>ebup>threepress>errors, doesn't like border or align attributes listed with my image. Also missing dc:title and dc:language I tried saving as XML and finding those attributes to delete, but not successful as I was unable to find those attributes, and don't know how to control them from Libre. I was really hoping to get to Apple via Smashwords, but without a solution to my dilemma I will have to go directly to Apple as I can edit the epub directly. Bummer. Any help is appreciated! I find myself talking to myself
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:10 AM   #8
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When you create the epub in Sigil, you have to fill in the author, title and language. It is in the menu (meta editor). Those are required according to the specs and you have to fill that in manually of course.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:06 AM   #9
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The problem I have is that Smashwords only accepts .doc documents, meaning no epub. That is my struggle. They only thing I can come up with, based on my experimenting, is to open my document in Microsoft Word 2007, save it as a .docx document, then change the .docx extension to .zip, then unpack it, make the changes to the document.xml file in terms of picture names, border, and align attributes, just strip them out, then I have to find where the content.opf information is and add the dc:title, and dc:language metatags, then compress it back into a .zip, then change extension to .docx, then open in Microsoft Word 2007 and resave into .doc, and hope the changes took. Then upload to Smashwords. This is so convoluted. I did apply to Apple to be able to load books there directly. If they say yes then I am going that route because then i can just use epub straight away and that is much, much easier. Thanks for you info.
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:25 PM   #10
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It seems to me that if Smashwords only accepts .doc format, and your .doc follows Smashwords' extensive style guide, and Smashwords conversion of you doc produces an invalid epub, then perhaps you should take this up with Smashwords' technical support.

Just a suggestion.
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:48 PM   #11
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Unfortunately the issue isn't Smashwords and meatgrinder. I pass through Smashwords and my book is in the Premium Catalog and has been shipped to everyone but Apple. It gets run through another epub checker(threepress) and unless the Smashwords meatgrinder generated epub file passes threepress, I get rejected by Apple for their iBookstore. The only thing Smashwords says in their FAQ is to make sure my file passed threepress epub checker and if there are any to fix the errors and resubmit the .doc file. So I end up having to create my own epub file from my .doc file and find the errors, which are quite hard to fix in the .doc file. Thank you for suggesting I talk to Tech Support at Smashwords, for perhaps they have a better way. I can't be the only one with these struggles. In fact, I know I am not.
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:40 AM   #12
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Again, you cannot 'correct' the DOC for those kind of errors in the ePub. If the ePub is not valid, you either have to correct it yourself or let the one creating the ePub correct it.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:54 PM   #13
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That is what I am up against. I have seen posts of people who unzip a .docx file, make the fixes, then compress, then convert to epub to do a check. I have attempted to do that and only get so far.
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:36 PM   #14
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As soon as you convert, the docx (xml) will be converted to xhtml. This WILL result in loss of some items that are specific for the Word format. Again, you either need to change the epub (not docx) yourself or ask Smashword to convert better.

You did not respond to my earlier question. What does Flightcrew (validator of Sigil) say when you put the epub from Smashwords through it?
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:21 PM   #15
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I will have to run the epub from smashwords through sigil. I ran my own epub that I made through both sigil and threepress and the errors are similar, but worded differently. For example on error in threepress is "align not allowed here" for an <img> statement, where flightcrew would say "align not inside element", etc.
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