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Old 06-14-2011, 03:31 PM   #1
Michael Grossman
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Confused about making changes to my CSS in Sigil

Can someone help me.

I'm preparing my book in indesign as an epub file.

I make changes to my CSS file using Sigil in the style file. Then I save the changes to the CSS.
When I view them in Sigil or in Adobe Digital Editions from the new Sigil-created epub, the changes look fine.

But when I load my chapter.indd files in Indesign, none of the changes I made to the CSS in Sigil will appear. Plus, when I export from Indesign to make a new ebook file, I keep wiping out CSS changes I made in Sigil.

What am I doing wrong? Am I supposed to be re-compressing my Sigil altered files into a new zip file or something? I thought Sigil saved them automatically so they'd appear also in my indd files.
How can I keep the changes, for example a CSS created drop cap, so that they show up in my indesign files?

Thanks, - Michael
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:54 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I understand the situation. You are making changes in the ePub file (exported from InDesign) and are hoping to see those changes also made in the original indd file? It doesn't work that way. Changes made in the ePub file stays in the ePub file. And why would you want to go back in InDesign?

Personnally, once I manage to get the text out of InDesign, I just stick to Sigil to tweak the resulting file. And to answer one of your question, no, there is nothing special to do after you save the file in Sigil.

First thing I do after exporting ePub from InDesign is cleaning the CSS. But when I do many similar books, I clean the CSS once, and I make a copy of the CSS file that I take as a model when I do similar books with InDesign. It speed up the process for the next book. You could do that if you have changes that needs to be done in the indd file (but what can't be done directly in the ePub?). When you re-export, use your previous CSS (if class/styles names are the same, etc., of course).

I could be wrong (I'm not an expert), but once you export ePub from InDesign, I wouldn't suggest working on the indd file if you want to make changes to the text or whatever. Just make the changes in Sigil directly.

Good luck.

And by the way, this video series on Lynda.com helped me a lot on the "InDesign to ePub" topic: http://www.lynda.com/InDesign-CS5-tu...d/75445-2.html — note that there is also a version made for CS4.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:22 PM   #3
Michael Grossman
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mtrahan. Thank you very much. So I do my book in Indesign, then make the final tweeks in Sigil. Got it. That was very helpful of you. Best, Michael
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:32 PM   #4
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Glad I could help.

I'm replying just to add links to 2 threads on the subject. You'll maybe find some more answers there. The first one created by myself to ask many questions about the "InDesign to ePub" process when I started. Many questions asked and answered there by more advanced users: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=133197

And this thread was created by the user Adjust to explain his step by step procedure to go from InDesign CS3 to the final ePub: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=123439

Good luck.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mtrahan View Post
Personnally, once I manage to get the text out of InDesign, I just stick to Sigil to tweak the resulting file. And to answer one of your question, no, there is nothing special to do after you save the file in Sigil.
Hypothetical question:

I am an author and I want to give my work to someone to prepare for printing. In what form do I deliver my text; a Microsoft Word document, an Open Office document, a straight text file or what?

What I don't understand is why you would want to convert an InDesign document to epub? Why not go back to the original document to create your epub? It seems to me it would be easy enough and would yield a better product. The tools are free and fairly easy to use. To paraphrase Kipling: A printed page is a printed page, and an ebook page is an ebook page, and never the twain shall meet.

Regards - John
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabby View Post
Hypothetical question:

I am an author and I want to give my work to someone to prepare for printing. In what form do I deliver my text; a Microsoft Word document, an Open Office document, a straight text file or what?

What I don't understand is why you would want to convert an InDesign document to epub? Why not go back to the original document to create your epub? It seems to me it would be easy enough and would yield a better product. The tools are free and fairly easy to use. To paraphrase Kipling: A printed page is a printed page, and an ebook page is an ebook page, and never the twain shall meet.

Regards - John
What format was the ORIGINAL work in?
That probably has the least (un-wanted) artifacts. That makes for the cleanest (code) conversion.


It also probably looks pretty drab visually without a typographers touch.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabby View Post
Hypothetical question:
What I don't understand is why you would want to convert an InDesign document to epub? Why not go back to the original document to create your epub? It seems to me it would be easy enough and would yield a better product. The tools are free and fairly easy to use. To paraphrase Kipling: A printed page is a printed page, and an ebook page is an ebook page, and never the twain shall meet.
Why convert an InDesign document to ePub? Because when I convert a book (designed for print) to ePub, I'm at a point in the editing process where the InDesign file is kinda considered like the "original document". Because the latest version of the text is in the InDesign document destined for print. For example, when there is a reprint, the publisher I'm working for don't go back in Word to correct the latest found typos or whatever—he only keeps the InDesign documents up to date. So when doing the ePub, even if InDesign is far from perfect, I found it easier to use it anyway (I find it relatively quick to clean the resulting ePub files, once you get used to how InDesign exports certain things, etc.).

And indeed, ebook is ebook, print is print... I'm not trying to replicate the exact printed book in ePub. Still, I'm trying to find "equivalent" solutions for "equivalent" problems, so I find it useful to work with the printed book, even if just used as reference. But that's just my way of thinking the ebook/printed relation in my workflow. I never said it was the best.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
What format was the ORIGINAL work in?
That probably has the least (un-wanted) artifacts. That makes for the cleanest (code) conversion.
Well put.
Quote:
It also probably looks pretty drab visually without a typographers touch.
And again, I agree.

Regards - John
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mtrahan View Post
Why convert an InDesign document to ePub? Because when I convert a book (designed for print) to ePub, I'm at a point in the editing process where the InDesign file is kinda considered like the "original document". Because the latest version of the text is in the InDesign document destined for print. For example, when there is a reprint, the publisher I'm working for don't go back in Word to correct the latest found typos or whatever—he only keeps the InDesign documents up to date. So when doing the ePub, even if InDesign is far from perfect, I found it easier to use it anyway (I find it relatively quick to clean the resulting ePub files, once you get used to how InDesign exports certain things, etc.).

And indeed, ebook is ebook, print is print... I'm not trying to replicate the exact printed book in ePub. Still, I'm trying to find "equivalent" solutions for "equivalent" problems, so I find it useful to work with the printed book, even if just used as reference. But that's just my way of thinking the ebook/printed relation in my workflow. I never said it was the best.
Thanks Colonel (Mustard that is),
Having to only keep one version of a document current certainly makes sense. But as "theducks" pointed out the closer to the source, the better the results.

I only got into this Sigil thing in self defense. So many of the ebooks I purchased are so poorly formatted I felt it necessary to disinfect and reformat them. Many have no table of contents which for an ebook is essential. Others have glaring typos with whole chapters and paragraphs out of order. I have been trying to find out why this is.

I think I have a partial answer. The publishers know what standards they want to maintain, and enforce, for their printed product but are floundering in the ebook world.

But I sense a shift in the winds. One of the most egregious publishers in this regard has released a new Tom Clancy novel priced an 50 cents less than the hard copy edition. If this ebook is up to their recent standards, there could be a backlash. I hope so - somebody needs to get their attention.

Regards - John

Last edited by Jabby; 06-16-2011 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:58 AM   #10
Michael Grossman
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Hi Jabby, I'm a fellow author too and beginning to do conversions for other authors. You get a much better looking ebook using Indesign than, for example, converting from Word or a PDF file. Indesign offers greater graphic control. Many of the ebooks I see look amateurish, whereas my latest book, as an example, which I did in Indesign, allowed me to create the subtitles I felt I needed, while a flat conversion from Word does not offer. If anyone thinks otherwise, please let me know as I'd love to hear anything to the contrary. Thanks - Michael
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:43 PM   #11
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If you are going to do conversions for others in anything but the ipad you may find it much more difficult to maintain the pretty formatting.

You might get the mac or pc software for the other readers if you think they will be part of the audience. Some, like the Sony, will display much like it will look in the book. Better you should see it than find out from another author they didn't like it in unkindly terms.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:34 PM   #12
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Hi Jabby, I'm a fellow author too and beginning to do conversions for other authors. You get a much better looking ebook using Indesign than, for example, converting from Word or a PDF file. Indesign offers greater graphic control. Many of the ebooks I see look amateurish, whereas my latest book, as an example, which I did in Indesign, allowed me to create the subtitles I felt I needed, while a flat conversion from Word does not offer. If anyone thinks otherwise, please let me know as I'd love to hear anything to the contrary. Thanks - Michael
Michael:

Without trying to be rude: horsepucky. XHTML is XHTML, and you can manipulate it from Word, from html, from NoteTab Pro, from WordPerfect or from OO or from Atlantis WP or from Bob's Word Processor. What it takes to get a good looking book is WORK on the part of the designer, not the program used. InDesign is merely a tool, and if people get "flat" conversions from Word, it's because they didn't feel that they needed something more, or don't know it looked amateurish, or don't know how. (Amazing how Amanda Hocking's books looked like crap, and still sold how many million copies?)

Saying that InDesign makes the difference between a professional-looking book over Word is like saying that whether someone is hosted on Blogger or WordPress or Bob's Blogging Platform makes the content better. Being on Blogger or WordPress or having your own site doesn't make the writing any different; using InDesign versus Word versus Bob's Word Processor doesn't make the ebook layout any better, all of which has to be actively tweaked in the code.

In fact, it's easier to make beautiful books in a text-editor like NT Pro than it is in ID because NTPro is platform-neutral, which ID certainly is not.

Frankly, one of the things I like about ebooks and ebook-readers is that they are, pure and simple, content-delivery platforms, not foof-delivery platforms. I like a beautifully-made book (digital or otherwise) as much as the next guy...but there are a lot of books out there that are just padded with crap graphics, and I like the fact that ebooks are, in many ways, purer, because so much of that garbage graphic padding is not doable, practically speaking, in ebookery.

Mostly, let's face it: this ain't rocket science. It's repetitive, tedious, detail-oriented and pointy-end work, with everyone changing their platforms every 5 minutes. But it ain't JPL, and you don't need InDesign to do it well.

As a friend of mine says, "a map is not the territory," and that program isn't a magic wand. It's what gets put in the CODE that makes the book beautiful...not the road you took to get it there.


Just my $.02,

Hitch
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