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Old 06-16-2011, 09:32 AM   #1
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Smashwords Formatting Help Needed

Hi, Everyone.

I'm trying to get my e-book into the premium catalog on Smashwords. Unfortunately, it came back to me the other day saying it needed modifications. This is nothing new for me, as I've had titles come back needing modifications before. However, this time, I'm stumped. It says there are paragraph returns at the end of every line. There aren't. I have my OpenOffice set up to show where all the paragraph marks are, and they're only at the ends of paragraphs.

Can anyone give me some insight? This should be an easy thing to fix, if I did something wrong, but I honestly can't find anything like what the system is complaining about.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:30 AM   #2
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I would send a message to Mark Coker. Maybe he'll take a look and get back to you.

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Old 06-16-2011, 05:26 PM   #3
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I use LibreOffice, which is basically OpenOffice's spin-off--same stuff, different name. Anyways, I just Select All, then go through and on Format Paragraph I set everything to 0 except First Line, where I put 0.3.

Check and make sure everything's at Single Line.

Um, worst comes to worst, Select All, set to Default, then you'll have to go back through and put all your italics and bolds and stuff back in again. Kind of a pain, but the meatgrinder is a mean machine...

Maybe if you've got your stuff at Spacing 1.5 or something it's giving them a false paragraph reading? I also set my Page setting to 0.5 all the way around. And just make sure you download a copy of your epub after it's converted by them and look at it with like Calibre or something. I also look at the html online view because I've had it a couple of times where all my lines overlapped and I had to fix that.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:35 PM   #4
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Oh, forgot to add... OpenOffice/LibreOffice do this weird thing where when you adjust Format Paragraph it just adds to what's already there instead of changing the whole thing. So if you're already at 0.3, if you reformat it makes it 0.6 which screws everything up. So if you've already got line spacing going... it might just be adding more.

You can try Select All, setting everything to 0, apply. Then Select All again, set First line to 0.3 and Single Line and see if that helps any.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for your suggestions, Randy & Harper. I'll try my luck with the OpenOffice formatting first, and then contact Mark Coker if I hit a snag.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:14 AM   #6
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If you can't fix it yourself, Mark Coker's probably going to suggest you nuke it. Copy everything, paste it into WordPad which makes you lose all the weird formatting and stuff, then open a new text file in OO, paste it in there. The problem? You have to put back in all the italics, bolds, centers, etc. Kind of a hassle, but gives you a fresh work surface...

I had to do that with Visions. Pretty painful, but it was a last resort type of thing that just had to be done... hope you can fix it without having to go that route.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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Hi Brian, our vetting team, which utilizes humans, makes mistakes sometimes, so if we give you modification notes that are in error, click the "comments/questions" link and ask us to look at it. No use trying to fix what isn't broken. thanks.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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Have you tried opening it up in a copy of MS Word and turning on show formating? It might something with the way OpenOffice is saving the file. I have seen that kind of thing happen in the past, but I have not used OpenOffice in a while (since I now work in Education making MS Office dirt cheap).
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyflycaster View Post
I would send a message to Mark Coker. Maybe he'll take a look and get back to you.

Randy
When you do send the message to Mark, ask him to allow ePub direct uploads please. The more people who ask him, the more chance maybe that will happen.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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Hi Brian, our vetting team, which utilizes humans, makes mistakes sometimes, so if we give you modification notes that are in error, click the "comments/questions" link and ask us to look at it. No use trying to fix what isn't broken. thanks.
Is there any real possibility that Smashwords might someday allow direct uploading of ePub and maybe other formats?

The way Smashwords generates the ePub from Word does not work well at all and makes the code in the ePub really poor. Also, it means if there is an issue with the ePub that needs adjusting, the ePub will require a lot of work just to clean up the poor code to get to the point where any adjustments can be made.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:27 AM   #11
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The way Smashwords generates the ePub from Word does not work well at all and makes the code in the ePub really poor.
What do you mean? All the epubs I have gotten from Smashwords work fine on my NookColor and Android phones.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:35 AM   #12
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What do you mean? All the epubs I have gotten from Smashwords work fine on my NookColor and Android phones.
Sometimes I want to change the font or te margins are whatnot and the code under the hood is awful. Word does a really poor job with the styles and Calibre converts them as they are. So we get really bad code. Look at the code in an ePub from Smashwords and you'll see what I mean. And we are getting threads on MR about validation errors with Smashwords. If the author was able to make the ePub ahead of time, then even if Word was used, the author could have the garbage removed so the ePub would look good under the hood and the ePub would display as the author intended. Also, the ePub would display as it was wanted, not just sometimes OK and not this or that is not quite what I wanted. Also, the authors could embed fonts if they wanted or other things you cannot do because of Word > ePub direct.

Also, if Smashwords allowed uploading any other format and any not posted was made from the ePub, we'd have better eBooks overall.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:53 AM   #13
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Well I have not ever opened a epub to look at the source that I purchased from Smash or anywhere, but I have not and any problems adjusting font or size in those that I have via the nook or whatever interface. So IME it is not been a problem.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:20 PM   #14
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Well I have not ever opened a epub to look at the source that I purchased from Smash or anywhere, but I have not and any problems adjusting font or size in those that I have via the nook or whatever interface. So IME it is not been a problem.
I tend to use fonts that are not a font that would be in the list on a nook or for that matter most other readers. So I have to go into the CSS and edit it. And given how bad the CSS is, it's a job to remove the garbage. Word puts a lot of font changes in that have nothing to do with anything as well as other junk.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:11 AM   #15
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HI JSW, we're able to accept bulk uploads of straight ePubs from publishers who can send us hundreds at a time, but we're not yet able to to take single-file uploads. Some day we'll take them, but we're not in a rush. Although Meatgrinder isn't perfect, authors who follow our Style Guide are getting good solid books that customers enjoy. Once authors have the hang of Word, they find it's a fast and flexible publishing tool.

If you'd like to document examples of messy epub code and email it to me, I'll be happy to pass it on to our CTO. We're always looking for opportunities to improve Meatgrinder, especially if the changes improve reader experience. Our most recent updates have focused on better NCXes.
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