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Old 09-23-2014, 06:53 PM   #1
happyjon
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Baffling bug in Smashword epub conversion

Just uploaded my first book to Smashwords, no autovetter errors were reported, I checked it in the validator SW recommend, and that said "Congratulations!No errors," so everything looked fine until I opened the book in ADE. and found each line in the toc had its own page. There was a page with 'Table of Contents', which was blank apart from those words, then a page with the first chapter title and nothing else, then a page with the second chapter title and nothing else, and so through the entire toc. The toc works in that the links, when clicked, do take you to the appropriate place, but having a toc spread over several pages is not satisfactory, to put it mildly. It was also like this when opened in Calibre.
I can see no reason for this fault, the trouble shooting section of SW doesn't mention it, even a Google search brought up nothing on this error. I did find the unofficial SW forum and am about to join, but I thought I'd see if anyone here can help. Given that I've found nothing on this I assume it's unusual, so I'd really appreciate help. Should add that I tried exporting the books doc file to pdf and the toc all appears on one page, as it should.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:06 PM   #2
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Had a look at the unofficial Smashwords forum I mentioned, http://smashwords-forum.proboards.com and after reading it's privacy policy decided not to join. To anyone thinking of joining it I'd recommend they look at the privacy policy first, and you'll see joining gives them the right to give your personnel information to who ever they choose, which is why I didn't join.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:21 PM   #3
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I don't read it as being a problem. They may allow 3rd party (advertising people) to place cookies, etc., and gather traffic info, etc., but I don't read it as sharing your personal information (not personnel, note). There may be opt-in offers from 3rd party sites, but you don't have to opt in.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyjon View Post
Just uploaded my first book to Smashwords, no autovetter errors were reported, I checked it in the validator SW recommend, and that said "Congratulations!No errors," so everything looked fine until I opened the book in ADE. and found each line in the toc had its own page.
Did you by any chance format paragraphs in Word by pressing Enter at the end of each line? If so, you'll have to search and replace these hard line-breaks with spaces.

If you didn't use hard line breaks at the end of each line, open the ePub with Sigil, switch to Code View, have a look at a typical paragraph and post it here. It should look like this:
Code:
<p class="abc">It was a dark and stormy night ...</p>
Then look at the stylesheet and search for the defintion for abc and post it as well. It should look like this:

Code:
abc {
text-indent: 1em;
...
...
...
}
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for your reply Doitsu. I looked at code in Sigil, but to my untrained eye it's gibberish, and I didn't know which part to check with the info you supplied.

Let' start at the beginning. The file was created in Libre, pre-set to save as a doc, so there's no conversion from odt. The epub was perfect apart from the toc. There were no unnecessary line breaks in the toc, and in the doc it was exactly like the sample in Marks template, yet the epub had each toc entry on a separate page. I've since submitted the file to Smashwords using the toc creation method of beginning each chapter title with the word 'chapter' leaving meatgrinder to build the toc. This worked in that a NCX toc appears, and works, in ADE and Calibre, but there's no toc page. This does enable a reader to navigate the book, and I can't see a reason for a toc page to be there when you've got a NCX, so maybe that's how it's meant to be, and I've decided to settle for this and start publicising the work. But any further advice would be welcome.
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyjon View Post
This worked in that a NCX toc appears, and works, in ADE and Calibre, but there's no toc page.
You can create an HTML TOC in Sigil from the NCX file by selecting Tools > Table of Contents > Create HTML Table Of Contents and try to directly upload the ePub to SmashWords, but many authors who tried that complained about cryptic error messages and little help from SmashWords. Note that an HTML TOC is only required for Kindles and some older ePub readers since most ePub readers will display the NCX TOC.

For good measure, you may want to have your SmashWords generated ePub validated by ePubCheck Online to check for conversion errors that SmashWords might have missed.
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
You can create an HTML TOC in Sigil from the NCX file by selecting Tools > Table of Contents > Create HTML Table Of Contents and try to directly upload the ePub to SmashWords, but many authors who tried that complained about cryptic error messages and little help from SmashWords. Note that an HTML TOC is only required for Kindles and some older ePub readers since most ePub readers will display the NCX TOC.

For good measure, you may want to have your SmashWords generated ePub validated by ePubCheck Online to check for conversion errors that SmashWords might have missed.
According to Mark's Style Guide most SW books aren't submitted to Kindle,so I'm not to bothered about that. The epub checking site you refer to is the one Mark recommends, and it said no errors, so it looks good. Funny that you put so much effort into creating your novel, and think that's the hard bit, till you try convert it to a saleable product! But I'm not complaining, I'm grateful to Mark for providing us with a platform to try and sell our work from.
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyjon View Post
According to Mark's Style Guide most SW books aren't submitted to Kindle,so I'm not to bothered about that. The epub checking site you refer to is the one Mark recommends, and it said no errors, so it looks good. Funny that you put so much effort into creating your novel, and think that's the hard bit, till you try convert it to a saleable product! But I'm not complaining, I'm grateful to Mark for providing us with a platform to try and sell our work from.
That's because NO Smashwords' books are submitted to Amazon, not without passing an almost unheard-of sale threshold, as Amazon terminated their relationship with Smashwords nearly 5 years ago now. (Depending upon whose side of the story you believe, Amazon says, 'quality issues' and SW claims it was an agency pricing dispute, but I could swear that in 2009, I read, on then-SW's own site, that it was indeed book quality issues).

Anyway:

Any chance you set up your TOC to auto-generate from Chapter titles which had, as part of their Styling, "page-break-before:always?"

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Old 10-04-2014, 07:57 PM   #9
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That's because NO Smashwords' books are submitted to Amazon, not without passing an almost unheard-of sale threshold, as Amazon terminated their relationship with Smashwords nearly 5 years ago now. (Depending upon whose side of the story you believe, Amazon says, 'quality issues' and SW claims it was an agency pricing dispute, but I could swear that in 2009, I read, on then-SW's own site, that it was indeed book quality issues).

Anyway:

Any chance you set up your TOC to auto-generate from Chapter titles which had, as part of their Styling, "page-break-before:always?"

Hitch
Thanks for the info about Smashwords and Amazon.
The style for chapter headings doesn't contain the bit you mention, but it made me wonder about the style for the toc. I've enclosed a screenshot of the organise window of its style, and you'll see where it says 'Next style' I left it at default, because I didn't understand what that option meant. Could that have made mestgrinder go from each toc entry to the next page?

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Old 10-04-2014, 08:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by happyjon View Post
Thanks for the info about Smashwords and Amazon.
The style for chapter headings doesn't contain the bit you mention, but it made me wonder about the style for the toc. I've enclosed a screenshot of the organise window of its style, and you'll see where it says 'Next style' I left it at default, because I didn't understand what that option meant. Could that have made mestgrinder go from each toc entry to the next page?
Not from what I see. The TOC style seems perfectly normal. What, however, is the style for the actual entries, from which the TOC (in LibreOffice) is being built? Can you click through and show us the rest of the actual formatting? or just type it in here? Or, for that matter, why not take a screenshot of the TOC's CODE (from the ePUB, in CodeView, in Sigil) and while you're at it, show us the related STYLE entries from the CSS sheet? This type of troubleshooting is not, usually, just "point and say, that's it." It's an oddball problem, but I suspect it would be easy to fix for someone who (no offense) has an idea what they are doing.

Next style simply means, by default, what paragraph (or heading, etc.) style do you want to come NEXT, when you hit "enter."

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Old 10-14-2014, 06:19 PM   #11
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Not from what I see. The TOC style seems perfectly normal. What, however, is the style for the actual entries, from which the TOC (in LibreOffice) is being built? Can you click through and show us the rest of the actual formatting? or just type it in here? Or, for that matter, why not take a screenshot of the TOC's CODE (from the ePUB, in CodeView, in Sigil) and while you're at it, show us the related STYLE entries from the CSS sheet? This type of troubleshooting is not, usually, just "point and say, that's it." It's an oddball problem, but I suspect it would be easy to fix for someone who (no offense) has an idea what they are doing.

Next style simply means, by default, what paragraph (or heading, etc.) style do you want to come NEXT, when you hit "enter."

Hitch
Thanks for the reply, it gave me much to think about. It would take me time to work out how to supply the info you suggest, but I'll be getting round to it.
Meanwhile, I'm now working on creating an ebook in SW with multiple images. That was always my intention, but a glance at the SW Style Guide convinced me I needed to learn how to do a text only book first, as there was so much I needed to learn. I knew nothing of many requirements for an ebook, like I didn't even know what a style was. But my first attempt at a text book went well. It passed meatgrinder first time, gained immediate entry to premium status, and I've even had two sales via SW, with no complaints. I can't be certain other retailers will accept it, as I'm not sure if their acceptance processes are complete, SW saying that can take a couple of weeks or more, but I've made a good start for a novice, and am feeling rather pleased with myself! So now I tackle creation of a book with images.
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