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Old 05-21-2012, 01:35 AM   #16
Joseph Picard
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Make each chapter a separate XML file and you should be good to go with each chapter starting on a fresh screen with the chapter title how you want it.

Few things, don't put in paragraphs spaces, don't make the text san-serif, don't use large text indents but do use them, don't make the text small. Leave the body text at the devices default size, do not use large margins. If you do use margins, make them very small. Don't simulate blockquotes. Use the real thing if need be.

These things will help you make a good looking eBook. That's the fist thing to get people to enjoy your story. If you don't make it look nice, they won't get past the poor formatting to be able to enjoy the story.
I think I can deal with that. I had no intentions of setting a size beyond default. Margins seem silly when your screen size is very finite.

When you say 'separate XML file- I'm making an HTML file.. will that do, or is there a reason for xml? (and yeesh... that'll be a pain.. my chapters are kinda shortish, and thus, there's a lot of em. Checking.... 65. Yeesh.)
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:07 AM   #17
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ePUB must be XHTML, not HTML. It is almost the same, but has some differences.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:43 AM   #18
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...What I really dislike is when the maker of the eBook is too stupid to take out the * * * for the end of the print page section breaks.
Agreed, though on rare occasions it is necessary to have two different classes of scene break and using an ornament in one is reasonable.

When working with a single short story that lacks any chapter divisions you can encounter a situation where having both normal scene breaks (blank line only) and major scene breaks (blank line with ornament) is desirable. When I encounter these I prefer to avoid the asterisks even though there is reasonable "history" of these being used in print books for centuries. I prefer to use a small graphic ornament instead. Even so, these ornamented breaks should be the less common of the two.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:37 AM   #19
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Agreed, though on rare occasions it is necessary to have two different classes of scene break and using an ornament in one is reasonable.

When working with a single short story that lacks any chapter divisions you can encounter a situation where having both normal scene breaks (blank line only) and major scene breaks (blank line with ornament) is desirable. When I encounter these I prefer to avoid the asterisks even though there is reasonable "history" of these being used in print books for centuries. I prefer to use a small graphic ornament instead. Even so, these ornamented breaks should be the less common of the two.
But the case I am talking about is when the * * * is left in because it's a holdover from the print version to note that a section break is at the bottom of a page. I have not actually read any books that have the need for two different section breaks. I have read a number of books that don't have specific chapter breaks like the Discworld series (for example). In that case, there is just space for the section breaks. Also, because a section break can fall at the bottom of the screen, I like having the first paragraph after the section break to have no indent. That makes it easier to tell it's a section break.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:15 PM   #20
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Yup, after reading up on what it did, I went with em. Logical stuff you can do with css... a lot of them are the kinds of things that make you wonder why it wasn't an original part of html. Of course, I suppose they couldn't have known all the applications it would gain over the years..
Original HTML was designed to present the information and allow the user to control the formatting of the data. Today that has changed a lot and now the author thinks they know better than the reader how things should look. Some pages even force you to set the page width to match their idea or you can't view the entire page. They even suppress scroll bars. The entire philosophy has changed since the beginning and not necessarily improved. However, having said that eBooks are different than Web pages so they should have different requirements.

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Old 05-21-2012, 01:18 PM   #21
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Agreed, though on rare occasions it is necessary to have two different classes of scene break and using an ornament in one is reasonable.

When working with a single short story that lacks any chapter divisions you can encounter a situation where having both normal scene breaks (blank line only) and major scene breaks (blank line with ornament) is desirable. When I encounter these I prefer to avoid the asterisks even though there is reasonable "history" of these being used in print books for centuries. I prefer to use a small graphic ornament instead. Even so, these ornamented breaks should be the less common of the two.
I would agree with you. There are reasonable uses of ornamentation for scene breaks and there are different opinions than one person dictating to the world how things should be done.

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Old 05-21-2012, 02:30 PM   #22
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well, in the novel I'm currently converting, I didn't make use of ornaments for section breaks- only a few extra blank lines. My 2nd and 3rd novels use ornaments for section breaks though... in PNG format. (Hmm... does html support png? I wonder why I picked it.. transparency? Not that it needed it...)


and... "ePUB must be XHTML"? Not to sound snotty, but why? MY early html tests have converted fairly well for that I've thrown at it so far. (using calibre)
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:33 PM   #23
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...
and... "ePUB must be XHTML"? Not to sound snotty, but why? MY early html tests have converted fairly well for that I've thrown at it so far. (using calibre)
ePub must be XHTML because the IDPF wanted it that way.

HTML has worked because you are feeding it into calibre which then creates a standards compliant XHTML. Its the final ePub that must be XHTML, not the source file you feed a conversion program.
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:51 PM   #24
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Ah, I suspected calibre was kind of covering my butt here. I've been putting off getting into calibre for a loooong time, but it's not so threatening overall. Can't wait to offer something better than the auto-converts that get done at smashwords, et al.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:28 AM   #25
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Please refrain from using Calibre to create ePUB. It is a very good Library program but is not very good in ePUB conversion. It generates a lot of (redundant) code and sometimes breaks fine code creating unexpected results.

It would be better to create your own ePUB from the source documents or with a tool like Sigil. Sigil will also convert your HTML to XHTML.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:30 AM   #26
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Please refrain from using Calibre to create ePUB. It is a very good Library program but is not very good in ePUB conversion. It generates a lot of (redundant) code and sometimes breaks fine code creating unexpected results.

It would be better to create your own ePUB from the source documents or with a tool like Sigil. Sigil will also convert your HTML to XHTML.
If you know what you are doing, you can convert with Calibre and then fix up the resulting ePub such that you'd never know Calibre was involved. It's not that hard to do.
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:12 AM   #27
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Correct, but most people don't do that or do not know how. If you already have HTML, it is fine to use Sigil as it imports HTML without a hitch.
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:43 AM   #28
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well, so far, so good. It's a lot messier to work with than it seems it should be, but my TOC's coming along, my page breaks work like I want, etc, etc... Right now it's mostly just cleaning clutter. I test the results with a variety of readers, some physical devices (including the first run of kindle, heheh) and some software based. So far, I seem to be on the right track.. I'd have my first book done long ago, if I had more time.... (2 kids, one jsut turned 1 year old, the other is about to turn 5)
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:56 PM   #29
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Grr... working on this is slow, thanks to the afore mentioned kids... the last test had header text acting as pagebreaks... right now, my chapters are set up like:

page break
graphic ornament
a couple blank lines
chapter title as a <h1>.

As a result, I go the the page with just the graphic, and an otherwise blank page-
turn the page, and get the title, and the text.... WOULD there be a problem if I went:

chapter title as <h1>
then the graphic?

If I don't have a specified pagebreak, will it mess up on some readers? Heck, I don't think it'll be happy on every reader.. I have no hope of THAT, but...
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:34 PM   #30
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The way to do it so it works best is to have a separate XML for each chapter. Then you can forget about page breaks.

graphic ornament
a couple blank lines
chapter title as a <h1>.

That would work except for one thing... the blank lines. You style for the line putting in the graphic ornament would add a bottom margin and then you have your chapter title.
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