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Old 01-07-2013, 03:26 PM   #61
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How is the average customer, the "I run windows because everything usually works" guy or girl, going to know whether the code is elegant or not? And how will it influence their decision to buy? I'll be honest, the cover and blurb are more influence to me than the internal coding
They won't know. But they will know if the internal layout is utterly bollixed up. {Shrug}. That's the issue. It's one of the reasons that it's good that SW is finally moving toward ePUB distribution (I hope they do not go the way of Kobo, which takes perfectly good ePUBs and then runs them through Calibre!).

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:17 PM   #62
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They won't know. But they will know if the internal layout is utterly bollixed up.
Only time I've gotten anywhere close to that was with a longer work which ended up with an inexplicable blank page when it came out of the meatgrinder. I'm not sure where it came from, but the work itself needs so much editing that I'm not likely to ever figure out why it was there.

It certainly wasn't related to a section break, that's for sure.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:50 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
How is the average customer, the "I run windows because everything usually works" guy or girl, going to know whether the code is elegant or not? And how will it influence their decision to buy? I'll be honest, the cover and blurb are more influence to me than the internal coding
I do sometimes make changes if the formatting is not to my liking so the code does matter.

Also, sometimes ePub from Kobo can prevent some of the readers from using their override features. And I've even seen some where the font would not change size. It can be a crap shoot using the meatgrinder where if you hand code your ePub, you can make sure it works well before it's posted.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:53 PM   #64
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Only time I've gotten anywhere close to that was with a longer work which ended up with an inexplicable blank page when it came out of the meatgrinder. I'm not sure where it came from, but the work itself needs so much editing that I'm not likely to ever figure out why it was there.

It certainly wasn't related to a section break, that's for sure.
These unexplained issues that sometimes crop up is the reason why making your own hand crafted ePub is the way to go.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:58 AM   #65
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How is the average customer, the "I run windows because everything usually works" guy or girl, going to know whether the code is elegant or not? And how will it influence their decision to buy? I'll be honest, the cover and blurb are more influence to me than the internal coding
Your average customer won't see any of the code, but he'll notice if the layout is out of whack. If he gets a bad one it would probably influence his decision to buy the next one from that vendor. My girlfriend certainly notices when something is wrong, although she has no idea why it is wrong or what to do about it.

Common culprits are line-height set to large values (or even 1 in one case, I have no idea how that passed even a cursory inspection), hard coded non-relative font sizes (do it only on certain paragraphs for partial non-scaling fun), block quotes with 200px left/right margins which might have looked fine on a 27" screen etc. Even the more elusive hard-coded "color:000" will muck up night mode on lots of readers. I habitually preview epubs when I buy them and touch up the css if necessary, and I've seen a variety of strange coding along the lines mentioned above.

On a side note I don't understand why Smashwords can't provide a template doc file with preset styles, filter away everything but style names in the conversion, and apply their own hand-crafted css. That way they could even offer a choice of visual layouts by replacing the css on the fly when sending the file to the customer. They already offer better placement to "high-quality" documents, but don't give a no-brainer path for achieving that AFAICT.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:09 AM   #66
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On a side note I don't understand why Smashwords can't provide a template doc file with preset styles,
Because a trained chimpanzee could follow the style guide?

The other thing is that it would mean those of us who craft their own style sheets would have to arbitrarily set out style names after the ones in the Smashwords CSS. Instead of something like, "Normal," "Centered," and "Title."

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:21 AM   #67
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Because a trained chimpanzee could follow the style guide?
I have read a few of their books, and obviously the submitters are quite inferior to trained chimpanzees

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The other thing is that it would mean those of us who craft their own style sheets would have to arbitrarily set out style names after the ones in the Smashwords CSS. Instead of something like, "Normal," "Centered," and "Title."
Obviously it wouldn't be that simple for a submitted epub. It was just a random thought anyway, nevermind.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:23 PM   #68
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[QUOTE=teh603;2372478]Because a trained chimpanzee could follow the style guide?[quote]

Well, then, get the trained chimpanzees to format the Word document because I've seen too many cases where the formatted has problems.

Quote:
The other thing is that it would mean those of us who craft their own style sheets would have to arbitrarily set out style names after the ones in the Smashwords CSS. Instead of something like, "Normal," "Centered," and "Title."
So you pick from a list of styles that may be named differently. And that would be a problem why? You would get used to it.

I still say hand-crafted ePub is better then Word > Calibre > ePub as that can and does lead to a number of issues. Just because it passes the validator does not mean it displays correctly. With a hand-crafted ePub, you have 100% control of what's going on. Any mistakes/gotchas are yours. It's much easier if you have a problem to come here and ask for help with an ePub then with a Word document. You get a error message in validation that you don't understand, chances are it's not going to be an easy thing to figure out in a Word document because it's not the actual code that's generating the actual error. So really, give up the Word documents and go for hand-crafted ePub.

Now what we need to do is get Smashwords to dump Word as a source, make it be ePub, use that ePub as the source for all the other formats, and dump PDF.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:26 PM   #69
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I have read a few of their books, and obviously the submitters are quite inferior to trained chimpanzees



Obviously it wouldn't be that simple for a submitted epub. It was just a random thought anyway, nevermind.
Yes, @teh603:

If you believe that "trained chimpanzees" can follow the Smashword's so-called "Style guide," you should spend a few hours on the KDP Formatting forums. Trust me, there are more of those that cannot than there are people like those here on MR. I know it seems inconceivable that people find things like "styles" or "pilcrows" incomprehensible, but they do.

At least 3-4 times a week, I send out a (now canned) email telling someone that their book is full of broken paragraphs, and that they need to fix them. I send screenshsots, with the pilcrows highlighted, big arrows pointing to them, etc. I tell them how to view them; I give them a link to a video that explains everything a Word user needs to know about styles, the pilcrow, etc. I have had ONE user, in the last two years, who could clean up his manuscript. ONE. Out of what, 150-200 users?

So, I think you are making assumptions about the Word-expertise of authors, in a very broad swath, that does not exist. I almost never get documents that have deliberate Styles used. Documents with hundreds if not thousands of ad hoc styles, yes. Deliberately set styles? No. Headers? No. For folks like that, the StyleGuide shan't help.

But, fortunately, as we've been discussing, it looks like SW will start intake for ePUBs. Assuming that they don't go the Kobo route, and then run them through the "Grinder" (Calibre) again, that should be a very good thing for everyone.

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Old 01-08-2013, 03:47 PM   #70
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But, fortunately, as we've been discussing, it looks like SW will start intake for ePUBs. Assuming that they don't go the Kobo route, and then run them through the "Grinder" (Calibre) again, that should be a very good thing for everyone.

Hitch
I hope SW does run the user-submitted ePub through the meatgrinder. That way, the ePub would be the source for all the other formats (except PDF). Just don't ePub > ePub and all will be well.


Speaking of not being able to follow the style guide, I'll give you worse...

Phoenix Pick... They cannot code to save their lives.

Code:
<p class="BasicParagraph" style="font-size:11.5pt; line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif"> So here you have it—a brand new line, in which t</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">o</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">day’s superstars strut their literary stuff, and also intr</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">o</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">duce you to the early work of the next generation of Hugo winners and bestsellers.</span></p>
<p class="BasicParagraph" style="font-size:14pt; line-height:normal; margin-left:121.5pt; margin-top:13.5pt"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif; font-size:14pt; font-style:italic">Mike </span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif; font-size:14pt; font-style:italic">Resnick</span></p>
<p class="BasicParagraph" style="font-size:14pt; line-height:normal; margin-top:13.5pt; text-align:center"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif; font-size:14pt; font-style:italic">***</span></p>
<p class="NoSpacing"><span>*</span></p>
<p class="NoSpacing" style="text-align:center"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif; font-size:16pt; font-weight:bold">=REBOOTS=</span></p>
<h1 id="navPoint_2"><span>Cody Martin: </span><span>A Long Strange Trip </span><br /><span style="font-style:italic">by Mercedes Lackey</span></h1>
<p class="First" style="font-size:11.5pt; line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">I first “met” Cody Martin in an online game.</span></p>
<p class="BasicParagraph" style="font-size:11.5pt; line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">The game is City of Heroes, an MMORPG (massive multi-player online role-playing game). We both belonged to one </span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">supergroup</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif"> (aka guild for you </span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">WoW</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif"> players) in a loose organization of role-playing groups on the Pinnacle server. For the uninitiated, role playing is very much like partially-scripted improvisational theater. The folks we were with were very much involved in storytelling (as opposed to “grinding” their characters to the highest level possible in the shortest amount of time), so it was pretty natural for me to gravitate towards them.</span></p>
<p class="BasicParagraph" style="font-size:11.5pt; line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">It turned out that he actually </span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif; font-style:italic">had</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif"> been part of a “grinding” group of friends and was about to kill off his character and quit when he ran into us and got intrigued. Our characters meshed well and he quickly got involved in a couple of my story lines; I liked the introduction he had written and posted on the group’s website (we heavily encouraged people to write prose as well as role-play) and as the people behind the “</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">toons</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">,” we hit it off.</span></p>
<p class="BasicParagraph" style="font-size:11.5pt; line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">At the time I thought he was a college student or even in his mid-twenties. I had no idea he hadn’t even gradua</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">t</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">ed from high school. He was that good at character develo</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">p</span><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman', serif">ment.</span></p>
Might as well show you the CSS for BasicParagraph.

Code:
.BasicParagraph { color:#000000; font-family:'Adobe Caslon Pro', serif; font-size:11.5pt; line-height:120%; margin-bottom:0pt; orphans:0; text-align:justify; text-indent:18pt; widows:0 }
And just what does this mean (found is the CSS (why have a CSS when most of the code is in the HTML?)...

Code:
Styles for document saved to a stream
Generated by Aspose.Words for .NET 9.7.0.0
The ePub (sample from B&N) actually has no line ends in the HTML, I added them for readability.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rebo...reboots+lackey

Get the sample and see really bad code. Actually, really bad is better then this. This is the worst code I've ever seen in a publisher ePub. And given some of the names they have as authors, you'd think they'd put some care into their eBooks.

I'd rather wait for the infinite monkeys typing on a computer keyboard to generate a proper ePub.

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Old 01-08-2013, 04:12 PM   #71
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I hope SW does run the user-submitted ePub through the meatgrinder. That way, the ePub would be the source for all the other formats (except PDF). Just don't ePub > ePub and all will be well.
What other formats? Not to be xeno-pub-lic, I mean, right, I know that they exist, but what's the point? LRF? Besides ePUB and MOBI, what's really needed any longer? And Smashwords does not have distro to Amazon--and it's unlikely that that will ever be restored, so...why bother? Distro to which entity or platform?


Quote:
Speaking of not being able to follow the style guide, I'll give you worse...
WOW.

I mean, WOW. I feel so much better about ePUBs I made starting out, OMG!

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Old 01-08-2013, 04:19 PM   #72
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What other formats? Not to be xeno-pub-lic, I mean, right, I know that they exist, but what's the point? LRF? Besides ePUB and MOBI, what's really needed any longer? And Smashwords does not have distro to Amazon--and it's unlikely that that will ever be restored, so...why bother? Distro to which entity or platform?
I would go with ePub, Mobi, KF8, LRF (for the old Sony Readers where people don't like right justified), eReader, and FB2. Other then that, can't see any other format anyone would want.


Quote:
WOW.

I mean, WOW. I feel so much better about ePUBs I made starting out, OMG!

Htich
And these people get paid for this. How they can justify it I have no idea. I could do better then that any day of the week.



Just to give you a good laugh, run the sample of Reboots through epubcheck 3, it will pass. But it won't pass FlightCrew.

Code:
Reboots (sample).epub/OEBPS/REBOOTS.ncx  1  internal subset is not allowed when reusing the grammar
1 is the line number. But give that the NCX is all one line, it may not be an easy thing to find.

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:13 PM   #73
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Get the sample and see really bad code. Actually, really bad is better then this. This is the worst code I've ever seen in a publisher ePub. And given some of the names they have as authors, you'd think they'd put some care into their eBooks.
Wow. I can't code modern HTML (last time I did serious coding was version 2.0 with hex code colors and netscape extensions), but I can tell that code's whacked.

Course I try to sidestep as much as possible by starting out with unformatted text. That way there's nothing to strip out. I guess I could do it more easily if I got used to adding P and /P tags, but I was always more of a BR guy.

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I would go with ePub, Mobi, KF8, LRF (for the old Sony Readers where people don't like right justified), eReader, and FB2. Other then that, can't see any other format anyone would want.
What's this about LRF not being right justified?
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:27 PM   #74
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Wow. I can't code modern HTML (last time I did serious coding was version 2.0 with hex code colors and netscape extensions), but I can tell that code's whacked.

Course I try to sidestep as much as possible by starting out with unformatted text. That way there's nothing to strip out. I guess I could do it more easily if I got used to adding P and /P tags, but I was always more of a BR guy.
Actually, using a good text editor, Sigil, and plain text (marked to show bold, italics, bolditalics, smallcaps, etc), you can easily make a well formatted ePub with good code.

Using Notepad++, it is very easy to search/replace the different paragraphs to put in <p></p>. Using Sigil it's very easy to fix up the ePub. You can easily produce well formatted ePub with good looking code. You just have to learn CSS and some basic HTML/XML.

As for the code I posted, that's just wrong on so many levels it may not even be possible to count how many.


Quote:
What's this about LRF not being right justified?
Old Sony Readers 500 (with the ePub firmware), 505, 600, and 700 all have a version of ADE that only displays right justified. Some do not like that and thus prefer LRF. And those with a 500 (without the ePub firmware) cannot use ePub except to convert it to LRF.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:53 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post



Old Sony Readers 500 (with the ePub firmware), 505, 600, and 700 all have a version of ADE that only displays right justified. Some do not like that and thus prefer LRF. And those with a 500 (without the ePub firmware) cannot use ePub except to convert it to LRF.
This version is fully justified, not right justified. Right justified would be ragged left.

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