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Old 12-14-2012, 09:04 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by ElMiko View Post
The idea that by virtue of being a "professional" one can no longer call on that same said generosity seems to me a bit draconian.
That's not what's being suggested. Of course a pro can run into a snag and needn't feel weird about asking for advice. Happens all the time. But they usually stick around and reciprocate. I'm also not trying to convince others to not help the OP or others like him. If you're so inclined... by all means have at it! I just personally don't feel inclined to help someone fleece a client (by misrepresenting their skill set) when it's quite clear from previous posts/questions that they don't have a grasp of the most basic of knowledge necessary to build an ebook... let alone charge someone to do so. It seems a few others feel the same.

And if they're clever enough to pretend to be strictly amateur in their knowledge-seeking, sure...I'll help and be perfectly satisfied that my personal sense of propriety has been met. But they're never that clever. They don't have the time. They dip their toes in and then it's bye-bye until the next problem that's holding up their paycheck.

Everybody should, of course, use their own conscience in this regard. I'm perfectly comfortable with my reasoning.

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Old 12-14-2012, 09:31 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by ElMiko View Post
The idea that by virtue of being a "professional" one can no longer call on that same said generosity seems to me a bit draconian. After all, is a published author no longer allowed to use a thesaurus because he should already have an encyclopedic knowledge of that particular skill set (vocabulary)?
Being a professional does not preclude asking for a 'second set of eyes' to look at your perplexing code not working problem. We all make typos or flaws in logic (what was I thinking ) at one time or another.

Getting ideas for a bit of code trickery is also cool, we all learn new steps.

But it rankles when charging a client, without having basic understanding of EPUB's features and limitations .

If the recipient of the work had been labeled as Friend or Buddy, I don't think anyone would have batted an eye.
(O.K. The Cut and Paste thing might get a few snickers)
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:46 AM   #33
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But it rankles when charging a client, without having basic understanding of EPUB's features and limitations .
FWIW, this is precisely what I had in mind when I said I'd seen instances in which i felt the resident gurus/cognoscenti would be justifiably indignant and less-than-forthcoming with assistance. That is to say, "client" isn't an ipso facto dirty word. As you seem to be reasonably suggesting, it's the word "client" in conjunction with a grey-scale determination of the quality of the question that determines the righteousness of the request for help.

And, again, to be clear (and this is kind of in response to DD, too), I can't really get overly worked up about people withholding help, since there's no sense in mandating generosity, much less mandating excessive generosity. I do, however, wonder if it isn't a waste of one's time to chastise a guilty party. As I asked, what exactly does one achieve by calling out a moocher here (taking, in this case, that moocherdom/ism/ness/ation as a self-evident fact)?

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Old 12-14-2012, 09:52 AM   #34
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quote "I had a client send me a powerpoint document ..... So I had to manually copy and paste all 95 pages into word "

what ??? RTFM. or press that button labelled F1 now & again. hint - look up outline view

better still - find a more suitable trade - computer geek you are not
Sure, he went about it the wrong way. But how did WE learn? Hands up anyone who planned a career in eBook design, chose a school, studied and qualified, joined a guild with trade secrets and THEN found their first job? No, an opportunity arose, we thought "I can do that!" and learnt on the job. And remember, if it's going to be a paid job, it has to start that way. Work once for free, you have to for ever.

When I first encountered eBooks, the best advice seemed to be Word export to HTML, then drop it into some Java-powered conversion engine. And it worked, up to a point. There are still people who think in terms of automatic conversion from Word layout (which they understand) into eBook HTML (which they don't). How will they learn, other than making a fool of themselves on a forum like this one?

I started when a friend, owner of an established specialist publishing company, realised his catalogue had to be available as eBooks. He did the conversions himself, following the best advice he could find (see above). He could do a few things in Sigil, but Code View was a closed book. Results were fair, and his eBooks sold well. But he wanted better, and had lots more books to convert. He decided to teach me the conversion process.

I'm a geek :-) Half-way through the first session I was teaching him. It took me a little time to realise that the "approved" method was all about retaining complication, when a good eBook demanded simplicity. The breakthrough came when he stopped "converting", came to terms with tags and styles and started pouring plain text into Sigil. Last week, he used Regex to construct several hundred hyperlinks to an Endnotes chapter. I was very proud!

Some of his publisher friends now send me work. I'm still learning on the job (mostly learning how to tell a client "No, trying to reproduce that fussy layout will just cause trouble" :-) Everyone I asked has helped me, I have helped everyone who asked. Everyone's happy.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:20 PM   #35
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And remember, if it's going to be a paid job, it has to start that way. Work once for free, you have to for ever.
Garbage!

first you obtain the skills, THEN you charge for applying them, not the other way around.

If I am paying for, let's say, medical treatment, I don't want to be paying some learner who is googling how to do the next stage of his 1st operation!

but hey, if you want a hernia removed cheap, just drop me a blank cheque & I'll go sharpen some knives - can't be that hard to do

TIP - google "professional", google "amateur" - keep going until you get the difference.

I am just imagining a medical forum where a "doctor" posts - "hey guys I've just cut my first private patient open, now can anyone tell me what this squiggly bit is...."

PS
quote: "Half-way through the first session I was teaching him." - By your own logic, that was chargeable. How much per hour did you bill him ?

Last edited by cybmole; 12-14-2012 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:33 PM   #36
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Garbage!
I was thinking the same thing!
Unpaid interns the world over were panicking for just a minute there, though.

The idea that skills learned while doing work for free can never put money in the bank in the future is quite ludicrous.

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Old 12-14-2012, 05:34 PM   #37
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FWIW, this is precisely what I had in mind when I said I'd seen instances in which i felt the resident gurus/cognoscenti would be justifiably indignant and less-than-forthcoming with assistance. That is to say, "client" isn't an ipso facto dirty word. As you seem to be reasonably suggesting, it's the word "client" in conjunction with a grey-scale determination of the quality of the question that determines the righteousness of the request for help.

And, again, to be clear (and this is kind of in response to DD, too), I can't really get overly worked up about people withholding help, since there's no sense in mandating generosity, much less mandating excessive generosity. I do, however, wonder if it isn't a waste of one's time to chastise a guilty party. As I asked, what exactly does one achieve by calling out a moocher here (taking, in this case, that moocherdom/ism/ness/ation as a self-evident fact)?
ElMiko:

@Actually, I never said I wouldn't help a fellow professional; nor did I say I wouldn't help an amateur. However, this instance, with RalphieDee, was actually the second or third occasion--different threads--upon which this arose. He had asked for very basic (I mean...I can't even describe it properly, what's less than basic? Novice?) questions about making an ePUB, and then said his "client didn't want..." yadda yadda yadda. That was the first thread upon which I, and I think Wolfie and some of the gang, said--"WT(Heck)?," and declined to assist him at that point.

Then this thread came up. Somewhat ditto. I didn't rip the guy a new one, generally--I said, learn how to do it and then start charging. When I got a bit vexed is when exaltedwombat said that I was being professionally selfish. I'm still waiting to find out what EW does for a living, because I'd like to structure an analogous hypothetical situation and see if he'd go for it, when it's his paying work. Again, I'm not looking for a flamewar, but it's easy-peasy to say, "well, you should help that guy because to do otherwise is SELFISH."

My issue isn't "helping." I've been helped here. I've helped others here. What I haven't done is try to bootstrap my utter novice-dom by using MR brains to get a client to pay me, when I was freaking clueless on what to do. When I first started ePUBs, yes, I was ePUB-clueless; but I'd been making MOBI's for about a year for money, and the year before that for NOTHING. I at least understood how to export a Word file (and other word-processing files, PDF's, etc.) into HTML, clean 'em, etc. I struggled with CSS for ePUBs, because that was new to me. People here helped me. But I at least had some fundies. And, FWIW, not that this makes me a saint, I did not charge those first 6 poor bastards who were my guinea pigs for ePUB. I charged them "MOBI" prices only, and struggled through the ePUB side on my own nickel. (And back then, it wasn't ePUB-->Kindlegen magic, either.)

Granted, this isn't surgery, or rocket science, and people won't die if we bollox it up, but it's still my profession. It matters to me if it's done well, or if flim-flam artists or scammers or whatever decide to populate the field, because then not only do I have to compete against them (and they're invariably cheap), but I have to fight against the impression that they create, or the bad taste that they leave in people's mouths. It's not freaking fun. If anyone here is a car mechanic, I'll bet you know what I'm talking about!

Quote:
Sure, he went about it the wrong way. But how did WE learn? Hands up anyone who planned a career in eBook design, chose a school, studied and qualified, joined a guild with trade secrets and THEN found their first job? No, an opportunity arose, we thought "I can do that!" and learnt on the job. And remember, if it's going to be a paid job, it has to start that way. Work once for free, you have to for ever.
@exaltedwombat:

No, I didn't. I didn't start out on some guy's dime. I did books for free. I made dozens for my own Kindle, starting out with plain text files from PG (oy), then moved up to making mobi's from Word files, and then, after a year of making books, started charging when an Edgar-winner asked me to do his. That started a whole flood of books, and then when B&N started to be real, I bit the bullet, downloaded Sigil and struggled through a CSS class, and then, yes, I asked questions HERE, doing about half-a-dozen ePUBs for free, while I made the accompanying mobi's for the then-usual money. (LOL, about $75 back then! Ye gods!). Seeing my own lack of knowledge, I contracted with a guy from here, who helped "learn me some CSS" while we made ebooks together. I didn't charge some client to learn on his dime; I paid someone, after those first 6 books, to ensure that the client got what they paid for.

This is business. It's not some fly-by-night joyride, where everybody does whatever the hell they want and stick it to the clients. That's my position on it. While the world has internships, and apprenticeships, the basic premise behind that is that someone who knows what they are doing is overseeing your work. That's not the case here, unless we all think that we're the overseers for this guy's work, or guys like them. In an apprenticeship, the employer gets the dough, and the apprentice gets his (much smaller) wage. That's not the case here. The only "payment" we're getting is the purported satisfaction of helping someone, but we don't know the actual details of what's going on. I don't want the responsibility of trying to oversee this guy's work.

Really, @EW, would you be perfectly happy to go have a brake job on your car, and pay full boat, to some guy who was getting instructions on how to change out your oil filter, on the internet? Do you want to go to a gourmet restaurant, when the chef is out sick, so the waitress pitches in and reads the recipe over the internet, getting "help" from Allrecipes.com's forum? Or, hey, how about a DENTIST, with his iPad up on the little tray table, getting info from total strangers on the Internet? Should you pay full price in those scenarios, or, would you, instead, think that you should be entitled to a discount, at LEAST? C'mon, you know damned well in your heart that that's exactly what you'd think.

You're dismissive of this, because you know how to do it, pitched in and helped someone, so, hey, it's not a big deal. But somewhere out there is some poor schmuck who hired this guy in good faith, believing that he knew how to do what he said he could do.

Sorry, to me, it's just wrong. I guess I'm stupidly old-fashioned that way. I have had craploads of OJT in my not-short life, but bygod, I was earning every penny I made while I learned, because I had expertise in something else at the time.

I mean, taking this argument about "OJT" to its extreme, what the hell, let's just do away with colleges and universities altogether, and have everyone learn WHILE being paid! Why should those poor students have to PAY to be educated? How unreasonable! Yes, it's an extreme, but it's precisely the same argument (which is how you logically test arguments--by going to extremes to determine the fundamental soundness of the arguments). Can't wait to have my first OJT surgery or dentistry.

Done now on this topic, please.

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Old 12-14-2012, 08:09 PM   #38
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Hitch
I learned a lot through OJT. My employer paid my wages while learning by doing the job (and playing GoFer) alongside with my Trainer. The customer was not billed for my work, only what the professional training me did.

I think that the building trades are the last that still teach real skills as part of the apprenticeship program.
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:27 AM   #39
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Hitch
I learned a lot through OJT. My employer paid my wages while learning by doing the job (and playing GoFer) alongside with my Trainer. The customer was not billed for my work, only what the professional training me did.

I think that the building trades are the last that still teach real skills as part of the apprenticeship program.
Yes. Precisely. The customer paid only for what he received, by the professional, not for your OJT. I had a lot of OJT mysef, as I said, when I was learning to build 5-star hotels. But I already brought a skillset to the table, for which I was paid.

Just so we're all clear here: I would never say that anybody here who is "play for pay" has to be shunned. Obviously, that would be DAFT, and worse, hypocritical, coming from me. I've received help here, and I've given it.

Somehow, the Ralphie situation was different. I've seen Diap and Wolfie and my Twoo Love, Ducky, help other commercial makers. We've all helped InDesigners, and we all know that those folks ain't working for free.

So, that's my "official" position. I don't think all commercial bookmakers' questions should be shunned. I do think that they ought to punch to their fighting weight, though, not two weight classes above. If somebody's asking me something about the most rudimentary CSS--even less than I know -- then I would seriously hope that they are not charging. I guess that's my stance.

Hitch

And, before we all forget:
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:55 AM   #40
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I'm still waiting to find out what EW does for a living, because I'd like to structure an analogous hypothetical situation and see if he'd go for it, when it's his paying work. Again, I'm not looking for a flamewar, but it's easy-peasy to say, "well, you should help that guy because to do otherwise is SELFISH."
OK, but you won't like it!

My job that has paid the rent for the last 40 years or so has been as a performing musician. The trade, above all others, where amateurs constantly clamour to do your job for free. and are convinced they are "just as good".

Let's not get all arty-farty about "Karma". But I've found that if I'm free with advice and help, it brings me MORE work. Show someone how to do it properly, he often realises he CAN'T do it himself (or doesn't want to put in the time and effort to develop the skill). So I get the job.

(I'm also fortunate that, although I'm too old to have had any computer training at school, when they came onto the music-production scene I took like a duck to water. After a little time I realised that what I saw as an unremarkable skill was actually an unusual one, and a very marketable commodity.)

There's one particular parallel between music and ebook design/web design/programming in general. Less is more. Leave out the fiddly bits. State what needs stating clearly - then stop.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:25 AM   #41
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oh - you mean that trade where you perform other folks creations for money, but pay no royalties to whoever wrote the tune

there's no point debating ethics with musicians

PS
quote "The trade, above all others, where amateurs constantly clamour to do your job for free. and are convinced they are "just as good" -end quote
As a musician myself, I have so say that some of the folks now performing for free on you tube, are better than 99% of pros. Listen to Sungha Jung. Betcha can't play that, as the folks at Guitar World like to say.

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Old 12-16-2012, 10:45 AM   #42
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Hey you guys... Would you take my musician neighbor? He practices (and teaches) trumpet all day
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:00 AM   #43
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oh - you mean that trade where you perform other folks creations for money, but pay no royalties to whoever wrote the tune
Nice one! But, no. The venues pay for a PRS licence, and get forms to fill in detailling what's been played, from which allocation of royalties are calculated. Not a perfect system, but royalties DO get paid. Though you get a much better deal when YOU write the songs, produce the show and sell the tickets.

Mostly, though, I'm just a gun for hire. Rather like making eBooks. Let the publisher/promoter/producer/employer take care of all that. I play what I'm given to play, get a cheque at the end of the job.

So you'll have to take better aim if you want to shoot me down :-)
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:24 PM   #44
cybmole
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I remember PRS forms.

we kept a special list of the worlds shortest song titles ( no relation to what we'd actually played) , so we could fill them in real fast & go home.

& we were cash only - no cheques, 'cept for ones we could cash over the bar.
& we changed the name of the band every couple of years.

nowadays I just teach - & I even pay tax.

there was a lot of fuss here in England about PRS when they tried making guitar shops buy "performance" licences - for all those kids playing smoke on the water & stairway to heaven on the demo instruments. Then they made even bigger fools of themselves by sueing a lady who kept a radio on in her stables to soothe horses. PRS said she needed a licence for that ( priced per horse I suppose)

PS - the trumpet guy - look at it this way - you're getting free lessons broadcast- though the wall . You could sell tickets - but watch out for undercover PRS agents

Last edited by cybmole; 12-16-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:33 PM   #45
theducks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
PS - the trumpet guy - look at it this way - you're getting free lessons broadcast- though the wall . You could sell tickets - but watch out for undercover PRS agents
But he only plays the Trumpet part of the piece ( took me quite a while to figure out why he was not playing the whole song )
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