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Old 04-02-2013, 09:38 PM   #1
glebarc
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Best Source Files for Epubs?

Hi y'all - just wondering if anyone has tried to create epubs for both Google Books and Smashwords? Smashwords told me to start with a Word doc, had to be done in Word 97-03; then I had to save as an html or htm. Google didn't require or recommend starting with Word. So anyway I've tried saving the Word doc as "web page, filtered" (which does strip out a lot of MS junk). Everything passed epubcheck the first time, it got into the Premium Catalog....then Apple rejected it, then it failed epubcheck when I tried it again. I'm having the same problem with Google Books. I've started using FlightCrew and then Sigil to correct the html source, but the errors are numerous and not so simple to fix - e.g. I'm looking at 30 cases of "attribute 'name' is not declared for element 'a' " aarrrgh!!!

Should I try starting with html and only converting to Word 6.0 (or something like that) for Smashwords? I never had a problem with .mobi conversion for Amazon - piece of cake converting from Word to html to .mobi using Calibre!

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Old 04-02-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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I thought Smashwords accepts epub: http://www.smashwords.com/swdirect
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:11 PM   #3
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Yep, Smashwords uses epub, but they give you a handbook to download, which tells you to start with a Word doc and convert it to epub from there.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:15 PM   #4
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VERY few Smashwords authors have an easy time converting their Word docs through the Smashwords meatgrinder. It should be called the authorgrinder. Then when you try to convert it yourself into an epub, the fun really begins! Epubcheck (any version) doesn't tell you really what's wrong; at least FlightCrew tells you more!
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:21 PM   #5
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A few possibilities...

Save as filtered HTML and create an ePub with Sigil (or convert with Calibre and tweak ePub as needed with Sigil).

Open the Word doc in OpenOffice and use the writer2epub plugin to generate an ePub then tweak with Sigil if needed.

Once you have an ePub upload that to Smashwords
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
A few possibilities...

Save as filtered HTML and create an ePub with Sigil (or convert with Calibre and tweak ePub as needed with Sigil).

Open the Word doc in OpenOffice and use the writer2epub plugin to generate an ePub then tweak with Sigil if needed.

Once you have an ePub upload that to Smashwords
I was warned in the manual not to use OpenOffice (now LibreOffice), because their instructions are specific to Word; but yes that sounds like a great idea! I had never heard of writer2epub. I just installed the plugin, will try it - thanks!
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glebarc View Post
I was warned in the manual not to use OpenOffice (now LibreOffice), because their instructions are specific to Word; but yes that sounds like a great idea! I had never heard of writer2epub. I just installed the plugin, will try it - thanks!
Note OpenOffice and LibreOffice are two separate things, similar and writer2epub should work with either one.


The Meatgrinder instructions are specific to Word, but that shouldn't matter if you're creating an ePub and uploading it directly as long as the ePub validates. The ePub forum here at MR will be of great help if you get into issues with validation and stuff.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:18 PM   #8
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without even setting it up properly, just doing a quick test, writer2epub in LibreOffice Writer cut down the errors seen in FlightCrew by about 90% - wow!
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:24 AM   #9
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You might want to give the "Atlantis Word Processor" a try, I can't say how it would be
for a professional writer but it has worked for a few things I tried it out on.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...44697112,d.aWc

Luck;
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Maltby View Post
You might want to give the "Atlantis Word Processor" a try, I can't say how it would be
for a professional writer but it has worked for a few things I tried it out on.

Luck;
Ken
Atlantis is what I normally use to get an HTML version. But it still needs a lot of work with an HTML editor to remove stacks of gunk - like multiple   for top margins and so on. And for some reason it often introduces font color.

Still, it's not a bad start.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:46 AM   #11
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The Atlantis web site also hosts the free "Tweak_epub" program which can be handy, if
you are working with the files and file types inside an epub. By default it uses notepad.
There is a basic description with examples, of the use of the program, at the site.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glebarc View Post
I was warned in the manual not to use OpenOffice (now LibreOffice), because their instructions are specific to Word; but yes that sounds like a great idea! I had never heard of writer2epub. I just installed the plugin, will try it - thanks!
Unless they've massively revised their style guide, Smashwords' meatgrinder works fine with OO/LO as long as you get the basic idea:

All formatting is to be done using the style sheet, except possibly inline bold and italic (like the title of a book).

Quote:
Originally Posted by glebarc View Post
VERY few Smashwords authors have an easy time converting their Word docs through the Smashwords meatgrinder. It should be called the authorgrinder. Then when you try to convert it yourself into an epub, the fun really begins! Epubcheck (any version) doesn't tell you really what's wrong; at least FlightCrew tells you more!
Dunno, I've never had trouble. Everything validates on the first go. Think the worst problem I had was an out-of-proportion cover.

That having been said, I write in .txt using a Notepad equivalent so I get to skip the lengthy stripping-down process that you run into from using Word or OO/LO. Just import the file, make the style sheet, apply it, and be done!

Then there's also Sigil, which you can use to compile an ePub as well.

Last edited by teh603; 04-03-2013 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:28 AM   #13
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Why would you make a .doc-file if you really want a .epub? You wouldn't create your database in Access, if MySQL is what you want in the end, would you?

If you want an epub in the end, then start out with one.

My advice is to just write in Sigil directly, and study up a bit on HTML and CSS for the markup. It costs you a few hours in the beginning, and your productivity will be lower (with regard to markup) for two weeks or so, but it'll save you hours and hours of frustration in the end.

Last edited by Katsunami; 04-03-2013 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:35 AM   #14
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Why would you make a .doc-file if you really want a .epub? You wouldn't create your database in Access, if MySQL is what you want in the end, would you?

If you want an epub in the end, then start out with one.
I must respectfully disagree. Sigil makes a lousy word processor. By all means transfer to Sigil once the main task of writing is complete, but I can't imagine writing a novel in Sigil. Editing one, yes, but not writing one.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:04 PM   #15
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Tell me, why not?

I happily write entire reports in Eclipse (using the LaTeX plugin). I just write, put some markup where I need it, and when I press a button, a perfectly marked up PDF comes rolling out, with TOC, lists of figures and tables and image captions without me having to do anything for that. And if I'd need to write a book, I'd do it in there too; certainly not in any word processor.

To write text for a novel, you don't need anything more than Notepad.

Writing a book in Word or Writer and then generating an epub is like designing a website in DreamWeaver's visual mode and generating HTML: it's frustrating, and renders near incomprehensible code.

The same goes for using Finale or Sibelius for music. After getting used to the Lilypond and Frescobaldi combo (which basically is a music counterpart to epub+Sigil, or LaTeX+Eclipse, where Finale and Sibelius are akin to Word and Writer), you will wonder how you did without it.

Last edited by Katsunami; 04-03-2013 at 12:41 PM.
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