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Old 10-03-2008, 11:20 AM   #76
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Why not just convert the PDF directly to html (free w/ mobicreator or many other tools)? You can then just read it into word (or even do a direct to mobi conversion, hopefully after fixing that one type you've found so far). Another benefit would be you could switch to a different editor than Word and perhaps avoid all the hidden text problems of before). It is too bad that publishers are still somewhat in the dark ages when it comes to the final stages of editing a text; perhaps wide spread adoption of epub may someday fix that (although not likely if MS does their usual proprietary implementation of such).
Converting into Mobipocket format from the PDF will take a lot of work. After the conversion is done, every single paragraph will have to be compared to the PDF to make sure there are no errors. That will be a lot of work. I do not know of any program that will convert Sunborn in PDF to something else without adding in a single error. So this may be the most time consuming way to get it converted to a reflowable format. Will it be worth it? Maybe, maybe not.

Jeffrey, is it possible to get a hold of the source used to make the PDF?
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:38 AM   #77
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That's my working plan at the moment. Of course, it might all change tomorrow, if I see the flaws in my reasoning by light of day, or if a good source file comes my way. Fair enough?
Hi Jeff,

I guess my question was more to the point of...

If you are going to be giving away the book (digital version) and TOR is going to sell it... why would people buy it if it was also available for free? Formats not withstanding? Personally, if I wanted to sell and eBook or my publisher did, I wouldn't be giving it away also. Perhaps a year or something after it is released once sales calm down.

BOb
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:34 PM   #78
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Why not just convert the PDF directly to html (free w/ mobicreator or many other tools)? You can then just read it into word (or even do a direct to mobi conversion, hopefully after fixing that one type you've found so far). Another benefit would be you could switch to a different editor than Word and perhaps avoid all the hidden text problems of before).
You make it sound so easy...

No, it's not that easy. I tried feeding the PDF to MobiCreator, and what I got was a mess. Broken lines, merged lines, lots of other things. I've tried other PDF-to-Word converters, and not one of them worked worth a damn. At least not on my files. (The one exception, which initially made me think, wow, great, was Seas of Ernathe. I don't know why it worked on that and not others.) Maybe there's one out there that works, but I got tired of looking. The full version of Acrobat might work, but I don't have that.

If I wanted to switch from Word, I wouldn't need that as an excuse. My problems with hidden text weren't a Word issue per se, but rather a Wordstar to Word conversion issue. Now that I know how to look for it, I'm not so concerned about it. Anyway, I have no serious problems with Word, and it's the industry standard--not just in fiction, but other areas I occasionally work in.

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It is too bad that publishers are still somewhat in the dark ages when it comes to the final stages of editing a text; perhaps wide spread adoption of epub may someday fix that (although not likely if MS does their usual proprietary implemenation of such).
I don't know what you mean by this, other than that it would be nice if they gave back to the author the final markup in an editable form. (At least they've finally started making a PDF available. That's new.) I'm completely in the dark as to how adopting epub would affect this. Can you explain?
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:38 PM   #79
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If you are going to be giving away the book (digital version) and TOR is going to sell it... why would people buy it if it was also available for free? Formats not withstanding? Personally, if I wanted to sell and eBook or my publisher did, I wouldn't be giving it away also.
Bob, I understand that point. But for me, the larger point is, what will best promote sales of the print book? Tor's having an ebook on sale is great, for avid ebook buyers. But it's not going to do much to promote the hardcover. No one's going to buy an ebook to see if maybe they might like the hardcover. But anecdotal evidence suggests that people might well download a free copy, and if they like it, go out and buy the paper book.

The fact that so many people download PDFs in a format that does not read easily on a small device suggests to me that this is what many people do.

Yes, giving away the ebook for free might cost me some paid ebook sales. But I'm hoping that increased visibility for the treebook will more than compensate for that.

It's all guesswork at this point. But I don't think Tor would have given their blessing to it if they thought it was going to cost sales in the long run.
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:51 PM   #80
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Jeffrey, is it possible to get a hold of the source used to make the PDF?
I'm told the only other thing they have is a Quark file. I've asked for it, in hopes I can convert it. No word yet.

BTW--change of subject--I just spent some time on the phone with the production guy at ereads, and two of my books that have been caught for years in a production logjam (The Rapture Effect and Dragon Rigger) should be available soon from ereads. We talked a lot about costs and DRM and all that, and I was surprised to hear him say that he preferred non-DRM ebooks. We looked at my books on Fictionwise as we talked, and I was surprised to see that the prices had been lowered since I'd last looked, and that the multi-format books are apparently non-DRM. I'd thought it was otherwise. (There are limits on printing and audio-reading, which I wish weren't there, though. That's apparently a Fictionwise policy, not an ereads policy.)

Not a promise, but I have reason to hope that my ereads books will be carried on Baen Webscriptions in the reasonably near future.
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:30 AM   #81
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I've just added to my downloads page the final volume, to date, of The Chaos Chronicles--The Infinite Sea! Not all of the formats are in place yet, but html, rtf, pdf (2 versions), and Mobipocket are ready to go. I hope to add the rest soon.

Enjoy!
Jeff,

Just finished Neptune's Crossing and enjoyed it Took a while to get sucked in, but the book grabbed ahold of me (definition - 40 pages to go and had to stay up to 1am to finish it). I like a good yarn. Only just downloaded the Infinite Sea as I prefer to wait for the LRF version to save me reformatting with Calibre.

Dumped some money in the Tip Jar as I definitely want to encourage this trial ebook practice. I also read ebooks for preference nowadays - its more convenient for me to use a Sony (or PDA or iPod Touch) to carry stuff than to put a real book in my backpack.

Now on to read Strange Attractors....

Thanks

Ross

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Old 10-05-2008, 01:18 PM   #82
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Panglor

Hey Jeff..

I enjoyed the first two books of the Chaos Chronicles so much that I purchased "Panglor" to start your other series... Thanks for the free ebooks. I look forward to reading all your books...

Rob
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:07 AM   #83
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Hey Jeff..

I enjoyed the first two books of the Chaos Chronicles so much that I purchased "Panglor" to start your other series... Thanks for the free ebooks. I look forward to reading all your books...

Rob
Hey, great! Panglor is one of my early novels, though I revised it some for a later edition. It's the first book in my Star Rigger universe, in the sense of coming first in the chronology of the future history. It's the third one I wrote, though. Hope you like it.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:09 PM   #84
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Jeff, will you do a signing tour for Sunborn? My wife and I want to buy the series in paper so we can get them signed. Your offering your work for free downloads just makes readers like me push up the loyalty curve! My job as a reader is to support you the author. I love getting books for free, but understand how the world works. You write, we buy. Giving the books to us for free in a convenient format cuts off all the work I would have had to do on my own. At least I don't have to scan your Chaos books! Those of us who like to read books electronically REALLY appreciate people like you that help us get the books we love in the formats that let us enjoy them best. So, are you signing Sunborn on the road?
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:57 PM   #85
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Jeff, will you do a signing tour for Sunborn? My wife and I want to buy the series in paper so we can get them signed. Your offering your work for free downloads just makes readers like me push up the loyalty curve! My job as a reader is to support you the author. I love getting books for free, but understand how the world works. You write, we buy. Giving the books to us for free in a convenient format cuts off all the work I would have had to do on my own. At least I don't have to scan your Chaos books! Those of us who like to read books electronically REALLY appreciate people like you that help us get the books we love in the formats that let us enjoy them best. So, are you signing Sunborn on the road?
Thanks for the words of support! I will be doing signings in my own area (near Boston), but doing a tour would, unfortunately, leave me in the red. (No, publishers don't pay for tours for any but their top-selling authors.)

You can buy autographed copies directly from me, by going to the store page on my website. That doesn't give us the chance to meet in person, unfortunately, but it does let you get signed, personalized books.
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Old 10-10-2008, 02:10 PM   #86
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You write, we buy. Giving the books to us for free in a convenient format cuts off all the work I would have had to do on my own.
You could just throw some cash in his tip jar. I do plan on buying _Little Brother_ for my local elementary schools library as per his suggestion at the beginning of the book.

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Old 10-20-2008, 07:15 PM   #87
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Holy crap!! This off topic, but I didn't realize you also wrote the Battlestar Galactica novelization of the 2003 miniseries. I guess I should pay more attention.

I just finished that on my Kindle and you did an excellent job with that--I bet novelization work presents a lot of challenges! The whole time I kept thinking to myself "Hey this guy really does a great job capturing the personalities of these characters..."

Now I gotta go check out your latest books and find ye ole tip jar to show my support for your e-books. Thanks so much!

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Old 10-20-2008, 08:54 PM   #88
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Holy crap!! This off topic, but I didn't realize you also wrote the Battlestar Galactica novelization of the 2003 miniseries. I guess I should pay more attention.

I just finished that on my Kindle and you did an excellent job with that--I bet novelization work presents a lot of challenges! The whole time I kept thinking to myself "Hey this guy really does a great job capturing the personalities of these characters..."

Now I gotta go check out your latest books and find ye ole tip jar to show my support for your e-books. Thanks so much!
A compliment to an author is never off topic.

The BSG novel was a definite change of pace for me, and a lot of fun. Glad you liked it! It didn't sell very well, unfortunately, but besides being an enjoyable detour, it turned me and my family into diehard BSG fans.

I see by your sig line that you're a scooter pilot! Me, too. I ride a Tomos around town and love it. My wife rides a Honda. (Now, that's off topic.)
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:37 PM   #89
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A compliment to an author is never off topic.

The BSG novel was a definite change of pace for me, and a lot of fun. Glad you liked it! It didn't sell very well, unfortunately, but besides being an enjoyable detour, it turned me and my family into diehard BSG fans.

I see by your sig line that you're a scooter pilot! Me, too. I ride a Tomos around town and love it. My wife rides a Honda. (Now, that's off topic.)
Yeah, the scooter thing is still pretty weird in these parts. But they are becoming more popular each year. Started when I decided to fight "the man" (no reason really) and decided I wanted to buy less gas, grow my own vegetables and I even bought 5 chickens so I can have my own eggs. I live smack in the middle of a city of half a million people, so I've become the odd fellow of the block.

So yeah, my scoot (Honda Metropolitan) gets 100 MPG. Neighbor kids come and want to pet my chickens and get free eggs. Co-workers stare at me as I read e-books and brag that I know the guy who wrote the best BSG novel.

I don't really know you, but hey, it's all I got. I'm only 39, which I thought was to young to be the eccentric guy of the block, but I was wrong.

So scoot on author man! More fun than a motorcycle and less deadly. Well, slightly less deadly.

Now to get sorta back on topic so I don't get yelled at--I downloaded your books and two friends asked about it and I sent them to your site as well.

This may have been discussed before on these forums, but I couldn't find anything, so I'll ask for this thread:

Do you think that your "author embracing e-books" strategy has really helped get your name out there, or is the e-book industry still too new to tell?

By the way, I was surprised that you mentioned that your BSG book didn't sell well--it had way higher reviews than the other BSG books.
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:50 AM   #90
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Yeah, the scooter thing is still pretty weird in these parts. But they are becoming more popular each year.
Same here. I used to get a lot of quizzical looks. Though that might have less to do with the moped than the dorky helmet. You can see pix of my wife and me on our 'peds in this old blog entry.

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Co-workers stare at me as I read e-books and brag that I know the guy who wrote the best BSG novel.
Funny, Spider Robinson told me that he couldn't convince his neighbor down the road--the actor who plays Saul Tigh!--that he was a BSG fan until he waved my book in front of him.

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Now to get sorta back on topic so I don't get yelled at--I downloaded your books and two friends asked about it and I sent them to your site as well.

This may have been discussed before on these forums, but I couldn't find anything, so I'll ask for this thread:

Do you think that your "author embracing e-books" strategy has really helped get your name out there, or is the e-book industry still too new to tell?
I appreciate the referral, for sure. As for the success of the strategy, I guess I'll know when the new book has been out for a while. I can say this: there have been 15-20,000 ebook downloads from my site since I put the free books up, so for sure I've gotten my name back into circulation to at least some degree. The question is, will it translate into sales? I hope so, but that remains to be answered.

I will note that the preponderance of downloads being in PDF format suggests to me that the majority of people downloading are not dedicated ebook readers per se, but maybe people who are edging toward reading books that way.

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By the way, I was surprised that you mentioned that your BSG book didn't sell well--it had way higher reviews than the other BSG books.
Actually, my understanding is that none of them sold very well, which is probably why Tor didn't continue the series. Mine was the only novelization; the others were spinoff originals. My friend Craig Gardner wrote one of them. He and I live in the same suburb of Boston, and for a short time, our town had a monopoly on BSG novels. It did not gain us control of the world, however. The lack of commercial success of books tied to a very popular series led me to wondering whether the time of the tie-in novel as a form might be fading. There are just so many other ways now for people to relive or enhance the experience of a TV show or movie, there's not as much reason to go pick up a book if what you want is the visual experience. That's just my speculation, though.
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