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Old 05-05-2010, 11:52 PM   #1
Steven Lake
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Looking for formatting guide

Someone here once pointed me towards a complete ebook formatting guide. IE, how to do titles, page breaks, scene breaks/separations, chapter breaks, etc. I think it also mentioned how to take your ebook, save it as html, or xhtml or something like that, open as text, then manually format edit the entire book, save as a single html file, and then convert to an ebook with calibre or something like that. I know the guide was pretty detailed on how the formatting worked, and that's what I'm looking for, but I can't seem to find it. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:02 AM   #2
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The information I could find on MR so far is more format specific, but there is the Smashwords Style Guide By Mark Coker. Was it this or something on the MR forum?
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:37 AM   #3
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Alternatively it was HarryT's guides .... or something in the Workshop
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:18 AM   #4
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Well, I'm only ever going to be doing PDF and Epub, so if they're format specific, then an epub formatting guide world work well. And I've read the smashwords guide for how to put in all the proper spaces and whatnot, but I'm now after the actual HTML code and other steps for proper formatting.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
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Well, there's nothing like dissecting an epub file to find yourself some rather interesting clues to on what needs to go where, and how. In the process of my picking through the epub, I came across ways to add the missing scene breaks, how to slice up the chapters, and a bunch of other cool stuff. I did figure out too that I can actually use a text editor to create the epub by hand, and then just zip it up, rename the extension, and end up with things formatted exactly how I want them. ^_^

I still don't know all the HTML code elements I need, and I noticed a sid ID at the top of the TOC file I'm still confused about (ie, can it remain the same across multiple files, or does it need to change?) and a few other interesting discoveries. Personally, if I can build all my epubs by hand, I'll have maximum control over how they look, function, etc, which is what I want. ^_^

I think if I get a few more epubs to look at as examples, I might just be able to figure out this whole formatting thing and be able to build them myself with a fair amount of ease.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:54 PM   #6
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I created an ebook formatting guide

I may need to expand upon a few of the questions you listed here though.
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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I created an ebook formatting guide

I may need to expand upon a few of the questions you listed here though.
You beat me to it! I was just going to post the link to this for him.
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:25 PM   #8
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Danke good sirs.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:38 PM   #9
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Danke good sirs.
Hope it helps!

Though after reading your post I made some additions. Now I just have to get home from work and uploaded the revised html files. (I added my css html code cheatsheet, which has the code for inserting page-breaks anywhere in the document.)

which for the record is...

<P style="page-break-after:always">&nbsp;</P>
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:54 PM   #10
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Yeah, that's some of what I'm looking for. Thanks Amalthia!
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:40 AM   #11
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Hope it helps!

Though after reading your post I made some additions. Now I just have to get home from work and uploaded the revised html files. (I added my css html code cheatsheet, which has the code for inserting page-breaks anywhere in the document.)

which for the record is...

<P style="page-break-after:always">&nbsp;</P>

yep - that works well ... as does "page-break-before".....
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Old 05-22-2010, 06:56 PM   #12
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Ya know, after playing with this a bit more, I think I can actually write a script that will, using a default formatting design, create a ready to use ebook in Epub format just by copying and pasting text into a loader file. The script then reads the import text, breaks it up into sections, and then spits out the entire epub's contents in one motion.

After analyzing how each of the files in the epub works, it should actually be quite easy. All you'd need to do is enter a few details, and you're golden. In fact, with PHP5, you could actually create a complete web script that would even zip up the contents for you. All you need to do is make sure your text is formatted properly beforehand (IE, ensure that you have something like <break> to mark the breaks between chapters, and then let the script do the rest. It'd ultimately be faster than Sigil, despite how nice it is, even though it's in early beta.

If someone wants, I could actually write a script that does that. IE, instant epub for just a few minutes of work. It won't be all fancy, smancy, but it'll still look nice. Plus I'll open source the script in case someone wants to tinker with it a bit.
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:09 AM   #13
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Is that not what Sigil does ?
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:44 AM   #14
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Yeah, Sigil builds the ebooks, but it takes too long. Even under ideal conditions it takes me about two hours to build an ebook properly. If I can cut that down to just a few minutes, I'm golden. I literally want to be able to open up a text file, drop in a few markers, fill out a brief form, add the text file, and hit submit and get my ebook, and all within about 5 minutes. Now if there's a way to properly build an ebook with Sigil in 5 minutes, I'm all for it. My biggest reason behind this is that I'm working with my publisher right now to streamline all of his stuff, and two hours of of his day is a huge chunk. I've already done two other projects for him that will lighten his work load considerably. And the more freetime he has, the more he can dedicate to the little things, which he needs to be more active in. IE, events. Those are slipping through the cracks due to being too busy.
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:06 AM   #15
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So what happens if you drop your text files, chapter by chapter, into Sigil - does that not take as little as 5 minutes ?

or do you have fancy formatting (poetry?), in which case, yes it can take a while...

why not work with Sigil rather than inventing something similar but not the same ?
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