Old Tom and the Old Tome

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Mongrel
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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Mongrel » Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:30 am

Maybe just shorten it to "he fought for Mordred in the war against Arthur". It's still perfectly understandable, but sounds more like someone on the other side might view it.
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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:20 pm

François wrote:There's a lot of flavor in not a lot of words, and that's pretty much exactly what you want.


What most people don't know about me is I'm actually pretty good at the whole brevity thing.

Mongrel wrote:Maybe just shorten it to "he fought for Mordred in the war against Arthur". It's still perfectly understandable, but sounds more like someone on the other side might view it.


I actually refer to him as "the Old King" when he's first mentioned in the text, but keep in mind that this is back-of-the-jacket stuff. I want the phrase "King Arthur" in there because it draws the eye, and because I want it to show up in searches for that phrase.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Mongrel » Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:24 pm

If it's a keyword thing, then sure, fair enough.
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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:49 pm

Finally found a good program to edit EPUB files directly: Sigil.

This was always going to be something I would wind up having to do, because converting from one format to another is always a dicey affair, even if it's formats that are designed to be directly compatible with one another, like Markdown -> HTML -> EPUB.

The EPUB format's pretty straightforward. It's HTML, CSS, images, and metadata files to tie all of them together. I'm hoping to be able to get the thing buttoned up soonish.

I don't have anything to directly edit MOBI files, so hopefully converting from EPUB to MOBI is straightforward.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:51 pm

Inching along toward a usable EPUB. Now I've got something that looks fine in Calibre but has a bunch of extra blank pages in Okular (which might not be so bad except the first page is blank). Suspect this may be a CSS issue; am disappointed but not surprised to learn that I'll probably have to deal with all the same reset bullshit that I have to deal with when building a website. (Well, not the same, but, I suspect, annoyingly similar.)

There are some books I should probably read; O'Reilly has a couple that are free and should be easier to follow than diving into a spec document.

Also annoyed that Scrivener seems incompetent at section breaks. It will let me put *** as a section break -- that's good! -- but doesn't add a return on either side of it -- that's bad! and results in its MD -> HTML converter thinking it should be an italicized asterisk on its own line in the middle of a paragraph, instead of an hr. One of those things that's easy to correct manually in a short story like this but which I foresee being a considerable inconvenience in anything more complicated.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:08 pm

Welp, back at it; still having some weird little EPUB issues that I haven't been able to sort just by reading documentation and tutorials.

<hr /> tags are probably a no-go since FBReader seems to ignore them outright and probably isn't the only reader to do so. So I need some other, less obvious way to break up sections. I don't think <section> tags are allowed in EPUBv2 so I guess maybe just create a div style that works like a double-linebreak? How irritating.

FBReader also doesn't show a thumbnail of the book's cover in its file browser, even though Calibre Companion does. (Could be because I just used a simple <img> tag with the JPEG as the src instead of converting it to an SVG; I'll look into that.)

I still haven't seen anything resembling a standard set of CSS resets for EPUB files, so I guess I'll just do my own best guesses for how stuff should look.

And I'm still getting inconsistent behavior where some readers add extra pages before and/or after the cover. No idea why that's happening and haven't read anything that explains it yet.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:12 am

...swear I had the cover thumbnail working for a minute, but now it's not.

It doesn't help that Calibre Companion and/or FBReader have this obnoxious caching thing where if I delete and then re-import the book, sometimes it restores the version I just deleted instead of replacing it with the updated version on my Calibre server. It's making it pretty hard to check revisions.

Still not sure how best to handle the section breaks. <section> tags work in every reader I've tried them in, but technically they're not valid XHTML 1.1 and so they violate the EPUB2 spec. <div class="section"> would serve the same purpose but feels kinda lame.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:15 am

...okay, I think I've got the bugs worked out, and if I don't, well, it's too late at night for me to keep fucking around with them.

I'm hoping to have a beta up in the next day or two to share with you guys to see if you notice any issues.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:31 pm

Okay, kids, I've got an EPUB for you to check out, should you so desire. Let me know if you find any issues in your reader of choice, or notice anything missing in the metadata, etc.

So far I've tested in:

(Linux desktop:)
Sigil
Calibre
Okular

(Android phone & tablet:)
FBReader
Google Play Books
Nook reader
Kobo reader

The Kobo reader likes to add a blank page at the end of each section, the Nook reader has some crappy default settings for margins on a phone, and Okular doesn't center the section breaks like it's supposed to, but I think all of them qualify as Good Enough.

I haven't tried converting to MOBI yet; I figure that's a few steps out yet. But let me know if the thing's working for you; I think next step is to put it up on my websites as-is with a Donate button, step after that is to submit to Smashwords, then convert to MOBI and submit to Amazon.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby François » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:18 am

I don't have a reader of choice or any devices to test on other than my desktop PC, and in fact I don't even know how any sort of ebook is supposed to look like because I'm a luddite apparently. But I installed an epub reader Firefox add-on, I couldn't notice anything out of place about formatting, and everything's looking good to me!

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:09 pm

Thanks for testing.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:04 pm

Welp, it's up at Smashwords. EPUB only so far; additional formats should come after they've looked over it, as well as distribution to other retailers (Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble). I set the price there at 99 cents; Smashwords allows a "buyer sets the price" option but B&N won't carry books with that setting.

I should have it up on thadde.us shortly and corporate-sellout not long after that; it'll be a free download with a Donate button.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:50 pm

Added to thadde.us. Still need to add to corporate-sellout.com.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:36 am

Added to corporate-sellout.com (and Sei, in case you were wondering, I gave it its own page instead of just making it a tag; at some point I'll follow suit and do the same for the audiobooks).

It's late and I'm not going to write a blog post to announce it tonight, but I've added a link to the Features page. And also noticed that pretty much every single link on the Features page was missing a leading slash (a holdover from when it was features.html instead of features/). I don't know what's more embarrassing, that nearly every link on that page was broken for three and a half months without me noticing, or that now they're working again and people might see them.

Whew! Got a lot done today; it feels good. Tomorrow I'll try and get that blog post done (and maybe some other stuff like an Audiobooks page and changing the copyright date at the bottom of the site to 2016), and then maybe look into getting the Amazon version ready.

And I don't think Smashwords publishes through Google Play, so I may have to look into whether I can publish a version there, too. But not until after the Amazon version.

And then maybe someday I'll get my voice back and do an audiobook version. I can't actually do the accent I'm hearing in my head, though, so that's a whole other thing I'd have to train for.

(I don't remember for sure, but I suspect the reason I gave the witch a man's voice is because I haven't learned to do a decent woman's voice yet. Of course, it didn't occur to me that I can't do the rest of the voices in the damn thing either. My range of British accents consists, to quote Douglas Adams, of Posh Loud, Posh Quiet, Less-Posh Loud, and Less-Posh Quiet. I can do a broad cockney, but in my head Tom's got more of a Lancashire accent.)

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:14 pm

Style question: E-Book or eBook? (I tried Ebook and didn't like it.)

I've put "E-Book" all over everywhere but I'm starting to think "eBook" looks better, even though I kinda hate the Apple-style lowercase-followed-by-capital trend.

Meanwhile, the book passed Smashwords's review process and now they're propagating it out to partners. This morning it's up on Kobo and a site called Inkwell I haven't heard of previously (which unfortunately shows both of my synopses, which are pretty much the same, one after another; I need to figure out a way to fix that without breaking the book's description on other sites).

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby François » Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:39 pm

I prefer "eBook". I'm not a fan of that capitalization either (sorry, 8 year old ZedPower), but the hyphen is indescribably clunky. It brings to mind CRT monitors, dot matrix printer noises and horizontal computer cases for some reason.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:51 pm

Yet I would never type "eMail".

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby François » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:23 pm

It's from that era though, so it fits. Not that text on a screen isn't, but eBook feels like a term someone invented relatively recently to sell a pre-existing idea to the mainstream, while e-mail has always been e-mail.

...huh. On further exploration, dictionary.reference.com puts the first usage of "ebook" in 1980, so I might be clumsily trying to justify mere aesthetic preference.

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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Mongrel » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:50 pm

I just call email email. I don't think I ever use the hyphen, regardless of whether I use the silly aPple cApitalization or not.
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Re: Old Tom and the Old Tome

Postby Thad » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:59 pm

But how would you uppercase it (like as a section heading)? Email?

Yeah, that looks fine, actually; I don't know why Ebook doesn't.

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