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Thread: Calibre catastrophe!

  1. #1

    Calibre catastrophe!

    Eek! I did some final edits on my ARC version and uploaded it into calibre and the format is all wonky. I had indents, but now I have none - I've got spaces between paragraphs and there are places where sentences are cut off at random and then continue on in another paragraph. Eek! Has anyone had this happen? I swear... there's always something that'll go wrong... Of course this had to happen to the version I intended would be my final version!


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  2. #2
    Never mind. I did the final edits on the version that was not reformatted. Sigh. It's going to be a long night.


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  3. #3
    Never mind my never mind. I want to cry. Just went through and re-edited again - the formatted version this time - and it's still all messed up. I double checked everything "Normal" heading except for the chapter headings & scene breaks which are centered, no tabs, page breaks for mobi, the correct spacing, font, etc. But when I uploaded the new version, everything moved to the left side and it did that weird split text thing. Like this:

    "The tartan piece is deliciously feral, don't you
    think, Martin?" said an

    impeccably dressed man with a pencil moustache.


    I have no idea what to do. I was able to format an earlier version correctly to send out as an ARC, but this is just not working! Fear that I might have to use some company that does this for you, but I can't stand the idea of paying upwards of $100 for something when I've already done all of the work.

    If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Although I think I've pretty much tried everything. Renamed the file 6 or 7 times, tried PDF, htm, zip. Nothing.

    If any of you know of a more economic company that'll do the conversion, please let me know. Maybe even an indie company that might charge me only a fraction of the cost if the job only requires a quick tweak?


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  4. #4
    Aerospace engineer turned writer
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    I've done 5 novels now and never had this problem.

    What format did you load into Calibre? It should be standard HTML.

    A better way is to use Sigil to create an EPUB, then Calibre only to convert that to the Amazon format you want, usually .mobi. There are several reasons for starting with Sigil, some practical, some technical.

    http://code.google.com/p/sigil/

  5. #5
    I could have sworn I loaded a PDF into Calibre for the ARCs, so that's what I've been doing, but when I tried to upload an htm version (my Word program only allows that, not html, Calibre wouldn't accept it.)

    I'm going to try Sigil. After Project Runway. Gotta de-stress.

    Thanks so much for the info!!


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  6. #6
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    Calibre's PDF -> anything conversion is totally borked. Don't even bother. It can't properly handle the tricks the acrobat format uses to force formatting and limit file size. You'll also find your double Ls are messed up because PDF uses ligatures and Calibre's PDF conversion can't handle them.

    They also have no intention of fixing it. Calibre uses a third party engine for PDF conversion, so their attitude is that the problem lines in the engine and they need to fix it, not Calibre. Thus is the way of open source software.

    Save out of word as "filtered html" and then import that into scrivener. It'll work fine.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW brianjanuary's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with Calibre using a perfectly-formatted html file. No matter what I tried, it would take sections of the text and break them apart. So I went back to the Mobipocket Creator and it worked like a charm. The MC is outdated software now, but if you have a simple text file, it works very well.

  8. #8
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    This thread has very valuable information. So glad to have the input of those that have gone this way before.
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  9. #9
    Calculating the odds b_radom's Avatar
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    I've had this exact problem with Callibre. And more importantly, Sigil gives me paragraph spaces as well. Not sure what to do about it, but mobipocket sounds like a good suggestion.
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  10. #10
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    Calibre seems to hate PDF files! I use either .doc or html but neither come out completely perfect.

    Is there a way to put your book through the meatgrinder on Smashwords but then not publish it?

  11. #11
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarahdalton View Post
    Is there a way to put your book through the meatgrinder on Smashwords but then not publish it?
    I'm not sure but I don't think your ms will make it through the meatgrinder if you don't have Smashwords as the publisher in your front matter. I had considered trying to use the meatgrinder version of the PDF but really don't want to credit Smash as my publisher when I'm selling at other sites.

    Still looking for a way to make PDFs on my own that don't use word to do it. I'm not happy with the way the it looks and reacts.

    Chiquita, have you looked into doing the formatting for your ebooks and such from Guido's guide? He takes you step by step in creating an html file that you directly load into Calibre and if you've followed him specifically all the way through, the conversion works 100% of the time.

    edit to add: Mmmm...maybe never mind on the calibre thing. While I have had no issues at all in calibre using a text file saved .html and getting a clean conversion, it looks like others have. :/
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  12. #12
    Geekzilla BigWords's Avatar
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    Have you tried using OpenOffice to make PDF files instead of Word?
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  13. #13
    Got the hang of it, here valeriec80's Avatar
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    Calibre will also read .rtfs if you can't get the html to work. (But it should work fine. It will say "zip" in the format area.) I go from .rtf to .lit format for editing, because MS Reader has a text to speech option that's invaluable for finding missing words and other foibles. Just from .rtf, my books always look passable in .lit format.
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  14. #14
    Oh my goodness, thank you all SO much for the helpful info. And sorry I haven't been on here in the past 24 hours to read your great advice! I actually decided to pay someone else to do my conversion and upload.

    Author friend of mine recommended a guy who's very reasonable and at this point, I think it's worth it for my peace of mind - I've been like a marketing machine for the past two months. Got 8 review blogs (so far) scheduled to post their reviews on release day and it would be an absolute catastrophe if I screwed something up and the book didn't come out on the day I've been saying it will.

    Plus, I'm preoccupied with trying to solve my weird cover art conundrum. For some reason when the file shrinks down on certain sites (Facebook, Absolute Write) the image gets all splotchy and distorted. Have spoken with a few graphic designers and they're all up in arms.

    Sigh. Always something.

    Anyway, thanks so much for the responses! I'll for sure come back to this thread for my next book.

    Chiq


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  15. #15
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiquita Banana View Post
    Plus, I'm preoccupied with trying to solve my weird cover art conundrum. For some reason when the file shrinks down on certain sites (Facebook, Absolute Write) the image gets all splotchy and distorted.
    I can help you with the Absolute Write issues. PM me.

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  16. #16
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Rather than Calibre try MobiPocket.

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ereadergold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Rather than Calibre try MobiPocket.
    This is excellent advice if you wish to convert a PDF to an e-reader compatible format.

    I use Mobipocket to convert PDF's to a ".prc" format first. Then I use that '.prc" file to load into Calibre. I've used these techniques every time someone sends me a PDF that I want to read on my Kindle, and for the most part it works great.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ereadergold View Post
    This is excellent advice if you wish to convert a PDF to an e-reader compatible format.

    I use Mobipocket to convert PDF's to a ".prc" format first. Then I use that '.prc" file to load into Calibre. I've used these techniques every time someone sends me a PDF that I want to read on my Kindle, and for the most part it works great.

    Bill

    This is all very good advice in this thread. I was having difficulty with PDF's in calibre too - it wasn't reading page breaks right and my copyright, dedication, and title pages were all formatted together - but I tried the suggestion above.
    Instead of converting a pdf in Mobipocket, I used an html file (saved as a filtered html in Word 2002) and converted to .prc. Then, I took the prc file into Calibre. Works great!
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  19. #19
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    PDFs should be an end product of the conversion of word processing files, which would then go to CreateSpace or other publisher for output as a printed book.

    You should not try to convert PDFs to .mobi or .epub. PDF contains a lot of formatting code which converters have problems with, not just Sigil or Calibre or whatever.

    To get both .mobi and .epub go from word format (.doc, .rtf, or whatever) to HTML, then use Sigil or Calibre to go to the finished ebook format.

  20. #20
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    Seconding what Laer Carroll said -- a PDF is not something you want to try converting into something else. That's not what the format is intended for. It's meant to be the final product.

    Whatever you generated the PDF from is a better place to start the conversion into an ebook.

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  21. #21
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    This thread is over a year old, so I would assume the problem has been fixed by now.
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