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Rhush
10-26-2011, 04:47 AM
Ok. I have been at this for days.

#1. No matter what I format my ms. in, there are no indentions. It's just blocks of text. Oddly, RTF seems to come out the best. Or at least not horrible compared to everything else.

#2. When I try to dl the "preview conversion" to html, it dls, but then I can do nothing with it. I have no idea how to edit it from there.

#3. It tells my I have "successfully uploaded" my cover art, but I've only actually seen it once. The rest of the time there is a white box with a red x where the pic should be.

Can anyone help? I'm losing my mind here and the forums at Kindle can be crickets!

:rant:

Alessandra Kelley
10-26-2011, 04:52 AM
I've formatted a few Kindle books, but I did it by converting the entire manuscript to an html file and adding tags by hand (well, with a search-and-replace function, or else I'd have gone mad). With a <p> tag at the beginning of each paragraph, it indents automatically.

However, I don't know if this is helpful. I'm beginning to get the idea that most people don't do it that way.

Rhush
10-26-2011, 04:58 AM
Thanks for answering! Well.... I'm not sure at all how to do that, but I'm desperate and willing to learn. How do you add the tags by hand? I can't even figure out how to work with the ms. after it's an html :Shrug:file.

J. Tanner
10-26-2011, 05:17 AM
You'd fix the HTML by including a stylesheet (called CSS) which modifies the <p> style to have an indent.

Although there's a lot more to it, the CSS at the top of my HTML files looks like this to create the indent:




<style type=text/css>

p
{
text-indent: 1.5em;
}

</style>



In Word, you similarly create a paragraph Style which includes indenting the first line, then you assign that style to each of your paragraphs.

What you've probably done in the past is use spaces and/or tabs and both of those are poison in HTML and ignored. And then that gets carried forward to your MOBI files.

If that isn't enough to put you on the right track, I can help with HTML. It only takes a minute. Just PM me and we can exchange emails so you can share the files.

I use OpenOffice rather than Word so messing with your DOC files could cause more problems than it solves.

Alessandra Kelley
10-26-2011, 05:17 AM
Html files can be opened and the source code behind the web page viewed in editing programs. Some, but not all, browsers will let you do that. There should be an option to "View Source Code" somewhere in the menus, and if you have a browser that will also let you edit the source code directly, fabulous.

If not, html files can be opened in word processing programs. MS Word will sort of do it, but it will fight you the whole way and try to insert its own proprietary code in if you're not careful. I prefer to use Textedit, but I believe that's a Mac program and I don't know what sort of computer you have.

Once you have the source code opened, it will look something like this. This is an actual example of my coding from a Kindle Book with all identifying text stripped away. I can't vouch that it's best practice, but it seems to have worked okay.


<html>
<head>
<title>My Fabulous Novel</title>
<head>
<body>

<div id="cover">
<center>
<a name="start"><img src="cover.jpg" alt="Cover art for My Fabulous Novel"></a>
</center>
</div>

<b><center>My Fabulous Novel<br />
A Novel</center></b></p>
<p><b><center>Author's Name</center></b></p>
<p><center>Imprint or Publisher</center></p>
<p><b>My Fabulous Novel &copy; 2011 by me.</b> All rights reserved. This book may not be copied or reproduced, in whole or in part, by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise without written permission from the publisher except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.</p>
<p>This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any actual persons, events or localities is purely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author and publisher.</p>

<p>Publisher and logos associated with the imprint are trademarks or registered trademarks of Publisher, Chicago, Illinois. All other trademarks and trademarked names are properties of their respective owners.</p>

<p>This book is presented as is, without any warranties (implied or otherwise) as to the accuracy of the production, text or translation.</p>

<p><center><b>web address of publisher</b></p>

<p><center><b>Visit the Authorís Website at:</b><br />
<b>my website</b></center></p>

<p><center>Published by Publisher<br/>
Address 1<br />
Address 2<br />
email</center></p>

<p><center>Cover art, book design, and Kindle conversion by Alessandra Kelley<br />
www.alessandrakelley.com</center></p>



Note the paragraph tags which should begin and end each paragraph. When they're put in a Kindle document it automatically indents the beginning of each paragraph.

I will say it's a flaming nuisance to do the whole thing by hand, and if there is a simpler way to do it, I would like to hear it.

J. Tanner
10-26-2011, 05:23 AM
Holy poop, alessandra. That definitely seems like the hard way. :)

It's possible you're right about default indenting, but I encountered problems like Rhush too even when I had the <p> tags so there's perhaps something more to it--perhaps just a common mistake. And I'm pretty sure her HTML files will have them already or she'd be talking about missing paragraphing completely rather than just missing indents.

Rhush
10-26-2011, 06:05 AM
Hahahaha holy poop. That's great. Thanks for all your help guys! This has been an aggrevating process, to say the least!

merrihiatt
10-26-2011, 09:38 AM
I don't think changing the document in html will help you. You need to change your original document (was it done in MS Word?). Then you re-save as a html document (web page, filtered). I can help! I'll PM you.

Old Hack
10-26-2011, 11:48 AM
I've not worked with Kindle yet but I thought one had to format one's book using styles in Word, rather than indenting individual paragraphs and so on, and that would do it.

merrihiatt
10-26-2011, 04:59 PM
That's what I did, Old Hack. You can also highlight the entire document, go to paragraph formatting, then choose first line indent. This may misalign your chapter headings (because they will be indented), but it's easier to fix 20-30 lines than to go paragraph by paragraph to fix an entire document. Once you learn the ropes, you can set your formatting before you start writing your book. No tabs for indents or spacing before paragraphs and no hitting enter multiple times after a paragraph. Learning to add lines/spaces using the format tools will make your life so much easier.

Vomaxx
10-26-2011, 07:11 PM
I have not tried to format anything for Kindle, but have been planning to do so. This thread certainly does not encourage me to go forward with those plans, but rather to save up my money and pay to have it done for me.

Here are a few words from the "Simplified Guide to Building a Kindle Book" copied from Amazon KDP Support:
"Word is a great tool to use because it's extremely easy to format. We suggest writing your book in Word.... Use indentations, bold characters, italics, and headings, as they will translate into your Kindle book..."

But it appears from this thread that Amazon's statements are not completely accurate.

COchick
10-26-2011, 07:15 PM
When I did it a few days ago, I first formatted my document for Sm@shwords. Their style guide is very easy to follow, and I then uploaded to them.

With that same Word doc (copyright info changed) I saved as a HTML and uploaded to mobipocket. It came out perfectly.

Hope that helps!

J. Tanner
10-26-2011, 11:59 PM
For clarity, the OPs source was not created in Word and starting with RTF appears to have been the major stumbling block. Hopefully, I've helped her sort it out but we'll await her confirmation.

J. Tanner
10-27-2011, 12:02 AM
I have not tried to format anything for Kindle, but have been planning to do so. This thread certainly does not encourage me to go forward with those plans, but rather to save up my money and pay to have it done for me.

Here are a few words from the "Simplified Guide to Building a Kindle Book" copied from Amazon KDP Support:
"Word is a great tool to use because it's extremely easy to format. We suggest writing your book in Word.... Use indentations, bold characters, italics, and headings, as they will translate into your Kindle book..."

But it appears from this thread that Amazon's statements are not completely accurate.

They're close enough for rock and roll. Word can produce acceptable results. HTML can reach "professional" quality in that the guys who are contracting with publishers to convert books are working with HTML according to them. My results, given very simple prose only, looks close enough to their results to be indistinguishable to me (but you can judge for yourself using Look Inside or Sampling.)

merrihiatt
10-27-2011, 05:25 AM
The process isn't that hard (really!) if you start by not adding tabs, extra spaces, or extra paragraph marks. If you set the first line indent and then start typing, each time you hit the enter/return key, you will be in the right spot to start your next paragraph (excluding chapter headings, as then they will be indented .5 inches and you want those to be centered).

Think of every keystroke as having a purpose/meaning. If there is a way to automatically do anything (indent paragraphs, make your chapter page heading have several spaces above it to separate it from the previous chapter, make the chapter page heading a larger point size, etc.), learn how to do it. Once you've done it, you'll know how for the next time. It will get easier and easier every time you do it.

Rhush
10-30-2011, 09:16 PM
My novel is finally up at Amazon.com! Thanks everyone for your help! Absolutewrite has been amazing to me :)

Donna Brown
11-01-2011, 01:22 AM
Have you tried calibre? It seems to work very well and will allow you to format for any e-book.

Donna Brown
11-01-2011, 01:23 AM
Oops. I see that you've already figured it out, but you may still want to consider calibre for future projects.