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Messages - Gessert Books

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If it helps, I've handled a number of projects for authors who only have PDFs of their works for various reasons, have worked from scans for academic projects, repaired and remixed existing ePubs and MOBIs, etc. and can nearly always extract the data I need for those projects. They usually need some (or a lot of) extra cleanup and proofreading, but I imagine most pirates just skip that part. I do not think there are many good ways to foil pirates without significantly bothering paying customers. I'd focus more on folks that are willing to pay than on folks that aren't.

Writers' Cafe / Re: file conversion: PDF to epub or doc
« on: February 08, 2018, 01:36:32 PM »
There is no easy and inexpensive solution, sadly. PDF is an endpoint, so it's kind of like turning a hamburger back into a cow.

You can extract the text from it, but you will have to proofread the results very carefully, because there will likely be missing or substituted characters, incorrect hyphenation, etc. throughout.

As for using full-page images instead, this is not a good idea, because Amazon objects to that approach. Probably because it creates a bad user experience. Basically, they don't like it if you create a reflowable ebook that acts like a fixed-format ebook, and they also don't like fixed-format ebooks that would have been better suited for reflowable. If half of your pages are straight text, and the other half are all images, I do not think Amazon (or readers) will find it a good candidate for fixed-format or fixed-format-esque approaches.

I would be very cautious about any responses you may get on Fiverr, converting a PDF to a well-formed ebook is an arduous task, so hiring it out should be a lot pricier than most Fiverr gigs are.

I like to use Pomodoro, and I start the day with one of the long breaks Pomodoro uses (15-30min) to get kinda recreational stuff out of my system early. Works pretty good for me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting Gurus, I Need Your Help
« on: January 26, 2018, 07:57:50 AM »
It may be that the conversion removed one of the MOBI formats. MOBI files generated via Kindlegen (likely what your formatter used) are usually dual-format, one for newer devices and one for older devices, so the single file contains two copies of the book. Perhaps your new file only contains the older format.

What are the pixel dimensions of the images, and how large are they (in inches) on the page?

I believe Ingram requires PDF-X1a, and Createspace does not. That's not to say this designer doesn't provide PDF-X1a even for Createspace, just that it is technically not required for them. Spine width will also differ.

Changing a flat, single layer file from one to the other would vary in difficulty based on the way the spine works into the design, and also on the state of the CS file. It probably would not be too bad, but modifying another designers work without access to source files is not ideal.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Public domain works are free to quote from, right?
« on: October 26, 2017, 09:35:17 PM »
No. The copyright lies in the original work. The translation is derivative.

Translations often include a translator's preface. Any copyright asserted lies only in that preface, not in the original work.

What about the specific wording used in the translation of that original work?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Public domain works are free to quote from, right?
« on: October 26, 2017, 07:56:28 PM »
I think specific translations of public domain works can also be copyrighted.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Text Layout and Formatting needed
« on: October 26, 2017, 05:02:32 AM »
I may be able to help, you can see some details about my service (pricing, FAQ, work samples) at

I see where it says you can use them on commercial websites, is there a place where it says you can use them for other commercial uses, like in a book that's sold?

Most if not all Google Fonts are distributed under the SIL license, which is very free and open:

Writers' Cafe / Re: You Know You Watching a Horror Movie When...
« on: October 03, 2017, 02:31:31 PM »
Victim escapes, goes streetside, waves down a car, it's the villains.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What fonts do you like for book covers?
« on: September 20, 2017, 08:01:11 PM »
Your title font is very stylish, it is best to stay out of the way of it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Should I kill the dog?
« on: August 30, 2017, 10:15:30 AM »
Bout half the time I find myself watching a movie, especially a thriller, horror, etc, and any sort of house pet appears, I just switch it off to avoid seeing scenes like that. So my vote is #2 unless the dog serves some other really key purpose, though I imagine option #2 wouldn't even exist if so.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Journal entries in fiction
« on: August 24, 2017, 03:02:20 PM »
You can sometimes get away with something simple like a section break symbol before and after, if they are long. You may be able to try setting the salutation in blocks and the rest as ordinary continuous prose, e.g.:

Dear Diary, (block)

Today I...(ordinary indented paragraphs)

8/24/17 (block)

It depends on how long the sections are, and how they are structured.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Stock Art Site Featuring POC
« on: August 24, 2017, 11:42:08 AM »
Here is another I came across today. Like with the first one, I haven't used it yet myself, but thought it might be useful for folks looking for stock featuring POC:

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 16, 2017, 05:32:48 AM »
An argument could be made though that not indenting is actually reducing readability. It's introducing an inconsistency (and most writing advice favors consistency) into the text that may well puzzle a reader and draw attention to the formatting and away from the story...

I like this, and I'll bet it's at least a part of the logic behind most books that have indented first paragraphs. I've got a few like that myself, although in most cases they still seem to be set very deliberately, e.g. much deeper than the indents for every other paragraph.

Which might speak to your other point about disruption / inconsistency: I might say that if there were ever a point in the read where a disruption would be acceptable (or even desirable), it'd be at the start of a section or chapter, where quite a lot of other disruptions exist as well (a chapter title, text set lower on the page, absence of a running head, etc).

Also, why is the first word of a new paragraph that appears at the very top of an ordinary page (not a chapter start/scene start page) indented? It's preceded by horizontal rather than vertical whitespace, just like a chapter start/scene start, so why treat it differently? 

This might be to help differentiate between a new paragraph at the top of a page and a paragraph that just happened to split at a new sentence, since scanning back a page to have a look at where the last line ended would feel clunky (and wouldn't always work). You could also say there's no real semantic or hierarchical reason to set that paragraph differently than the others, whereas the first paragraph of a section or chapter might be more commonly thought of as semantically special due to its firstness. That being said, I've wondered on this one myself, and something about it always rubs me the wrong way :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 15, 2017, 01:40:13 PM »
If you are all experts (and I agree, I'm not) in what is conventionally expected in an ebook in terms of 'formatting' (not style) then I'm sure we could all benefit from that list being compiled.

There's not much distinction between the two.

I'm not going to buy a book that TL;DR stuff about typography, and printing and neither will the hundreds of other writers on here who might learn something if the experts can get past critiquing me and my books (and my spelling).

Earlier you asked for references / reasoning / authority, and that's what the books are for. You weren't much in favor of lists of rules without the logic behind them, the books are meant to help with that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 15, 2017, 12:31:27 PM »
I also think there is maybe a misinterpretation of what style means in this context, where perhaps the OP interprets all styling as wholly subjective and borderline (or even entirely) arbitrary. But styling of text for readers usually has more to do with practical problem solving more than personal expression. The look of a drop cap can depend entirely on beautifying a book and can certainly be a tool for stylistic expression. But the choice of whether to use one at all, or whether or not to indent a paragraph, replace acronyms with small caps, etc. are style choices that are meant to solve problems, or at least straddle a line between form and function. They are less like selecting a particular clothing style and are more like choosing to wear a belt.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 15, 2017, 09:38:58 AM »
Thanks, I note the book title talks about 'style' I'm kinda pleased that it does because it reinforces the message here that we're actually talking style, not rules and that means style and fashion are subject to the personal litmus test like|dislike and really that helps immensely.

As you so rightly pointed out - there IS a technical reason for the non-indent on the first paragraph and I can easily adapt my books to cover that, not that it's a high priority, but it will be changed.

The indent style note that you liked is discussed in Bringhurst's book :) I think you'll find as you continue your research that when it comes to typography, style is linked closely with function in most cases. It is a pretty conservative design discipline for the most part.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 15, 2017, 08:37:33 AM »

4) Few seem to be able to provide a consistent list or a source for their belief, proving pretty much that it's a matter of personal like/dislike.

I can recommend a few resources, if you'd like to check them out. I like Elements of Typographic Style by Bringhurst, and Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Mueller-Brockman. The latter is admittedly less relevant for ebook than print, but does talk quite a bit about book design principles in general. I've also liked most everything I've read by Edward Tufte. If you only read one, though, I'd do the Bringhurst one, because it goes over most everything discussed in this thread.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 14, 2017, 10:15:05 AM »
The usual reason for unindented first paragraphs is that a paragraph is usually preceded by either vertical or horizontal whitespace, but not both. Since the first paragraph of a chapter is usually preceded by vertical whitespace, there is no need for an indent.

A case could also be made for making the first line of a chapter as easy to find as possible, so leaving it unindented is along the same lines as using a drop cap, or setting the first few words in small caps, neither of which are strictly "essential" but both are meant to either beautify the book, ease the read, or ideally both.

These things are not set in stone and it is not totally unusual to find earlier books that follow a different standard or modern books that buck the trend, but book design evolution is pretty glacial so lots of folks will consider this the norm for some time, I imagine.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 13, 2017, 03:24:01 PM »
I have always thought that clicking a chapter title link and landing anywhere but the start of that chapter is counter-intuitive. I think that usually people expect link labels to reflect link destination.

I handle quite a lot of non-fiction and may be able to help. Feel free to contact me anytime.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Could use some input on the TOC
« on: July 26, 2017, 09:36:27 AM »
I occasionally place glossaries and the like in the back as an Appendix / Appendices, and then only include the parent Appendix / Appendices in the TOC (no subsections).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Font Size is killing Me!!!
« on: July 25, 2017, 02:39:35 PM »
What sort of book is it? Perhaps it doesn't need to be a fixed-layout ebook.

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