Indie Book Collective discussion

61 views
Help > Ebook conversion issue

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by David (last edited Jun 06, 2012 07:24PM) (new)

David Katzman (daviddavid) | 18 comments I'm in the process of converting my novel A Greater Monster to ebook format (hiring an expert to do it for me, actually), and we've run into a very irritating problem that he can't seem to solve. It has to do with M-dashes.

In proper grammar, the M-dash should act like a comma and stay attached to the preceding word. For example, take this sentence.

Against his right temple—her hand—he jerks back, seared by pain.

Depending on the font size and font type set on the e-reader, it would be perfectly acceptable to break as follows:

Against his right temple—her hand—
he jerks back, seared by pain.

Or even (hypothetically)

Against his right temple—her
hand—he jerks back, seared by pain.

But instead, sometimes it is breaking as follows:

Against his right temple—her hand
—he jerks back, seared by pain.

With the m-dash at the beginning of the line. It's even worse when the sentence ends with an M-dash, such as:

I sense the water in the eyes pleading—

Sometimes the Mdash gets pushed to its own line and it reads:

I sense the water in the eyes pleading


When it should actually read like this if the font is that large:

I sense the water in the eyes
pleading—

Anyone know how to force the m-dash to stay with the preceding word? It just looks like ass this way. Help would be much appreciated!


message 2: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer I wish I could help you, David. I had em dashes all through my book and didn't run into this problem.

Did you check the HTML document? Does it show a separation there, or any additional tags?


message 3: by David (new)

David Katzman (daviddavid) | 18 comments I do not have the HTML file, my ebook designer does and then he sends me the epub file to test. We're starting with ePub and then doing kindle. Did you have both formats? I think he tried something like a "non-breaking tag" and it doesn't seem to help. He said iPads seem to ignore them frequently. Did you try looking at it with multiple font sizes and font choices? Because I didn't notice it until I started QA at different sizes.


message 4: by Denise (last edited Jun 06, 2012 08:28PM) (new)

Denise Baer I worked with my HTML document. I would tweak my HTML, convert to epub and mobi and go through the entire book. If something needed to be fixed, I'd go back to the HTML document and fix it.

I didn't try it with multiple fonts because I didn't run into this issue. Hope your designer is able to locate the problem and remedy it.

Best of luck!


message 5: by Matt (last edited Dec 12, 2012 06:40PM) (new)

Matt Prazak (mattprazak) This is an old thread, but it occurred to me that the line-breaking problem could be due to a lack of actual whitespace in the sentences.

If the spaces between words are represented in the e-book file by HTML special characters (e.g., non-breaking spaces) and not simply space-bar spaces, then the e-reader might treat each sentence as one really long word and break it up arbitrarily.


message 6: by Tri (new)

Tri Amutia (triamutia) | 6 comments Speaking about ebook conversion, can someone help me to do it?


message 7: by Janet (new)

Janet Lynn | 49 comments I have published 7 books on Smashwords. I find it easy now but your have to go slowly and delibrarely in order for it to work properly. What group are your trying to publish with?


message 8: by Tri (new)

Tri Amutia (triamutia) | 6 comments I'm trying to publish romance. Reading the style guide already confused me.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Tri wrote: "I'm trying to publish romance. Reading the style guide already confused me."

It is a bit confusing, especially when you first start out. If you're willing to learn how to do it, I would give it a shot. Once you have it down, it's pretty much second nature, but it takes a bit to learn. If you don't have experience with formatting, and don't really want to learn (not a bad thing; it's merely a preference), it might be easier for you to hire someone. It usually isn't too terribly expensive.

David: I've had issues with this, too, mainly depending on what ebook format, and what reader. I use M-dashes in my writing quite frequently, and have started putting a space between them and the words for my ebooks (save at the end of a sentence, where it cuts off; I still have issues with that). This has seemed to help a great deal. I think Matt is right, and the reader is treating it as a long word or sentence. It also depends on font size, because the larger the font, the more strangely the readers displays it.


message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann (annhunter) | 11 comments Ditch the professional, download a copy of scrivener. Scrivener is your friend. It even has a check box for m-dashes,


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Ann wrote: "Ditch the professional, download a copy of scrivener. Scrivener is your friend. It even has a check box for m-dashes,"

I love Scrivener!


message 12: by David (new)

David Katzman (daviddavid) | 18 comments Thanks, Alexandra.

I did finally get my novel A Greater Monster delivered in ebook format for Kindle/Nook and EPUB. There was no solution for the M-dash issue. Reflowable text just cannot handle it yet. I imagine William S. Burroughs would turn over in his grave if he saw what reflowable text did to Mdashes in Naked Lunch. Oh well, it is what it is. Most of the text design and graphic design in my book had to be converted to images because it was ruined by reflowable text. For example, I had a section with 3 columns and it had to be done as a series of images. Compromises.

At any rate, if you are looking for an ebook developer, my 3rd one did the trick. AptaraCorp.com. They charged me around $315 to do both versions and they stuck with me patiently through many rounds of revisions.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

David wrote: "Thanks, Alexandra.

I did finally get my novel A Greater Monster delivered in ebook format for Kindle/Nook and EPUB. There was no solution for the M-dash issue. Reflowable text just cannot handle i..."


Thanks for the advice! I've figured out how to format now, but if I ever need help I'll look into it.

I suppose that's one of the good things about print books, you don't have to worry about the M-dashes. Sigh, ebooks...


back to top