Re: Salamander is now webbed
- From: invalid@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 11:44:10 -0500
On Thu, 18 Feb 2010 20:08:28 -0800, David Friedman
In article <b69rn5p1d3u03n3mlbe2vb264kkoigqmme@xxxxxxx>,
On Wed, 17 Feb 2010 14:18:03 -0800, David Friedman
Over the years, we have had a number of discussions of whether it does
or does not make sense to web an unpublished work. I have done it
successfully with my two most recent non-fiction books--but the response
I got here was that "fiction is different."
My agent disagrees. Acting on her advice, I have just webbed all of
_Salamander_, my second novel, at:
Sorry if this comment is not quite what you were looking for.
Actually it's very informative.
I visited the above web site and read the first paragraph before my
eyes gave out. The type is too tiny. It appears to be about 9 point
which is very hard to read on-screen for anybody over 50 and most
people younger. (I have a high-res screen 96 dpi -- it may be better
at 72 dpi.)
I didn't find any easy way to enlarge the type in my browser (Firefox
Go to the "view" menu. Select "Zoom in." Works on Firefox 3.5.8 at least.
You might want to consider a blog format with each chapter on a
different page/post, and with a "donate" button or three. I have been
researching this and will post my results in a week or two as soon as
I have one of the two blogs open.
By all means. I have just redone the webbed version of the novel to a
larger font. Take a look at it and let me know if it is now satisfactory.
I just checked the webbed version of Salamander again and it seems a
little better. I have no comments on the work yet, but at least I will
be able to look at it. I also looked at your "Laws_Order" web page and
the comments I am making are aimed at your stated objective of GETTING
PEOPLE TO READ YOUR WORK.
My Background: I am a technical writer producing on-line help systems,
on-line (interactive) and off-line job aids, technical documentation
as paper, PDF, and on-line references. I also have written more than a
dozen paper how-to arts & crafts books, a 500-page web site, and am
currently working on a matching how-to blog (for the website) and a
new blog for publishing my first work of fiction. I write
*differently* for each medium. I use *different tools* for each
medium. I work with *different usability standards* for each medium.
The comments I make here are based on my research for putting my own
book on the web. (I'm the guy who asked for samples of on-line books
in a thread about a week ago.)
I realize you are writing *paper* books. IMHO putting a "paper" book
on the web as "pseudo paper" is not a good formula for maximizing
readership. Please forgive me if I use this forum as a sounding board
to explore my own ideas for putting my own book on the web.
1. The web is not a paper book! An eBook is not a paper book! The
usability rules are different. People scan the media in a different
way. The eye movements and attention are different. Content is not
king. In the immortal words of Marshal McLuhan, "the media is the
message." People scan the web (and possibly eBooks) in an "F" pattern
picking out headlines and only reading deeper when the headline is of
interest. This implies that chapters should be broken into fairly
short segments (the kind where you put "-- * * *--" on a line by
itself in a paper book) with a bolder or larger heading replacing the
"--* * *--." Or alternately, two or three page chapters, or chapters
with subheadings. I realize that people aren't actually going to read
it that way, but it makes it more familiar to the medium so readers
are more likely to dive in.
A page of solid type in a book is surrounded by lots of white space
and is a maximum column width of 52 to 72 characters per line and a
maximum length of 30 lines (approximately). A page of solid type on
the web can be far too wide to read comfortably, and far too long so
that it becomes intimidating. Reading on the web can make you feel
like you are drowning in black squiggles. The way to avoid this is to
work with a fixed size page width (a table 768-798 pixels wide for now
standard 800x600 resolution) and use a type size that gives you the
equivalent screen size of 12 point type (usually 14-24 point depending
on screen resolution) but mainly 52-72 characters wide. (eBook
readers and smart phones avoid this problem by having a smaller "page
size." It only becomes a real problem when reading with a PC and large
Limit the length of each page to a short chapter or short segment if
possible as people *HATE* to scroll vertically (and simply *WILL NOT*
scroll horizontally). More importantly, limit the length of each page
to an amount that the reader can complete in a short attention span
for convenient bookmarking. I'm currently guessing a limit of about
three to five "paper" page equivalents.
It is important to identify each web page for convenient bookmarking
as you can't fold the corner of the screen down or insert your
favorite inappropriate bit of stuff to keep your place.
The type you use is important since it is made of pixels. You need to
use a typeface designed for finite sized pixels with more than a
one-pixel width on vertical strokes. Salamander violates this rule by
using a typeface with very thin vertical strokes. Enlarging with
CTRL-+ multiplies the pixels which doesn't work with thin typefaces
(they look pixilated). For the web, if you can stand them, two of the
better faces are Verdana and Tahoma. THIS IS A MAJOR FACTOR IN
EYESTRAIN ON PIXELATED DELIVERY MEDIA. Don't count on OpenFace
technology (anti-aliasing) to fix this problem -- it doesn't work on
2. If you start in Word, don't output the result in HTML directly.
Instead, download a free copy of OpenOffice from http://openoffice.org
(OOo) and open the file in Writer (which will preserve most of the
formatting). Then output in HTML . This will give you much cleaner
HTML. Change to web-friendly font and size before outputting. You can
do this with a simple redefinition of the "Normal" style in Word. (I'm
not sure how to do it in OOo.)
3. Use PDF rather than scanned pages if possible. ("Laws_Order")
Scanned pages suffer from the pixilated type problem while PDF
actually sizes the type from outlines as you change the enlargement
(in Acrobat Reader, at least). PDF also allows hot links on the page
which is handy for cross references and table of contents/index. If
you must scan pages, scan at high resolution (at least 300 dpi and
preferably 600 dpi) and save as PNG rather than JPEG. Low resolution
or JPEG will result in fuzzy, out-of-focus type. If the files are too
big, reduce to 150 dpi when saving after scanning at 600 dpi. The PNG
save mechanism will give you better results than scanning at low
I have some additional comments about using a blog for publishing a
book, but I have not finished thinking about it yet. I'll post those
as a separate thread when my thinking has firmed up.
REMEMBER! Nobody reads a book that gives them eyestrain.
firebird (hyphen) jmw (att) comcast (dotty) net
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