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Capital Case

Crumbly Writer

I recently moved my books from smashwords to lulu (I'm not entirely convinced it was an improvements, as there doesn't seem to be much of an internal lulu book market), but one of their limitations has me stumped.

They strictly enforce capitalization. In order to reach the broader distribution markets (Apple and beyond), you can't capitalize the wrong words. This is odd, since lulu doesn't care, and neither does Apple, Nook, Google or Koko, their only distribution clients.

However, their list of 'approved non-capitalized letters' is confusing me. According to them:

The first letter of all words in the title and subtitle should be capitalized, except for the following words: a, an, and, for, from, of, or, the, to. The first and last word of the title and subtitle should always be capitalized.

What has me confused is what to do with words like "in", "by" and "for". Are these actually not capitalized, or were they not of much concern to lulu for whatever reason? If so, why?

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

CW, my experience with Lulu on this subject is the rules come from either Apple or Amazon, because you can safely ignore them if you do not go the wider market route. However, it comes from an old style manual instruction about the capitalisation of words in titles - I'm not sure about the why, but words like 'in' 'and' 'the' 'by' and a few others are not capitalised unless they're the very first word of the title. I first came across this rule back in the 1970s in a document preparation style manual.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

my experience with Lulu on this subject is the rules come from either Apple or Amazon, because you can safely ignore them if you do not go the wider market route.

I understand that's what lulu claims, but I submit or have submitted files directly to Amazon, Apple, Google and Kobo, and I've never had my capitalization questions before, so unless these "other sources" started a new policy over the past several months, it's all a load of bullcrap.

I'm not sure about the why, but words like 'in' 'and' 'the' 'by' and a few others are not capitalised unless they're the very first word of the title.

But that's the rub. According to lulu, you'll be flagged if you do capitalize "in", "by" or "for". What's more, for my 6-book Catalyst series I selected a imitation childlike font, where capital letters are depicted as larger lowercase letters. What's more, since I use graphic titles, I've got to worry about the displayed titles, the TOC titles and the "alt" title I make it lowercase so it'll read more easily (not announcing each capitalized word when it reads the titles). Without knowing how Lulu processes the files, I don't know what's allowed and what's not.

But mostly, I'm just curious what's the proper use of "Capitalization Case": specifically, what's not capitalized and why, because I've apparently being doing it incorrectly for years! (These are all years that were published on Amazon, Apple and Kobo for years.)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

CW,

I know, for a fact, there are things imposed on Lulu by Apple, Amazon, B&N, Kobo etc. via the Marketing Agreement, simply because I can set any price I want for an e-pub if I load it direct to the Amazon site, and can do the same with just Lulu, but go through the Marketing Agreement and the price must end in .99 cents, and the MA system will adjust it for the other sites while leaving the price I set at Lulu alone. Thus it's an external imposition by the software you have to go through with the MA to use the other sites.

I now Lulu will allow me to ignore the capitalisation rules as long as i list for Lulu only, that's with both e-pub and print book. The moment I list for the others the software kicks up a stink about the capitalisation. I tried it once to see if I could sneak it in, but couldn't.

I don't know which mob insists on the rule, but it's part of the MA rules imposed on Lulu.

Now, as to the rule itself, it's a very old style manual rule that you do not capitalise conjunction in a title unless it's the first word in the title. Where it comes from is beyond my knowledge, I just know that's how it was taught back in the 1960s and was in style manuals I used for work in the 1970s.

edit to add:

from: http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/capital.asp

Rule 16a. Composition titles: which words should be capitalized in titles of books, plays, films, songs, poems, essays, chapters, etc.? This is a vexing matter, and policies vary. The usual advice is to capitalize only the "important" words. But this isn't really very helpful. Aren't all words in a title important?

The following rules for capitalizing composition titles are virtually universal.

Capitalize the title's first and last word.
Capitalize all adjectives, adverbs, and nouns.
Capitalize all pronouns (including it).
Capitalize all verbs, including the verb to be in all forms (is, are, was, has been, etc.).
Capitalize no, not, and the interjection O (e.g., How Long Must I Wait, O Lord?).
Do not capitalize an article (a, an, the) unless it is first or last in the title.
Do not capitalize a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, for, yet, so) unless it is first or last in the title.
Do not capitalize the word to, with or without an infinitive, unless it is first or last in the title.

Otherwise, styles, methods, and opinions vary; for instance, certain short conjunctions (e.g., as, if, how, that) are capped by some, lowercased by others.

A major bone of contention is prepositions. The Associated Press Stylebook recommends capitalizing all prepositions of more than three letters (e.g., with, about, across). Other authorities advise lowercase until a preposition reaches five or more letters. Still others say not to capitalize any preposition, even big words like regarding or underneath.

Hyphenated words in a title also present problems. There are no set rules, except to always capitalize the first element, even if it would not otherwise be capitalized, such as to in My To-go Order (some would write My To-Go Order). Some writers, editors, and publishers choose not to capitalize words following hyphens unless they are proper nouns or proper adjectives (Ex-Marine but Ex-husband). Others capitalize any word that would otherwise be capped in titles (Prize-Winning, Up-to-Date).

.........

and another link

http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/capitalization/rules-for-capitalization-in-titles.html

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I know, for a fact, there are things imposed on Lulu by Apple, Amazon, B&N, Kobo etc. via the Marketing Agreement, simply because I can set any price I want for an e-pub if I load it direct to the Amazon site, and can do the same with just Lulu, but go through the Marketing Agreement and the price must end in .99 cents, and the MA system will adjust it for the other sites while leaving the price I set at Lulu alone. Thus it's an external imposition by the software you have to go through with the MA to use the other sites.

That's an Apple limitation, as it's a requirement for selling anything on Apple's sites. There probably is someone requiring capitalization rules, but I've never had an issue with it posting to any of those sites.

Do not capitalize a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, for, yet, so) unless it is first or last in the title.

Again, lulu doesn't follow that rule, so I'm wondering 1) who's stupid rule is it, and 2) is there any justification for their exceptions (by, for, in, on)? I guess, in my case, that I've always capitalized any of these words over three characters, which is why all my old books published on each of these sites are now failing.

Anyway, I doubt there's any real reason for selecting those precise rules, but I was just curious whether I was missing something.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

That's an Apple limitation, as it's a requirement for selling anything on Apple's sites.


That's the crazy thing about, Apple insists on the .99 cent mark, but the way the agreement is set up that new price is applied to everyone except Lulu

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

What has me confused is what to do with words like "in", "by" and "for". Are these actually not capitalized, or were they not of much concern to lulu for whatever reason? If so, why?


"Resistance is futile," [said the hot blonde teacher to the horny student].

In other words, you could ask Lulu directly and perhaps get an answer-or check their help forums and see what you find, but in the end it doesn't really matter. Ernest has offered the guidance he has and you can find others, but nothing I've seen seems to match Lulu's requirements.

The only saving grace is you can spell it any way you like on the cover and in the text of your novel, including the title page. It's only at the beginning where you give them the title and author info and they assign an ISBN that you have to follow their rules.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

The only saving grace is you can spell it any way you like on the cover and in the text of your novel, including the title page. It's only at the beginning where you give them the title and author info and they assign an ISBN that you have to follow their rules.

That's part of what I was looking for: how they apply the limitation. I really didn't want to have to redesign all the graphic titles or the "alt" titles (which get read by those with vision problems). If their enforcement of this is limited to the Table of Contents, then I know what to focus on. (I have an attached < h1 title="text title" > command.)

By the way, is this based on experience (on lulu)?

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

That's part of what I was looking for: how they apply the limitation. I really didn't want to have to redesign all the graphic titles or the "alt" titles (which get read by those with vision problems). If their enforcement of this is limited to the Table of Contents, then I know what to focus on. (I have an attached < h1 title="text title" > command.)

By the way, is this based on experience (on lulu)?


As far as I know it is only the entry for title and author Lulu uses to assign an ISBN and "lock it" (their term) for submission to bibliographic databases.

I'm not sure there's any relation to how your table of contents displays-do a quick dummy project and see how it comes out.

Based on experience? Yes, even Lulu says in so many words you can spell it any way you want elsewhere. Except I decided (every time, I think) to keep it the same way, except perhaps once or twice with their odd capitalization of articles. My titles now are all uppercase anyway, so that part doesn't matter.

(I keep forgetting the capitalization "rules" for titles and have to look it up and/or pull some random novels off my shelves to see how others did it.)

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

As far as I know it is only the entry for title and author Lulu uses to assign an ISBN and "lock it" (their term) for submission to bibliographic databases.

They flagged a bunch of my books and I couldn't figure out which 'title' flagged the errors, since the only titles I could find which violated their rules were include in other books which were approved.

I've always followed the 'do not capitalize any common 2 or 3 letter words' (for, by, to, on or in). I'm pretty sure they only check the title, cover (the flagged my "Catalyst" series for not including the word "The" from my covers) and the TOC. I've since changed the TOC entries but not the actual graphic titles, and so far, they've flown through the acceptance process (though I'll have to see whether they're accepted for distribution or not).

Again, my main issue is I used a 'childlike' font for that series (capital letter formed to look like lowercase with alternating sizes) and I purposely used plain sentence case for the ALT tiles (so they'll read properly for the blind).

I haven't changed my Amazon, Apple or print books to fit Lulu's silly rules (I stopped publishing on Google a while back).

samuelmichaels

@Crumbly Writer

I opened this thread hoping to read of trial with a potential death sentence :-)

Ernest Bywater

@samuelmichaels

I opened this thread hoping to read of trial with a potential death sentence :-)


still likely to happen when the main responders get together for coffee.

Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

I opened this thread hoping to read of trial with a potential death sentence :-)

Great idea for a new story:

Capital Case

The dramatic adventure of three frustrated writers, arguing about how to capitalize their titles, ending in a life or death struggle over formatting principals!

Coming soon to a theater near you.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The dramatic adventure of three frustrated writers, arguing about how to capitalize their titles, ending in a life or death struggle over formatting principals!


CW, considering how some of the discussions go on this forum, I can really see such an event happening. Maybe a couple more also in hospital. But have two dead and every writer gives a totally different account of the events.

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

The dramatic adventure of three frustrated writers, arguing about how to capitalize their titles, ending in a life or death struggle over formatting principals!


I bet there's any number of staff teachers who have views on how to format a principal-like laying him or her straight out on the football field over a convenient anthill ...

bb

graybyrd

@Crumbly Writer

Coming soon to a theater near you.


What a Capital Idea!

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