Friday, February 11, 2011

E-book formatting is for the birds.

What have I been up to lately? Not much except struggling with the perils of e-book formatting. O... M... G... Seriously; what a nightmare. I have put Tinna’s Promise up on B&N’s NookBooks and Smashwords, I downloaded it to my nook and there are STILL formatting errors. The worst are the line-breaks problem.

I spent an entire weekend recently reformatting a pasted .pdf of the final manuscript for Tinna’s Promise. I had to go from the back of the book to the front, reintegrating every line of every single paragraph of the novel because the PDF paste had obviously kept each individual line’s hard break when I moved it to word.

Otherwise the
book would read like
this and it would
be oh so annoying.

Of course, had I used an iota of the intelligence that my daddy gave me, I would have thought to save my final manuscript that I sent the publisher into a folder somewhere where I could bloody find it. Then I would have had the original .rtf with all its soft line-breaks in all their glory. But I did not find it anywhere, and so I had to use the final version of the book in .pdf format as the framework for the ebook to insure I had all the right chapters and such.

Naturally, when re-formatting over 120,000 words of text, you’re bound to overlook a line break here and there (sometimes they hide), and you are also bound to accidentally delete spaces between words while doing it so you get the occasional mergedword. It’s really irritating. I also noticed that one book section had been merged into the paragraph of the prior section, making a hideous jump in the story in the same freaking paragraph. To discover this was really defeating. After I’d already re-uploaded it twice.

What I’m going to do this weekend is to try to re-read the damned book page by page on my e-reader, and follow along on my laptop, making changes as I go. I am *then* going to go and get my dog-eared, personal copy of Tinna’s Promise (with the old cover and cracked spine) and make sure that each paragraph matches the hard-copy version for the ebook.

When I do that, I will upload that ONE FINAL TIME to both PubIt! and to Smashwords. Of course that means it will take THREE more days for the modified copy to become available to buyers on PubIt, and put it back into Submission-Pending mode for the Smashwords general distribution catalog, which is another week.

Oh, and the really irritating part? Smashwords doesn’t let you overwrite your old, error-riddled versions, no. They keep every single freakin’ version you resubmit. Right now... I have FOUR versions; all in varying states of errorsville. It’s really embarrassing. They should take those down. Argh.

What I *should* have done was view my formatting and let the little dots and ¶ markers would help me track down the problems. But I didn’t use this wad of grey matter in my cranium I guess, and I just derp-de-derped my way through it while watching my DVRed shows from that week. Now I’m paying the price!

So I encourage you to yes, buy Tinna’s Promise in ebook format, it’s wicked affordable, I've put it up for 99¢ for a limited time(normally $4.00; it’s $6.00 on iUniverse) HOWEVER, perhaps you should wait for another week before you download it so you are sure to get the least buggy version. The latest version does however have the whole of Chapter 1 of Tinna’s Might previewed in it. Just so you know. ;)

Anyway, on the brighter side, look what my hubby gave me for an early Valentine’s Day present?

Squee! I’m sorry, I’m revealing the depth of my geekery here, but I am and have always been, since the late eighties, a track-ball kinda girl. Both my dad and I are (and were in his case) geeks that way. I’ve always had them, for a long time, until my last Logitech died after years of abuse. Now, instead of a normal computer, I have this tiny little netbook that I use to write with (in addition to obsessive internet browsing and Stumbleupon benders). I hate track-pads so I just turned it off and got a wireless mouse that had this thick jump-drive sized USB connector on it, and it was always sticking out the side of my little 9” screen netpad and annoying me.

I am cheap though, at least when it comes to spending money on myself, so I didn’t want to drop almost $60 on a trackball. So instead, I just complained incessantly to the ether (but always when my husband was within hearing range) that I wanted a trackball again—a wireless one, so I can just put it down anywhere I want, on my thigh, on the sofa, wherever, and that I want the thumb kind, not the one with the ball in the middle, and I wanted a Logitech with the itty bitty USB thingie (it’s teeny-like; Pez-size when plugged in) so there’s no thumb-sized protrusion poking out of the side of my little computer.

I must have whined enough, because hubby heard. I came home the night before last, and was doing something on my little baby computer, and started mumbling about hating my stupid wireless mouse and its behemoth USB connector, and he got up, went into the guest-room and then came out with an package, which he hucked at me and said: “Fine... I’ll get you ANOTHER Valentine’s present... just take this already...” Yeah... Happy girl now. Silly things make me happy, I’m such a gadget whore—that’s from my dad’s genes, he was such a tinkery, geeky gadget guy too.

So at least now I have something smooth and comfy to help me through this formatting nightmare. Yay! Oh, and BTW.. I’m at *least* 50% through Tinna’s Reign. It’s turning out VERY dark... and there’s a scene in there that’s so dark, so raw, I’m almost afraid to keep it. It’s also very soon in the book; so it might be really jarring to some of the more sensitive readers. I dunno. ::groan:: I will keep writing, and then when I am ready to revise and proofread before editing, I’ll make my choice.

I revamped the website, by the way. NO MORE ADS! Yes, I finally sucked it up and bought hosting (told you, I’m cheap). I will add a bit more content soon... but at least there’s no more godaddy bar at the top. :)

Here is a picture of a passed out puppy. Just because.


  1. Keep the scene. Those are always the most powerful and the ones that keep me coming back to the book.

  2. I will test run it with my BFF first to see what she thinks. :)