Friday, October 28, 2016

In Formatting Hell

I was so excited to push that button! Voila! Everything looked perfect when I converted my .ePub file for Riding with the Hides of Hell* to a .mobi one via the Kindle Previewer ("Kindle Previewer is a graphical user interface tool that emulates how books display across Kindle devices and apps,"~ says Google).


A Thing of Beauty
View on Kindle Previewer
Riding with the Hides of Hell - first page

So I hastily blogged about my new book release, shared the news with my friends on Facebook and then immediately regretted it when I checked the "Look Inside The Book" (LITB) on Amazon. What the hell?

What a hot mess!

Apparently, even though the .mobi file looks good in the Kindle Previewer, the LITB is another ball of wax...reading HTML and Cascading Style Sheets and all that mumbo-jumbo that I can't see using Mac Pages. How to fix it, if it's fine everywhere else?

An Unholy Mess
"Look Inside The Book" on Amazon
Riding with the Hides of Hell - first page

So I did a little search and found this program called Calibre. Writers use this to reveal the code in their .ePub files, and they can manually fix it. I opened it and was immediately overwhelmed by the interface. I poked around, but realized very quickly, I had no idea what I was doing, and it would take me forever to figure it out. I don't want to code, I want to write. I don't want to learn a new program. I want to hit the publish button and have everything work. Is that too much to ask?

Back to a Thing of Beauty
Calibre eBook Management
Riding with the Hides of Hell* - first page

Plus, when I opened my .mobi file in Calibre, it shows up all formatted and pretty like it's supposed to look. How can I fix something if it's correct?

The turn around from uploading my file on Kindle Direct Press (KDP) and it going live to the public is about eight hours, making it very difficult to trouble shoot and keep the "Look Inside The Book" problems under the veil of magic. Anyone who opens Amazon's LITB feature will have been turned off immediately, thinking...assuming that the ebook will look just as dismal.

C'mon Amazon! Get with the program and fix the "Look Inside The Book" feature so its user-friendly to indie authors like me. I like doing things myself, but the next stop is paying someone to do my formatting. I found these three suggested formatters in the KDP forum:
Polgarus Studio
Ebook Pioneers

I'll keep you posted, but right now I'm waiting for my eight hours to go byto see if my complete manuscript overhaul worked. If not, it's eeney-meeney-miney-moe from the list above.

However, if Kindle Previewer and Calibre are worth their salt, then the ebook is in working order. Forget the "Look Inside The Book" preview for now and just sit back and enjoy the read :) I'll get it handled, don't you worry.

"Technology makes it possible for people to gain control
over everything, except over technology."~ John Tudor

* Riding with the Hides of Hell has a new title: Burnout!

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