E-book adventures, February 2017

I am taking advantage of the snow day, and the current break in my copy-editing work, to generate and upload the e-book editions of …but for the thoughts running through my mind. It is turning out to be a pain…

My main focus, typically, is on getting the Smashwords version done, since I can download both ePub and Kindle formats in order to get an idea of how things look. Once I have finished that version, I get rid of the Smashwords-specific language and re-save for upload to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

This time, I have done it the other way around. The Kindle preview showed one small problem, which I fixed. Otherwise, it looked okay, so I moved on to the Smashwords version. Here is where the fun begins…

Although I have successfully used the same basic template and paragraph styles for as long as I have been using Smashwords, the key formatting in my Word document—specifically, page breaks and titles in bold—is not being honored. First, a screenshot of their rendering of the Kindle version:


My basic paragraph formatting is intact, as is the occasional use of italics—but I have my titles formatted so that they are always preceded by line breaks. None here, even though this screenshot shows sections of six different poems, with five titles (Orb: AutumnPoems hardly seem enough at a time like thisQuietRed blanket, and Sink—Submerge—Surrender) visible.

The story is similar with this screenshot of the ePub version, as viewed in iBooks:


Parts of four poems, including three titles (Blood talesFinality, and Trail of tears (dub)) are present here—but no page breaks.

In addition, Smashwords wants me to re-format my title—they allow neither all caps (which makes sense), nor all lower-case. That means I would have to capitalize my title, resulting in the awkward …But for the thoughts running through my mind, or the even more awkward …But for the Thoughts Running Through My Mind. Until I make that change, it will be available only from Smashwords—no iTunes, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo. (Amazon has yet to impose that sort of restriction upon me (the title is still ‘in review’).)

The formatting, though, is the larger problem. A basically unformatted e-book is not salable under most circumstances. The Smashwords Style Guide has not been updated since September 2014, so I know that my formatting is likely not the problem. Their processing routine, affectionally called ‘Meatgrinder’, is probably to blame—at least, that is what I am assuming, since it has overlooked the formatting I worked so hard to put into place back in 2014 (and all but the first e-book I did have been put together after their last style guide update).

I still need to make (upload) a couple of small changes to my Amazon Kindle edition; otherwise, it should be available from Amazon within a few days. Smashwords? We’ll see…

(6 February 2017)