I apologize for being so far behind in my blogging. A combination of writing content at work and revising content at home used up both of my brain cells and I found myself unable to do little more than drool on my iPad when I got home.
I’m better now. Mostly.
Bev Gelfand, my intrepid editor, and all-around awesome lady, worked with me to revise my (what I thought was final) manuscript for Antigone’s Fall. Honestly, I thought I’d done a pretty good job of self-editing, but she not only found mistakes I’d overlooked, she identified patterns that I didn’t even realize I had.
Let me say it again for the cheap seats: All writers need editors!
But that was only part of the struggle. Now that the fun writing part was over, it was time to get down to the ugly side of indie publishing–formatting your manuscript. As it turns out, there is no one right suite for writing, no one right format for conversion, etc. They’ll all be screwed up–just in different ways. I wrote this book entirely in OpenOffice, mostly because I don’t like paying hundreds of dollars for something less useful than Word for Windows 2.0 (I’m convinced MS Word peaked with v. 5.1 on the Macintosh). Like all suites, however, OpenOffice did things differently and when I converted the base file to HTML, all sorts of crap crept in–but it wasn’t the same as Office’s crap, so it took longer to run down.
I haven’t decided what lessons I’ve learned yet, but they’re coming.
The biggest problem was getting the indentation to look good on a variety of devices. What looked fine on Kindle looked like a pile of literary poop on the iPad (or vice-versa) and I wanted them to look good universally. My dearest, most innocent hope is that now that the HTML file is ready to upload for Kindle, the Nook and other versions won’t take much effort at all. There are two final obstacles to overcome and I need to talk with some colleagues about that, but the end is nigh! So, apparently, is the beginning!
Please don’t shatter my purple bubble of hope if this is, in fact, not the case. Let me enjoy my moment.
However, I am pleased to report that I had a shot of Kraken tonight. Naturally, that means I fixed the alignment issues. And I didn’t break something else–something which occurs with alarming regularity. There’s a reason I didn’t become a programmer… It boggles my mind to go through MULTIPLE books about formatting for Kindle and none of them had the answer that worked. Oddly enough, a stupid PDF from Amazon (Industry Leaders in Obtusisity! ((also a real word!))) contained the magic little string.
I’m relieved because I didn’t want to just push the book out and “settle” for something less than the best I could do. At the same time, it was starting to look grim and the naughty angel kept whispering, “Dude, nobody’s going to care about your indents!” Very tempting, but perseverance and perfectionism carried the day.
With luck, Mountain Dew will carry the night!