Formatting: Nightmare on My Street

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in Author Advice, Protector Series, Publishing, Writing | 2 comments

Okay, it’s not actually that bad. I spent all of last night on Shift. Formatting the file for both Kindle and Nook eReaders. I’m only preparing for the ARC’s right now, but I don’t believe in putting out a second to best product. I want the best product I can manage. So, there were some hiccups.

Formatting isn’t hard, but it is tedious. By the time I was done last night, I felt like I’d been staring into the sun for 7 hours. Burning is an understatement. So, why did it take me 7 hours? Exiled took me 3, so how could this possibly be worse.

Well, throughout the formatting guide I was using (the same one I used for Exiled) there was a familiarity to it, as there should be. Being the all knowing Matt, I thought I knew what came next, and spent an hour and half deleting return inputs. Throughout the entire process, every now and again I’d accidentally delete a sentence and have to “undo” it, and continue on. After it happened three times I started to wonder…what if I didn’t catch myself doing it. Everyone reading this book is going to be missing a chunk of words. So I slowed down and paid extra close attention. Once I finished, I moved on to the next step in the guide where they state “Do not try to manually remove all the returns. You’ll spend hours doing it, and chances are, you’ll make a mistake.” Wow…

SO! I started over. It took me a couple hours to do the entire MS, then I got it converted into .mobi for Kindle readers fairly easily. The ePub was not working. I was using free software (Calibre) and everything was coming across nicely, with the exception of the title page. Each word was converting to a separate page. I went to Twitter for help, searched online, nothing was working. A few hours later I tried one last thing. I removed the fancy font and used a standard Times New Roman. Title page looks perfect. Are you kidding me?

So, I went to bed in the wee hours of the morning, got up at 6:30 am for work, and as I’m catching up on e-mails, I realize: I forgot the italics. I work on my book on multiple computers, plus my betas and multiple editors work on it on their computer(s), and after a year, by the time you get it back, who knows how many screens this book has touch, so you have to purge all the formatting. Copy it all into a Notepad doc, then back into a clean MS Word doc, and start over. This removes all the bold, italics, fonts, styles, and headings. So now, I have to go through my original file, and every place there is a italics, I have to go into the other formatted documents (there are 3 different ones) and add the italics in, page by page. Ugh…

But all this complaining aside, by tonight, I’ll have a .Mobi and .ePub version of Shift 100% ready, and I can e-mail – with confidence – to all the amazing reviewers who have agreed to review it for me. I hadn’t done a post in a while, so I thought you deserved to know what I was up to. Well, this is it. Not very exciting, I know.

On a different note, I tested both files out on eReaders on my iPad, and on a color screen that size, the cover looks so badass I may have drooled…only a little.

ARC’s are going out tonight and tomorrow. Shift will be available for purchase as of February 1st from Amazon and Smashwords (All other outlets take a while for Smashwords to distribute to, so if you need any format besides .mobi, Smashwords will hook you up!), and for a very limited time, Exiled is available for $0.99! 

All in all this is chalking up to be a crazy month. January 30th, the blog tour for Shift starts at the Bookish Babes, and you’ll have 11 days to try and win a eBook of SHIFT from some of the best book bloggers out there! Good luck!

    2 Comments

  1. Argh, the italic thing. There's a way to make fixing that a little easier. If you use Word, go into your original document (with the italics) and do a find-and-replace for everything italic. (Click the “more” button, then go to Format > Font and select italic.) Then you can replace everything italic with bright red, underlined, bold, size 16 font text that makes it pop out. Going back in and re-italicizing everything in your new document is a breeze like that.

    Those aren't the best instructions, but I hope it helps a bit. Let me know if I can help you out. I enjoy formatting books. (Yes, I'm crazy.)

  2. Haha, to be honest, I really enjoy formatting too! It's a nice change of pace from all the other work that must be done.

    That IS a really great tip, I shall try it out tonight. Thanks SM!

Talk To Me