Thursday, November 17, 2011

WATERSPELL E-Books for Kindle and Nook

WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock and Book 2: The Wysard are available as Kindle e-books for $2.99 each.

If you have a Nook instead, you can download the .epub versions at Smashwords (Book 1 here and Book 2 here) and sideload them onto your Nook. Or just wait a week or two, and both books will be available from Barnes & Noble for direct purchase and downloading to your Nook.

Sign up to receive my blog posts in your e-mail (see "Follow by Email," below right) and I’ll tell you as soon as the Nook books are available via Barnes & Noble.

ADVENTURES in E-BOOK FORMATTING

Many people complain about the difficulties of formatting their books for publishing at Smashwords. I, too, balked at the 72-page Smashwords Style Guide that Mark Coker posted. I read only about half of it before I threw up my hands and just dove in.

And quickly enough, I learned what works well and what doesn’t work when you’re formatting a Word .doc file to upload. Most importantly, I learned to use the Heading 1 style for chapter titles and anything else that should show up as a clickable or “tappable” item in the Contents sidebar.

I also learned to set a first-line indent in the paragraph’s Normal style instead of using the Tab key to indent paragraphs. And I figured out pretty quick that, when centering text, I must remove that first-line indent from the Centered style, or the centered text would be pushed slightly over to the right.

I now consider myself something of a Smashwords expert. The Book 1: The Warlock and Book 2: The Wysard .epub files that I produced at Smashwords look perfect on my Nook. The .mobi files also look great on the free Kindle reading app for PC that I installed on my computer.

FORMATTING for the KINDLE

Since Smashwords does not yet distribute to Amazon, I also went to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) so Amazon customers could more easily download my books to their Kindles.

Good gracious, what a hassle! The same Word .doc that uploaded seamlessly at Smashwords did not work well at KDP.

Problem 1: No paragraph indents. During conversion to the Kindle format, the 0.25" paragraph indent disappeared throughout both books.

Problem 2: Dropped italics. Also during the Kindle conversion, some—not all—italics disappeared. This was as serious a problem as the lack of paragraph indents. I use italics to indicate internal dialogue. Without that visual cue, some passages of WATERSPELL were rendered nearly unintelligible.

I searched around and found out how to “Modify Converted Content.” It turns out that the Kindle format is HTML. To restore my paragraph indents and my italics, I had to download the HTML file off KDP, unzip it, and open and edit the HTML file with Microsoft Word.

Restoring the paragraph indents was merely a matter of editing the underlying style. That took seconds.

It required hours, however, to “Compare Documents”—KDP’s HTML file against my original Word document—to identify all instances of dropped italics. I paged through the comparison file, and every time I found text tagged “Not Italic” I had to locate that passage in the HTML file and reapply the italics. Maddening!

Finally, however, I got both books repaired. Then I had to “re-zip” my edited HTML, which I didn’t know how to do. A quick search online, however, found these instructions:

“Highlight the files you want to zip and right-click, then on the menu tab, hover over ‘send to’ — there’s an option in there for sending to ‘compressed (zipped) folder’ — click that and you're done.”

Bless you, Queber, author of this tip.

I re-zipped both books and uploaded them back to KDP. And as far as I can tell, by perusing a sample of each using my desktop Kindle Reader app, my edits held. The paragraphs are properly indented now, and the internal dialogue is once again italicized.

SMASHWORDS’ “MEAT GRINDER”

All things considered, I’ve found Smashwords far easier to work with than KDP. Though some people speak disparagingly about Smashwords’ “meat grinder,” I have been perfectly satisfied with the quality of the e-book conversions there. My e-books come out error-free—which is more than I can say for KDP.

MY E-BOOK BIBLIOGRAPHY

Here’s a list of everything I’ve published, to date, via Smashwords. All of these items are available as Nook Books. To find them, just search on your Nook for “seven rivers publishing.” (My WATERSPELL e-books aren’t in the official Barnes & Noble Nook catalog as of this writing, but they’ll appear soon.)


WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock $0.99 (Limited-time discount price)

And for those with Kindles, you can sample and purchase my WATERSPELL e-books here:


What fun! This is a lot of work, but I’m enjoying the chance to learn new things. I also love being the mistress of my own fate.

"Life is something like a trumpet.
If you don't put anything in,
you won't get anything out."
—Composer W.C. Handy


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