The battle of the format

Kindle… I know you are listening. This is war.

That little black electronic book slowly became my sole purpose in life. If I could just get my book to look right, then all the heartache has been worth it. At least, that is how I began to feel. Eating, sleeping, and generally enjoying my weekend slowly faded into the background, and all I cared about was getting that damn Table of Contents to work (it still doesn’t.)

Digital files began teasing me. ‘Am I the last working copy?’ or ‘did that last line of code you added break me completely?’ One file would work with the images, but would lose the page breaks. Another would have those, but then I’d notice duplicate images at the back of the book.

File names started to confuse me as I couldn’t remember which one had which changes in it. I eventually managed to get a copy which seemed to format right, and so I proceeded with the grammatical and basic text changes. After a few hours of editing, I decided to build the eBook file on my Windows computer and test it out on the Kindle again – It was broken in a new and imaginative way…

Arghhhhh!

I woke up at 4am feeling sick with worry that I might have just messed up my work completely, and I spent waking hours wanting to throw the Kindle in frustration at that crappy Windows machine.

Life (the weekend) went on like this hour after wretched hour, until my technical brain finally woke up, and made a few sensible suggestions.

For anyone wanting to make their own eBook, here are the main two things that I eventually learned: –

Don’t email the HTML file to yourself in order to get it from one machine to the next (unless you zip it first.)

(I really should have known this – the bl**dy tags get removed somewhere between Entourage, Outlook, and that vast space known as the Internet . Stupid, crappy email thinks its so damn clever – no wonder my page breaks were missing from the final version)

Don’t add your images to the Mobipocket list of files (but do make sure they are referenced correctly and are in the same directory as the HTML file.)

(the software will automatically find and include them in your final file. If you do what I did and add them manually, you end up with a random copy of each image at the back of the book)

I deleted many perfectly OK, and carefully edited copies of my book unnecessarily before I woke up and realised where I was going wrong. Apart from all the wasted time and lost work, it’s left me feeling rather embarrassed that I could allow such a simple device to make me want to scream.

Still, my Kindle and I can now put aside our differences, and start to enjoy our time together. A couple of chick lit eBooks ought to repair our tainted start. I look forward to the time when this clever little device is my new best friend.

Now… where did I put that charger?

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