All fixed up, kind of…

Amazon got back to me with a solution to the italics issue I have in my newest book The Playground. They ran my file through something, probably Word, and sent me an HTML file.

I woke up with tightness behind my ears, running all the way to the small of my back. I had an important meeting this morning, but took vacation time the rest of the day. I know the italics issue is the cause of my stress.

I uploaded that file to Kindle and it looks great. This seems to fix the problem I have at the moment.

I fiddled around in my document, and found a typo. That was after Amazon sent me the HTML file, so I may be forever haunted by that typo.

While I'm happy to put a better product online, (excepting one typo at least) this doesn't solve my long term problems.

On a PC, I can open Amazon's HTML file in a web browser. When I get home, opening it in a web browser isn't an option.

I downloaded a program cleverly named File Converter. This is a cool little app. It will make pretty much anything into pretty much anything. There is a quality issue here though. When making a mobi file, I can try the base formats of Pages, Word, pdf, and ePub. Each of them comes with its own conversion problems.

One is left justified with no indents, and nothing centered that I want centered. One puts about an inch of space between paragraphs. Nothing is quite what I expect.

I tried making an HTML file, but the italics disappear completely. That isn't what I wanted either.

I downloaded Word for iPad. Apparently it only works for $100 per year, every year, with automatic renewal at their option.

I downloaded Google Docs. This one is free, but it doesn't offer any other formats.

I also fiddle farted around with Calibre, but it's an independent program outside the Apple Store.

At this point, I'm kind of frustrated about things. I might be able to paste everything into WordPress, copy the HTML file and do something that way, but that seems kind of absurd.

I'm sure this disconnect is some Apple attempt to force me into their book store, but quite frankly they can't do what Amazon can for me. Why the absolute impossibility of getting something I create on a product I love into a format I can use?

At this point, I probably ought to look for someone to format my books for me. If it were $40 vs. the lifetime servitude Word requires, it is probably worth it. More so if I could make changes when something comes up, or to add a new book link to it when I have a new book.

I could email my file to a PC and try using Word to convert it. That would probably work as well as anything else. My problem is I want one stop shopping here. I want to do everything with my own tools.

I could look into something like Scrivener. I would need some guarantee that it will do my file conversion though. I could even keep writing with Pages and just use it to convert files when I'm ready. It would have to work pretty well too, because my other converter leaves something to be desired. I'm not real excited about learning a whole new word processor.

I could rely upon the kindness of friends, but that's absurd too.

Or I could just give up completely. I spend an incredible amount of effort on these projects, and maybe that time is better served elsewhere. 90% of today was driven by stress. I already have high blood pressure, and don't really want to experiment with what's next on that path.

While Experimental Notebook and Panama are profitable, overall I'm not making a profit at this stuff. I keep holding onto the belief that someday I will. Either one title will take off, or volume will eventually produce something tangible. It's important to have dreams and work to make those happen.

Okay, surrender is a mathematical possibility, but we all know I'm not going to do that. Honestly though, drafting new material is the most fun part, and I don't have to publish to enjoy that.

So I'm going to throw it over to you guys. Can anyone recommend a file converter that actually does a professional job? I know a Scrivener expert, and am going to contact him via email. Do any of you use or own a paid service that you're happy with to convert your files, and do they allow updates?

The Playground looks pretty darned good, and I'm not stressed about someone getting lost in all the random italics that were generated by the conversion process. It already has a five star review, and I'm excited to have more people read it.

Hit me up with your recommendations for my future use. I probably have six months to fiddle around with something until I really need another file converted.


Filed under Writing

25 responses to “All fixed up, kind of…

  1. Wish I could help. These will most likely be questions/stress benders I face at some point in the future. Good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That sounds like a big headache. Not sure if it’s an option for you, but I use ‘Mobipocket Creator’. Not that advanced, but it gets the job done for simple stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m 45% through the original copy of THE PLAYGROUND and don’t recall an italics issue at the beginning, Maybe it just didn’t jump out at me for some reason.

    I have Scrivener but haven’t played around with it. When I indie pub, I do my own stuff and work between a slew of programs for a finished product (Word, Notepad, Calibre, Kindle Gen). I’m probably going about it the long way, but it works for me.

    I have an iPad and an iPhone but don’t use Apple products for composing material, so I’m clueless as to what would be compatible.

    Writing and publishing definitely creates stress. I guess we put up with it because, as wordsmiths, it’s hard to walk away from something we love.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you ought to get Chris Mcmullen’s book and learn how to format your books. You can do it yourself by following the step by step. Here is the link.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Does your device run OS X? I’m on Windows, but I use Apache OpenOffice (available on OS X) when writing. I already have Microsoft Word, but OpenOffice’s writer program has a feature I really like. If you go with it, I’d recommend saving a new file after each day’s work, because I think it once garbled a file, and I’d hate for you to lose a novel! I’m pretty sure the program will save to word .DOC format, which might solve your issues.

    If you can’t find a foolproof solution, it sounds like it might be worth the reduced stress for you to pay a formatter $40. I’ll bet they’d give you a file you could open in a raw text editor if you just needed a single-typo change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can work on the Mac, but I prefer my iPad. It’s all iOS. Never had a problem until this time out. Six complete novels, seven if you count both versions of Will O’ the Wisp. This time it was an issue.


  6. I do wish I could help, but I’m probably a worse technophobe than yourself, although you at least, seem to be managing the basics!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not familiar with Scrivener at all so I hope that they will be able to answer all your problems. However, if it’s purely the eBook formats that you’re having this conversion trouble with, then the Sigil ePub editing software that I mentioned the other day, when you first posted about the issue, is free and easy to use. It has WYSIWYG and HTML code views so you can edit in either easily, and it displays the text as you’d see it on your eReader, whichever kind that is. Scrivener may be able to do what you want as well, but Sigil is a dedicated ePub tool 😉

    PS – You can open HTML files directly onto your browser if you’ve got the file saved on your computer. Just go to your file location in Windows Explorer or other file management structure and click it OR save it on your desktop… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jan. I will check Sigil out for sure. With my Mac or iPad I can’t actually open the HTML file in my browser it isn’t an option. I tried both. I did it easily on a borrowed PC. I can save it on my desktop though.


  8. Actually, Garry has a new service that he and his daughter started. But I can tell you that he uses Calibre. He’s sending me screenshots of every step so I can get my 60 Ways uploaded to AZ. If you want, I’d be happy to share them with you. Or, you can look into his service at:

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Though Scrivener will compile in word with italics, .rtf, .mobi and .ePub, most people format in word first. Even when I compile into a word file, there will sometimes be glitches with indents where I edited and used the tab.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I got a bunch of good tips out of this. I just need to run them all down. Maybe I should get scrivener and try writing a micro fiction completely with it. I hate to change word processors, but scrivener gets a lot of positive press.

      Liked by 1 person

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