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.