Smashwords Update

Hi!

So yeah, this is a couple of days later than I usually try to post, but I went out of town on Thursday and it threw my whole week off.

I got my book, Brynne, Non-Vampire, uploaded to Smashwords and it is now available to purchase through them:

It is also now available through Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other locations. I can’t verify if it is on iBooks yet, since I don’t have an iEverything account, but it should eventually show up there. Smashwords shows that it was submitted to them, but I know some people have said it sometimes takes a while with Apple.

So Yay!

I have never put a lot of work into creating an epub version of my books before. I knew it could be done, using Calibre, which is the same software I use when creating my mobi versions, but I had never bothered to do a particularly good job of it there. I have converted some, but I’ve never bothered to go through all the epubcheck verification and all that because I’ve never distributed through anywhere except Amazon for my ebooks.

It. Was. A. Lot. Of. Work.

So a lot of the code behind epub is basically css. For anyone not familiar with that, pretty much every web page out there makes extensive use of it. It’s some of the style definitions that determine how a page appears on your screen. I have some web design background, so I was pretty familiar with css. That part was no problem. But Calibre’s conversion leaves a little to be desired. Like centering. Like giving me a bunch of empty tags that aren’t needed. Like giving me incorrect formatting on only some parts, correctly getting the others. And I don’t have a particularly difficult layout for my book, so it should have been pretty simple.

I eventually took care of all the formatting, got it to look right in the previewer, got epubcheck to pass it (yay again), and emailed to someone with an iPad to test on their viewer. That looked good, so I opened it with the Adobe Digital Editions viewer. Looked a little off. Hm. So, I checked everything and it looked good. I googled and nobody had an answer that I could find. After a very long time of poking around, the only thing I saw that was different with some of the css tags is that Calibre put them in all caps. I switched those to lower case, absolutely certain that it wouldn’t make any difference. Worked perfectly on everything.

So beware: If you’re converting to epub, lower case all your css. Apparently some epub viewers handle upper case fine, some don’t. Plus, all the verification software out there seem to not remotely even check for this problem.

After that, I uploaded it to Smashwords and it threw an error. Ugh. Well crap. That one was simple, it turns out when Calibre converts to epub and you go in and edit, it keeps a bookmarks file in there that doesn’t get sent with the epub, but does show up in the file list internally. That one I did find an answer for online, and apparently you just delete the bookmarks file right before saving and everything is fine. I uploaded to Smashwords again and all was well. Woohoo!

I had more ideas for this post, but this is already long enough.

Have a great upcoming week!

Ebook Formats

Happy June!

Happy LGBT Pride Month!

LGBT Pride Flag

Happy National Donut Day!

So pretty soon I’m going to be putting one of my books–Brynne, Non-Vampire–on some other ebook stores. Right now I only sell my ebooks through Amazon, but for a while now I have been considering trying a couple of other ebook distributors. I’m thinking of going for iBooks, Google books, and Kobo. Are there any major ones I’m missing here? My goal is just to extend my reach. The only reason haven’t done this before is the added work for what I assumed would be minimal gain, since most people seem to read Kindle books on whatever device they own. But now I can see an advantage to reaching out to those who don’t read Kindle books, or even those who do but would rather read through the native format for their device.

Of course the downside to this is that I will now have to produce a well formatted epub version of my book, so it is a little more work. I think the last time I ran my conversion and checked it with Epubcheck I found some errors that I just could not get it to stop reporting, even after I thought I had them corrected. But I will put in the effort and make this work.

Another option I’m considering is putting that book somewhere on my side, to be read online. Sort of in a blog format. I know there are a lot of downsides to this, not the least of which is some people would be annoyed having to click through to the next section, but it would still be available for purchase at various outlets, and I will be putting additional handy links to the various retailers once I add them. It’s just something I’m considering.

BONUS TOPIC:

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story logo

I loved this movie. I don’t know why it didn’t do better in the theater, and I’m kind of baffled by any negative reviews I see. Actually, most reviews I see from people who actually have seen it really did like it. I think Alden Ehrenreich did very good as Han Solo. I was actually a little skeptical of his casting when I first heard about it, but once I saw him in the role it made perfect sense. He had a less-perfected, less-practiced swagger that a young Han would have. He was a good selection.

*****SPOILER ALERT!*****

I liked the way they actually made a lot of what a lot of us knew about Han through the expanded universe into canon. Now we officially have Han rescuing Chewy from slavery, now we know Darth Maul actually survived being hacked in two by Obi-Wan. Though now Darth Maul is just Maul, no longer a Darth, and is now leading The Crimson Dawn.

I absolutely loved the way Han ended up winning the ship from Lando. This explains so much about their relationship! And we still know they end up being closer, even actual friends, after this because of what we see in Empire Strikes Back.

Another thing I loved was just exactly how Han did the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs (if you round down), and we also know exactly why the navigation computer on the Falcon is so good. We also learn why Han doesn’t trust people, because he has been betrayed by his mentor and by his girlfriend in this one. A girlfriend he had spent years trying to get back to and rescue!

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and somehow still gotten this far (didn’t you see the spoiler sign!), GO SEE IT! Seriously, you’ll enjoy it.

*****END SPOILERS*****

Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Dual Point Of View Pitfalls

Hello!

So I’ve been working on a new story that involves two separate point of view characters, alternating back and forth between the two from one chapter to the next. I have never done this before, and I had my reservation about it when I began. It seemed like an interesting way to twist this story to make it work well. I like the idea a lot.

But…

It creates some interesting problems. While I like the idea knowing more than the characters know at any given time, it does remove a bit of the mystery and conflict. Sometimes, it seems to me, part of the fun of a story is the frustration you have when you know something the character doesn’t and you just can’t see why they don’t see it. “Just tell her how you feel!” I hear myself shouting at times. But now I have to hold myself back from showing too much of the internal dialog of the characters sometimes, because it may explain away something that I want the readers to still wonder about, that I want the readers to still be frustrated about.

So yeah, there’s kind of something here I never quite thought of in these terms before, but a lot of times the big conflict in a book can not happen so much between the characters, but instead between the actions of the characters and what the reader wants of them. That frustration is sometimes all the conflict you need, not two characters battling against one another within the story, and not even the character facing roadblocks along their journey.

So yeah, this is probably really obvious to everyone, but the real conflict can sometimes be between reader and what is on the page. And looking back, I can see that I’ve even done that in my own works previously, so it’s not exactly a groundbreaking thought here. It’s just something that had never occurred to me in such terms.

Sometimes I’m a slow learner:)

Enjoy your weekend!