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.
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!