Layouts and Formats and Files, Oh My

So, I finally finished the last round of edits on Sunday, about which, I am very pleased.  I should have the cover art from the artist this week.  Everything was going great, and then I hit the eBook process.

First, let me backup a little.  I decided to hold off on worrying about printed books for now, and go the ebook route.  For one, I’m not looking to make piles of money; I just want to be published, and an ebook is definitely the fastest route.  Two, even though I’m not looking to get rich, I also want to be fairly compensated.  With a lot of the self-publishing companies, it would take selling your book for $15 to make $1 or $2, sooooo.  How about, No.

So, I’m going to publish on Amazon for Kindle, and on Smashwords for everywhere else.  I know, ebook consumers only account for about 14% of the book reading crowd, but that’s fine with me.  I can consider it testing the waters.  I’m sure that, eventually, I’ll do the print thing, but for now, an ebook is fine with me.

Enter the next beast to tame: formatting for an ebook.  I’ve spent two days on this so far, and I’m getting frustrated enough that I’m considering hiring a service to do it for me.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually, but wow – what a pain.

It doesn’t help that there’s no single industry standard, either.  There’s .mobi, .epub, Amazon likes to have HTML, etc., etc.  And even the layout standards (carriage returns, tabs, page breaks, etc.) between Amazon and Smashwords are very different, almost opposite.  It doesn’t help that, if my book was a standard-size paperback, it’d be on the order of 500 pages.  That makes going back through it and changing formats, font sizes and the like VERY tedious.  Then, I have to run it through format validators (which isn’t fast), find out what’s broken, fix it, and then try again.  RAWR!

Well, that’s it for me now.  Back to the paying job and its associated minutiae.  Ciao for now!


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One Comment

  1. Tony
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I can tell you that reading about your struggles has dissuaded me from wanting to write my own opus. Well, that’s not true…it’s dissuaded me from wanted to self-publish it! So…once you get the process straight, let me know what you’ll charge me to publish my autobiography “Tony…who the hell is THIS guy??” and my coffee table book “Tony’s Luscious Ass…A Panoramic Photo Essay”.

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  • About the Author

    T.M. Lennon currently lives in North Carolina. His passion for science-fiction and fantasy was influenced by Star Wars in 1977 and The Lord of the Rings novels, which he read at an early age. He created the world of Eörlond in his teens for a fantasy role-playing game, and it has grown ever since.

    The one-time a soldier, systems engineer, and software developer, now adds author to his list of credentials. He continues to work during the day as an information technology consultant, but spends his precious little free time evolving the land of Eörlond and its inhabitants in front of his trusty laptop.