Saturday, December 8, 2012

I SO Wanted to Scream...

Yep. Just like that. I SO understand.
Photo courtesy of slowpoke on
But I restrained myself. Barely. Doesn't mean I wasn't doing a lot of grumbling, not to mention outright declaring MS Word an idiot though.  *G*

Took me nearly 24 hours of working, re-working and re-working yet again, but I finally got "Beyond Hope" properly formatted so it uploaded to Smashwords and worked properly. So, as of Wednesday, December 5th, "Beyond Hope" is now available in all e-book formats as well as paperback.

What took so long, you might ask?

Well, I'll tell you.

Smashwords has a very long, very detailed document ("Style Guide" I believe is what they call it) that explains all the things you need to do to make sure the document format for your book is correct for uploading so it converts to the various e-book formats properly. The step that ended up trying to hang me was the "Normal" versus other paragraph formats.

Smashwords warns that if the "Normal" paragraph style is different from what you overwrite it with (such as highlighting text and changing it to TNR-13), the hidden "Normal" settings may rear their ugly little heads when the file is converted for e-book purposes.

Ain't it the truth!

I was at a loss to understand why I had text popping back and forth between Times New Roman and Arial fonts, as well as appearing in different sizes. I checked everything I could think of, but nada. I finally gave up and went to bed that night.

I woke up the next morning with the answer. Sort of. I tried reformatting the entire document in case I'd missed something before. (Which incidentally is how I started this whole fiasco anyway, so I couldn't have missed anything. But you never know.) Tried uploading again and checked the format of the EPUB file. Doh! Still not fixed. In fact, not a single thing had changed. Argh!

Just as I was ready to give up and call in more knowledgeable reinforcements, it hit me. Of course! Check the base format of the "Normal" paragraph style. Ha ha! Got you!

Unbeknownst to me, and Lord alone knows when or how it happened, the "Normal" paragraph style had gotten changed in my version of MS Word. It was no longer Times New Roman, 12 point. It had shifted to Arial, 12 point.

I fixed that then highlighted the affected text in chapter 1 and selected "Normal" style. Viola! Once I knew for sure chapter 1 was fixed, I fixed the remaining chapters scene by scene (so I didn't have to redo the formats for chapter headings and scene breaks). Now, I was coasting.

Uploaded the new file and checked the EPUB. Doh! Then the entire text of chapter 1 was a smaller font than the entire rest of the book!  How in the world did that happen? I have no clue. So I highlighted the text of chapter 1, hit "Normal" again, and prayed it worked.

And it did! Yes! So, "Beyond Hope" is now available online in ALL e-book formats. Woohoo! (UPDATE 02/06/2015 - e-books for Beyond Hope has been removed from Smashwords and Barnes & Noble. It is currently only available for Kindle.)

Amazing what happens when those hidden things are revealed.

And you know what? It occurred to me there's a spiritual lesson in that. How often do we have "hidden things" in our lives that don't appear in one context (such as a paperback novel) but are revealed in a HUGE way in another (such as an EPUB file)? We try to deal with the outward signs (like those wonky font and text size changes) without actually getting to the root of the problem (like the base format of the "Normal" paragraph style). Until we deal with the root cause of the problem, we end up getting annoyed and frustrated like I did. I've been there, and I'm not just talking about writing.

Hm. God really can use anything to teach us, can't He?

So what kind of frustrations have you faced lately that God has used to teach you something? It could be something new or something He just revealed in a different light. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Running ahead of God can cause more than frustration it can put you permanently out of a venue you THOUGHT you might be destined for.
    God humbled me this past week in a very telling way - He and I had set a list of goals for my fiction writing back in Feb and I was right on track with said goals but got distracted by the "opportunity" to pitch my work to an agent AND an editor - strange thing happened - they BOTH WANTED A COMPLETE PROPOSAL with a minimum of three chapters - DID IT and ON TIME - then - both rejected my book within 24 hours of each other - I'd have ignored any Spiritual lesson in that EXCEPT - neither put MY writing ability down - in fact the agent posted on my facebook page that I AM A TERRIFIC WRITER - now - who wouldn't want to hear or read that from an agent - GOD WAS CLEAR - pitching my work before HE deemed me ready or deemed it was time in HIS PLAN for my work - causes delays, detours, discouragement. I'm blessed with discernment when I listen to it. God forgave me even though it meant I did NOT finish a novel that would have been done had I NOT gone off course and it might have been entered in The Genesis in January - might even had finaled - shame on me!
    He allowed me to fail in a sense but in His forgiveness He gave me a professional proposal - highly complimented by both agent and editor and He gave me practice in pitching once more. I probably won't be able to get published by that same publisher due to my premature push BUT I DO KNOW GOD HAS SOMETHING/SOMEPLACE FOR THIS NOVEL or HE'D NOT CHASTISED ME FOR TAKING THE DETOUR!
    Thanks, Dawn for this terrific post of yours.
    Yeah - I could have SCREAMED .')

    1. Yeah, some of the lessons we get really can be harsh. Ouch!

  2. Time. I'm struggling with finding time to write/edit/critique on top of housework and spending time with my children. It's a real juggling act. :/

    On a side note I totally sympathize/empathize with formatting issues. A couple of months ago I pressed some button my manuscript and then Word froze. So I force quit it and then reopened it...and EVERY single paragraph was organised alphabetically. Yup. The whole 300+ pages all nicely in order. And all I could do was laugh, I mean some of the paragraphs almost made sense in order like that, and some were downright hilarious. I sobered up and then found an autosave that was from 5mins before and saved that instead. Lesson learned: don't press buttons unless I know EXACTLY what they are for!

    All the best with your writing, Lucy

    1. Ick! How in the world could that have happened? What a mess that would have been if not for that auto-save (or hopefully a back-up). Another good reason to keep things backed up. And one I haven't seen anyone else come up with so far. *G*