|Yep. Just like that. I SO understand.|
Photo courtesy of slowpoke on morguefile.com
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.