Mind Numbing Days – Ebook Formatting   8 comments

I think my ankles are swollen—probably because I haven’t stood up in five hours—calves are a bit sore, thighs a bit numb.

But—Oye Vey & Hallelujah—I’ve managed to upload my first novel Amy’s Own as an ebook on Smashwords.

I began 6 days ago by printing out their 75-page style guide because I best absorb information holding something tangible (printed material) and while sitting and reading out in my petite patio.

Note: the guide states that some people can format and upload their manuscripts in 2 hours. I understood immediately that I would not be a member of the “some” club.

It was evening in lovely South Pasadena, California. I turned on the Christmas lights that are tacked to the worn wood enclosing my patio and gave a nod to my Chinese warrior statue (an imitation of the famous Terracotta Army) that I use in place of a buddha. I sat in my much-loved, soon-to-trash old camping chair, the material having stretched and aged to the point that the seat has lowered to the perfect height for my short (not petite) legs. I read the guide with my yellow highlighter sliding along line after line, page after page. When I went to bed around 2 a.m., I was semi-understanding the dumbed-down language for non-techie beings like me and felt as though I was making progress (though with my brain being so tired by this influx and overdose of new info, I couldn’t be quite sure).

Mind-numbing Day 2: I opted for the Nuclear Method (evaporating all previous formatting from a manuscript) from the get-go as I knew I had made simple indents and centered things via the icon on the Word doc and that was repeatedly, emphatically stated in the guide as a no-no-NO! I was forced to learn about paragraph styles in detail, hyperlinks, appropriate copyright and licensing statements, “front matter,” and the typography term pilcrow. A slight PITA, but I’m happy to know this now, since I’m typing up my new work Keeping Sane, and Other Aspirations.

Mind-numbing Day 3: Downloading Adobe Digital Editions and going through the whole manuscript of Amy’s Own page by page, looking for mistakes. The hardest part was not going through the pages too quickly. I just wanted to glance and say, “That looks great! Moving on!” But I found a place where a line of dialogue jumped up to the line above. That screeched me to a halt, and I started looking at every single paragraph. I found three other times where the same thing happened (I’m assuming as a result of the Nuclear Method), so I’m glad I slowed down, even though I had to continually squash my impatience.

Mind-numbing Day 4: Bleary-eyed, stiff, and tired, I quadruple-checked everything out of absolutely heart pumping paranoid-anxious-doubtful-tense-amped up uncertainty. Then—with a deep breath, fingers crossed, swollen ankles crossed, and an excited flutter in my stomach—I clicked “publish.”

It may only be noon, but I hear a celebratory cocktail calling my name.

Note: Amy’s Own is free for download until July 13, 2012 at Smashwords. It’s a commercial drama with comedic and romantic elements. Visit Smashwords for a complete story description and access to multiple download formats. Feedback welcome (no holds barred!).

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8 responses to “Mind Numbing Days – Ebook Formatting

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  1. Hi Kat!

    I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award.Thank you for being a bright and beautiful inspiration.
    The RULES for this award are as follows:
    Thank the person nominating your for the award and link back to them
    List ten things about yourself: Here is the link to my previous acceptance.http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/a-lovely-award-for-my-blog/
    Nominate SIX blogs you think deserve the Kreativ Blogger Award.

    Enjoy!! x

  2. I hope the cocktail as yummy and you had some much deserved downtime. The beauty in our stories is they are all different. I like to think their is an audience for each of our voices.

  3. You had my empathy with your mind numbing experience. I’m experiencing something similar in readying my 108 chapter memior for my self-pub publisher. I’m a perfectionist, but I’ll be sending it back for the 3rd time today. I think something happens in transmitting from here to there. I’d love to read Amy’s Own, but I don’t have an e-reader yet. Too busy self-pubing to go shopping. :) But soon! Wishing you every great success with Amy’s Own.

    • 108 Chapters!? Wow, Nancy, that is serious! Best of luck with the 3rd send. Thanks for reading, and if you ever want a printed copy of my novel, just let me know (it’s not free or $2.99 like the ebook, more like $20 which includes shipping, but it’s an option—if you even have time to read!). Thanks for your good wishes, and the same to you!

  4. Congratulations, Kat! How exciting for you! :)
    I fully understand your method of reading the how-to material, that’s the way it works best for me, too.
    I wish you success with your book.

    • Thanks, Lynn! I feel bad because I feel like I’m eating up trees, but I just love the tangible element so I can underline, make notes, sort through things quickly, etc. Thanks for your encouragement with my book; I’m trying to not look too forward, but just take steps I think will help spread the word and see what happens. And, more importantly—and which is an aspect I struggle to find time for—keep working on my new novel! All the best.

  5. Why thank you! It’s not a genre piece, so the story won’t be for everyone, and I quite understand that readers have varying tastes, so no worries if it’s not your cup of tea. I’d still love to hear any feedback you might have (pros and cons). Thanks, again!

  6. Hey, I downloaded your book and am looking forward to reading it. Cheers!

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