It’s soooo difficult!

Hello everyone!  I hope this finds you well.

At this point you might be wondering what is so difficult. Well, as I mentioned in earlier blogs, I am trying to finish a book that I have been working on — a fantasy/fiction for children to which I recently added illustrations to make it more fun. I finally finished it (sort of…) and thought yippee! now I can out it up with Amazon, both as a paperback (though I already have had a few dummy copies printed out here in Cordova) and also as a Kindle book.

So I tried to follow their instructions and I have spent hours watching webinars put up by Kindle University, and I have been on the forums, read the advice, scoured through free manuscript converters: epubs, mobis, buboks, manualsbrain, Zlibrary and the suchlike. I turned the whole topic upside down, inside out, from left to right and vice versa.

Well, I managed to upload the front cover (only because by some stroke of luck I had downloaded the Canva illustrations as Jpg things), but when it came to formatting the manuscript, did I succeed?

The answer is… no I didn’t. Now this isn’t because I am not intelligent enough to follow instructions, but while I admit I am not tech-savvy, nor have I had any formal training on how to properly use all the settings on Word, I just don’t have the time to embark on another PhD and invest all this time on reading around and learning about things like: ‘fixed’ versus ‘reflowable’ texts; ‘contents page’ layout versus ‘insert a chart’; no page numbers versus numbering; ‘headings’ versus just centralising the chapter title and moving it a little by using the tab key; ‘linking’ for easy navigation; ‘fixing’ the illustrations; using proper ‘page breaks’ as opposed to just continuing with a new page; applying proper margins, indentations, line spacing, font, HTML language etc., etc., etc. — the list is endless!

I had read that it took a certain man about 8 hours to prepare his manuscript, but this certainly isn’t my case. I also read that you just have to ‘upload your word doc manuscript’ and hey presto Bob’s your uncle! So I did try that… and unfortunately, Bob wasn’t my uncle! The text was miniature, the new chapters didn’t coincide with new pages, and as to the pictures… well, they were all over the place! In other words, I made a real pig’s ear out of it and as a consequence… I gave up!

However, later that day when I was searching through a list of literary agents, one advert stood out from among the others, blaringly obvious. It was the website of a UK proofreader/copywriter who offers her services also for reformatting manuscripts into the necessary file that can then be used for Kindle and Amazon. Now, I’m not that flushed with cash these days (as craft people usually aren’t — you know, many hours of work for hardly any profit…), but I do believe in divine signs, so I made the logical decision to contact this lady, send her the first couple of chapters and ask for an economic quote, politely reminding her that many people these days have had their usual work hours restricted due to Covid. She promises in her website to be competitive; she certainly does seem very professional, has good references and also features a list of books that she has prepared for Amazon.

So here I am now (after having lit the fire, we’re having a spate of cooler, windy and rainy days) waiting with baited breath and crossed fingers, often turning my eyes heavenwards. Let’s see what happens…

In the meantime, during this literary lull I have decided to organise my quite disorganised craft room upstairs so that I can get on with some art work. I have abandoned this in the last few months as all my efforts have gone into finishing my book as well as my very limited teaching and translating work. I am so excited to embark on my craft and art work once again, especially as my husband promises that he will remove the eight large and very sturdy batteries which emit slightly toxic fumes and to remove also the very noisy invertors, all of which are necessary for our solar energy system. Perhaps now I will be able to get on with some craftwork and then update my much-neglected Etsy shop…

But how could I sign off without including a photo or two? So, as is my custom, here are a couple of photos, this time of the batteries and inverters and also of my extremely messy table. I’m waiting to get stuck in!

One of my disorganised tables desperately needing organising (there’s even a bike to boot!)
The culprit corner, cause of slight sulphuric acid gas intoxication and noise pollution! I told him that either they or I go! (I won’t say the reply…)

Will keep you posted.

Thank you for reading, take care  and oh… good luck if you’re trying to convert your Word manuscript into an eBook-friendly file!

Xxx

4 comentarios sobre “It’s soooo difficult!

  1. Slightly embarrassed cough – erm, I might have been able to help you with this. I have spent the last 20 years explaining document construction as it’s a vital part of accessibility for blind users. Ah well, I hope your proofreader can make the necessary changes. For future reference, it’s always best to upload anything you have written into Notepad as this will remove any formatting that you’ve added. You can then copy and paste the text back into Word and then add the formatting (headings, headers, footers, etc) that you require. If you have done these correctly, (uniformly), especially the headings, all other stuff will fall into place. A publisher ‘should’ be able to sort out the images and the reflow. If you want any help in future, I’ll send you my email.

    Your work room is fabulous – well apart from the corner. Good luck with their removal! 🙂

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  2. Hello Lisa, thank you so much for your advice and also the offer for any future help I might need! You do sound very able in a wide range of fields! I am also waiting for all this Covid rubbish to clear so that my classes with the ‘Fundación de Mujeres’ restarts; here they teach us what we would like to learn, so I shall definitely be asking them for correct formatting and all the associated. So now I’ll finish my tea and head on upstairs to tackle my work room…

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  3. Wow what an eye opener! I feel your frustration! It’s an eye opener because I have been planning to do this same thing although my book is not ready yet… My husband assured me that it would be easy but he is a programmer. I pull my hair out with things like that. I hope that my husband will be able to help me when it comes to it. I love your photos of your work room and table. Wishing you all the best with going forward…

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  4. Thank you so much! Be warned… before you start formatting, I’d advise you to read Amazon’s site on how to properly format for an eBook. Good luck too, I will let you know how I get on (if I do, that is!)…

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