“Two Files” Update, Odds and Ends

Jaye Manus is the model for good sense about writing and publishing, so when she says “whoa,” it’s time to settle down and listen. Here’s what she has to add to the complaints about Smashwords’ Meatgrinder, and the new epub upload.

“I’ve been one of the noisy gripers bitchin’ about the Smashwords “Meatgrinder.” My complaint was not what Mark Coker of SW was doing, but that MS Word makes lousy ebooks. Now, Coker has made it possible for ebook producers to submit validated EPUB files for distribution wherever fine EPUB-platform ebooks are sold.

This is terrific news.

“Now I’m seeing complaints all over the ‘net that in order for an ebook to be fully distributed in the SW catalog one must also submit a Word file along with the EPUB file. A lot of WTF going on and people acting as if they’ve been somehow buffaloed.

“Back off a minute and put down your pitchforks and torches. In order for SW to do what it’s been doing, it’s had to take a one-size-fits-all approach (could not have afforded it any other way). Using Word as the source file for conversion made sense for two reasons:”

Then she gets into the nitty gritty, pointing at, not for the first time, that programs like Word were never meant to be any more than word processors. They aren’t meant to produce books. And they can’t cope with the problems that different formats and different versions of the same format can raise for anyone publishing an ebook. It isn’t a long post. And it gave me a reason to think more seriously about changing my tune.

New Serfdom – The book has been lacking a timeline, and since it jumps back and forth in time quite often, I’ve been plugging away at getting dates in order. When you have a complex novel, it’s really a good idea to know when things happened. For this one, it also means I know how old central characters are when critical things happen. I’m thinking that, in some instances, a timeline may be more important than an outline, though they do tend to overlap.

Crazy idea for a serial novella – A kind of web fiction. I can blame this on Squidoo, which has been inspiring way too many ideas for instructive articles or stuff that just turns my neurons on. When it comes right down to it, I can’t abandon the hand slaves universe, even though I’m turning to straight science fiction. It’s a fantasy world — yes — but it allows me to voice concerns about the effect of powerlessness on individuals, and I (so sue me) love my characters. There’s also the pair of parallel stories I’m working on — a view of the Hidden Boundaries and Crossing Boundaries worlds by two of the slaves. I thought that would satisfy me, but there’s a lot of story that didn’t get told in either of the two novels. So I’m thinking about a story that fills in some of those gaps. Squidoo probably isn’t considered appropriate for fiction, but the structure does make it possible to present a serial in an interesting way. It’s a brand-new idea and I have no idea yet whether I can work it out, but it will be percolating.

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4 thoughts on ““Two Files” Update, Odds and Ends

  1. I know absolutely nothing about making an EPUB file. I have Word, I’ve used Word for years, and I have gotten the Smashwords problem solved. There’s no problem whatsoever making a Word doc for Smashwords, as long as you make sure it’s .doc format and not docx or something else. Make everything in the document Normal style, then go through with the paragraph signs activated and remove all formatting except Paragraph Indent, Centering, Bold, and italics. Never use anything but Paragraph Return to get extra lines. That’s exactly what they tell you do, in a nutshell. It’s really quite simple. The only problem is the NCX, and I’ve even gotten that solved. Now, I have no idea what you do if you have a Mac. But all this brouhaha over the EPUB thing seems silly to me.

    1. I have resources for creating epub files and do create simple ones, but it’s extra effort that I’d really prefer not to have to do. Call me lazy, but I put an enormous amount of effort into editing and cover design and creation. One more step is sometimes just one too many, depending on how much energy I have at the time. Most of the time, I stick with a .doc file, using Scrivener or Neo Office.

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