Independent Publishing and Learning as I Go: New Ebook Formatting for Herezoth

New Ebook Cover, designed by Brad Covey, http://designer.bradcovey.com/

New Ebook Cover, designed by Brad Covey, http://designer.bradcovey.com/

I’m so excited to announce a new release of the ebook versions for “The Crimson League” and “The Magic Council.” This is all about new formatting.

  • I added a character list to “The Crimson League.” While one has been available online, at my website, for months, it’s nice to have it in the ebook as well. (“The Magic Council” already had one.)
  • I added a linkable table of contents to both: to send you to a chapter. Each title sends you back to the table of contents, if you want to go there. While I’ll never believe a TOC is required for fiction, it will make my character lists accessible when readers want to refer to them. I wanted that. Otherwise, what’s the point of the character lists?
  • My chapters are titled, and I made sure to add the title of each chapter to the TOC. Hopefully, if someone “looks inside” before buying, they might find themselves intrigued by chapter titles such as “Of Death and Deception,” and “Of Snakes and Scorpions,” and “Of Sorcery.”
  • I didn’t feel like the paragraph indents were enough to be easily marked in the earlier formatting, so I increased the size of the indentation.
  • I decided to separate all the front matter in each book.Β  I had deliberately chosen to link the front matter before, so that I would draw less attention and take up less space, but changed my mind.
  • I believe I got rid of a glitch that displayed a random number at the end of every chapter on some versions of Kindle.

Improving Each Step of the Way

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I never intended to, and don’t believe I did, ever release a sub-par product. I would never be okay with that. No author should everΒ  be okay with that.

But, that doesn’t mean I can’t find ways to improve things when a glitch is brought to my attention, or I realize I can add something improve the overall experience of my readers, such as a TOC.

The ease and rapidity of making a formatting improvement are two of the reasons I love so much that I chose to self-publish. Yea!

I realized–after one reader mentioned it to me–that a TOC would be helpful. So I learned how to make one (via this youtube video about making a table of contents) and presto: got one added.

Now, I’m getting more and more stoked about the release of Book III of my trilogy, “The King’s Sons,” on May 31. It’s no longer merely the best book I feel I’ve written. (Which makes sense. Every writer should improve from novel to novel, as she gains experience.)

I will also be able to introduce a link-filled TOC and character list as part of “The King’s Sons” in e-book format from day 1. That makes me so excited!!!

Thanks to the small percentage of my readers who have offered suggestions, via Twitter and Google+ and my author email account, about how I could improve formatting and about the additions to the novel you wanted to see.

Your suggestions have proven invaluable, and I do believe I’ve improved the appearance of the book. That is important to me!

I never realized before that some things–for instance, indentations and vertical page placement on the kindle screen–vary in reality from what you see on the “preview” page when you prepare to publish on Kindle. Now I’ve learned how to upload the unpublished .mobi file to my Kindle, to make sure everything looks clean.

What are your formatting nightmare stories? What’s worked great for you? Do you format yourself or outsource that?

Please comment. And don’t forget, if you aren’t already, to follow this blog by email if you enjoyed this post.

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23 responses to “Independent Publishing and Learning as I Go: New Ebook Formatting for Herezoth

  1. I published a post on the .mobi file yesterday as I had an absolutely horrendous experience with it when trying to amend it after publication. (There was a debate about a chapter and I ended up changing it when I got feedback). I have now gone with using Amazon’s guidelines on my Word document and saving it as an HTML to upload. Would love it if you could have a look at my post and let me know your thoughts as you’ve obviously been down the same route! Thanks so much. πŸ™‚

  2. The table of contents was, for me, the single ugliest part of the process, largely because I made the mistake of trying to follow instructions that I got from Smashwords. However, I know how to do it now, so the next time will be easier.

    • first time is always brutal, I think. But like you said, it’s getting over the hump that matters. Once you figure it out, you have the knowledge you need. It’s kind of a struggle, though, for sure!

  3. The TOC was tough, but I found a tutorial put out by another blogger that made it easy. The roughest part was getting the indents to behave because I had tabs in my book. I thought I got rid of the tabs, but they were hiding as invisible ^t. I only found out about them when I saw the symbol on a website about formatting. Really mean that I was constantly tripped up by an invisible object.

    Thankfully, I fixed everything on my first time through. So the next time might only require going in for a few typos that my beta-readers and I missed.

  4. Michelle Roberts (@michroberts90)

    Are you going to release the updates for everyone who’s purchased the first two books to get updated versions? Or do we have to rebuy if we want the updated version? I ask because I bought the first two during one of your promotions, but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet and it would be nice to have those updates when I do read.

    • I would love to release updates for those who have previously downloaded!!! I didn’t know there was a way to do that. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

    • I found out I can email amazon and let them know about the changes. Then they should contact you to let you update to the new version. Definitely don’t buy again! πŸ™‚ The process might take 4 weeks or so, I’ve heard, but I don’t want you spending money if you’ve already downloaded.

  5. I have previously purchased the book so if you do find a way to release an update – please post! Also, I’m sure you already have one but I’m nominating you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award

  6. Hi,

    And thank you for the updates.

    I believe it was I who pointed out a TOC could be helpful so I’ll tell you (again) why:

    Originally I had read the preview of The Crimson League and when I bought it during your promotion I had no way to jump to the chapter I had stopped reading in. I believe I knew either the name or the number.

    So I just paged through the whole thing and it was boring. For the record, I read it with Kindle Cloud in my browser so my experience is different from those who use actual Kindles.

    I loved the book, thankyouverymuch.

    • So glad you enjoyed it! It was your comment that inspired me to go back and add a ToC, so thanks again for your feedback. I’m really glad you thought to reach out and mention that to me πŸ™‚

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