Square Eyes


How my brain looks at the moment…


I’ve been staring at the computer screen so much the past few weeks that everything else in life got put on the back burner (including this blog – my apologies!). I could afford to do this because my husband’s been away on his annual hiking & biking holidays, so I could focus on huge chunks of editing for (10-14) hours at a time. I’ve taken the stereotype of authors as hermits to the limits, I must say! And I enjoy it for the moment. With minimal appointments/classes/students during this period, I’ve gotten a LOT done: I’ve been updating/tweaking/editing the already-published novels because they needed to be uploaded again anyway (due to new releases, and broken links*).

This simple goal opened a pandora’s box of issues – like the fact that I’ve realised that I need to keep an active eye on Amazon; they manage to screw up things on a regular basis with links to books, links to my Author Page, and external links to my blog.  They don’t care that their mistakes cost me readers. And not just Amazon.com – but .de and co.uk… that translates to, ideally (heavy dose of sarcasm) checking 10 book links per website times 3… regularly. Obviously, I have nothing else to do with my time.

That’s one issue; another is something I’ve recently become aware of, and I think anyone publishing e-books using Word as a basis-format needs to be aware of: Start off your manuscript with a “nuclearized” version – NO formatting, and turning off all Word auto-corrects and auto-formats.  Word tends to add hidden bookmarks to help navigate through a manuscript; however, these can also mess up your final version if you’re sending it off as Word to be *converted by the end-publisher. That means, go to “Insert”, click “bookmark”, and unclick / re-click the “hidden bookmarks” checkbox. Anything beginning with _(gibberish) needs to be deleted. The bad news: each one has to be deleted individually (unless you pay for a tool like Kutools for Word)! I just did one of my e-books, and I had 280 superfluous bookmarks… Joy.

Once I get this all done, the next phase begins: Preparing all 5 e-book manuscripts for release on another website, Smashwords. They use what they affectionately call “the Meatgrinder” – a program that converts a nuked document into the various formats through which they distribute.  That means sifting through a 120-page PDF for grains of useful info in a vat of chafe – things I already know (like how to copy/paste!). They leave no stone unturned, but I still need to read through it and prepare my personalized list of editing/formatting points.

Every time I look at my to-do list at the moment, I take a few deep breaths. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, however: When I start work on my next manuscript, it will be nuclearized from the get-go; putting pure practices into effect from the beginning will (hopefully) save me a lot of headaches later on when it comes time to publish again!

In a few days, I hope to emerge from the cave to become a modern, socializing human again – in the meantime, just gimme a cuppasoup and turn off the phone, please.


Filed under Articles, Musings, Nuts & Bolts

20 responses to “Square Eyes

  1. Welcome back. Word is evil, and OHMYGOSHTHETOOLBARS.

    I’m hoping to save up for Vellum on my Mac to to the final layout and formatting.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Thank you! Mac is evil. 😉 I can do the fancy-schmancy bits with Word; I just have smack their fingers when they try to predict my formatting for me…
    I tried Scrivener for awhile, but I’m personally far more organized than it could ever hope to be. 😛

  3. And Word is a platform agnostic evil!

  4. That’s what ya get for insulting Word 😛 LOL!

  5. This might be the most fun I’ve had in comments in ages. #DoNotGetMeStartedOnTheRibbon

  6. The ribbon interface

  7. And btw, I have NO idea what you mean…

  8. I had no idea there would be so much to do to prepare a Word document for publishing. With so many glitches in the world, it’s amazing anybody writes anything. I hope you get to the end of the stretch soon and feel like socializing again.

  9. Well played – and this UI abomination – https://youtu.be/YT7H_kL7E34

  10. Thank you! Me too! It’s been a frustrating ride, but I’ve learned a lot along the way, too, which will make next time a smoother one…

  11. I’d just never heard the term “ribbon” used for what I refer to as visual tabs (if I EVER refer to them). I don’t live in an English-speaking country… that’s my only excuse for that, and I’m stickin’ to it. 😛

  12. So. Many. Toolbars. It’s the equivalent of tabs on a browser.

  13. Yep – and that’s what my brain usually looks like. 😉

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