Making the book available on Amazon for Kindle readers was not easy.
Amazon recommends uploading the file in HTML format, which I did. They strongly encourage you to review the uploaded file, which I also did. And when I reviewed mine, I saw all the quotes had been replaced by other characters. Amazon says that if there are problems with the uploaded file, download it and clean it up, then upload it again in HTML format.
The clean-up task is to be performed at the HTML level. How many writers are familiar with HTML? I would guess there are many who aren't.
I rejected that approach out of hand and read their instructions again. They said sometimes Word files upload without a hitch. Since my manuscript does nothing fancy in Word, I decided to try uploading it as it was, a .doc file. It uploaded with the quotes fixed but with extra spacing between paragraphs.
Better, but still not acceptable.
I abutted the paragraphs in my Word file and tried uploading it again. It made no difference.
I tried uploading the abutted version as a text file. Same extra spacing.
I thought maybe the font was the problem, so I did a global change from Palatino to Times New Roman. The extra spacing persisted.
Since I write on a Mac, I thought I might have better results if I did the uploading from one of the ubiquitous Windows machines. Same big gaps between paragraphs.
I went back to my Mac. I tried uploading the Times New Roman version in HTML. Same weird characters replaced my quotes.
I used to code in HTML. Nothing fancy, just the basics. But I thought if I could get the uploaded Word file downloaded maybe I could fix the extra spacing with an HTML editor.
I tried TextEdit as my editor. TextEdit was overwhelmed.
I searched my hard drive for an old copy of Bare Bones Software's HTML editor. I must've deleted it.
I Googled for an HTML editor. After looking at various possibilities I came up with Panic Software's Coda. You can download it for a free 15-day trial. I did and opened the Kindle HTML version of my novel, with the quotes fixed but too much spacing.
Fortunately, the fix was easy. All I needed to do, after examining the file closely, was issue a global find and replace. Find the line break command (
) and replace it with nothing. In other words, I deleted the extra line breaks.
Coda has a window in its editor where you can preview your HTML code as it wouuld appear in a browser. After issuing the global find & replace, I went through the entire file and checked every paragraph. Everything was in order. Quotes looked good, as did the spacing. Amazing.
I saved it then wondered how I would get it uploaded to Amazon.
Amazon's instructions say to upload the edited Kindle HTML file as a zip file. On the Mac, that's the Archive command in the Finder. I zipped my edited file then uploaded again. My confidence level was low but the darn thing worked.
I wasn't quite through. In my joy at seeing a clean file I had overlooked the book image I had uploaded earlier. This is what it should look like:
This is what actually uploaded:
I felt cheated. I had dragged the correct image file from BRC to the Desktop, but somewhere in the copy process everything but the thunderstorm was lost.
The problem was made worse because I had already clicked "publish" to tell Amazon to publish it with the bad image. The publishing process takes 12 hours or more. So I had wait until it was finished, make the change, and publish it again.
Now I'm working on making a hardbound book available.