I had done four previous publications on Amazon, Killing Trail, Days of Beer, Harvest of War, and Harmland. Problems had been minimal and I felt up to editing a collection of other folks’ work and publishing it. I figured I knew how to do it this time. Naturally, when one thinks one has a handle on things, that’s when problems crop up. The one that has occurred has me pretty baffled, however.
In order to try and get the poetry to work right, I altered the left margins from the “0” setting on MS Word to a -.5. All other settings were left alone. I considered this a potential problem so I did 12 test runs before publishing. I checked all runs through on my regular Kindle device, and checked the last few on my Kindle PC app. There were little things here and there that I fixed, but not once was there any problem with the margins, with words being cut off on the sides of the screen. Not once.
I published the book. I checked with a friend of mine who picked it up and everything read perfect. I announced it to the world, or that small part of the world that reads my blog. People bought it. I was happy. Two days later the first email came. The letters on the left side of her Kindle PC app were cut off. I figured it had to be because of the altered margins but hoped it was a single time glitch on her system. I sent her a Kindle file of the anthology to see if that would work, and she said it worked perfectly. My eyebrows went up. The file I sent her was one that read fine on my Kindle and PC app, and was the “exact” one that I uploaded to Kindle for publication. This led me to believe that it had to be some kind of weird glitch on her system.
Another day passes. Two more people inform me they have margin problems. One, using a Kindle Fire, has letters cut off on the left and right side, the other has a problem only on the left. Realizing that this is no simple glitch, I immediately reformat Louisiana Inklings to take out the -.5 margins and return them to “0.” I do this for both Kindle and Nook, though I have not heard of any problems for the Nook, and republish it. I send the new Kindle file to the two people who contacted me, but one tells me she’s already fixed the problem. All she did was decrease the “words per line” option and it read fine.
I feel a great sense of relief at that and email a few people that I know who bought the book about the “fix,” if they have any problems. I also email the first person to contact me about the margin issue and ask her if changing the “words per line” option fixes her problem with the original file. Unfortunately, her answer is, “no.” Around the same time, another person contacts me about having the margin problem on her Kindle PC app, but only on the left side. The “words per line” solution will not work for her, but the new Kindlized file with the normal margins I send her works just fine. Also around this time, I ask another person who bought the book if they had any margin problems. They look confused that there might have been a problem and tell me that everything looks great on their Kindle, even though they bought the book before I uploaded the margin corrected file.
Yesterday, I get another email from someone with the margin problem. They bought the book the first day I announced it so I know this was the original file. I send them the corrected file, and they let me know that it reads perfect on their Kindle PC app but still has a ‘slight’ problem with the margin on the left side.
I tell you I’m absolutely baffled. I seem to be able to get everyone a fix for their problem, but I can’t understand why it needs to be a different fix for every person. I can’t understand why the same file can be perfect on some folks’ devices and not work right on others. I did, by the way, for the revised file, use Amazon’s simulator to check it on every single device that run a Kindle app. It looked perfect on every one.
If you bought “Louisiana Inklings” and have had ‘any’ problem, please let me know. I’ll make it right. Email me at kainja at hotmail dot com.