Sunday, August 12, 2012

Editing Louisiana Inklings

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.


laughingwolf said...

beats me charles... when i designed, wrote, edited the monthly newsletter for the multinational corp i worked for, back in the mists of time, it was all 'hard' copy, so any errors in the final were things i, and others, missed during the initial layout and copy edit stages...

rarely did one print out absolutely 'perfect'... we just ignored tiny glitches

Deka Black said...

0_0 maybe it have to do with the settings each person uses with the device used for reading.

Ron Scheer said...

This is not the same thing, but I've learned that blogger seems to pick up and make odd use of stray formatting code from copy-and-pasted Word docs. Only a while ago I discovered that highlighting the text and setting it to the template's default font gets rid of it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, there are always little things. But some folks couldn't actually read the work because of the margin thing so I hope I was able to get that corrected.

Deka, I guess so. I've actually tried to mimic it with my set up and so far have not been able to produce the problem even when I try.

Ron, One thing I do is turn on the show paragraph markers and so on so it will show me any really weird formatting on screen. Nothing this time, though, unless I missed it, which is possible.

Travis Cody said...

That's weird.

BernardL said...

I know you've done this many times, but did you save the original Word.doc to 'Web Page filtered' before converting it into Kindle format? I've messed up and caught it in time when I've saved one in only 'Web Page' instead of the 'Web Page filtered' under it. Just a thought, because with the way you've explained it, I can't think of anything else screwing up your formatting.

Greg said...

that is really strange. maybe Deka is right, it could have something to do with their settings, especially since different people using the same device have different problems.

i've never published anything on amazon, but one thing i have noticed over the years is that anything you create in a microsoft program (word, notepad, etc.) tends to have weird issues when you copy it into a non-microsoft program, such as Chrome.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis Cody, definitely so.

Bernard, I do believe the reupload fixed the problem, but I still don't know what caused it originally on some but not all systems. A mystery for sure

Greg, it's also weird because the stuff I've done before, using the same format, worked fine. But some day I'll figure it out. I think the new upload has at least fixed the problem.

the walking man said...

OK that was a pain in the ass because my app for the PC was corrupted and I had to wipe it and download it again.

That bit o' bitching out of the way I bought the book and took a quick run through every page at the word density I normally use and had no problems at all with any page edge being cut off. I am running a 5 year old HP with and AMD 2 core processor using Vista 32 bit. So it all looks good to me.

Ain't editing a grand thing? Driving me nuts with Nain Rouge and with a thirty day time to hell with the back and forth, maybe one contact from me if it changes structure but it annoys the hell out of me to see that red squiggle under a word, GAH use the spell check PLEASE!

Someone doesn't like how I made a long line fit into a short space oops sorry I'll take the hit and delete their work as long as they delete the publishing credit.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I use MS-Word minimally as I just can't seem to get the hang of it, especially the margins, headers and footers and whatnot. I edit a spiritual newsletter every month and the only time I used Word was in its first year of publication, back in 2001! I have been using QuarkXPress ever since.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear you didn't have any problems. I appreciate you taking a look. As for editing, not sure I could imagine at the moment editing on a magazine kind of schedule. Wow!

Prashant, I didn't like it when I started with word. I'd used something called Volkswriter before, but I guess I've gotten used to word by now and it feels pretty comfortable. It still does things I don't like.

Ty said...

Charles, if what I think is happening is actually happening, it's because of Amazon's recent KDP updates concerning the more modern Kindles. I had a very similar problem and it took me a few days to figure it out.

Set your margins to 0.01 inches. Readers won't be able to tell the difference. For some reason, the new KDP settings get funky at the beginning of paragraphs if the indent is set to 0.00 or less.

Or, at least, that's what worked for me. Hope it works for you.

Ty said...

Or instead of your margins, try setting your indent preferences to 0.01 inches. I'm not sure how you have your file set up, but it should be either the margin or indent settings beneath the paragraph settings.

Again, hope this works.

Chris said...

I have no suggestions, Charles, but I'll happily curse computers and all things related to them on your behalf.

Anonymous said...

It's a bugger when this happens Charles, apparently poetry is harder to format. Did you wipe out any pre-existing defaults? I am sure your poetry shines through. Have you checked out Guido Henkel's site and his helpful tips?

nephite blood spartan heart said...

I appreciate you post this kind of thing so I can learn more when I get to this point of publishing. Thanks to Ty too.

Oscar Case said...

Haven't had problems on my Nook reading, but I've only used it a couple of times and not for Louisiana Inklings which I may poick up as I go along.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We need to all acquire technoheads to deal with this. But they are not forthcoming.

Cloudia said...

These kinds of issues really prevent me from trying to digitalise my own work, Charles!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, I wondered about Amazon making some changes, and suspected as much. I'm gonna try setting the initial margins at 0.01. I did that for the top matter material anyway, but not for the whole manuscript. Thanks for the heads up.

Chris, thanks, that helps too. I've been cursing 'em.

Richard, I had problems with the defaults on one particular piece. I couldn't get rid of 'em right. That may have been the primary source of the problem. At least I am suspicious of it.

David J., yeah, I'll try that margin thing to see if that works.

Oscar, Louisiana inklings is available for the Nook, so far I've heard nothing from anyone who bought the Nook version about a problem.

Patti, and that's the way the movers and shakers like it. Keeps us buying more stuff from them.

Cloudia, this is the first time I've had the problem but it certainly has been frustrating.

Erik Donald France said...

Sounds like ghosts in the machine. Or ghosts somewhere, at any rate . . .

eric1313 said...

Good luck and may you have no more glitches. I was going to suggest that they also take a look at magnification settings, lessening it a step or two might help the trimming. Either way, hope you have the solution for next time. And glad you share these experiences with us who would one day stumble perhaps into the same gaffes.

I also contributed to the comments on the post bellow, regarding epublishing.

Golden Eagle said...

That is strange about all the problems, especially since some are the same app/device.

Vesper said...

This is so strange...
What Ty Johnston said seems to make sense to me.
These people, Microsoft and others "update" their software so often they don't have time to get rid of the bugs.
For Kindle, is the responsibility entirely yours? Doesn't Amazon have some sort of Help Desk?

Snowbrush said...

Darn, Charles, I am just so sorry about this niggling little problem you're having. Nobody wants big problems because the small ones can be enough to drive you crazy all by themselves. Hey, buddy, it's supposed to be 103 here in Eugene, Oregon, tomorrow. I've been here 24 years, and we rarely see heat, but it DO happen.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, one of the weirdest things I've seen.

eric1313, since I can't reproduce the error I can't really figure out whether the font size makes a difference, but I'll have folks check.

Golden Eagle, indeed!

Vesper, mostly they have a forum where people who publish on Kindle can help others who publish on kindle. I haven't found it very helpful.

Snowbrush, that's hot no matter where you are, dude.