Publisher Row

It was a rough day yesterday.  It was raining, it was cold, it was windy, there were assholes on the road, three whom nearly wrecked me, and one guy who felt that driving over 75 mph in a hard rain was completely legit, and nearly took himself and a few other cars out when he almost lost control.  When I am allowed to mount heavy weapons on my car, idiots like that will vanish quickly . . .

Thus it was that when I sat down to continue my conquest of my current novel formatting so that I can transform it into the epic story that folks will line up to by.  The way it’s suppose to look is good:  I’ve figure out the ways that compile time formatting should work, and I’ve begun employing that process.  I also tried a epub creation, then converted that to mobi, but the phantom pages issue remained.  Hummm . . . phantom pages.  I could use that as a movie title.

One question that I received this morning was, “Why is this Scrivener so great?”  What I did last night is a prime example.  I have a story that I’m trying to convert to different formats, all three which are nowhere comparable to each other.  And yet, I’d make one change in the Scrivener compiler, and off I went, creating a .doc, then a few seconds later creating a .epub, then trying a .mobi format a few seconds after that.  Nothing else was required; information I’d used for formatting on one format was good for information on another, and where I had formatting styles particular to .epub and .mobi, that information was retained when I switched over to .doc.

I could call Scrivener “Out of One Comes Many,” but that is stretching things just a little.

Though I’ve not gotten to the very root of my phantom page problems, I’m learning a great deal about the creation of an ebook without having to do a lot of extra work.  Trust me, though:  I will work this out, one way or the other.  Part of the issue could be that the Windows version of Scrivener is not quite as powerful as the Mac OS version of Scrivener, but it’s getting there.  I’m a programmer, which means I not only understand this concept of “getting your software up to speed,” but I know work arounds.  I’ve created an ebook before, and I’ll do it again using my work around.

I will not be found wanting.

It’s back into cleaning up the chapters tonight.  I think I’ll throw Scrivener into Outline view and just pick chapters and go through them, so that I get a feel for how that part works.  I love my Corkboard, but trying the Outline view is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and tonight is just as good a time to play as any.  Besides, with the change I’m going to try with my story, the Outline will work better than the Corkboard.  At least that’s how I see it at the moment.

Editing is boring?  Are you kidding?

I’m having a blast.

Mobi Dick

Falling back to the famous opening line from Shoot and The Mist (which King admits he stole from Shoot), this is what happened:

Last night was Formatting Night at the casa, and it was time to play with the Table of Contents.  Almost every ebook needs one, particularly if you’re hawking a novel, and you want your readers to jump to chapters quickly.  I’ve done this for Kuntilanak, and I started playing with it for Her Demonic Majesty.

I discovered quickly, however, that while you can set up a text file in Scrivener for you ToC, you can’t link to things as you would in Word.  That functionality simply doesn’t exist.  But wait!  After doing some research using this strange tool that a lot of writers seem to be unaware of called “Google”, I was reminded of something Scrivener does, and that’s compile your documents into epub and mobi formats.

For the less and tech savvy out there, epub is a common ebook standard that’s been around a few years.  The other format, mobi, has been around even longer, and is what’s used by Kindle.  When you compile into either of these formats, if you have things set up right, you’ll build your Table of Contents automatically.

With that being the case, why not give it a try?

I decided to try out mobi, since I could shoot this straight up to my Kindle Direct account when the time came to complete this magic.  So I selected a few things to test this out, and . . .

Wait a minute.  Since you need a way to see your ebook before it becomes an ebook, I needed a little tool for that.  I downloaded Kindle Previewer from the Kindle Direct page, so once I had my mobi file, I could pull it up and “read” my story.  Great!  I get that on the machine, then I start the compile . . .

Oh, wait.  In order to compile anything as a mobi, Scrivener needs to know where you store your KindleGen program.  KindleGen lets you convert files that could be ebooks into mobi format, and even though I’m creating a mobi file, Scrivener wants to know where this magical program resides on my computer.  Which meant I needed to go and download that–

I have all the tools in place.  I selected my text, click to Compile, say I want mobi, and do it.  A few seconds later–success!  I have a mobi file!  It was that simple.

With the mobi file in place I started Kindle Previewer, loaded by file, and–there it was!  My test book, all nice and . . . well, not exactly neat.  The ToC was a mess, but this was due to how I named things rather than something Scrivener did.  But things were in place, and the pages looked great . . .

That was when I noticed the page count:  1,452.  What?  What is his insanity?  It seemed that when the mobi file was created, all sorts of pages that I can’t see were created, and this led to this incredible page count, rather than the 72 pages which should have been.

Obviously, there is something I did when writing that brought about this issue.  That means more investigation and research, and more testing.  But when the time comes, I’ll have this book made.

Oh, yes, I will.