Ebook Reformatting: Game of Sails, Take Two

As most of you know, I published Game of Sails in July 2011 as an ebook. I carefully created the Word document specified in the Smashwords publishing guide, reviewed the book on my computer and iPhone, posted it on Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble—and thought I was done. I looked forward to moving on to the next project, and spent the fall researching new topics and locations.Game of Sails: An Olympic Love Story

Meanwhile, I kept up with the comments and reviews on a variety of sites. None said anything about formatting issues, so it wasn’t until I became a Kindle Touch owner in November that I realized the book had a major flaw: several of the paragraphs were indented too much. Worse yet, those paragraphs didn’t have an extra indent for the first line, which made it really difficult to see where a new paragraph began. How distracting!

Obviously I’d have to reformat the file. So while I was at it, I decided I’d go through another text edit. I also decided (you heard it here first) to change the perspective back to third person for two of the characters.

Many reviewers said they were confused by reading different perspectives in first person. One said “I found myself having to consciously think about who was speaking.” That sounded like a distraction that was best avoided.

So just before Christmas, I took a deep breath… and began editing. Find/replace took care of the most obvious changes (“I” to “she,” “me” to “him”), but there was no escaping the need for a careful look through to catch more subtle errors. What sounds perfectly fine in first person often sounds awkward in third person, which led to some rewording.

Along the way I also corrected a few typos and eliminated some unnecessary fluff that had previously escaped the editor’s red pen. And even though it took me much longer than I’d planned, the result is an even better book.

As an added bonus, I’ve also included a sampling of Oliver’s Surprise at the end of the new version. The original had a link to an online excerpt, but now even those of us who like to stay in the “moment” can enjoy a taste of Oliver’s world.

As for the formatting, that’s improved too—thanks to writer and game designer Guido Henkel. A prime example of the incredible online support community available to indie authors, Guido took the time to put together a step by step guide called “Take Pride in your Ebook Formatting.” Formatting errors are very common with ebooks (from major publishers as well as indies); with so many different ereaders on the market, it’s very important to produce a file that will format consistently across all platforms.

I’m still wondering how Guido found the time to write such a great guide while also writing a series about Jason Dark, Ghost Hunter, AND responding so promptly to all his comments. But I (like so many of his commenters) very much appreciate the time he saved me with his excellent information.

So I’m ringing in 2012 with a second edition of Game of Sails, which should be available by January 7 “wherever ebooks are sold.” And while I doubt the first edition will ever become a collector’s item, I’m going to save it anyway… because as fast as this world is changing, you never know.

2 Replies to “Ebook Reformatting: Game of Sails, Take Two”

  1. Thank you so much for the shout-out, Carol. I am really glad the tutorial – and some of the more recent blog posts that touch upon the subject of eBook formatting also – has been helpful to you. Best of luck with the book. 🙂

    1. Guido, thanks for the note. I wrote this blog a few years ago but just had to republish due to a database crash. Glad to see it made its way to you and that you’re still blogging!

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