All self-published authors will know that a finished manuscript can’t be published until it’s been formatted. Simple, says the layperson, it’s the 21st Century. What could possibly go wrong?
Quite a lot. Especially if you use Smashwords and its notorious ‘meatgrinder’ that autoformats your document until it won’t work on anything. There are authors, including me, who have given up on Smashwords because of the sheer impossibility of getting work through the meatgrinder.
But there’s another problem that formatting vomits up when you have more than one book published. When a new title comes out all the other books have to be updated and in my case that’s six books to deal with.
The Fine Art of Necromancy must now be added to the list of ‘other titles by C Harrison’ and all the inevitable epub formatting wobblies. At the back of each book TFAoN’s blurb must be added to the five previous novels to complete the series to date.
It’s putting me off. I looked online to see how much it costs to have someone else do it. Hundreds. Normally I’d knuckle down and devote a day to getting it all done. A day that will inevitably be distracted by the internet not working properly, items of curiosity discovered on Youtube (which isn’t working properly at the moment), procrastination, shilly-shallying and suchlike.
I’m also distracted by the songwriting project, the design of a new clothing line based on characters from the TotenUniverse, and the possibility of my stepping into the world of Instagram. A list of tasks to go with a myriad of other long-abandoned tasks. (Remember geocaching?)
Some would say the formatting only needs to be done once a year, or at least when a new book comes out, but they would say that. They don’t have to do it. They don’t have to deal with .doc files containing hidden booby traps that manifest when converted to xml; OpenOffice files that have hidden inconsistencies, especially where bits of the document have been cut and pasted from other devices.
And then when you finally sort it all out and publish the book, four months later someone discovers a spelling mistake…