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Formatting Woes

For all of you out there that went through similar experiences...

First things first: I have a Mac. And I love love LOVE my Mac. But as of last week, I was ready to throw it out the window. Why, you may ask, would I get rid of a perfectly functioning $1000+ computer?

One word: formatting.

My manuscript, when I submitted it, did not convert properly to epub or mobi. Thus, I decided to take it upon myself to convert it. So I tried the usual online converters (Convertio was, by far, the quickest and simplest to use!).

And that was all fine and dandy, except when I got my new epub and went to open with the e-book reader Stanza, none of my italics/centered stayed. And let me put this out here: I have a 400+ Word pages manuscript for Avalon Dreams.

So, I went back to researching. A lot of places said to use the “nuclear” method. As I understand (and can explain it in my limited tech jargon) it’s when you copy/paste your entire novel into a notepad/text edit (if you have mac, which I do) to strip it from any styles/formatting. And then copy/paste back into word and start from scratch. And by start from scratch, I mean you add all your spaces, paragraphs, indents, fonts, etc.

On a 400+ manuscript? 8hrs of work. Easy, right? Nope.

Nonetheless, I did it. In fact, I did it 5 times. That’s how many times I tried to re-format the whole thing. And still with no luck – stanza would not display the italics or anything else. Neither did any other e-book reader.

I tried InDesign. That’s another one that came up in my readings. I gave up after 2hrs of jumping through hoops of trying to install it. My Mac uses operating software 10.6.8 and InDesign no longer works on that.

For those of you that InDesign install works for, you can read here about how to make sure italics show in your epub. It’s a fairly simple check.

Finally, finally, finally I found Calibre. Downloaded for free. It’s both an e-book reader and formatter. You can use it to edit your manuscript, also to convert files. This article explains more about Calibre’s tools and options.

For myself, I only used the converting option. So I added my manuscript in docx format, converted to epub, and then voila! And then came the nail-biting test… I used my 3 e-book readers on my Mac to open the epub, to verify if the italics showed… And… THEY DID!!

Yes, at that point, I did a happy dance and enjoyed some wine last night after this very long ordeal And the Mac was saved – no window throwing necessary.

Comments? Suggestions? Has anyone else had this issue?

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