Flunking the Test

O book coding, how I hate thee. Let me count the ways.

I currently have four books out under the Blackmore name, available at B&N an Amazon. I decided I might as well try to get them out to a bigger market (iBooks, Kobo, etc) and thus began checking out my options with Smashwords. The last time I looked at Smashwords, you had to run a Word file through their Meatgrinder, which seemed hit or miss as far as what sort of product it generated. Now, despite my ineptitude I’ve managed to generate nicely formatted EPUB and MOBI books, so using Mr. Grinder was out. I’ve recently discovered that Smashwords now allows you to upload a validated EPUB file, which is awesome.

Which brings me to my problem.

Three of my books have been uploaded (or re-uploaded as updates) to my two primary vendors recently. The last has been untouched since 2011, aside from a cover change. I ran all four through the Sigil validator and the Epub checker linked on the SW site. Two cropped up completely clean. Two had some weird error that multiple Google searches could not quite identify, though it obviously sprang out of the Calibre conversion process (I cleverly deduced this by the “calibre” that popped up in the coding).

In the words of Vibeke, “Shit.”

The books all look fine when viewed through Nooks and Kindles — they’ve been tested on multiple devices. But the manuscript coding needs to check out clean if I want them available on these other platforms…which means I need to figure out what this error is and why it insists on sullying my books.

I did notice one variable. The two clean books are Grave New World and Starfall. Both were experiments for me in that I used Scrivener for them. Grave needed a lot of cosmetic changes, and I ended up making a new Scrivener file for it so I could revise in something besides Sigil. Starfall was written entirely in Scrivener. In both cases, I saved them as ebooks and then opened them up in Sigil for final tweaks, before buzzing them through Calibre for the last formatting.

…it looks kind of complicated when I write it out that way.

Anyway, there’s probably easier methods of getting my books to look decent, but Scrivener-Sigil-Calibre worked out well for GNW and Starfall, and they both pass the check, so I guess I did something right. Provided I’m working with a completed manuscript and can keep myself from tinkering (oh, the tinkering!) with it, the entire process might take five minutes.

Except I have four books to my name, not two. Death and Biker Gangs and Echoes both threw errors when I ran them through the validators. Echoes, as stated, has been left alone since 2011. I did revise DBG, but the changes it needed were fairly minor and I made them directly to the Sigil file.


You can see now why I didn’t go into coding or programming or anything exciting like that.

Since the two clean files have Scrivener in common, I guess I’ll just run an experiment on DBG and see if that solves things. I’ll C&P the files into Scrivener and do whatever it is I did with the other two files to see if that cleans it up.

So scientific, right?

But I will do that later, because at the moment I have actual writing to crank out.

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