Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guest Blog Thursday with Valley Brown

Never Assume Anything
Valley Brown

This well-worn axiom should be displayed where you can see it daily.  Assumptions get you in trouble.

I made such an assumption when attempting to convert a trusted file to EPUB format for the first time.  The reasoning behind the assumption was that the file formats shared enough data to give a product that might need minimal tweaking.  That was almost the case.  Almost.

My book’s layout was all done in InDesign® CS5, and saved for the printer as a PDF file, which is what had been requested. The same PDF file was used for a successful conversion to a Kindle® eBook file.  Unfortunately, the trusty PDF was not acceptable for conversion to a Nook® eBook file. That first required conversion to an EPUB file, which could then be uploaded for the account with Barnes & Noble.  Supposedly, my program was capable of performing this task.

No. Neither easily nor quickly if the user is without significant knowledge of HTML (which I do not have, nor do I anticipate acquiring in this lifetime).  I tried Calibre®.  It took the PDF and converted it to EPUB in what seemed to be a quick and painless process.  Not quite.  All instances of italics were lost.  Many of the indents disappeared, too, as did page breaks between all the introductory pages preceding the Prologue.  I had no simple way to correct any of that, short of going to my original text files and creating a completely new layout strictly for EPUB.  The cover, which I imported as the same file used for web and eBook, was likewise problematic. It looked okay on an eReader-sized screen, but stretched horrendously when enlarged to PC size.

The project, weeks behind schedule given the amount of time I could personally devote to it, is going to be handed over to someone experienced at converting files to this particular format.  It will cost me a few bucks, to be certain, but it will pay for itself.  The loss of time, on the other hand, is something I have to eat, and believe me; it is not on my list of favorite foods.  A little more research might have kept me from making that initial assumption.  It would have delayed things a tiny bit up front, but spared me a load of frustration afterward.  Never assume anything.

About Valley Brown
Valley Brown is a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as numerous arts organizations, has won awards for poetry and short fiction, and writes articles for niche magazines. She lives in Southern Indiana. To learn more about Valley visit her site at

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