Ok, so this whole e-pub file creation has been a massive learning experience.
In fact, the Ingram Spark file submission experience has been ‘tough love’ in some ways. But not in a bad way. I think they assume that users know roughly what they’re doing – and I guess that’s the risk a self-publisher takes when not paying large amounts to other self-publishing providers to do the work for them. So not knowing what I’m doing.. I learnt the hard way!
Yesterday I thought I’d finished. I’d created an e-pub file in Sigil, and then checked it and converted it in Calibre to make sure it presented well in loads of different formats (Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc).
All good to go, I uploaded the four files I’d need: a .pdf of the manuscript, .pdf of the book cover, .pdf of the ebook cover and e-pub file.
Once I got through the file submission/ creation (and inputting all of the metadata – a fun game of ‘what is my book’), I uploaded the files and was really excited. I mean really excited. As the files were being uploaded, I was about to text my wife to say “Its happening, I’m uploading the files” when the unthinkable occurred… the Ingram Spark file checker showed errors… I was heartbroken!
Anyway, I’d not come this far to be put off so easily.
Basically there were two errors; one with the physical book cover file and one with the e-pub. Well, dozens with the e-pub, but I’ll get to that later.
The problem with the book cover was that the file was (basically) too good. It needs to be saved in a different and lower quality format to be accepted. I was disappointed, especially as John had done such an awesome job of the cover. I’ve asked him if anything can be done to have a lower-quality file but still retain it’s awesomeness. I will get back to you on that one…
The e-pub had dozens of errors, and I mean dozens…. and it was all complete gibberish to me. Luckily, our good friend and mentor ‘Google’ helped. By searching on the errors, I was able to learn enough about the code that I needed to change in order to fix the e-pub file.
Unfortunately, it meant that all of the excellent formatting and readability I’d created may have been lost – but I hope not. I’ve checked the file again and again since – and I have to keep reminding myself that the reader (on their reading device) really controls how the file looks, not what I’m submitting. After all (as I’ve been telling myself all along), it’s the story that’s important…!
Anyways, I’ll have another crack at uploading this weekend.