Shot Through the Heart

Ok, I’m being dramatic, but humor me. I did a review exchange with another author who told me my book wasn’t displaying correctly on her Kindle. No big deal. Probably just a problem with older Kindle models, because I’ve checked other versions. So I went in to the epub file to look around, and noticed that none of my italics are in there. Ok, again, not a big deal. I started to add them, and then got to a scene change, and saw there was nothing in the file to denote a scene change. I loaded it up on my Kindle for PC . . . and no scene change!

How this happened was that the company who did my formatting had to provide both an epub for Kindle, and a pdf for the paperback. When I would go to upload the epub to Kindle, it loads a virtual Kindle viewer where I can scroll through, but it’s clunky and after checking the main stuff, like the start of the chapters, I accepted and published it. The pdf is easier to look through so I would check in depth there and assumed the epub was the same. Or more accurately, I didn’t really think about it. One big lesson learned here this: I found my formatter by asking my cover designer if they did formatting too, and they told me they were just starting to do that and haven’t even posted the prices yet. Red flag. Never be a guinea pig, folks.

One of my first reviewers complained that she couldn’t keep up with who the viewpoint character was and I assumed she was a moron. That definitely should have tipped me off but it didn’t. No one else said anything. I don’t know how readers could keep up when a scene changed or the viewpoint character changed within a chapter. You know, just something like the following to cue them in:


Some chapters jumped back and forth out of different characters’ heads, and readers must have thought I was being unclear rather than that my formatter didn’t bring those over to the ebook, or they would have told me about it.

I’ve done four ad promo campaigns and am planning to do two more, but most of the big ones I’ve used by now. By the way, I was eventually able to close some sales with Amazon AMS Ads when I figured out how to get Amazon to let me say “Number 1 in Christian Science Fiction March 12, 2020” or whatever in my ad copy. I still spent a lot more than I made on them, but it helped me sell a couple (incorrectly formatted) copies per day.

Big picture—it’s not a big deal. But it is a big deal to me. I’ve put my life into this and hate that I missed this and the book was confusing to the people who’ve read it. On the plus side, I have 39 reviews, which is more than I hoped I’d have at this point. I assume I would have more if the scene breaks were there, but minimally more I’m sure. Same with organic, word of mouth referrals. Not enough difference to change the trajectory of the book, but each starfish matters to me, if you know that hackneyed preacher illustration. However, the end goal is still the same. Score a BookBub promo, or win a contest, and try to use those resume points to get an agent/publisher interested. At least I found out about the error now rather than down the road.

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