I told you about the two emails that threw me curved balls last month. I sort of sorted one out and talked about it in another post a couple of weeks back. Now an update and a couple more issues to think about when you’ve published ebooks several years ago.

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This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:

 Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine

Smashwords – close one door, another opens

Last month I explained the first of the curved balls: one of my ebooks (published in 2017) had suddenly failed the technical requirements to be sold at Apple.

I do a relatively large amount of my sales at Apple, so fixing this was urgent. Urgent for me being a relative term depending on how much work is needed at the computer. I can only do a couple of hours before the combined problems of wrist, neck and hands say ‘NO MORE!’

However, doing things on my iPad is easier, because I can keep my head on the same plane for typing and checking the screen.

So, having found the last final version (finalv1.1s – s for smashwords), I opened it up and started looking at this technical problem with the Contents, which wasn’t building right. I found, weirdly, that the individual Contents listings, though marked as linked to something, said the bookmark didn’t exist. So I went looking for the bookmarks. And there they were. And I went back to the Contents and went through the linking process, and they all turned up in the menu to link to, all nicely formatted to avoid the problem the Apple had found (?), and relinked them all. And checked them all.

Then I converted to EPUB, which you can do on a Mac, and uploaded it to Smashwords.

It failed. Apparently the version of EPUB is not ‘professional’ enough to pass the criteria in their system. Note to self, see if there’s a Pages upgrade.

So I went back and converted it to a .doc, hoping that this was not what caused the Contents linking to fail last time. I uploaded it… and kept my fingers crossed.

It passed. It passed the next and the next checks too. It’ll now be in the queue to go through Apple’s own check, and I sincerely hope it passes. So far, so good (but they approved it before, so I’m keeping an eye on it.)


I’ll just read it while I’ve got it open

Yes, I couldn’t resist reading it. And I found two editing errors. On one I had typed ‘althought it’ instead of ‘although it’. The second was obviously where I had replaced three words with a different three words (possibly to avoid a passive sentence) and all six were still there. I sighed a couple of times, and since it was way past bedtime already, I went to sleep.

Next day, I went to find these errors and correct them. Could I find them? No. I tried all sorts of search methods, and by four pm decided to just read the whole thing again. I was starting to think I’d done all sorts of things out of sequence in there because I’d already read it a few times in the last 24 hours. But no… and I couldnt find these errors I’d spotted the first time around, either.

Was it imagination? I don’t know. I’ll probably see them straight away next time I see the right pages. But at least I don’t feel duty bound to reload yet another copy for the checking process.

Smashwords to Draft2Digital

In the process of doing this, more curved balls bounced around when I noticed a banner saying that author-publishers would be receiving an email about their plan for transferring from Smashwords to Draft2Digital on February 16. If I didn’t hear from them by email, it meant my account had some complications that needed some extra work and they’d be in touch later.

Ho hum. What complications can I see? Straight in front of me I could see my Ghost Authors (the names of the authors of my dad’s memoirs). Surely that’ll be okay. I don’t want to take that off Apple. Ah… and then we have the two multi-author volumes of short stories we did in 2013-15. I edited those. I wonder if that’s the problem, since those authors listed have Smashwords accounts too.

So I’ve been in touch with most of them (a couple of emails bounced, so if you didn’t hear from me and you should have done, please contact me!). The general agreement is that we drop the titles from Smashwords, and that may clear up the transfers.

But I am wondering how much work it is going to mean, to clean up the titles once they are on Draft2Digital, and sort out any promo codes I have in my series that no longer work. Including the ones for selling ebook gift cards at the Craft Fairs. Sigh.

Craft and Gift Fairs for 2024

At Romsey on Saturday – a good day!

Yes, the Craft and Gift Fairs have started again, and I was at Romsey last Saturday. I’m basically just doing Romsey, Lyndhurst and Lymington on a roughly two week rota, although I’m still pondering the Salisbury weekend in July. I enjoy them, and that’s the main thing.

Question of the Month

How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?

IWSG May24

Generally speaking, no. I often finish the sentence and get up to deal with whatever has disturbed me. If it’s a phone, it can ring. Doorbell – depends whether I’m expecting something. We have local elections tomorrow, so we have had irritating people like ‘I’m your local candidate’ coming to the door – and that’s generally as far as they get before I’ve waved them goodbye and shut the door on them. As if the wasted paper to recycle wasn’t enough…

On the other hand, if the guinea pigs start kicking up a racket, it means I’m late with their treats. It’s good to have someone keeping track of time and making sure you take your breaks from the keyboard!

PS I reviewed the IWSG Anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost last Saturday – see it here.

Curved balls part 3 | #IWSG
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18 thoughts on “Curved balls part 3 | #IWSG

  • 1 May, 2024 at 11:41 am

    If anybody knocks at our door – rather than call Hi and walk in, it’s usally after dark, they’re lost, need to be nearly forty miles away. .
    No candidates. Not even a single election flyer. Poll cards, weeks ago, Since then, silence. Can they all be so sure of our vote ?

  • 1 May, 2024 at 1:13 pm

    Its sounds like fixing your problems with Apple and Smashwords is complicated. I’m not sure I’d know how to tackle it like you are. I’m impressed.

    • 1 May, 2024 at 1:37 pm

      Both have been very helpful, with instructions and explanations. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’ll work!

  • 1 May, 2024 at 1:47 pm

    Glad you figured out the issue. Funny the file had been fine all these years before they found an issue.

    • 1 May, 2024 at 3:30 pm

      Yes. I’m wondering whether the linkages had never been right, and somebody pointed this out to them (maybe I should check the kindle version too) or whether a change in some software somewhere caused the glitch. But why just this one?

  • 1 May, 2024 at 3:08 pm

    Happy IWSG Day!
    Glad you were able to figure out the issues and hope they continue to pass the check points. I too enjoyed the Voyagers collection.

  • 1 May, 2024 at 3:29 pm

    Now I’m starting to worry about my own transfer to D2D! Just realized that I think I have one book that lists 2 authors. And I haven’t gotten any emails beyond the “this is coming” ones. Haven’t logged in to my account all month.

    BTW, ToC is weird. I get a message on KDP about one of my books not having one, but when I test it (either as a download or on the digital preview, there it is, working perfectly. Amazon doesn’t really care, so they don’t block publication over it, but it’s annoying to be told there’s a problem where there isn’t.

    • 1 May, 2024 at 3:34 pm

      Part of it is which way you compile the TOC. I use the Smashwords way with manual hyperlinks to bookmarks. The more automated versions tend to go awol.

  • 1 May, 2024 at 3:36 pm

    I am so digitally impaired that I am in awe of what you have been able to do!

  • 1 May, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    You’re amazing, Jemima! I would have been flummoxed and in tears. I have Apple’s customer support number close by, and I call them a lot. They’re so patient and helpful. I enjoyed your review of “Voyagers.” May you have far fewer technical challenges this month!

    • 1 May, 2024 at 7:41 pm

      Well, it did take me three weeks to gird myself up to open up the file and see what the damage was!

    • 2 May, 2024 at 1:13 pm

      As headaches go, it’s not that bad really. It’s just uploading a new version. All the links are still the same. The move to Draft2Digital will mean a new set of links, but the old ones will still work for a couple of years. And maybe I’ll get those descriptions rewritten!

  • 3 May, 2024 at 10:59 pm

    I don’t know anything about Smashwords or Apple. At least you are learning along the way. You are braver than I am. Curveballs. Headaches. Sounds like self-publishing is a very scary business. I am terrified. Thanks for sharing this with your followers.


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