Computers Will Be The Death Of Me

House Party

It’s Saturday morning in Lost Wages, and I’m cautiously optimistic about the wide release of House Party 2 on SmashWords et al. HP2 was previously released on Amazon. So the expansion to SmashWords is pretty straightforward, but there have been a couple of potholes in the road.

Now that I’ve switched to Scrivener on my PCs and Macs, the process of assembling a final copy to submit to the designated publisher is several steps easier. For me, the benefit of Scrivener is that, for the first time, I can create a file for multiple publishers in one project.

A typical book consists of the following parts:
Front Matter: The cover, title page, copyright notice, and table of contents.
Body: The actual story itself.
Back Matter: Ads, links to the author’s website, other award-winning stories, and about the author.

With Scrivener, a story or project is broken up into the three subparts described above. The neat thing comes in when you assemble or compile your final output to submit to Amazon, SmashWords, or whomever.

The body or actual story is the same, but by selecting the appropriate front and back matter, Scrivener compiles the three parts into the final submittal document with the appropriate links and verbiage for the publishing house.

All of the story files are inside of an automatically created folder. This means that you don’t have to try and remember which parts go where and all related files are grouped together. If you’re anal like me, it’s easy to zip the folder and create archival copies of the story.

The part I haven’t fully automated is the generation of the Table of Contents (TOC) and the bookmarks and links. This was my downfall last weekend when I submitted HP2 for prerelease. I got a notice from SmashWords that my initial submittal was approved with no errors. To get your story through SmashWords meatgrinder in one try was unusual.

“Fat, dumb, and happy,” I was, or so I thought.

Midweek, I received an Aw Shit missive from SmashWords that all the links in the TOC didn’t work! Pulling up the downloaded ePub file generated by SmashWords, I could see that the last three links didn’t show as active.

Checking the submittal file indicated that the links were there and worked? The file passed ePubCheck with no problems but was somehow corrupted during publication. It took like five or six tries to get the links to work. I didn’t change anything but kept reapplying the bookmarks and links until it worked!

As best I could tell, I didn’t change anything? But, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

The Perfect Wife

My transition to HP file servers is still ongoing. I’m pretty much on the new computers but still, have the old ones under my desk. I’ll occasionally run across something that I have to fire up one of the computers, but everything is looking good so far.

My next book, The Perfect Wife, is nearing completion and will allow me the opportunity to see if 128 gigabytes of RAM solve the problem I was experiencing with my old 32 Gb machine. This is my current cover as I decided to ditch the old one out of fear that Amazon’s nuns with rulers would pay me a visit.

About LarryArcher

Larry Archer's the name, smut's my game. I am a writer of erotic literature that's generally always HEA (Happily Ever After), which typically involves no regrets sex. I write in a humorous style with a plot and suitable for reading with one hand. My stories are full of sexual situations that are often taken straight from our swinger lifestyle in Las Vegas. If you want to enjoy erotica, where every page is dripping with action, give me a try.
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9 Responses to Computers Will Be The Death Of Me

  1. kdaddy23 says:

    I’m sitting here reading this and laughing my ass off. I remember the first time I converted a story I wrote from Word to epub and how things got broken because the links to the TOC got corrupted while initially appearing to be okay… well, until I opened the file in an epub reader… and got another lesson in how the standards for epubs differ slightly from one reader to another and how, say, Kindle’s file format is seriously different.

    Yeah… better you than me, home slice. I did a… dumb thing. Took all of the stories I’d written and attempted to create an omnibus; setting them all up for this – and while preserving the original documents – was a motherfucker and a half all by itself but, okay, it converted to epub just fine… until I looked at it and what the fuck happened? TOC links broken. Page breaks missing or in the wrong place because of differences in pagination and even some coding differences in what was a soft return and what was a hard one and other such stuff.

    There’s knowing this stuff and I do know it… then there’s fixing this stuff… and let’s not and say I fixed it, okay? New and better programs to do this… and I’m still on the fence about wanting to get to publishing as you and so many others are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LarryArcher says:

      Misery loves company, kDaddy. We need you to join us and wallow in the slop to get dirty!
      It reminds me of a saying we have down-home. As the monkey screwing the skunk said, “I’ve enjoyed about as much of this as I can stand!”

      What’s life without adversity. You can whip out these daily long posts without effort, so why don’t you join us? Indeed, you are intelligent enough to write dirty stories.

      It is getting better, and while links are typically my nemesis, I know that sooner or later, I’ll figure out why they break.


  2. Hey, Larry,

    I actually like the new cover better. It’s more erotic and enticing. (After all, two gorgeous women are always better than one…!)

    I’ve have a few problems with Smashwords converting my epub in the past… almost always related to TOC. In the process of trying to fix them, I discovered something interesting. An epub document is simply a ZIP file of HTML and XML documents. So you can rename it, unzip it, and look in detail at the areas referenced by the cryptic epubcheck messages.

    When I started writing and publishing, I never realized how useful it would be to have geekish tendencies!

    Good luck with going wide!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LarryArcher says:

      Lisabet, thanks for that reminder. I’d forgotten about an ePub being a zip file. Luckily, SmashWords allows you to download previous output files and i’ll see if I can figure out why it didn’t work. Hopefully, I’ll be able to understand it!


  3. Mark K says:

    I feel your pain Larry.

    Had a similar issue with a PDF conversion of a Word document for work.

    I’ve been using Word for 35+ years, so know more about it than your average bear, but this one took me a bit to figure out.

    I use Heading styles and the caption tool to simplify the TOC and cross references.

    When I looked at the Word document with the “find” tool bar active, I saw all my headings looking just fine.

    When I made the PDF, there were extra headings in the bookmarks listing in Acrobat. Normally there’s a 1 to 1 match between the two.

    The problem was caused by comments and track changes in the Word document, that I had hid to make proofing easier.

    When I accepted all changes and deleted the comments, the problem was solved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LarryArcher says:

      Unzipping the problem ePub showed that the final four Heading 1 Styles didn’t convert to a link and were absent from the .ncx file. I kept repeating the add bookmark and letting SmashWords recompile it. It took several times until the links were finally generated. Now, I can see what went wrong but don’t know why. As a guess, with Scrivener, I have three parts to a story: front matter, body, and back matter. Scrivener’s compiler appends the sections into one .DOC file and that may be the problem. As the link issue occurred in the final section, maybe there are a few bytes missing or extra at that point which makes SmashWords think it’s the EOF?

      Now that I’ve been reminded of the ePub format, the next time this happens, I’ll review the output of the ePub file. Before I’d started using Scrivener, I was contemplating writing a program that would join the various .DOC files into one but since that’s one of the things Scrivener does, I just went with the program.


      • Mark K says:

        When I used subdocuments with Word back in the day, I would sometimes get similar quirks.

        As I recall, the full path statement for any given subdocument was typically the source of the issue, especially if one had to link to anywhere other than the current folder or a subfolder to the master document location.

        Not sure if scrivener works the same, or how your file structure is setup.

        One other thing to check is what is the full path statement length for any tidbit, plus whatever “filename” scrivener assigns to that bit.

        in Windows, you’re limited to a 256 total character length. That bit me in the ass as well before.

        Not sure what the character limit is on a Mac.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. LarryArcher says:

    It’s not a subdocument. Scrivener puts the parts together and exports a single doc file. Opening the file in Word gives the impression that it’s one contiguous file but now that I understand why they kicked the file I submitted, I’ll check the next one closer. Thanks for the comment.


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