I finished reviewing my editors marks over the weekend and had come to the moment where I yell 'Geronimo!" and send my fledgling book off into the big world. Yeah. That didn't happen.
My writing software of choice is Scrivener. It can be as simple or as powerful as you want it to be when writing. The same is true when it comes to 'compiling' your written word into an ebook... mostly.
When it comes to filling in a form I'm the kind of person that will take three. Two to mess up because I didn't read the instructions and one to get right... again, mostly.
I'm publishing to sell on Amazon and they have their format for the Kindle. Scrivener will compile for their format, but you need a couple of Amazons programs on your computer, too. I thought I knew how to compile via Scrivener, but when I started looking at all the options I felt like I had climbed inside the mind of the Cheshire Cat.
Away to the internet! Anything I need to know I can find there. That's a philosophy as tried and true as the earth being flat, but I cling to it like a chronic gambler believing the next time will be the big win.
So, I searched for a tutorial about compiling via Scrivener. Surely, someone in this world had to have been befuddled by this and once unlocking its secrets they would have posted a video, a blog, something. Nothing. Something as simple as adding cover art was nowhere to be found. After a lot of trial and error I had pieced together enough to compile to ePub format and view on the Kindle preview program.
There it was. My book on a virtual Kindle. The hours of frustration melted away as giddy excitement flooded through me. I paged through the chapters grinning like an idiot. I was rounding the final corner and about to download it to Amazon when something funny caught my eye. Several of the pages had double question marks bracketing the dialogue. What the... ?
The ?? weren't in the original text, but they kept showing up in the Kindle version. Within a few minutes giddiness was kicked out the door as frustration pushed its way back in and settled down for a nice long visit. I spent the next hour trying everything I could think of, but no matter what I did the ?? kept showing up.
I turned to my mentor, my holographic Jor-EL in my internet fortress of solitude, i.e., online forums. I posted my dilemma on the Amazon writers forum and Scriveners forum. Lots of people were interested in reading my post, but nobody responded.
I can't believe this. I'm this close to publishing, this close (holding fingers a hairs breath apart), and I'm dead in the water. At this point my only hope is that someone smarter than me, just about everyone, will have the answer. The saga continues, my friends.