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A fix for formatting problems with Amazon’s Look Inside function

Today’s helpful hint is for any self-pubbing author who’s had problems with the “Look Inside” function in Amazon completely screwing up your formatting and possibly losing you sales. You see, I checked out Lady of Thorns yesterday and scared the cats with my screaming when I discovered that the preview’s formatting was completely fouled up. I proceeded to check all the rest of my self-pubbed books and discovered the same freaking problem with ALL OF THEM.

After calming down and doing some research, I learned that the Look Inside function interprets HTML very literally and doesn’t always seem to recognize CSS (nobody knows why), which can result in a screwed-up preview even if the actual ebook looks fine.

But there is a way to fix this on your own! Unfortunately Scrivener won’t let me look at an ebook’s HTML so I downloaded Calibre, which will allow you to edit the ebook’s HTML. I added Lady of Thorns in EPUB format to Calibre’s library, then right clicked on it and selected “Edit Book”. That opened up an editing app with a list of all the text pages in the book and their individual CSS style sheets. Ignore the style sheets and focus on the text pages that appear in the Look Inside function (note: a page will be called something like bodyx.xhtml instead of the page name, so just start at the top of the list and open pages until you find the ones you want). Double-click on a page to open it in the HTML editor.

A brief explanation of HTML code: the following code <p>text here</p> indicates that all the text between <p> and </p> (in this case, “text here”) should form a single paragraph. Now look at your page’s HTML code. If a paragraph is primarily something like <p> class=”p1″><br></p>, it’s just a space between paragraphs. Ignore it. But if a paragraph contains text that is screwed up in the preview, replace the paragraph’s <p class=”X”> code (just this first part — you can leave the </p> part alone) with the following:

BODY TEXT

Regular body text to be centered with no indentation: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; text-indent: 0.0px; font-size: 100%”>

Example:

Cautiously, Kel lowered his hand and opened one eye, then the other. Then blinked. Then drooled just the tiniest bit. Because in front of him stood a tall, muscular, absolutely freaking gorgeous man with caramel skin and the abs of a porn star, wearing a linen kirtle and one of the most spectacular scapulars Kel had ever seen.

Regular body text to be left-aligned with no indentation: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: left; text-indent: 0.0px; font-size: 100%”>

Example:

Cautiously, Kel lowered his hand and opened one eye, then the other. Then blinked. Then drooled just the tiniest bit. Because in front of him stood a tall, muscular, absolutely freaking gorgeous man with caramel skin and the abs of a porn star, wearing a linen kirtle and one of the most spectacular scapulars Kel had ever seen.

Regular body text to be left-aligned with a first line indentation: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: left; text-indent: 1.5em; font-size: 100%”>

Example:

     Cautiously, Kel lowered his hand and opened one eye, then the other. Then blinked. Then drooled just the tiniest bit. Because in front of him stood a tall, muscular, absolutely freaking gorgeous man with caramel skin and the abs of a porn star, wearing a linen kirtle and one of the most spectacular scapulars Kel had ever seen.

Regular body text to be justified with no indentation: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; text-indent: 0.0px; font-size: 100%”>

Example:

Cautiously, Kel lowered his hand and opened one eye, then the other. Then blinked. Then drooled just the tiniest bit. Because in front of him stood a tall, muscular, absolutely freaking gorgeous man with caramel skin and the abs of a porn star, wearing a linen kirtle and one of the most spectacular scapulars Kel had ever seen.

Regular body text to be justified with a first line indentation: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; text-indent: 1.5em; font-size: 100%”>

Example:

     Cautiously, Kel lowered his hand and opened one eye, then the other. Then blinked. Then drooled just the tiniest bit. Because in front of him stood a tall, muscular, absolutely freaking gorgeous man with caramel skin and the abs of a porn star, wearing a linen kirtle and one of the most spectacular scapulars Kel had ever seen.

HEADERS

Depending on which app you used to create your ebook, your headers (the larger size text used for chapter or page names) will either be indicated with <h1>text</h1> or with <p>text</p>. The following are meant to be used with <p>text</p> headers. To use them with a <h1>text</h1> header, replace the p with h1.

 

If you want to center a header: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; text-indent: 0.0px; font-size: 133%”>

Example:

KEL MAKES A MISTAKE

If you want to left-align a header: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: left; text-indent: 0.0px; font-size: 133%”>

Example:

KEL MAKES A MISTAKE

If you want to right-align a header: <p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: right; text-indent: 0.0px; font-size: 133%”>

Example:

KEL MAKES A MISTAKE

Note: you don’t have to do this to the entire book, just the pages that show up in the preview. This is usually your front matter (Table of Contents, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Acknowlegements) and part of your first chapter. Save your edits and upload the revised ebook file to Amazon. Et voila — the actual ebook looks the same, but now “Look Inside” recognizes the HTML and generates a properly formatted preview.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Depending on when you upload your corrected ebook file, you may not see the changes immediately in Look Inside. Don’t panic! I fixed Lady of Thorns and uploaded it on Wednesday evening, and by Thursday everything on Look Inside was fine. I then did the rest to my other books on Thursday, uploaded them … and on Friday morning they all still had jacked up Look Inside previews. When I contacted Amazon about this, they said that it takes seven days for new/updated book files to appear on Look Inside and to wait a week then check again. Since the preview for Lady of Thorns was fine by Thursday morning, I translated this to mean, “We usually run a batch process every Wednesday night. Check Thursday morning and all your previews should look fine.” In any case, if your preview formatting issues haven’t gone away after you’ve uploaded the corrected file, wait a week, then check again.

And if this makes you want to cry because you don’t DO HTML, dammit, ping me and I’ll help you out.

A Slight More Balanced Thought About Piracy

Empress-of-storms-CustomDesign-JayAheer2015-smallpreview*takes deep breath, lets it out through nose*

So yesterday I launched a rant about a certain site that was promoting illegal downloads of Empress of Storms. Pretty much everyone who read it and left a comment on social media sympathized with me, reassured me that a lot of pirate sites exist to get credit card information and thus karma would visit those who didn’t know how to use a library, and generally tried to make me feel better.

I appreciate them all. And I should admit that part of my rage was brought on by the fact that Ramón was laid off on October 31 and we are both scrambling for work and trying to figure out how we’ll be paying the December mortgage (Christmas isn’t even an option this year. Paying bills comes first). But the karma bit stuck in my head. See, I used to have a blog waaaaay back in 2001, long before WordPress or Blogger or even LiveJournal were on the scene. Had to hand-code each entry, change the previous entry so that it linked to the new one, and create/update the archive pages. You kids don’t know how lucky you are, with your social media crosslinking and your SEO tags. Now get off my lawn.

Anyhoo, since I knew that big block of uninterrupted text tended to turn readers off I had a habit of trolling the net for appropriate images, downloading them, and using them in my blog entries. I did not buy these. Back then, you didn’t even think twice about it. You found a picture on the net and you just used it. There was no question about reimbursing the artist who took the photograph or created the artwork. If it was on the net, it was free for use, QED.

So, if I am brutally honest with myself this may be karma doing a little bitchslapping of its own for using creative material that I didn’t pay for. And now that my blood pressure has settled, I do have to admit that having 612 downloads and 41 four- and five-star reviews is actually kind of flattering. At least 612 people liked my story enough to grab it from a torrent site and read it. 41 of them liked it enough to leave good reviews.

(I still wish they’d left those reviews on Amazon, but whatever.)

Seriously, though, if you can’t afford a copy and will frigging explode if you can’t read about Matthias and Danaë, don’t go through a torrent site. Email me and I will send you a copy for free. All I ask is that you leave a honest review somewhere, ideally Amazon but I’ll take Goodreads/B&N/iBooks/whatever. That way, karma blesses us both.

A rant about ebook piracy wherein I channel my inner Lewis Black

Book with pirates flag(ATTENTION: There will be a great deal of profanity in this post. You have been warned.)

Well, fuck me. I did my usual check for reviews this morning and stumbled across a pirate site called readpremiumbooks dot com that has Empress of Storms.

612 downloads. Allow me to repeat that — SIX HUNDRED AND TWELVE DOWNLOADS. And that’s just from this one site. That’s $1,709.32 that I lost, assuming that people would have bought it through Amazon. That would’ve been enough to pay our bills this month and have cash left over for Christmas presents (and things are really goddamned tight around Castle Cameron right now).

And you wonder why I despise pirates. Not all of us are bestselling authors who can blow off piracy as a left-handed form of promotion. For some of us that income means paying the bills, or the mortgage, or picking up necessary medicine. But apparently people think I don’t need that money — hey, I’m a writer, I must be rolling in it, I won’t notice one pirated copy.

Surprise, motherfucker. I notice. So do my creditors. And I can’t even send these RPE fuckers a DMCA takedown because they advertise themselves as an “external affiliate” who cannot guarantee the presence of a particular file because they draw from third-party sites.

But losing income actually isn’t the most irritating thing about this. Want to know what’s really chapping my ‘nads? EoS has 41 fucking reviews on this site, all of which appear to be five stars. I can’t get people to leave me reviews on Amazon, but pirate sites? No problem. Goddamn it, I offered the book FOR FREE if people would just leave an honest review in return. Not one nibble did I get. But they’ll go to a pirate site that could be loading their ereaders with Cthulhu knows what sort of malware to get reading material AND LEAVE REVIEWS THERE.

And people wonder why I drink.

Want a free copy of Empress of Storms? #ebooks #kindle #romance #fantasy

Empress-of-storms-CustomDesign-JayAheer2015-smallpreviewNow that I’m back from my vacation and am tanned, rested, and ready, it is time to get serious about reviews for Empress of Storms. If you bought a copy, I adore you to pieces and ask you to pretty please leave a review somewhere — Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, whatever. It’s all good.

If you can’t buy a copy, man, I totally understand. Times are tight, the holidays are coming up, and your money needs to go elsewhere. So here’s the deal — email me at nicolacameronwrites.com and tell me what your preferred ebook format is, and I will send you a copy of Empress of Storms.

In return, I ask that you leave a review for me at one of the places listed above. If you’re a blogger, I ask that you post the review on your site. Empress is getting some really good reviews, but I need more to promote the book. The more copies I sell, the more likely I am to write a sequel. Or heck, start a new series. There’s always room for a new series, right?

(I can hear my Muse cackling into her mojito in the background.)

So if you’re willing to get a free ebook in exchange for reviews, let me know. And as Bartles and Jaymes were wont to say, I thank you for your support.

Wicked Wednesday Reads: Stirring Up Dirty (Stirred by Love Book 1)

Oh, look — it’s Wednesday, which means you need a little something extra to help you over Hump Day. Never fear, for today I’m here with Kacey Hammell’s sexy new erotic romance Stirring Up Dirty (Stirred by Love Book 1), now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of erotic romance. Take it away, Kacey!

Thank you so much for sharing my new release with your readers! I hope everyone enjoys the story. It was a lot of fun to write and I loved revisiting a couple who I hadn’t spent time with in a long time.

And to top off the new release!…Get DARE (where readers first met Candy!) for only $0.99 ~ At Evernight Publishing, Amazon stores, and All Romance Ebooks.

dare-sud


stirringupdirty1mCandy Wilson arrives in St. Albert with one mission—to sign the next young, hot model to her modeling agency. She has no time for distractions and isn’t prepared for bartender Eric McKenna—the brother of her young client-to-be, Melissa. Eric challenges her on all counts, irritates her daily, and heats her body to boiling temperatures with just one touch. He’s hard to ignore and impossible to resist.

Eric McKenna will be damned if his baby sister signs any contracts with Candy Wilson. No way in hell will he allow anyone to whisk Melissa off to a foreign country and lead her on a path that’s not right for her. And yet Candy pushes him further than he’s ever been before and drives him crazy. Eric can’t control his need for her or the desire to engage with her … on so many levels.

Story Excerpt

“Hey there. It’s Eric, right?”

He stalled and pivoted. Behind him was the one person he didn’t need to see right now. Melissa had talked about her enough that he knew all he needed to about her. And some shit he hadn’t cared to.

“Ms. Wilson. Hope you’re enjoying our little town here.”

She leaned against the wall of Abe’s Diner. “Little? This place is huge. I did enjoy some shopping this morning. The market a couple blocks over has some of the nicest things. I spent way more than I should.”

He bet she did. From what she’d shown at the bar yesterday, she had more money than she really knew what to do with. In his opinion, she’d earned it all by letting it all hang out in fashion magazines for the world to see. Wearing skimpy outfits and bathing suits, which to him was too much to be taken seriously. She had the looks for sure, but he questioned her morals.

“Well, I have to get back to the bar. Nice seeing you.”

“Oh, you couldn’t spare a few minutes to have coffee with me? There are a few things I’d love to talk to you about.” She sidled closer to him, a smile lighting her face, her eyes twinkling like stars in the evening sky.

He bet she was used to getting her way all the time.

She brushed a hand over his bicep. “Just a quick coffee, and maybe a bite to eat?”

The heat from her palm rushed through him. His fingers tingled and the urge to feel her warmth around him caught him off guard. He took a step back and shook his head. Damn her for getting to him. He needed to steer clear. She would do anything to take his sister away from here, even use her wiles to do it; he’d seen her flirting with Drew yesterday.

“Sorry, I don’t have time to entertain you. You’ll have to find someone else to keep you occupied, Ms. Wilson. Have a good day.”

Eric turned and strode away. He needed to keep a watchful eye on his sister and find a way to dig himself out of the hole he was in.

Neither would be easy, though.

Not with the distraction of Candy Wilson around to battle with.

Where to Buy

Evernight Publishing
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks
Bookstrand

About Kacey Hammell

Avid Reader. Romance Author. Redhead…

Canadian-born author Kacey Hammell is definitely a book-a-holic. A romance reader from a young age, she fell in love with happily ever afters.  These days, as a multi- published erotic romance author, she enjoys adding a lot of heat, sass, and emotion to the many genres she writes.

Mom of three, Kacey lives her own happily ever after with her perfect hero in Ontario, Canada.

Where to find Kacey Hammell

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