This morning comes in the email breathless news from Amazon about a feature that allows a blogger to post a free preview of a book, any book, into his or her site.
So, by golly, let’s try this. Plain & Simple Press just emitted the third and final collection of the Fire-Rider series, ever-so-aptly titled Homeward Bound. What happens when you embed the proposed code for the thing? Observe…
Well now. Isn’t that interesting?
Wonder if you can resize the thing so it will fit in a widget? And WTF do you suppose happened to the Roman numerals in the title data? I’m pretty sure I don’t habitually type XIII as XiiI. Dammit.
Oh well. This thing gives away an entire chapter for free, plus most of the front matter.
I’ll leave this for you to enjoy while I try to build a widget with the embed code. Meanwhile, notice that once you open this, there’s a link in the lower right that lets you toggle to full page. Nice!
Oookay… The code doesn’t seem to lend itself to widgetizing for those who are code-unsavvy.
I’ll post previews of all three collections — gathering 18 books (each of which has anything from three to eight or ten chapters) in three electronic volumes — at Plain & Simple Press (probably on the “Books” page) and at the Fire-Rider site. Watch those spaces… This will take a few minutes, because like all things techish, it’s a pain in the butt.
It can be done, though…
Enraged publisher to Amazon CSR (believe it or not, you actually can find a “contact” link, buried on the bottom of the Author’s Bookshelf page in the finest of fine print, that lets you send a message to a someone in the vastness that is the Amazon behemoth):
I received an email plumping your new Amazon “preview” tool. Naturally, I posted links to a bunch of my Plain & Simple Press books at my websites, hoping to send readers your way. I posted a link to my Preview page (http://www.plainandsimplepress.com/previews/) on Twitter.
Double-checking a link, I clicked on the “Preview” link to my latest magnum opus, 30 Pounds / 4 Months. When I published this thing, I checked it carefully in the Kindle Previewer downloaded from your site. It looked perfect. This afternoon, using the same downloaded and installed Kindle Previewer, I just opened the .mobi file I posted and also downloaded to my hard drive at the time I published it it. In the Kindle Previewer tool that appears at your Bookshelf site, the layout looks PERFECT.
But when the Preview is viewed by clicking on the linked image generated by your “Preview” code, what you see is a FREAKING MESS!!!!!!!!! The subhead fonts are all screwed up: subheads are larger than level-A heads. Flush-left first grafs are indented further than regular indented paragraphs.
No wonder I’m selling a ton of them in hard copy but can’t get move the thing at all electronically! Your customers must think I’m a lunatic.
I had to take the first version of this book down and completely revamp it when a reader slammed the bejayzus out of it and me because it went online in a font jumble. It was, admittedly, my first effort at publishing through Amazon, and I mistakenly thought that what one saw in your simple online previewer was what one got. My error!
After spending many hours completely reformatting the thing from beginning to end using the appropriate styles, I re-uploaded it and checked it obsessively in your Kindle previewer. Not the one in the cloud, but the one you download and install on your computer, which supposedly comes closer to displaying the reader experience.
WTF? Can you explain this latest fiasco? I have put a lot of work into this book, and I am NOT HAPPY to see it screwed up again!!!!! Especially after the viewer you folks promulgate in your “Bookshelf” function showed it to be as close to perfect as a human editor can make it.
Is the book as the reader purchases it a freaking mess? If it is, WHY is it a freaking mess?
If the formatting looks to the reader as it does in your downloadable Kindle previewer, why is it a freaking mess in your “Preview” come-on tool?
To coin a phrase: God damn it! I had no idea the format on the 30 Pounds / 4 Months book was all f*cked up. Again. It looked absolutely primo in the (huge!) Kindle Previewer that you download and install in your computer — the one that takes half your lifetime to load. It still looks primo.
But when you look at it through the new Kindle previewer sales tool, what you see is sh!t.
Now I suppose I’m going to have to take this version down, too. I actually have sold more of them in hard copy than in Kindle (the final print version should be here this week or early next week, for those of you who have ordered them).
Grrrr! You can be damn sure if that thing is a mess again…still…whatEVER…it’s not going back up on Amazon. We’ll convert the thing to ePub and post it at Nook and iBooks.
I. want. to. bite. someone. Jeff, my man? Are you there?