Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ah ebook formatting

Sigh. We authors should be transform doc files into digital book files the wave of a hand.

Yeah. Like anything is ever that simple.

The past twenty-four hours have felt like I've spent it beating my head against the brick wall of file conversion. This is still very much a field of cobbled together hacks, lesser-of-two-evil choices, and arcane html tricks that are furtively bartered among practitioners like spells of black magic between bloody-handed necromancers.

And it's all served up on a steep learning curve for non-coders.

That said, it's also kind of fun in a puzzle-solving / research kind of way. Like any other software issue there is a lot of time spent trawling message boards looking for solutions and comments, as well as half-baked guesses, moments of intuition, and rigorous experimenting designed to isolate variables.

I haven't had this much fun applying rules of thumb and coming up with alternative lines of problem-solving investigation since I was a shade tree mechanic working on my first car, a 1967 Ford Mustang.

The skinned knuckles and grease under the nails are always worth the gnoetic "ah ha!" moment of hitting on a promising idea and the exultation of success when it actually works.

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