The Kindle Edition (coming very soon) of Vendetta is going to be slightly different from the Smashwords Edition. (The Smashwords Edition can still be purchased as a .mobi file, so there will technically be two editions available for Kindle.)
Why the differences? Because I have to use two ISBNs. So I did some things with this edition that I could not do with the Smashwords Edition.
Amazon allows authors to upload files up to 50mb in size. They also offer a wider array of input formats, which includes HTML. Smashwords only allows 5mb, and Word .docs are the only thing that can convert into non-ePub files.
HTML appeals to me. If something goes wrong, I can fix it. I can’t rip open Smashwords’ Meatgrinder converter and see what happened. I also don’t have Word (I’m not paying money for a program I don’t like). So again, HTML appeals to me.
However, there are some limitations that Amazon has. The images within the book can’t be any larger than 127kb, which is ridiculously small. This posed a problem for me when it came to the maps.
So here’s a list of changes:
I decided to make a new cover. I love the first cover, and my own created versions of the thumbnail looked really fantastic and clear. On some websites though, the thumbnail was created by the site and forced into whatever format and color scheme the site wants, but without any finesse since it’s automatic. A person applying the same compression and conversions could do a much better job, especially if they had great software.
So I went back to the original concept of the cover, which was a red-and-black sort of thing. We never could quite get that red to look just right, which was why we took the antique-brown route. So I played with the image a little bit, and came up with a new cover that didn’t make the red seem so weird.
There are fewer maps in this version. This is because of Amazon’s size limit on internal images. To keep the map readable, the resolution had to be a little high. In order to make a .jpg of the full-color maps, I would’ve had to set the quality of that .jpg to zero and make the dimensions (pixels) well below Amazon’s minimum dimension requirements. Using the less-color versions of the map allowed me to save the the files with much less pixelation. I also created .gifs, which looked much cleaner in case the .jpgs didn’t work out.
I considered splicing the image up into several images, but worried that the map would get cut off if the user resized their text. The compromise? I redirected users to this site to view the high-res, color maps. (They just need a watermark, and they’re good to upload.)
So overall, you will only get two maps. The Smashwords .mobi does not have this limitation. It has color and less-color versions of the maps (less color looks nicer on e-ink readers).
Since the 50mb limit allowed me to include more images, even though those images had to be dinky, I made the chapter headers prettier. I wanted to do this with the Smashwords Edition, but the maps took up a lot of file space.
In general, the rest of the book looks the same. The text content is all the same, with a few changes in the table of contents, and in the copyright page to reflect the edition and ISBN number. The title page mirrors the cover. You may not notice it on your end, but on my end, this was much easier to contend with. If something went wrong in the HTML or CSS, I knew it immediately. With Smashwords, there is no preview. Your book goes live, and you have to download your own book to see what Meatgrinder did. Tests in Calibre, for instance, did not alert me to what Meatgrinder did to the first version of Vendetta, which squished all the lines, because line spacing was somehow not preserved in the process, even though it was perfect in the input version. (And sadly, because the book always goes live first, readers who actually downloaded the first version of the book could see that Meatgrinder destroyed the spacing, and they won’t be able to read the book.)
With HTML? I can load it myself. Clicking my HTML file lets me preview it in my browser. Printing that HTML to a PDF file lets me see if the page breaks worked. I don’t have to risk readers getting a shoddy product before it goes out.
So that’s about it. I’ll be running a special on the book on both sites to celebrate the release of the Kindle Edition. Keep an eye out for that!