My book, Ghosts: What They Are and What They Aren’t, was released in late October 2012, and — with my free at-a-glance chart, it was part of my first annual 13 Days of Halloween Treats giveaway. The story behind this Kindle book — after the “Update” section, below — is worth reading if you like real-life paranormal weirdness.
Update: Why didn’t I think of this, earlier?
I did a space clearing (with my singing bowl) and then (quickly) re-entered the book corrections. It looks like most of them remained where they should be. (This will make sense when you read the story that follows this update, lower on this page.)
With the cosmetic improvements, I discovered that I could make the bulleted lists look good in Kindle or in Kindle Fire, but not both. I opted for the Kindle Fire; in some Kindles, the lists may look like there’s an extra line break between the dot and the item that follows it. In others, it may be fine.
So, I’ve uploaded the corrected cover and the corrected book interior.
If you bought the book on Monday, the updated Kindle version should automatically overwrite in your Kindle reader, once that version is approved.
This is what I’d posted this morning, before the space clearing idea occurred to me:
The story behind this book is worth sharing, because it’s unusual… even for me.
My best guess…? I must have said something important in this book.
The fact that the cover of the book has one title, but it published with a different title and title page… that’s the tip of the iceberg. And, some skeptics may say, “Well, she rushed this book and made mistakes.”
Maybe they’re right. I did have to rush the book, at the very end. However, there’s a lot more to this story. I want to share it with you.
It started as a simple book.
This book is intended as a companion to “Is Your House Haunted?“ After using that book to rule out normal phenomena, this new book helps you tell if the entity might be something other than a ghost.
It’s an overview, and it’s written so beginners can use it, as well as more experienced ghost hunters.
In this book, I talk about things like shadow people, faeries, demons, poltergeists, and even topics like aliens and cryptozoology.
I thought this would be a quick, simple book to assemble, to answer people’s questions. In fact, the number of questions that include phrases like “I don’t think this is a ghost…,” have increased dramatically in recent months.
So, I started this book about two months ago.
And, I often run into weird little hurdles and delays when I’m writing about faeries, demons, and poltergeists, etc. This book was no exception. In fact, it involved one snafu after another.
I nearly gave up on this project. What kept me working was how weird the problems were. After years of writing, I know what’s normal and what isn’t. This book wasn’t normal. I’m hesitant to say that I was staring down paranormal forces, but… well, that’s the simplest explanation (and most logical illogical one, if you get my meaning).
From first draft to frustration.
Everything started fine when I was writing the first draft. I was writing in WordPress, intending to format this book using a WordPress plugin, the same as I did with two recent non-paranormal books (written under pen names).
Then, my computer mouse started acting up, highlighting weird things, even when my hand wasn’t on it. Then, I’d type something and it would vanish. I’d try to delete a passage I didn’t like, and it’d appear in another part of the book.
I ran complete malware and virus checks. I ran a systems check on the computer. Everything looked fine, so I blamed it on the mouse and replaced it.
Smaller problems continued, but I figured I’d fix the most glaring errors and release the book, anyway. It’s more important to have this information in your hands than to get finicky over typos and layout issues that appeared out of nowhere. (I quickly learned that, each time I fixed them, new ones would show up, somewhere else.)
Push-button publishing… wasn’t.
The book seemed ready to publish, last Thursday. I pushed the formatting button and, instead of the usual, reliable results… part of the text vanished. Half the illustrations were gone, as well. Interestingly, the only illustrations that remained were related to faeries and shadow people, and a couple of non-paranormal illustrations used as chapter breaks.
Being a computer geek, I spent the rest of Thursday trying to get the WordPress plugin to work: reinstalls, then reinstalls with earlier WP versions, file name changes, and other tweaks.
So, on Friday, I did a cut-and-paste, chapter by chapter, to Jutoh. (That’s desktop software for formatting digital books.) I was still missing text, but I knew I could rewrite it, and the illustrations were all on my hard drive anyway.
And, I scrambled to rewrite the missing sections of the book, because — to stay even remotely on schedule — I had to submit the book to Kindle, yesterday. It was a rush-rush weekend, slowed slightly by using more complex publishing software.
Then, the old reliable software behaved badly.
That software — Jutoh — is a control freak’s dream. If anything can be manipulated for Kindle, Jutoh does it. It’s just time-consuming, compared with the one-click formatting that my WordPress plugin usually did.
However, I ran into weird issues that never happen with Jutoh. If you get my book (and I hope you do), you will see typos. Where it says, “move.” in the section about con artists, in Chapter 2…? I have no idea where it came from. The gap in Chapter 7 – Shadow People, right before the actual photo of a shadowy figure…? I couldn’t fix it, and I never have that problem with Jutoh.
(Yes, I know that .epub files can be renamed with the .zip extension and the HTML corrected. And, I’ve routinely hand-coded HTML at my websites since 1995. So, if I could have fixed the layout issues, manually, I would have.)
I’m sure there are many more weird things I’m going to spot, as I re-check the book as published by Kindle. At the moment, the problems are limited to typos and cosmetic issues. I can live with that, and hope you can, too.
But, I had to make a decision: Either tweak this book for another couple of weeks — hoping the bugs were simply computer flukes — or approve the book, as-is, because the information is important… and, from my email and comments left here, it looks like it’s pretty urgent.
It’s not that this book goes into anything in extreme depth. It doesn’t.
And, after my experiences merely describing some of these topics in a book, I’d have reservations about attempting additional books that go into greater depth. Oh, I’ll write happily about ghosts, but some of these other subjects… I’m not so sure.
As of close to midnight on October 22nd, the book has been updated. If you bought the earlier version, Kindle usually overwrites the files, automatically, so — next time you open the book — you’ll see the newer, corrected version. (You’ll be able to tell because the title on the cover will be correct, too.)
Meanwhile, the problems I ran into…? I’m probably wandering far into speculation that might raise eyebrows. But really, if I’m encountering weird issues like these, getting this book published, I must have said something important in it.
Just don’t ask me what it might have been. Honestly, I haven’t a clue.
It’s just 99 cents… and be sure to download the free at-a-glance chart, as well.