Why Is My Book on Amazon All in Italics?

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I received a panicked email from a long-time editing acquaintance of mine. Why is my book on Amazon all in italics?

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I received a panicked email from a long-time editing acquaintance of mine.  Her award-winning book needed some updates, so, being über-competent in making her own ebooks, she made the changes and uploaded the book.  She checked back a few hours later, and it was one of those, "good news, bad news" moments.  The good news?  The LITB (Look Inside The Book) had updated, almost immediately.  The bad news?

Holy Typography, Batman!  Her entire Look Inside The Book was in italics.

What happened?  She asked me if I could very quickly fix the book, because she had recently received a prestigious award, and sales were brisk.  She had had such a shock about the "all italics" that she'd taken the book off sale.

Now, I would love to say that I'm a genius, but the truth was the same thing had recently happened to another client of mine, who had not updated her book, a mobi file that she got from us.  So:  what the heck had happened?

Both author-publishers had created their own nightmares, through sheer inadvertence.  Both had read recent blog posts or "how-to" information on how to use HTML in their book descriptions in order to draw more attention to their books.  They used header tags, bold, italic; all the things that any diligent publisher would do.  But they had made one mistake. 

Somehow, somewhere, they hadn't closed an italic tag.

But WHAT, you say?  How can something in Author Central affect what is inside of your ebook?

The answer is, it doesn't.  But what it can affect is the rendering of the LITB, which is, after all, just part of a web page.    If my editor friend had downloaded a new sample from Amazon, she would have seen that the book itself was perfectly fine.  But of course, the LITB is a crucial part of the selling process, second only to fabulous covers and of course, a great book (and wondrous, professional-looking formatting, naturally). 

A web page renders like people read.  Top-to-bottom, left-to-right.  When your Amazon page comes up, the page renders top to bottom.  The very last thing that gets rendered, long after the rest of the page, is the Look inside the Book.  If, in tweaking your Book Description or your About the Author page, you've left a formatting tag in HTML open, then the formatting will continue, throughout the web page, until a new command tells it to stop.  So, if you have forgotten to close ANY of your HTML tags on your Author Central page, you will accidentally make your entire book look like a total, unprofessional mess on the LITB. 

Tips and Tricks to make sure that your Amazon Book Page doesn't get corrupted.

So, today's lesson is, if you do try to tweak your Author Central pages, take a tip from old programmers. Every time you OPEN a tag, like italics, with an <i>, create the closing member of the pair right away, like this: <i></i>. Then start creating your content, inside the pair of tags. Never open a tag without creating its closing partner. Place your cursor between the closing bracket of the opening tag, and the opening bracket of the closing tag, and the type or paste your text. If you do this, you will never have to solve the problem of The Mystery of The Corrupted Book.

Until next time!

Latest Blogs

11 July 2020

KDP, Print on Demand and Printing books in Color

"But, but...what do you mean, that it ...

02 July 2020

Fourth July Closing Announcement 2020

Holiday Closing Alert! Independence Day (July 4t...

02 July 2020

Phone Call Ban Notice

Phone Call Alert! (Please read, thanks.) ...

20 December 2018

2018-19 Winter Downtime Closing Announcement

2019-20 Winter Downtime Admin Office Hours: Merry...

20 December 2018

Holiday Closing Announcement 2019

Remember our Fallen Memorial Day, originally call...

12 October 2018

The Dangers of Self-Publishing with Zero Research

One of the topics that drives me a bit nuts is the...

Phone Call Alert! 

(Please read, thanks.) 

Old Timey Switchboard Operator Cartoon

 

Due to the COVID-19 onslaught, we currently cannot take incoming phone calls.  

 

A notification about phone calls:  due to the COVID-19 plague, we've significantly increased our incoming inquiries--nearly double our usual volume--and the number of incoming inquiries by phone has been literally overwhelming.  Although most writers will say that their call "will only take 15 minutes," the truth is, that after 10 years of doing this, most author inquiry calls take an hour.  45 minutes at best. I'm currently receiving 7-10 calls/day, and due to that, I've had to stop accepting incoming phone calls, which my voicemail will tell you. You can leave a message--I can't call you back without one--and if a call is needed, I will of course call you.  But we have very complete and extensive email replies, handouts and our website is very informative. Almost all the questions that I receive during a call are actually already answered on our site, or are, in fact, publishing questions, not questions about our services, what we do, what we offer, or the like.  I already handle between 90-130 emails/day, as it is. I can't handle that many emails and take 7-10 hours of calls each day. I can't. So, in order to be able to answer this huge email volume, to help the greatest number of people, with my time, I've had to stop accepting calls.  I'm sorry, but that's just how it is. I'm in the process of setting up a call-appointment function, for free 15-minute calls to answer questions from new prospective customers and longer paid sessions for folks who generally want consulting on "publishing," generally (and for prospective kids' book publishers, as a special category of paid consulting).  But that functionality isn't yet set up. I hope to get that working the 3rd week of July, sometime.  

Thank you for your understanding.