E-Book Formatting Frustration

When it comes to user-friendly instructions, there seems to be an inverse correlation where the chance of finding a useful answer to an unexpected problem seems to decrease in direct proportion to the increased simplification of the instructions. 

In other words, the instructions are simple to follow right up to the moment when something goes wrong. At that point, any search for an answer either leads back to the same simple steps that didn't work the first time or into a message-board labyrinth of technical details that have skipped several levels of vital information between the initial instructions and the proposed fix.

That's where I'm currently stalled with self-publishing my first book

I'm starting with an e-book through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and the process has seemed relatively simple. However, uploading the formatted manuscript, and previewing it for errors, has turned up some glitches. 

For example, the "start reading location" (the place where the e-book initially opens) is supposed to be set to the first page of chapter 1 by default, but mine seems to be set to the middle of the table of contents instead.

Also, there's something screwy going on with the size of chapter titles when using the table of contents navigation and some front matter sections suddenly have indentation, despite not being indented in the document I uploaded.

I have some ideas for how to fix these things. Though some of the problems show up differently whether I'm previewing the book on the Kindle App (on my phone/tablet) or on my actual Kindle. And also differently on the Kindle previewer app that is supposed to show how the e-book will look. (?) 

Anyway, I'm sure I'll figure it out, but I'm not sure how long it will take. Hopefully, not long!

Some things, like the book opening in the middle of the table of contents, seem to be known issues and the official answer is to go ahead and publish the book then see if it comes out properly once the book is actually on sale.

That doesn't make much sense to me and I'd like to have the issue resolved before the book is actually public. However, I may have to accept the fact that conversion glitches may happen despite my best efforts and that it's not the end of the world if I have to fix some formatting problems after the book is already on sale. (Anyone who buys it will automatically get an updated copy if corrections need to be made.)

It just bothers me to have put so much effort into writing a book only to have it look unprofessional due to formatting quirks that are beyond my control. (Sigh)

Well, I'm diving back in to troubleshoot and test another version now. Wish me luck!


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