Ports of Call

In engineering, logistics, and similar fields there is a concept called “point-source failure.” That is, the proper function of your mechanism, program, or process is ultimately predicated on one single thing working right. If it fails, the entire system fails. This, obviously, is something to be avoided and designed out from a project’s inception or as soon as possible.

When I first self-published my books, beginning in December of 2014, I was on Amazon. It was the only game in town. Later, I learned of Smashwords and have ported many of my ebooks there. More recently, StoryOrigin, where not only can I sell books, but make parts of all available for reviewers (I’m just getting started on that site). Just last week Helen Smith unveiled Helen’s Page with much more than just books. In the wings, I’m aware that Sarah Hoyt is working on yet another such outlet for indie authors.

I say all that to say this: it is just a matter of time before Amazon gets taken out by hackers, broken to pieces by regulators, or – most likely – I’m deplatformed for having heretical views of what the PoMoTranzi Party believes on any given day. In other words, a point-source failure.

Below the fold is one of the reasons I can only upload books to Smashwords twice per year or so. Exasperating.

This snip of an image is a typical user-hostile error report when trying to get your ebook into their “Premium Status” slot. I’m beginning to think it is not worth it…

And then, to try to act on this word salad, they helpfully direct you to this huge page, guaranteeing hours of frustration. Needs work, guys.

2 thoughts on “Ports of Call

  1. Interesting, I started publishing through Smashwords, but left for Amazon when Smashwords started to fill up with garbage. Even so, I had a lot of respect for Smashwords’s format converter. You had to conform to their input requirements, but if you did so, the result was pretty much guaranteed. From what you’ve posted here, they’ve been fiddling with their converter to poor effect. Not a smart move. I wonder what the impetus was?


    1. It did surprise me. When I would send a Word file and have them make the conversion I expected trouble. This time, I used Calibre to convert a pdf to epub, then sent that. The initial acceptance passed but choked on “Premium” status. No idea and no real inclination to fix it right now: I’ve another audiobook to record, a new novel to write, and some glorious springtime weather to enjoy this afternoon.

      Hope you and yours are well.


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