Same Words, Prettier Picture

by wjw on February 2, 2022

I’ve long been dissatisfied with the purposefully odd but decidedly amateurish cover I designed for my novel Aristoi, and so I decided to do something about it, and approached the splendid artist Elizabeth Leggett, who very graciously agreed to fit me (and the book) into her schedule.

Here are the results. Striking, ne?

The revised file has now been uploaded everywhere but B&N and Smashwords, because B&N is very slow and because there are technical issues with Smashwords, which I’ll get to later today .

Other than the art, the text file is exactly the same, but with my list of publications updated. If you prefer this art to the old (and why wouldn’t you?), you should be able to can erase the file currently in your reader and reload the update at no charge.

Find Aristoi at Amazon, Kobo, Google, Apple, and (eventually) B&N and Smashwords.

UPDATE: the file is now available at Smashwords.

You’d think that changing the cover art and making some minor updates on an epub file would be simple, wouldn’t you? But no, because I work with a British program called Jutoh.

Jutoh is vast and comprehensive, and will do anything with an ebook file you need doing. But it’s also extremely complex, with a very steep learning curve, and the interactions of all the intricacies are very hard to predict. A small change, or the wrong number in the wrong place, can result in a cascade of errors that can be highly consequential. Plus, any support documents are written by aliens, and I generally can’t make sense of them.

One of Jutoh’s more useful features is that you can assign text to specific outputs tailored to the various online platforms. In other words, I can arrange that a certain piece of text will appear only in the file intended for Amazon, or for Apple, or whomever. This means that when I have a clickable list of my other publications, with links that will lead to other books on (for example) Amazon, I can designate that only the list with Amazon links will appear in the file intended for Amazon.

(Was that clear? If you found that difficult to understand, imagine how much fun it actually is to do.)

So I added the new art, but for some reason it wasn’t appearing in the files I generated, and it turned out that in all the formats for Nook, Kobo, etc., the art wasn’t turned on, as it were. So I not only had to add the art to the file, but I had to tell the file to turn the art on, as it were, and make it part of the finished product.

I also had to add the format for Google, because (although it was there at one point), it wasn’t there anymore. And when the Google formatting came out as plain ePub, I had to do a comparison-and-contrast with all the other formats to see where I needed to add (or remove) something.

I produced the Kindle file right away, and when I looked through it, it seemed to have everything in the right place. but when I tried to add it to my Amazon page, it was rejected on the grounds that the link in the table of contents for Chapter 19 wasn’t leading to Chapter 19. I checked and it did in fact lead to Chapter 19, though in the middle of the chapter not the beginning. So I rebuilt the entire Table of Contents, which is fairly easy to do on Jutoh once you learn how. (Again, steep learning curve.)

(One problem is that the original Aristoi file wasn’t created with Jutoh, but with an earlier program, so there are these legacy programming instructions left over from the earlier version that I and Jutoh hope to ignore, though sometimes there are unintended consequences.)

Gosh, I sure hope I am being clear here.

The revised file was accepted by Amazon, and then I generated a Nook file and loaded that, and then I generated a Kobo file and looked at it with Apple’s Books reader. And the pages of clickable links for my other works were a grand stew of horribleness. There was a whole list of my works with no links at all, and then an incomplete list of my works on Kobo, and then some other stuff out of nowhere.

I had upgraded my list of clickable links, and it turned out that I’d made some mistakes in listing them, so that some of the Kobo links were formatted for Mobipocket instead of Kobo, and the list with no links was from another version that for some reason had been added to the mix.

I checked the Nook file I’d already uploaded and saw the same problems. Horrors!

I cleaned up the file of clickable links and removed the list with no links, then generated a new Kobo file and read it with Apple’s Books, and there were the same problems.

Panic and much rewriting ensued. No matter what I changed or how, the same problems persisted. “But I erased that!” I screamed. “Where is the reader even finding that?”

Eventually it occurred to me that the problem might not be with Jutoh but with Apple’s Books program. Maybe Books’ memory could only hold one file named Aristoi, and it was the old one. So I erased every file named Aristoi listed in Books, then closed Books and reopened it, and loaded the latest version of Aristoi, and the same problems persisted!

So this time I closed every program and shut off the computer, then rebooted, and guess what? Books read the latest file I’d produced, where all the problems had been fixed! Yay!

So now new copies are uploaded everywhere, except the B&N version probably has problems, and I’ll have to reload it. And Smashwords is another issue, but never mind.

So this all took three hours late last night, and by the end I was too tired to write, and instead opened a bottle of Scotch and watched TV till I dozed off.

But in the end, what you get is a better, cleaner reading experience, with some nifty artwork attached. And so, I’d like to think, all the anxiety and fury was worth it.

Goodnight, world, goodnight.

Susan B February 3, 2022 at 1:33 am

Beautiful cover. My copy came from Smashwords, so I’ll be patient.

Will England February 3, 2022 at 9:16 am

I feel your pain. But I love the cover and I enjoyed reading about the process you had to go through to get the new cover added to the various stores!

Jane Lindskold February 3, 2022 at 10:34 am

This process sounds like it belongs to one of Dante’s circles of Hell, new updated techno -savvy edition.

Chong Go February 4, 2022 at 12:53 am

Hi Walter,
I love both the covers you’ve posted! I’m also glad to hear you’ve recovered so well!
I’m also a long time Jutoh user, and I can get it to work decently, but Kris Rusch mentioned a new program called atticus ( that looks like it might be promising. Once I have a new project ready, I think I’ll try it and see. (There’s a 30 day window for refunds.)

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