Conversion troubleshooting and FAQ

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I got an error that says, “File can’t be opened.”

If you receive the error message, “File can’t be opened,” then we cant open your .docx manuscript (and thus can't use it to create your ebook).

Please follow Step 1 of our manuscript formatting guidelines to make sure you're properly saving your manuscript as a .docx file and then upload your manuscript again.

There are several common reasons why we might not be able to open your .docx manuscript:

  • Your file isn’t really a .docx. Instead of saving your manuscript as a .docx file using a word processor, perhaps you simply changed the file name to add the ".docx" extension. We recommend reviewing Step 1 of our manuscript formatting guidelines for instructions on how to save your manuscript as a .docx file.
  • Your file is blank. If your .docx contains no content, then we can't convert it! Please upload a full book manuscript instead.  
  • Your .docx is password protected. We cant open password protected files. Please disable password protection and upload your file again.
  • Your .docx contains a bad link. Try removing all links from your manuscript, and check your manuscript especially for bad links to external websites. If you copied-and-pasted text from a website, this text might contain a "hidden" link even if you reformatted the text later.
    Also check your manuscript for broken links to images. Make sure to follow our instructions to properly insert images into your manuscript.
  • Your .docx is corrupt. Perhaps an issue on your computer corrupted your file or perhaps the file is very, very old. If youre able to open the file, try copying its contents into a new document. You could also try importing the manuscript into Google Drive, opening it in Google Docs, and then saving/downloading as a .docx.

Unfortunately, our app doesn’t know why it can’t open your file—just that it can’t!

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I got an error that says, “Manuscript is too large.”

If you receive the error message, “Manuscript is too large,” then your manuscript is—regretably—too long for us to convert.

Generally, manuscripts which are too long for us to convert have millions of words, thousands of pages, and hundreds of chapters. Our conversion tool has trouble processing all of that text!

If your manuscript is too long for us to convert, then consider dividing it into multiple shorter volumes. You might publish a series of shorter books instead of a single very long one.

If you think you received a “Manuscript is too large” message in error—perhaps your manuscript isn’t thousands of pages long—then double-check your manuscript’s formatting. Turn on non-printing characters in Microsoft Word and look especially for unnecessary page breaks and section breaks. Unnecessary page breaks and section breaks make it seem like your manuscript has more chapters than it does, so they should be removed.

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I got an error that says, “Corrupt image.”

If you receive this error, then your manuscript contains one or more corrupt images whose bad data caused ebook conversion to fail. You need to remove these corrupt images from your manuscript.

To find the corrupt images in your manuscript, follow a process of elimination:

  1. Remove all images from your manuscript.
  2. Convert your manuscript into an ebook to confirm that there are no other issues.
  3. Insert your images back into your manuscript one-by-one. Every time you insert a new image, convert your manuscript.
  4. When ebook conversion fails, then the image you just inserted is corrupt. Leave that image out of your final manuscript.
  5. Continue inserting images one-by-one and converting each time until you have added all of your images back into your manuscript.

(However, if you know the filenames of your images, then skip the above steps and just remove the images mentioned in the error message you received.)

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My ebook doesn’t look exactly like my manuscript.

Reflowable ebooks need to be properly formatted to meet industry standards, and as a result, they don’t look exactly like their original manuscripts. Instead, Pronoun formats and designs your ebook to look beautiful on every screen, for every reader.

Think of your manuscript as a blueprint rather than a final product—a recipe for our conversion tool to create and format your ebook. To give an example, underlined text in your manuscript won’t appear underlined in your ebook. Instead, that’s how our conversion tool recognizes block quotes.

Our conversion tool also designs your books interior. Pronoun offers a variety of professionally designed layouts for authors to choose from, each with a unique look and feel.

No matter which one you choose for your book, our conversion tool will style your chapter titles, subtitles, scene breaks, fonts, spacing, and more. As a result, there’s no need to “style” your manuscript yourself (such as change font styles and sizes, add custom scene breaks, include headers or footers, etc.).

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Something in my book didn’t convert the way I expected it to.

If your manuscript doesn’t convert the way you expect it to, the problem could be your manuscript’s formatting. Follow the steps below to double-check your manuscript’s formatting:

  1. Turn on non-printing characters in Microsoft Word to double-check spacing, paragraph breaks, page breaks, and more.
  2. Use the Styles Guide or Style Inspector to double-check that headings (for part titles, chapter titles, and subtitles) are properly formatted.
  3. Accept all (or remove) Track Changes in your manuscript. Track Changes can interfere with our conversion tool's ability to detect your styling.
  4. When all else fails, deleting and re-typing content that isn’t converting correctly can help to clear unwanted formatting. You can also try importing the manuscript into Google Drive, opening it in Google Docs, and then saving/downloading as a .docx.

Keep in mind that some formatting issues may not be immediately apparent. Some examples:

  • Copying and pasting text into Microsoft Word can retain some of the original formatting data behind the scenes (even if you reformat the text). This original formatting data can interfere with your conversion.
  • If you override Microsoft Word’s default styling for headings or body paragraphs, then a heading or body paragraph might not look like a heading or body paragraph in Wordbut it will still convert as such.

Following the steps above can help you detect and correct these formatting issues to produce a more beautiful book.

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My book/Table of Contents doesn’t have page numbers.

Reflowable ebooks don’t have “pages” in the traditional sense. They adapt to different screens, meaning they vary in length from retailer to retailer and ereader to ereader—they lack fixed page counts altogether.

As a result, well create a hyperlinked Table of Contents from the headings in your book so readers can tap a chapter title and instantly jump to that location in your book.

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My book has two covers/title pages/copyright pages/Tables of Contents.

Pronoun automatically creates your book’s front matter (its cover page, title page, copyright page, and Table of Contents). So if there’s a title page in your manuscript, for example, your book will contain two title pages: one created by Pronoun and one converted from your manuscript.

To avoid this issue, we suggest deleting all front matter from your manuscript before creating your book. As a result, your manuscript will most likely begin with your first chapter or a dedication page/epigraph. 

 

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Some retailers, like iBooks, wont sell books that mention or link to their competitors. To ensure that Apple doesn’t flag or remove your book, please make sure it doesnt contain:

  • Links to retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play
  • References to specific retailers (e.g., say “Please leave a review” instead of “Please leave a review on Amazon”)
  • Images that include specific retailer logos or names

If you’d like to include links to your other titles, we recommend linking to your author website or Pronoun book page instead.

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The first few words of my chapters are/aren’t capitalized.

All of our layouts feature a first-paragraph design: the paragraph is un-indented and we capitalize the first four or five words.

But if the first paragraph of a chapter is short—fewer than 15 words—then we don’t apply the first-paragraph design. (The first-paragraph doesn’t always look as nice if the paragraph is short.)

Here are two examples of first paragraphs using the layout Shelley:
 


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I previewed my .epub and .mobi files and want to make changes.

You can re-upload your manuscript and re-convert your ebook files as many times as you like (even after you’ve already published). Simply upload a new manuscript, select an ebook layout, and convert your .epub and .mobi files again.

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I still need help.

If you have any questions or run into any trouble, please email us at publish@pronoun.com anytime (or you can use the “Click here for help” widget on the bottom right-hand corner of this page).