I finally finally finally finished fixing the book yesterday. So, I uploaded it to Smashwords to distribute it out to the world (iBooks, Barnes & Noble, library repositories, etc.)
Smashwords came back late last night and said "nope, your book failed epubcheck, you will never be a published author ever ever ever unless you fix all of these errors and chances are you can't so hire someone already."
So this morning I said "Oh yeah? Show me."
Smashwords said "Go here to the online epubchecker thingy and it will show you."
So I did and yep, there were lots of indecipherable errors. I tried to track them down via Google and what I found gave me significant pause. I had seen that the upload had reduced the quality of the photos, but this was crazy.
But then I thought "I couldn't possibly have effed up the book that badly."
Smashwords made me convert my .docx Word file to a .doc file, which I then uploaded. I thought to myself "Self, I know that Word's conversion abilities are diseased at best." And then Smashwords further converts the document into epub and other formats.
So then I converted my own pure Word document into epub all by my lonesome. I then uploaded that file to the online epubchecker. And voila, 'twas perfect. All of the photos are perfect. The text doesn't flow perfectly in some spots, but I can fix that easily. All of the photo funkification I noticed last night was gone.
I headed back over to Smashwords, overrode their "Word doc only unless you really are an expert and you probably should have hired someone anyway" message and uploaded my clean new perfectly beautiful approved epub file.
And right away the message came back saying that I'd passed their epubcheck.
Because really. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Never assume it's all your fault.