Friday, December 21, 2012

E-publishing, the Nuts and Bolts

After being exclusively on Amazon for quite a while, I decided to publish both Screwing Up Time and Screwing Up Babylon on Smashwords. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Smashwords, they are an e-book provider that provides e-books in just about any and every format. If your e-reader is a Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, etc., you can buy books at Smashwords. Click here, to visit the site if you’ve never been.

Originally, I published SUT to Smashwords, but I was disappointed with how the formatting came out. And eventually, I unpublished it. So I was concerned this time about how things would turn out. It went very well. Smashwords has become much easier to work with. And the “meatgrinder,” their affection name for the processor that turns your manuscript into various formats, has been hugely upgraded.

Here’s my hint on how to format your book to upload to Smashwords: Set up an account at Smashwords and buy their formatting guide. It will take you step-by-step through the process. Their formatting is not very different from Amazon’s, except for one big difference—the Table of Contents. Amazon and Smashwords have very different TOC formatting. My suggestion is that once everything else in your manuscript is properly formatted, save your novel in three different files. One the original file without any TOC. Two, your novel which you'll format in the Kindle style. Three, your novel in the Smashwords style. (I called mine: SUT; SUT, Kindle; and SUT, Smashwords. Yeah, very clever, I know.) It’s much easier to add TOCs to a fresh document than remove one TOC only to add in another because the formatting ends up all over the book (take it from someone who didn’t do that on the first book).

When adding the TOC, follow the formatting guides step-by-step. The first time, it will take a while, so find a few hours of uninterrupted quiet. (It may take a couple of days if you don’t use standard formatting for chapter breaks, new paragraph indents, etc.)

Also both Amazon and Smashwords require MS Word for an upload, so if you use something else, translate the file into Word. (Also I couldn’t find any information about whether Smashwords would take a .docx file, so I just used a .doc)

The bottomline here is that if I could do this, you can too. I’m definitely not a techie. The most important thing is to get the free formatting guidelines and follow them to the letter (no room for almost here). If you want to see what the Smashwords pages for my books look like, click on the titles. Screwing Up Time. Screwing Up Babylon.

If you’re looking for the formatting guides, here's what their cover art looks like. 
Good luck. You CAN do this!

Cover for 'Smashwords Style Guide'

Building Your Book for Kindle

1 comment:

  1. Connie, first of all congrats on Screwing Up Time and the sequel! I am not surprised at all by your success, saw it coming years ago in our first Meacham workshop. Wanted to thank you for this post - am getting ready to publish an e-book so this is soooooo helpful! Merry Christmas! Ferris Robinson