Yesterday, I formatted my novella, The Taker, for Smashwords.
And, believe me you, I feel like I learned more about Microsoft Word document formatting while reading Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide than in all the time since I’ve been in the vicinity of computers.
Welp, you learn something new everyday, that’s what they say.
As suggested in Step 6, I hugged a loved one. Actually I was hugging my cat periodically from the moment I started. It was frustrating sometimes and I stayed up all day getting most of it done but hopefully it will be ultimately rewarding. I had three issues or so tho I think my document is almost set.
- I can’t get professional cover art for my novella. Coker doesn’t give a lot of alternatives for this–just get a good cover with the right format requirements or miss the Smashwords Premium Catalog Club gravy train. He even stresses the importance of not doing it yourself and how it should look like a NY Times Bestseller cover or the cover of some indie writer who has money and connections. I. AIN’T GOT. NO. MONEY. LIL’ FOLKS. NO, I do not even have $40 and up to pay a recommended Smashwords cover artist. So a rudimentary cover will just have to do it.
- I also do not have an editor and cannot pay one. I read the manuscript line for line and had two other people read it. You can always miss things no matter how many times you look at it. I will continue to look for ways to improve but professional editing is not an option.
- Before I understood that using TAB for indents was very, very bad, I had these five or six paragraphs that had no indentations and would never format properly with all the other paragraphs. Little did I know that for whatever reason they were like this, these pesky paragraphs were in the right and my TABS/the entirety of my original document was in the wrong.
- I only have Word Starter 2010. I cannot afford to get the full version, so no bookmarks for table of contents though I did type it up and include it.
- I am persnickety so I was confused about whether or not the Smashwords license notes, copyright page, and title page were all supposed to be on the exact same page. Is there supposed to be an entirely separate title page, or is it straight to the point? (I’m used to looking at print books with a lot of “pomp and circumstance pages” leading to the actual manuscript.) I ended up keeping title and copyright info on the same page and giving the license notes its own page. Being pretty particular and somewhat anxiety-ridden, Step 21 in the guide wasn’t clear enough for me. I can always fix it later, I guess.
I also intend to read Smashwords Book Marketing Guide and The Secrets to Ebook Publishing, and Twitter for Authors and How to Market a Book offered by National Novel Writing Month for participants.