Loading to Smashwords – Self Publishing

We’ve covered loading to Kindle and loading to Nook.  Today, I’ll be interviewing Jack, president of ODonnell Books, about how to upload our manuscript to Smashwords.

He says that Smashwords accepts Microsoft Word documents.

Your manuscript has been edited and you have gone through so that the story is brilliant! Save it as a Word.doc file.

Set paragraph format style, first line indent by 0.3 inches, just like for the Kindle and Nook.  Use page breaks at the end of a chapter.

Check and remove any bookmarks or hidden bookmarks.  Check for errant spacing in the document.  Check your paragraph style to make sure they are all consistent.  Times New Roman 12 is what he uses.  Put a page break between each chapter, using no more then 2 hard returns at the end of each chapter or prior to a new chapter.  Use the Heading 1 style for title and chapter titles.  He says this will help create the table of contents.

You do not need the cover in the word doc file for Smashwords.  You will upload the cover in a separate process on Smashwords.

Manually create Bookmarks for the Table of Contents, the same as you did for the Nook (as an example highlight Chapter 1, click insert bookmark and label the bookmark Chapter 1 and so on for all the chapter titles, the about the author, anything tagged with Heading 1). He said this is a long, tedious process.

Now you need to remove any hidden bookmarks, if they are in your document. To do this click anywhere in the document, click insert bookmark. On the bookmark window that pops up you’ll see a check box for hidden bookmarks in the lower left corner. Check that box. You may not see any hidden bookmarks, but if you see bookmarks that are not any of the bookmarks that you have manually created, then these are the hidden bookmarks you need to remove. Don’t remove the bookmarks you’ve just added! Hidden bookmarks will usually start with an underscored H followed by other letters and numbers. Highlight each hidden bookmark and delete them.

Then in your manually created Table of Contents, highlight chapter 1, for example, and click insert, hyperlink. An insert hyperlink window will pop up. Click the bookmark button in the bottom right hand corner. Find your bookmark that you’ve labeled Chapter 1. Select it and hit ok. Then hit ok. This will bring you back to the insert hyperlink pop up window. Hit the okay again. You should see an underlined, often in blue font which is the standard hyperlink color, Chapter 1. Now when you click chapter 1 in your table of contents it should jump you right to the chapter 1 of your book.

Now do it for the rest of them! Check and double check all of your table of contents links to make sure they are going to the chapters they should be going to.

Once again click anywhere in your document. Click insert bookmark, and again look for hidden bookmarks that you need to remove. Why? Because when you are double checking your hyperlinks, Microsoft word will often throw in hidden bookmarks, which you then need to remove. Once you have double checked your hyeprlinks and removed all hidden bookmarks do not click any more hyperlinks. Consider it done and leave it alone.

He said he highly recommends you read the Smashwords style guide, a free ebook publishing guide written by the creator of Smashwords, Mark Coker.

You have to create an account on Smashwords.

When you want to add a new book, you hit Publish on the top and follow the prompts.

Smashwords publishes to IBooks, Nook, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and several library systems. Also, Smashwords itself sells books. If you want a one stop shop for all your epublishing, except for Kindle, then Smashwords is a great place to start.

Thanks, Jack, for letting me pick your brain about the self publishing process!

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Who said there is no such thing as a Free Lunch?

I simply adore Books on the Knob.  (If you are an e-book fan, you must subscribe to this blog.)  Everyday they send an email telling me what books are currently FREE – yes free – for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and other various venues. They also will highlight bargain books, or discounted reads that quite often feed my book addiction.  I now have more reference material at my disposal than I would have ever purchased. I have also discovered new authors by reading their free book, and purchased other titles by that author because I enjoyed their work.  Without the free read I might never have bothered with their book at all.

In a recent discussion with an author I mentioned how valuable this tool has been for me. Her response was a surprise, something along the lines of people valuing their books more because they have invested their money into them?  I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t value something that was free, especially something as precious as a book.  In this tight economy free is damn good.

Then this week I read a fantastic article by CJ Lyons at thecreativepenn.com (click here to read) about how she was selling her book, but not very quickly.  So she posted it free to Smashwords, and eventually Amazon picked it up as free too. She enthusiastically says “48 hours after it was placed on sale for free, 24,987 copies were downloaded and it had made it to #3 on the Amazon Kindle Free Bestseller list!”  That’s a whole lotta people who like free books!!  That also potentially gains her that many readers and possible followers/fans.

Look at Amanda Hocking, self publishing Goddess that rocked Kindle’s world and ended up with a contract with St. Martin’s press.  Granted she didn’t give her books away, though she might have I’m not sure, I know they sold at a minimum of $.99.  (something that really fits into my budget) Her marketing strategy worked – is working.

I’m not saying every author should give away their work, or even take less profit, but it’s an excellent marketing technique. Let’s face it – a large portion of being an author is self promotion, and if I had the opportunity to win over 25000 new readers by giving my book away for a few weeks I think I’d be tempted.  Many authors will give away their first book if say book four in a series is releasing.  If I read one, I’ll probably buy all the others if I like it, that’s much more revenue then if I’d never read the books at all.

What do you think?  Would you turn down free books?  Do you value your books more because you actually pay for them? Or would you equally value a book that was free?

Last weeks ***GiveAway Winner is MichelleKCanada**  Contact me at michelle(at)michelle-fryer(dot) com and I’ll mail Mary Sullivan’s book to you. Congratulations!

Michelle