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Dani
02-02-2012, 05:24 AM
Ten things I learned about self-publishing:

10. Smashwords doesn't call their uploading process "The Meatgrinder" for nothing.

9. I hate Smashwords.

8. I really hate Smashwords.

9. My husband should hide the next time I start the submission process to Amazon and, especially, Smashwords.

8. Trade/Epublishers would have made my life a LOT...LOT...LOT easier.

7. After two days of trying to format for Kindle and Smashwords, it's a good thing there wasn't a hammer near my computer...

6. Writing is hard. Self-publishing is a BITCH. And I love my husband.

5. At the height of frustration, one can always count on the dog to whine and stick his ball into your thigh while his tail wags expectantly.

4. I'm a masochist.

3. Maintaining 50 websites is easier than self-publishing one GD book.

2. I still have to do the POD formatting and I might claw my eyes out by the end of the day.

1. My book sold 14 copies in the first 5 hours and I haven't even told my family and friends it's out yet. oO

J. Tanner
02-02-2012, 07:20 AM
There's a learning curve to formatting but most problems start and end with beginning with a clean copy of the text by all accounts. If you don't use what they refer to as "the nuclear option" there's too much hidden crapola in the file. I've had ZERO errors with Smashwords and I don't even use their preferred software (Word.)

Good luck with the POD, I haven't tried it yet.

Next time you're getting ready to format something pop in here and ask for a step-by-step process and hopefully (I know it's not a word) we'll be able to help you avoid some of the frustration.

Dani
02-02-2012, 07:30 AM
Thanks J.T! I actually would have preferred to do it without word tbh. I did the whole kindle format with just html. A very clean code on that.

I did the nuclear option - twice, but word kept messing things up and having to add the italics - and the bold (subtitles were in bold), I was ready to flip my lid after the third nuclear blow up.

Luckily I have a really smart husband and he fixed it for me, but yes, please, if you have a way to do it without word, *begs* I'm not above begging. LOL

I'm still working on the PoD process for createspace. Not sure how easy/hard that will be. I miss being able to write - another downside of spending all this time formatting.

Not to diss self-publishing, because I love the fact that it's hard work. I feel like I'm pushing myself to do more that way. I certainly envy trade/e-published authors that part of the process - someone else taking care of the formatting.

It's exciting - the whole thing! I'm nerve-wracked, but AW has been a godsend. I am so grateful for the encouragement and help here and from friends and family. <3 has been so

merrihiatt
02-02-2012, 07:57 AM
Good luck with your self-pubbing journey. If I can help with formatting tips, let me know. It really does get easier each time you do it.

J. Tanner
02-02-2012, 01:39 PM
I use HTML (which is admittedly unnecessary for most) and OpenOffice (which is free.)

I view my finished HTML in a browser, Select All, Copy and Paste it into a simple OpenOffice template with my header info (title, copyright page, etc) Save as DOC and it passes through meatgrinder no problem.

So it's like 10 minutes from having good HTML to having it on Smashwords if you don't want to do any sprucing up (like graphics, fancy chapter headers etc.)

There's tricks for getting italics through the nuclear option with or without using HTML using Find/Replace. So bring it up next time you're formatting. The subtitle situation isn't quite clear to me, but I'm sure a picture would be worth a thousand words and it would be easy enough to resolve.

shaldna
02-02-2012, 03:20 PM
Ten things I learned about self-publishing:

10. Smashwords doesn't call their uploading process "The Meatgrinder" for nothing.

9. I hate Smashwords.

8. I really hate Smashwords.

9. My husband should hide the next time I start the submission process to Amazon and, especially, Smashwords.

8. Trade/Epublishers would have made my life a LOT...LOT...LOT easier.

7. After two days of trying to format for Kindle and Smashwords, it's a good thing there wasn't a hammer near my computer...

6. Writing is hard. Self-publishing is a BITCH. And I love my husband.

5. At the height of frustration, one can always count on the dog to whine and stick his ball into your thigh while his tail wags expectantly.

4. I'm a masochist.

3. Maintaining 50 websites is easier than self-publishing one GD book.

2. I still have to do the POD formatting and I might claw my eyes out by the end of the day.

1. My book sold 14 copies in the first 5 hours and I haven't even told my family and friends it's out yet. oO

Learning how to format for SP can be tough, but there is actually very little difference between Amazon and SW if you use word.

I found that SW instructions for formating were much clearer and easier to follow than Amazons.

Don't stress over it, it does get easier each time you do it.

And congrats on the sales.

Irysangel
02-02-2012, 07:16 PM
So honestly, despite everyone telling me constantly that Smashwords is easier to format than Amazon, I can format for Amazon in a fraction of time and Smashwords will take me all effing day. It seems to be hit or miss for me, too. I'll have one book that will go through with no problems, and another that will bomb out every time.

I saved myself the sanity points and hired a formatter for Smashwords. Worth every penny.

merrihiatt
02-03-2012, 06:07 AM
I use the same formatting for Smashwords and Amazon KDP (except the wording on the copyright page that Smashwords requires to be worded in a particular way). Other than that, they are the same.

Dani
02-03-2012, 08:00 AM
I use HTML (which is admittedly unnecessary for most) and OpenOffice (which is free.)


I ended up doing a simple html file which, yeah, worked beautifully for kindle and the code was so clean I didn't worry about errors. No fonts, no excess crap, just straight up beautiful html code.



There's tricks for getting italics through the nuclear option with or without using HTML using Find/Replace. So bring it up next time you're formatting. The subtitle situation isn't quite clear to me, but I'm sure a picture would be worth a thousand words and it would be easy enough to resolve.

If you could share the trick, that'd be awesome. That was my main problem with every method. I had to reformat and every time I did, I had to change the style to normal. Not sure how, but my husband clicked it and he ended up with the italics in place. Whenever I changed the style, all the formatting disappeared = 145 instances of bold and 430 instances of italics. >8( Imagine doing that FOUR times.



Learning how to format for SP can be tough, but there is actually very little difference between Amazon and SW if you use word.

I found that SW instructions for formating were much clearer and easier to follow than Amazons.

Don't stress over it, it does get easier each time you do it.

And congrats on the sales.

I found the instructions pretty clear, but not nearly as easy as amazon's since they accept html. The html code was so much easier. SOOOOO much easier. And yeah, I hope it gets easier =D. Thanks for the kind thoughts! <3


So honestly, despite everyone telling me constantly that Smashwords is easier to format than Amazon, I can format for Amazon in a fraction of time and Smashwords will take me all effing day. It seems to be hit or miss for me, too. I'll have one book that will go through with no problems, and another that will bomb out every time.

I saved myself the sanity points and hired a formatter for Smashwords. Worth every penny.

lol me too Irys. Me too! (I hired my husband btw - he's so hired)


I use the same formatting for Smashwords and Amazon KDP (except the wording on the copyright page that Smashwords requires to be worded in a particular way). Other than that, they are the same.

I tried that merri but apparently I had two different codes going on - block an single line indent. But meh, in the end I just had hubby do it.

J. Tanner
02-03-2012, 01:26 PM
If you could share the trick, that'd be awesome. That was my main problem with every method. I had to reformat and every time I did, I had to change the style to normal. Not sure how, but my husband clicked it and he ended up with the italics in place. Whenever I changed the style, all the formatting disappeared = 145 instances of bold and 430 instances of italics. >8( Imagine doing that FOUR times.


I haven't really hit that problem at that stage--cut and paste from browser to OpenOffice has worked well for me in preserving it. But my trick would work at that stage too even though I use it earlier...

What I do is use the Find & Replace command's advanced option to Find Format to search out all my italics. It highlights them. Then I use a macro to replace the format with the same text surrounded by a plain character. (This may require some experimentation based on your software to figure out. It's different in old Word, new Word, and OpenOffice.) But basically I convert something like

this

to

_this_

in the body text. The whole document only takes a few seconds to make the switch. Then you can use Find on _ to easily get back to each instance to manually set back to italic once everything else is perfect.

valeriec80
02-04-2012, 11:26 PM
You'll get the hang of it. Soon you'll be able to format in five-ten minutes!

(Have you tried opening your clean .html file in Word, adding spacing and indention, saving it as a .doc, and then uploading to smash? I found this always worked well for me. Now, I don't bother with creating my own .html file, because I can get Word's webpage, filtered option to look good on kindle.)

Best of luck!

(Oh, but the print format is a real bear. I did it in Word. First book, forgot to turn off widows and orphans. Man is that book ugly. I've given up and no longer do it. Print is dead!)

Dani
02-05-2012, 12:37 AM
I haven't really hit that problem at that stage--cut and paste from browser to OpenOffice has worked well for me in preserving it. But my trick would work at that stage too even though I use it earlier...

What I do is use the Find & Replace command's advanced option to Find Format to search out all my italics. It highlights them. Then I use a macro to replace the format with the same text surrounded by a plain character. (This may require some experimentation based on your software to figure out. It's different in old Word, new Word, and OpenOffice.) But basically I convert something like

this

to

_this_

in the body text. The whole document only takes a few seconds to make the switch. Then you can use Find on _ to easily get back to each instance to manually set back to italic once everything else is perfect.
Ilu! Thank you. I feel a little foolish that I didn't think bout that Heb.

You'll get the hang of it. Soon you'll be able to format in five-ten minutes!

(Have you tried opening your clean .html file in Word, adding spacing and indention, saving it as a .doc, and then uploading to smash? I found this always worked well for me. Now, I don't bother with creating my own .html file, because I can get Word's webpage, filtered option to look good on kindle.)

Best of luck!

(Oh, but the print format is a real bear. I did it in Word. First book, forgot to turn off widows and orphans. Man is that book ugly. I've given up and no longer do it. Print is dead!) that's where I am right now. I forgot too. Tomorrow I have to reformat for print...again!

Over half my friends do not have any way to read Celt literal or phone. They get paperqbqack. All of then are under 30. Print must not be too.dead. :/

tko
02-06-2012, 08:46 PM
I agree, Word just has too much baggage. Much better with Wordperfect many years ago and reveal codes. Word has all types of hidden stuff that just pops up out of nowhere. I'd say 98% of all issues is due to Word.

So what is the "nuclear" option? I'd guess it's pasting your document into a text file to remove all formatting and pasting it back into a clean word document while keeping it a HTML file ???

I remember I used to have a "clean codes" utility for Wordperfect to get rid of all the hidden cr*p. Worked great. I can't believe no one makes such a program for Word.

J. Tanner
02-06-2012, 09:10 PM
So what is the "nuclear" option? I'd guess it's pasting your document into a text file to remove all formatting and pasting it back into a clean word document while keeping it a HTML file ???


Guessed correctly other than keeping it HTML at the end. Smashwords only accepts Word DOC format for submissions.

Richard White
02-06-2012, 11:09 PM
I agree, Word just has too much baggage. Much better with Wordperfect many years ago and reveal codes. Word has all types of hidden stuff that just pops up out of nowhere. I'd say 98% of all issues is due to Word.


I can vouch for this.

I still write in Word Perfect, but have to convert docs for college.

A typical conversion:

WP document - 19K
.rtf of the same document - 32K
.doc version - 54K

Where the heck does the other 34K come from in the .doc?

tko
02-07-2012, 12:30 AM
Took my kind of clean (I used styles and all) 954K Word document. Converted it to HTML. Ran it through an HTML cleaner (tidy something). Imported back into Word and manually fixed anything that got changed, including changing my chapter headings back into styles using search and replace.

Final MS Word file size. 356K.

A whopping 63% reduction. Took me about two hours including the learning process, but hopefully it will save me hair pulling in the future.

FOTSGreg
02-07-2012, 01:15 AM
In regard to the OP, I really don't 'get' why some people have so many problems formatting for Smashwords and Kindle. I had a few few problems until I figured out where the problems were coming from (my own fault, mostly), but it ain't that hard, honestly. So far as I can see.

I upload the manuscripts in Word doc (XP compatible versions). I scan through the docs for minor problems before uploading. The biggest problem I ever had was OO or Word sticking weird paragraph line spacing in the thing, but I figured out where that was coming from and how to fix it.

Think of formatting your document for Smashwords or Kindle as, easily, as important as formatting your manuscript for an editor at a pro-magazine or publisher. Take your time. Learn how to do it right. If you do it once or twice it almost becomes second nature.

K. Taylor
02-07-2012, 07:18 AM
Yeah, I write with the formatting in mind to begin with and don't have a problem at all. Word 2003 files and Smashwords talk very well with each other.

It's easy: don't ever touch the Tab button, use the ruler to make indented first lines, highlight words and click the italics or bold or underline button you need, and make sure there's a line between the last line of text and a ctrl+enter new page. Done.

Only time it gets slightly tedious is if I'm doing a table of contents.

Dani
02-07-2012, 11:32 AM
Thing is that I didn't realize there would be so many problems and with a 120k novel, the reformatting was only a problem because I had to spend so much time adding in the italics when I nuked it.

I did in the end have a clean html file for Kindle and a decent .doc file for smashwords, but the nuclear option was needed an frustrating and spending all my time putting in the italics and bold >>>8( Not fun.

tko
02-07-2012, 08:19 PM
I feel your pain. But I don't get it. HTML does italics. Word does italics. So why aren't the italics preserved when you convert formats?

Still, it was only 45 minutes to open two windows side by side and search one for italics, then fix it in the other.

J. Tanner
02-07-2012, 09:24 PM
Using the "nuclear option" means removing all formatting, visible and more importantly hidden, by copying and pasting the entire text of the book into something like Notepad, then copying it back into Word.

Dani
02-07-2012, 10:33 PM
"nuclear option"
Phrase now banned in our house!!

FOTSGreg
02-07-2012, 10:59 PM
K.Taylor, I was going to mention that, but I forgot. It does appear that Word 2003 works best with Smashwords' Meatgrinder as well as whatever it is that they use for the Kindle conversion. Anytime I've tried using virtually anything more "advanced" in a doc file the Meatgrinder chokes and Kindle barfs a big load.

spentastico
02-07-2012, 11:31 PM
It's easy: don't ever touch the Tab button, use the ruler to make indented first lines...

Really? So for my next 100k+ word novel, if I want to ePub it, I have to avoid hitting the button that pretty much exists for indentation or face having to go through the entire thing and re-indent??? That's absolutely ridiculous.

Dani
02-07-2012, 11:42 PM
Set up your indents in styles. You can have word indent first line. Or set a diff indent for other paragraghs.

J. Tanner
02-08-2012, 01:16 AM
Really? So for my next 100k+ word novel, if I want to ePub it, I have to avoid hitting the button that pretty much exists for indentation or face having to go through the entire thing and re-indent??? That's absolutely ridiculous.


Not really. Designers all use Styles so they've adapted their system to industry standard. It's actually much more powerful (and simpler) than what the average person learned in typing class on a manual typewriter.

Extra spaces, tabs and returns turn into a real nightmare in the formatting process.

Once your Style is set up properly, you don't even have to touch than one key. Your word processor automatically indents for you.

It's a good thing to get in the habit of using from the start of the manuscript (he said hypocritically. :D )

kaitie
02-08-2012, 08:10 AM
Am I wrong that Word automatically indents every paragraph after the first one just when you hit "enter" normally? I set it up on rulers when I have to, but generally speaking it automatically does it for me and I don't have to even do that after the first time.

merrihiatt
02-08-2012, 08:27 AM
I save my document in Word 1997-2003, even though I'm using Word 2010. It seems to play well with Smashwords, Amazon KDP, PubIt and CreateSpace (once I've made any conversions necessary, of course).

Katie, my version of Word doesn't do it automatically, but I have a manuscript template with chapter headings, indents and everything already set up. I just saved is as "blank book template." I know I'm starting with a clean page when I begin with the template, then I just use as "save as" to save as a different name.

Danika
02-08-2012, 09:31 AM
I have no good advice for you, just popping in to let you know you're not alone! It's enough to drive you to drink... which doesn't help formatting at all, unfortunately.

Anjasa
02-08-2012, 04:29 PM
Yes, definitely learn more about indentation and word's functions. You can, for instance, use find and replace to find all italics and make them bold, or find all instances where you hit 'tab' and remove them. I also use it to find and replace double spacing where I don't want it (search for two space marks, replace with one)

Hitting the funny little P mark shows you all formatting marks, as well, so it will show manual line breaks, paragraph marks, spaces, etc.

In the end, though, if you just aren't interested in learning more about word formatting, it probably is best to hire an expert. Word is a large program.

Dani
02-09-2012, 10:38 AM
Let me just say that word 2010 is a great writing tool. I freaking love it and how easy it is to use.

That said, it sucks for this. It adds way too much crap to the design and the coding. And somehow it makes a smaller file than .doc (it uses .docx). So frustrating >8(

Danika, drinking-yes! LOL I think it might actually help at this point. After all these problems, my computer crashed while making my paperback book cover and we had to buy a new hard drive for my laptop.

I really really really understand the inclination to trade publish. But every time I see someone enjoying my book or coming to my blog and telling me I made them laugh, I float on air.

-Dani "Floating on Air" Alexander