E-book Adventures: Prepping file for Smashwords

Here I am, still slogging away on my e-book adventure. I have successfully uploaded the Raggedy Chan e-book to both Nook and Kindle. Smashwords is the last e-book site on my list. I admit I've been putting it off because I've heard the file prep is a bit complicated.

I won't lie. The file prep is time consuming. First, I read the 70 page Smashwords Style Guide, a step-be-step guide written my Smashwords founder Mark Coker to help authors correctly formatting e-book for Smashwords. It took me about an hour and a half to read the Style Guide, which I did read form cover to cover. On the upside, the Style Guide is totally free and easy to understand. I also learned some nifty new things about Microsoft Word (the required file type for Smashwords), so I'm coming out on the other end more educated, another good thing.

After I finished the Style Guide, it took me about 2 hours to format Raggedy Chan to the appropriate specs. Not hard, just time consuming. I could have hired someone. Smashwords has a list of folks you can hire to format your work for you. (To get the list, email list@smashwords.com.) Pricing generally starts at $25/hour. Since I plan to publish a lot of e-books in my lifetime, I figured it was worth my time to sit down and figure out how to do this myself. In the long run, I should get more adept at the formatting process and save myself money.

A pretty big bummer for me was discovering that Smashwords does NOT accept square images for cover. And of course my e-book cover is square. I had to send a very apologetic email to my cover designer to see if the cover could be re-formatted as a rectangle. At this point I am still waiting to hear back. Lesson Learned: going forward, all e-book covers will be rectangles. It's no good if I can use a cover image and Amazon and B&N, but not at Smashwords.

Next step: uploading Raggedy Chan to Smashwords (with appropiately shaped cover).