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Doing It Write Now Posts

>Submitting to Smashwords – Part Two

>One of the most important parts of formatting your book to prepare it for Smashwords seems to be the copyright page. It’s mentioned in the guides a number of times. Books won’t be accepted into the Premium Catalog without one. It’s important to claim your work as your own and also make clear what your policy is regarding sharing and/or distribution of your work.

You can place your copyright information on your title page or you can dedicate a page for this alone. I personally prefer to flick through as few pages as possible before reaching the beginning of the story itself so I like when this all fits on the one page together. I also dislike images in Ebooks so avoid these also. If you are going to create an Ebook then I would advise you to read a couple – it won’t take long before you see what kinds of things could be irritating to a reader.

The copyright section – which looks better if centred – should contain something like “Published by (author name/publisher name) at Smashwords” or alternatively, “Smashwords Edition.” You can say something like also published on Kindle (or wherever) but you should always name that particular copy as published on Smashwords. You are allowed to mention if it is published in print.

Some people like to link to some other books they have published on Smashwords, to their author page, their website or their blog. A lot of people seem to put this on their copyright page. Others show this information at the end of the book. If people enjoy your story then they may be keen to read more of your work so it is a good idea to give them some kind of contact information. Obviously, Smashwords aren’t keen on people linking to their competitors.

If you aren’t sure how to hyperlink to other web pages in your document, this is how I did it. I copied the website address, typed the title of it into the document (for example, my blog) then highlighted this title, right clicked and selected hyperlink then pasted the web address into the space provided. It looks much nicer and more professional than using a full web address.

Now you need to add a license statement to your copyright page. Smashwords books are DRM free so they have no copy protection or encryption. DRM can be a pain for purchasers but without it, you’ll have to trust people not to pirate your work. Adding a license statement is a bit of hint to prevent accidental piracy. There are two statement examples in the style guide, one for authors who don’t want people to share their work and another for those who are open to people sharing the book with their friends. You can use either of these statements or adjust one of them to make it personal.

Follow the style guide as much as possible, there is so much information (as well as examples) that formatting your book for submission won’t be as complicated as it may sound.

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>Code for Free Ebook

>Smashwords are having some technical difficulties with the 100% off promotion code for Read an Ebook Week. While they are working on it, I’ve generated an additional code that can be used to purchase A Little Girl in my Room & Other Stories for free.

Type EF96D into the space provided before checking out and this Ebook will be free.

If there are any other books you would like to download for free but are having trouble with, just give it a few hours or try again tomorrow. I’m sure the issue will be sorted asap.

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>Smashwords Premium Catalog

>Today, I noticed that my book, A Little Girl in my Room & Other Stories was accepted into Smashwords Premium Catalog. I was surprised by how quickly that happened, I had been expecting to wait for weeks and I didn’t think I would be accepted without making some changes. I had planned to list that particular book as free on Smashwords but I was under the impression it had to have a list price in order to be accepted to the Premium Catalog but I’ll have to double check that now. Take a quick look at how Smashwords distributes Ebooks for a little more information.

The Premium Catalog is basically a list of Ebooks that are sent to some major online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony and Kobo. The requirements seem to be based on formatting and including a correct copyright page but I’m not sure if the books are reviewed manually or not before they are accepted onto this catalog. Now, what happens to the books after they reach these retailers is another thing, it could take months to actually be listed on their site and I’m not even sure if this is guaranteed but I don’t think it hurts to be part of this especially if the buzz around Ebooks continues to grow.

If you update your book, you may have to be reviewed again to remain a part of the Premium Catalog. Likewise, if the formatting requirements are altered in any way, then books that don’t update to include these changes could be taken off this list. It’s worth keeping an eye on.

I think some people might be wary of Smashwords overall. But, personally, I’ve found it slightly more author friendly than say Amazon. The rules are clearer and the royalty rates contrast drastically in Smashwords’ favour. Of course, Smashwords doesn’t have the huge client base that Amazon boasts but I imagine that a lot of the people who self publish ebooks on Smashwords support their peers here. People who are specifically looking for cheap or free Ebooks are more likely to have success on Smashwords than Amazon.

On that note, Amazon’s policies and rules are very unclear. My book was approved for Amazon too but I updated it to contain the changes I made specifically for Smashwords. I thank Smashwords for that learning curve because a lot of their common sense formatting rules were things that I hadn’t even thought of. My book looks much better than before because they had a set list of requirements. As opposed to Amazon – I’m not even sure why my book was accepted in the first place or why the price was increased dramatically. Still, the whole process has been an interesting one and it will (hopefully) make things easier for me when it is time for a full length novel of mine to appear.

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>Read an Ebook Week

>Today is the first day of Read an Ebook Week. To celebrate, a promotion is now running on Smashwords. Lots of books are at a discount or completely free (like mine) so make the most of it and get downloading. Check out the 100% free books on Smashwords and see what you think.

A Little Girl in My Room & Other Stories is just one of many books that are free this week. Take advantage of the special offers and stock up on some ebooks this week. And if you find a new great read then please share!

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>Submitting to Smashwords – Part One

>I decided that the best way to learn about the process of self publishing an ebook was to take part. I threw together a small collection of short stories to use as my first “experiment” and decided to upload it to both the Amazon Digital Text Platform and Smashwords. As the Amazon one takes a few days to be accepted or rejected, I’ll focus on Smashwords today. This post is pretty general but I’ll be going more in-depth in certain areas with later posts.

First things first, I made an account at Smashwords then clicked on Publish in the tab list. (I also checked out their terms and conditions and various other bits of information but more on that some other time). You can fill in all of the information straight away and upload but you are advised to check out the Smashwords Style Guide. This is very useful and although the information seemed daunting at first – purely because there is so much of it – it is very readable and clear. It is designed to avoid poorly formatted books on the Smashwords site.

The book advises you to try and format your document yourself but if you’re unable to, they provide lists of people who will do it for cheap as well as a more expensive option. I don’t think you should pay for this at all – it is so easy to do once you take it a step at a time. It might be a little time consuming the first time but you might as well learn what is involved for future reference.

Moving on to the actual formatting. The Smashwords Style Guide lists the six most common formatting mistakes. They include improper indenting, too many paragraph spaces, overly large fonts, multiple paragraph styles and a complete lack of paragraph spacing. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with any of these but I know that other people like to have their writing laid out in certain ways. This doesn’t always work for a document that is about to be converted into numerous different files. It has to remain readable for each mode so plain and simple is the way to go here.

Some of the common mistakes that cause a book to be rejected from the Premium Catalog involve the Index/Contents page and the Copyright page. Basically, you can’t show page numbers on the Index because page numbers completely change when the document you upload is converted. You also can’t include page numbers or headers and footers in your document. The copyright page has to include certain information but they give you samples to use – it isn’t hard and it takes minutes to make these adjustments. It’s worth taking the time to do it right.

There is a lot of good information in the Style Guide. It devotes some pages to the limitations of their conversion methods. For example, charts and tables are unreliable and may not appear as intended. Moving on to the book cover reveals that it cannot be square shaped but it is recommended to upload one. They offer to send you a list of people who will create a cover for a low amount but they also recommend a free picture editing program to try out. I used this – it was very easy to change the royalty free image I used, to add text and to change the size to the Smashwords requirements.

Next time I’ll concentrate on the copyright page and linking to your blog/other work/Smashwords author profile within your book.

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>Free Book Promotion at Smashwords

>From the 7th of March for one week only, my collection of short stories will be available for free at Smashwords! At the checkout stage, simply type in the promotion code RFREE and get the whole book for free.

The collection is a group of grim, grisly and supernatural tales. Download a free sample now or wait until the 7th to download A Little Girl In My Room & Other Stories for free.

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>Starting Point

>Things are changing. Traditional forms of communication, publishing and even promoting authors have been updated in multiple ways. It’s harder for hard working authors to persuade publishers and even agents to read their work – publishers seem to be more wary of new talent and the end story is that writers and readers are suffering. Do readers want stories that are commercially successful? Not exactly. They want frequent strong stories by great authors. They don’t care if a book makes money, not really.

The growing popularity of E-readers and Kindle – not to mention the cheapest e-books imaginable becoming the most popular – proves this. People want entertainment they can afford. Convenience. And most of all they want a choice. I want to explore the opportunities out there while at the same time improving my own writing skills. I want to find the newest stories that never got a chance in the paper world but are blowing away the online world. Writers have started to cut out publishers and are doing it for themselves. Yes, there are badly written books but readers don’t take this lightly – their critical reviews make sure that the best books are seen. Feedback is a beautiful thing and we’re all going to benefit from it.

The future of literature has already started. Be a part of it.

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