Thursday, June 20, 2013

Adventures In Formatting!

Hi everyone. As you may, or may not, have noticed I didn't post last week. But I have a good excuse.
I was formatting. What's that? Oh I have a tale to tell my friends.
What I'm doing is reformatting all of my books because I've improved them a bit. You see when I first started publishing I had no idea what I was doing so I kept it simple by posting on Amazon, then added on Barnes and Noble. By the way, thank all of you who took a chance on a new author.
Well now I've decided to branch out so I'm publishing on Smashwords who will distribute to other publishers, but I have to get the formatting just as they need it because they all use different formats and Smashwords has to be able to convert the book into all those different formats. I am doing the publishing myself on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I'm trying to get Kobo to cooperate, but I'm still set to "publishing" even after the 72 hour maximum. So I may have to rethink that and let Smashwords do it. What do you guys think?
Because here is where the formatting can get tricky.
You see Amazon, who Smashwords does not distribute to, is able to convert the formatting used for Smashwords. So did the Barnes and Noble publishing site called Pubit, but Pubit is in the process of being changed to Nook Press and Nook Press (although it will convert your existing stuff just fine) wants everything converted to the Epub format by their conversion process. I think. However, it apparently is not the same as the Epub format that publisher Kobo uses. Because Kobo...well Kobo has its own way of doing things.
Now to the actual formatting. The easy way to go is Microsoft Word, because they all can convert it. They also like the Normal Style in Word. Remember that one, Normal Stiye is your best friend in formatting. However, the other commands tend to vary.
You see most everyone likes the paragraph breaks, except Kobo who wants a soft paragraph break. Did you know there was a soft paragraph break?   Anyway, most publishers also like the hard page break, except the Epub publishers who need the Style Break. Really, there is something called a Style Break. And never, EVER use the Tab key or space bar to indent. Use the paragraph command to indent the first line. That’s another one they all like.
I didn't even know Word had all of these commands!
Also I bought a new computer and I had to buy Word 2013. Good program, but the instructions for the publishing sites only go to the 2010 version. Now the commands are the same, but Microsoft has put them in a different place in itheir new version. AGAIN.
So to make a long story longer, I didn’t post last week because I had to remove my formatting I had originally set up, and replace it with the format each of the publishers need. Not their fault, I just had to do it several times, which can make you a little cranky, and I didn’t think anyone would need to hear from a cranky poster.
Now I've got my first four books in Smashwords, but although books two and four have been approved for distribution to other sites books one and three are still pending. The only problem with that is book one I'm making free and I need that to go out so I can set up my book launch for book number five (I've never done a book launch before so forgive me if I do wrong). Also it's the only Amazon will post it for free.AND I can't upload book 5 until that happens.
To be fair Smashwords does say it up to 7 to 10 days, but book number 4 got approved overnight. How did that happen?
Maybe I'm just being impatient, but I need that freebie! Although you can get it for free on Smashwords itself.
So if anyone ever decides they want write and publish on the internet, and you love to frustrate yourself, use Microsoft Word in the Normal Style, stick with Times Roman Font at 11 or 12, and keep the formatting as simple as you can because you're going to need to change it depending on which publishers you use.
The good thing about all of this is that I am now sure I know how to do it for the different sites.
Except Kobo, they make me nervous. I thought I had their formatting code cracked, but they don't seem to want to take me live. So maybe I should just let Smashwords distribute to them. If they ever approve my other two books.
You know I really want to get back to writing.

4 comments:

  1. I admire your tenacity, Cindy! Another tip - in order to get a book up on Nook for free (they won't do it) is to allow Smashwords to list it there. Go to Channel Manager to do this. Now, your freebie will be listed along with the one for sale (which can be confusing) but you can either leave it up and someone might buy it, or delete it and have only the Smashwords version up. I hesitate to do this because I have a review and info on the paid site. I have to figure out how to get SW to include my bio and other stuff that didn't link before I do this. When you promote the freebie as a Nook Book you have to be careful and use the free link.
    ~Nancy Jill

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  2. Gosh Cindy--The whole process is SO confusing. I still have some formatting kinks in Moving Tales and can't seem to shake 'em. Hope you get all your approvals ASAP!

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  3. Well things are looking up! Smashwords approved the last two. I had removed the free book from Barnes and Noble so Smashwords could just do the freebie. Kobo also let me know they were having issues so they asked me to reload my books, so I didn't do anything wrong after all. I'll tell you how that one works out.
    What kind of problems are you having Linda? Like I said I spent a few HOURS on this so I've gotten pretty good at it. Also, I do like to play the game of "I will figure it out". Not everybody likes that game.
    Now all I have to do is fix up my fifth book and get the launch done, which will probably just me telling everyone it is ready. Like I said I've never done a launch before.
    By the way I figured out a way to make my next book "Chasing Lady Midnight" (yes it will be full book) a cozy. A cozy mystery with superheroes? What can I say? I DARE to be different!

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  4. @Nancy Jill--All of your old reviews etc. will transfer from the paid version of the book to the smashwords distributed version! :)

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