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Old 03-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
Justin Nemo
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To Smash or not to Smash

Can anyone give me some genuine comments re Smashwords? I've heard a lot of horror stories about how hard it is to work through their submission forms that it's putting me off. I've used Ivanovella and that was quite easy, so I'm not sure if the trouble of going through Smashwords would be worth it.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:11 AM   #2
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Moved to the Writers' forum.
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:25 PM   #3
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There must be a thread every two days about this... Look... It is simple. Now before the naysayers get here, let me give you a couple of positives.

Smashwords allows you a no hassle one stop distribution point to Kobo, Apple, eDiesel, Sony, Barnes & Noble and Barker & Taylor (which gets you into library's). That is the power behind SW there distribution, because you will rarely get a sale direct from the website. Now given if you are in the USA you can go to B&N via Pubit direct, which I recommend. They do this for pennies on the backend including providing a free ISBN.

Now, you have to format your document via there style guide. After writing your book it really isn't that hard to do and actually gives you are clean format that you can port into pubit and kdp. Remember fancy styling is nice, but you are working on a compromise that fits all screens.

Good luck in your search, in the end you it is up to you choose an option that you feel works for you.
Arigato,
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:40 PM   #4
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Find one you like the look of, download the RTF, and use that as a template. If you use Word, it should pick up the paragraph styles used from that so you can just paste your stuff into it and apply them.

It takes about a week before you find out if it's passed the test or not, then another few weeks before it appears on the other sites. If you fail the test it just stays on Smashwords, which is only really useful for free stories because that's all people go there looking for.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post
Find one you like the look of, download the RTF, and use that as a template. If you use Word, it should pick up the paragraph styles used from that so you can just paste your stuff into it and apply them.

It takes about a week before you find out if it's passed the test or not, then another few weeks before it appears on the other sites. If you fail the test it just stays on Smashwords, which is only really useful for free stories because that's all people go there looking for.
What you are oddly not saying here is Smashwords will let you know what problem there is with the formatting and ask you to resubmit it. The way you've worded this is you only get one chance to get it right. My first submission I had a couple of errors and resubmitted it after cleaning it up, then it went through no problem.

Since then I've had zero trouble with my formatting, even submitting a graphic novel and an illustrated children's tale via Meatgrinder. So it can be done with a little patience and common sense.
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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So am I the only one who found it easier to just write in Notepad, and then compile the style sheet in OpenOffice? I've never had an error from Smashwords unless I'd accidentally saved it as an .odt instead of a .doc. And when that happens, just resave it in the correct format.

Either way, compiling the style sheet isn't that hard. I end up creating the Normal style by hand, and then base the Centered style off it. The Heading 1 (since BookieJar specifically looks for a style named Heading 1) is based off Centered. Its actually harder to go down and find every single instance of Centered, than to compile the sheet.

On Linux, it helps to install the Microsoft core fonts redistributable.

Last edited by teh603; 03-10-2012 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:54 AM   #7
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Wow I didn't realise that your replies would be so passionate, but then you are writers right!

OK so here's the thing, it looks like you have to submit to Smashwords in .doc format is that correct?

I guess I was dragged into the writing business with the word plagiarism stamped on my butt or something, because I've always been warned about protecting your work. With that in mind, I've formed the habit of finalising in a secured PDF and more recently .mobi format, which Ivanovella convert for free. Are either of these acceptable to Smashwords? I know that there is no real way to guard against this, but I guess you have to try.

Sorry if this sounds like a lazy way for me to find out about SM, but experience always counts and it might also help others who are not too sure.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altworld View Post
What you are oddly not saying here is Smashwords will let you know what problem there is with the formatting and ask you to resubmit it. The way you've worded this is you only get one chance to get it right. My first submission I had a couple of errors and resubmitted it after cleaning it up, then it went through no problem.

Since then I've had zero trouble with my formatting, even submitting a graphic novel and an illustrated children's tale via Meatgrinder. So it can be done with a little patience and common sense.
Arigato,
Nick Davis
I agree. This has been identical to my experience recently using Smashwords for the first time. Once you have the formatting requirements locked down, getting your submission through the process really is quite a painless process.

It's like most new things - once you've mastered the basics, it becomes second nature.

Last edited by SRH59; 03-11-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altworld View Post
What you are oddly not saying here is Smashwords will let you know what problem there is with the formatting and ask you to resubmit it. The way you've worded this is you only get one chance to get it right. My first submission I had a couple of errors and resubmitted it after cleaning it up, then it went through no problem.
True, but then you will need to wait another week to see if it's worked. They're not always precise about what you've failed for though. One I had a while ago failed because I didn't have an author name on the cover image, but the error message said it was missing from the copyright page. Another failed because the title was in all caps (it was an acronym, so it looks stupid in lower case).
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Nemo View Post

I guess I was dragged into the writing business with the word plagiarism stamped on my butt or something, because I've always been warned about protecting your work. With that in mind, I've formed the habit of finalising in a secured PDF and more recently .mobi format, which Ivanovella convert for free. Are either of these acceptable to Smashwords? I know that there is no real way to guard against this, but I guess you have to try.
Protect against what? Doesn't matter what you do, once you put it online it's there for everyone to see.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Nemo View Post
I guess I was dragged into the writing business with the word plagiarism stamped on my butt or something, because I've always been warned about protecting your work. With that in mind, I've formed the habit of finalising in a secured PDF and more recently .mobi format, which Ivanovella convert for free. Are either of these acceptable to Smashwords? I know that there is no real way to guard against this, but I guess you have to try.
PDF is the last format in the world that you should consider for an eBook. It's not an eBook format, and cannot sensibly be converted to any other format. Avoid PDF like the plague.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:19 AM   #12
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Thanks for that Harry. What format would you say was the best?
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:31 AM   #13
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Thanks for that Harry. What format would you say was the best?
The two standard eBook formats used today are Mobipocket (for the Kindle) and ePub (for everything else).

But, as has been said, the Smashwords "meatgrinder" only accepts Microsoft Word "doc" files, and will automatically convert that to whatever format the reader requests.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:25 PM   #14
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PDF is the last format in the world that you should consider for an eBook. It's not an eBook format, and cannot sensibly be converted to any other format. Avoid PDF like the plague.
Disagree. A tagged PDF (set when converting) can be reformatted and read on a proper PDF reader (usually an Adobe product; third-party readers are notoriously lax in reading tagged docs properly) on almost any device. I read tagged PDFs on my smartphone regularly, and even more often on my Nook Color. And people reading ebooks on PCs and laptops, in PDF, are still a major segment of ebook readers.

There's nothing wrong with a properly-created PDF.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:27 PM   #15
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Disagree. A tagged PDF (set when converting) can be reformatted and read on a proper PDF reader (an Adobe product) on almost any device. I read tagged PDFs on my smartphone regularly, and even more often on my Nook Color. And people reading ebooks on PCs and laptops, in PDF, are still a major segment of ebook readers.

There's nothing wrong with a properly-created PDF.
Yes, but the previous poster is intending to use PDF as a source for conversion to other book formats. That's an extraordinarily bad idea. PDF files don't contain text, and don't convert well to other formats. PDF should be regarded purely as a "terminal format", if you feel that you really must use it at all.
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