Friday, September 16, 2011
I am also happy to say that it was very easy. I had already registered accounts as a buyer with both Smashwords and Amazon, as a customer, and they don’t require any further steps to register as a publisher.
The important thing with publishing on Smashwords is to set up your document properly. Follow the Style Guide. Keep your document simple, using only one or two standard fonts, and don’t add extra elements like running headers and footers. Smashwords’ “Meat Grinder” formatting and publishing application will take care of that. And don’t add page breaks or extra tabs or hard returns (Enter), either.
You can add hyperlinks and images, as long as they’re embedded. You can also have a hyperlinked table of contents, which is essential for a longer, technical book, nice for long novels, but not necessary at all for a short story. If you want to include a ToC, make sure you follow the Style Guide carefully.
Smashwords demands that you put “Smashwords edition” or “Published by [publisher] on Smashwords” in the copyright information at the front of your book. The Style Guide also recommends that you add your author bio and photo at the end. I complied with their recommendation to add hyperlinks to my own website, blogs and Twitter account.
Don’t forget about an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This is essential for listing your book on some retailers’ sites, like Apple’s iBooks. You can get your own—I did—or you can go through Smashwords for that. Remember, every edition should have its own ISBN. I registered two numbers, one for the Smashwords edition and one for the Amazon edition. The rules governing ISBNs stipulate that you use different numbers for each format, which means MOBI (Amazon), PDF, LRF and so on. And another one for paper, as well. Smashwords automatically converts your manuscript into all the different electronic formats and, eventually, distributes them to different retailers in the formats they require; however, it has no way of assigning different ISBNs to each of them, yet. If you want to follow the letter of the ISBN rules, then you’ll have to register your manuscript for each different version, get a different ISBN for each one, and then upload each one separately to Smashwords, selecting just one format for each ISBN. I did not do that, however. Maybe next time.
Finally, the cover. Save the image and and text—title, author, publisher, tags, etc.—into one JPEG file. Since it’s one image, you can use the craziest typeface you want. Smashwords associates the cover and document files and puts them together quite nicely.
Then, in the Smashwords publishing interface, all I had to do was fill in the information about title, format, uploading the cover image and uploading the document file. It took a few minutes for Smashwords to process the files, but I watched Boardwalk Empire on demand TV while I waited.
The last step was to update my publisher and author information. I added the same picture that I have on this blog and copied the bio from the back of the story, plus links to my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages and my blogs.
Done! My story was right there!
Next, the Amazon version. I copied the file, and saved it as a different version. I changed the ISBN for the Amazon version and took out the mentions of Smashwords. Then I logged into my account and selected “Self-publish with Us” at the bottom of the page. Follow the instructions, upload the cover and document files, update the author information, and it’s done. The interface notified me that it had successfully uploaded the files and that it would take 24 hours to appear on the catalog, but I found it this morning, maybe 13 hours later! Thanks, Amazon.
If you want to see (or buy) the story, you can go to http://smashwords.com/b/89276.
To view my Smashwords Author Profile, visit http://smashwords.com/profile/view/ScottBury
So, you see, it’s quite an easy process. Now the hard part, to promote it. I’ll keep you posted on how that is going, too.