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Friday, October 28, 2011

 

Friday Speak Out!: Getting Started in E-books, Guest Post by Joy V. Smith

Getting Started in E-books

by Joy V. Smith

A friend introduced me to Smashwords, and with his help I recently published my first e-book, Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure. My friend, SF author and poet, Vincent Miskell, also designed the cover. Having a cover is essential for e-books, and I was wondering what to do until he volunteered to help me.

E-books need covers. Good covers. Attention-grabbing covers! My first cover was simple (he used my house photo), but for my second e-book, Hidebound, a "reprint" of one of my SF novellas, I experimented a lot, using Hornil StylePix for a photo editor. I had help from my computer guru with that, plus my experimenting and learning. Btw, I got my cover photo for Hidebound by searching public domain photos; it's from NASA.

Smashwords is complicated. Not only did my friend create my first cover, he cleaned up that ms by using tools in Word, which is practically essential. You do need to read The Smashwords Style Guide to find out what's necessary and how to clean up your ms before it gets to the Meatgrinder and AutoVetter. I hired someone to clean up my Hidebound ms. The nuclear method (dragging it through Notepad) never worked for me. I don't have Word--just a menu that lets me choose Word.doc, so I don't have the Word tools! Smashwords submissions have to be Word.doc to fit all the e-reader formats--Kindle, Nook, etc.. (You have to work harder to get into the premium catalog, but you need to do that for better distribution.) And you have to proof read your published ms on epub afterwards. (It's all in the Style Guide.)

Some people recommend opting out of Kindle on Smashwords and submitting to Kindle directly so I did that. The ms submissions are easier for Kindle because it only has one format. As I said, Smashwords mss have to fit a variety of readers. (Check out that list!) I did have trouble submitting my cover to Kindle this time (but not last time), but I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. And my friend who introduced me to Smashwords answered a lot of my questions when I ran into problems. Now I'm taking a break and working on other things, but I have some e-books I do want to publish on Smashwords later.

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Joy V. Smith has been writing stories since she was a kid. Her stories and articles have been published in print magazines, webzines, and anthologies; and her SF has been published in two audiobooks, including Sugar Time. She lives in Florida with Blizzard the Snow Princess and Bryn the Flying Corgi,and she maintains three blogs: Her writing blog: http://pagadan.wordpress.com/ ; her media blog:
http://pagadan.livejournal.com/ and her house blog:
http://pagadan.blogspot.com/
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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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