The Meatgrinder from Hell, or Smashwords and the Writer…

Yesterday instead of writing on my latest novel I took time to assist other writers and authors with what I have found regarding Word and Grammarly.

Tonight, instead of working on my 26th book I thought I would spend a little time to assist my fellow authors with Smashwords.

Firstly, Yuck!

Ok, I am better now, Smashwords was the first e-publishing site I used and the first to sell my work of more than 6000 words.

To break into this field, I think writing for magazines is a good introductory torture test.  Before that, I wrote for newsletters, and I wrote training courses for technical stuff.

After the premature death of Stargate  Universe, I was pissed.  I loved Rush and most of the characters on there, but more than that, I loved the concept.

If you followed the series, the writers were hitting a dry spell, and one could tell it.  It happens in the best of series, and it is evident when the episodes start to mimic each other over and over again.  I would bring in new writers often to keep something going, but what do I know?

Wait, I know a lot, I worked at an advertising agency which was also a PR firm.  All too often we sought the counsel of others outside our teams.

Fan Fiction started me writing more than stories of 6000 words.  I was so upset with the way that they ended the series that I decided to breathe new life into it. I did.  As I started on the ten thousandth word I thought, man; I am wasting some good juice!

File, Close, don’t save, were my next actions.

Under Roswell started that night.

Four years of working on a novel while working a day job was a challenge.  Under Roswell up till recently has been my number one seller.  The Saga of the Starduster has passed it by a huge margin, and a quick thank you to those of you that are one of my readers.

Twenty-five and a half novels since the end of Stargate Universe and I am still a creative beast.  We writers spend much time in our little worlds and those of us who have a family, know this to be true.

Smashwords is not one of the easiest places to publish.

The process by which your material is blended with their program to make a cohesive manuscript is cumbersome.

I use the latest Microsoft Word for editing and creating my books.  I tried some programs sold by people who think that they know what you need or want but, either they did not work as promised or were kludgy to use, or were not stable.  I won’t mention names but, save your money and stick with Word.

No program for $39.95 is going to compete with Word.  Prove me wrong, and I will write a blog about how great your program is.   To date, I have looked, and it is not in existence.  Full disclosure, I have not tried the “free” office programs.  If you have, tell me (us) about them.

As far as Smashwords is concerned here is the easiest way I have found to get your stuff published without too much of a headache.

Create your document as if you were going to upload it to Amazon.  Use your heading1, so you have a way to navigate quickly to your chapter starting points.  Smashwords tells you not to do this. Bunk!

Here is the trick…

Before you start the arduous task of creating the TOC, per Smashwords…Save your document as word 2003 version.

From that document, now open it up, take your table of contents that you created with Word, highlight it, CTRL-X, and paste it into notepad.

Now CTRL-C it, from notepad back to where it belongs in your document.  This will clear out all of the crap that word stores in it.

Now, Using your navigation tabs that Smashwords does not want you to have, create bookmarks to every chapter heading.  Without your navigation aids, you will have to scroll through your entire document which I found can make one dizzy.

Insert, Highlight the heading, click bookmark, and type some abbreviation to the chapter heading.

Do not use CH1 or 2 or so on as once again, they tell you to do.

Once you have bookmarks created, that you recognize as the chapter headings, then go to your TOC and create hyperlinks.

From top to bottom, create a hyperlink from the TOC to the corresponding bookmark.

If you follow their advice about CH1 through X  all too often, you will get confused, and the chapters will not match up with the correct bookmarks.  Your mileage may vary but in 20 odd novels what I just did, works well.

Now, when you are happy with it, save it once again with a different REV number so if there is a screw-up, you can go back to the previous version.

Once uploaded to Smashwords and it tells you congratulations yada yada go and download your creation to an  EPUB.  It will open with Edge probably.

Go to your TOC and check the links to make sure that they all work.

With this last upload of Saga of the Starduster only the first few links worked.  Hmmmm

They all worked in word?

I did the creation of the TOC in word 2013 instead of the 2003 version of the document.

There were no hidden anything in the bookmarks, which is something else to watch for.

Going back to the start, I did the process I just told you about in the 2003 version, and it worked fine.

Now, juxtapose this upload with Amazon… Are you ready?

Too many try to get authors to pay them to do this for them.  I can understand the frustration especially with the meatgrinder from hell but… Amazon ????

Create your manuscript as you normally would.

Create your TOC as you normally would using the references tab.

Save your document as Webpage, filtered with the name of the book and rev number.

Upload it in your normal way.  Viola works every time!  The first time it works!

Now, Amazon might come back and tell you that it found a misspelled word or two but you can choose to ignore them if you like.

I cannot, I go and fix them and re-upload.

Smashwords does not tell you if you have misspelled words.  Smashwords will tell you if it does not like your formatting or any number of other things that did not work right for one reason or another.  In short, the sigh of relief takes hours, if not days with Smashwords.

Draft 2 Digital, a competitor to them, takes your work in just about any format and creates all that stuff for you.

Why am I taking the time to elucidate on this?

Firstly, I am doing it for you my friends, followers, and fellow authors.  If I can make life easier for you, and your efforts, I am happy to do it.

Secondly, Smashwords started me on this road to self-publishing, and I would like them to ramp up what they are doing.  If Draft 2 Digital can take my raw manuscript and make it look good with little effort on my part, that leaves me to do what???? Write, and not try to figure out why the meatgrinder pooped out my document to now resemble El Torro De Poopoo !

Amazon is responsible for 70% of all e-publishing sales.  Smashwords will not upload your books to Amazon until you sell over $2K worth if that has not changed.  You can upload it yourself and beat the crowd.

About 85% of all my sales are from Amazon or Kindle Unlimited.

Barns and Nobles and Apple along with Smashwords make up the last 15%.

The founder of Smashwords rightly points out that a new author may not sell $10 worth the first year.

Your pen name is your brand, and you must get your brand out there.

I actively market my work on social media and that is what I am working on when not working my day job, or writing.

If you like this information guys, follow me!  Share me (or my work) by clicking on one of these buttons.

I will be expounding on marketing later, and I would love your input.  To make this worth my time and effort, I need many more followers, so do your part!

There are many pearls of wisdom here, and we can talk about so many different aspects of writing or publishing or what have you.

Those of you who are following me here, Thanks so much!

If you have read any of my books, Thanks!  They are selling nicely worldwide but, to quit the day job I need at least one of the 25 to go viral.  If one goes viral, many of the rest will follow.

Those of you who have contacted me through the website know that I really care about working with other authors.

Join me and the others, as we struggle to make our mark on the world through the literary process!

Much Love  -TW

Author: AuthorTWScott

Author, Writer, Artist, Graphic Artist ... Over 32 published novels crossing many genres.

One thought on “The Meatgrinder from Hell, or Smashwords and the Writer…”

  1. Great article. My job included writing briefing notes for politician. I figure nothing can beat that for boring since the grunts in their offices love to send back your work and say they don’t like this or that but give you absolutely no idea what they might want. I am hoping all this will provide me with the experience…and the patience to deal with self-publication.

    Liked by 1 person

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