Okay, it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared to publish on Smashwords, and I now have a novel available in a number of formats from that site:
Yes, And… on Smashwords
After reading ‘the’ guide for releasing a book on Smashwords and going ‘yuck’ at the thought of formatting my novels in Word, I found a guide that showed how to do it for Open Office. I was already doing most of what is advised–basically don’t get fancy with the word processing capabilities although I used ‘Text body’ not ‘Default’ and ‘Heading 3’ not ‘Heading 2.’
So I converted the paragraph types, removed extra carriage returns and converted it to my Kindle to look at it. I found that the first paragraph in each chapter wasn’t indented. So I had to go back and remove the spacing after the ‘Heading 2’ tag and put in an explicit carriage return after each chapter heading. I know some books start the first paragraph on the left, but I think that’s a carry-over from when the first letter was done in a fancy style. I’ve seen that imitated on ebooks and I think it looks dumb. I want to read the words, not admire how they’re displayed.
After I converted all my ‘text body’ paragraphs to ‘default,’ I realized that I’d lost all my italics. I went looking through an earlier version of the document, and couldn’t find any italics except in the beginning and ending section. For years on Critique Circle I’ve been saying that Italics aren’t needed as much as many people use them. I’ve always thought the words themselves should say what is needed without requiring special emphasis in the formatting. Although when quoting something, or using a foreign language I do use italics, but luckily I didn’t have any of that in “Yes, And…” So, I didn’t actually lose italics. I’m trying to only think about this one book, and not how much extra non-writing work releasing it on Smashwords requires, or how instead of having one version, I’m starting to have three which makes the software developer inside of me quiver in shame.
The Smashwords version doesn’t have a good table of contents, since my chapters don’t start with Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. But, this is the only book that doesn’t use Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc, so I may just live with it. Or I’ll fiddle with the word file that I had to upload. But for a bit, I may bask in having a novel up on Smashwords. (And five released on my website.)