Book marketinge-booksformatting

Charlotte Collins Goes through the Meatgrinder

As I type this blog entry, Charlotte Collins–the second impression with minor corrections and new hyperlinked table of contents (which I’m told will work only in certain ebook formats)–is going through the Meatgrinder, the affectionate name given to Smashwords’ automated system for ebook file creation and distribution. Once the process is complete, Charlotte will be available as an ebook for the same low price at many more outlets, including Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the Apple iBookstore.

So far, I have found this process to be relatively painless, and coming from someone who really, really, really did not want to learn anything about html, that’s saying something.

Here are a couple of hints for making this process as painless as possible.

  • As you write your novel, make the format as simple as possible. That means no fancy pre-packaged charts or bulleted lists. Use standard book fonts, such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Don’t do anything fancy with the template. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
  • Read the Smashwords Style Guide. I wish I could say that it was a fun read, but it gets the job done. I wish it were a bit more concise, but it is by far the best resource for learning to format any ebook, including those intended for non-Smashwords distributors.

And there you have it, in less than the time it took for me to write this blog, Charlotte Collins is available on Smashwords and will be distributed to many other channels pending review for the premium catalog. But the cool thing is that you can already download the same files you’d get from Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, or the iBookstore at Smashwords.

2 thoughts on “Charlotte Collins Goes through the Meatgrinder

  1. Jennifer – I love the byline of your blog:) I admire you so much for stepping out and writing your own book. That is definitely something I have yet to attempt. It sounds like Smashwords is the way to go when I decide to try it! I am going to share this with a few people I know are struggling with this process. Thanks for the advice and good luck on selling your book!

  2. Hi Jennifer!

    Wow! Writing a novel! What an accomplishment and it sounds like it is going really well.

    Thanks for sharing some of the nitty-gritty technical details with us. It is often these issues that can trip us up more than the actual creative process. With your help, I think we will all live to tell about it!

    Mentor Mama

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