After I found the Smashwords site, I downloaded Mark Coker’s Style Guide. The book “offers simple step-by-step instructions to create, format and publish an ebook.” I took the time to read it front to back.
The night I decided to do the formatting, I sat with the guide opened in my Nook and went page by page until I came to sections that pertained to me. I took their advice and changed the style to first-line indents. I turned on the show/hide for paragraphs and formatting and made a fast pass through the book. I was surprised to see that I had several forced page returns rather than a simple return indicating the end of a paragraph.
It wasn’t noted in the style guide, but after perusing sites regarding formatting, I happened upon a discussion of one space or two after a sentence. The resounding opinion, especially from editors, was one space. My default has always been two, and it’s going to take a long time to break that habit, so I had to do a find/replace on two spaces to one space.
There was one section where it very clearly stated DO NOT USE both first line indents and the block style. It was even repeated and noted as one of the most common errors made. I was good there because I had already set up the first-line indents.
The step-by-step guide to building the linked Table of Contents was great. Even though a bit time-consuming, it was easy and turned out right the first time. After that, it was simple to add the front matter, information about upcoming books at the end, and embed a cover picture at the beginning.
It was time. I was going to publish my first eBook. I filled out all the necessary information, held my breath, and pushed the button. I could see it going through the Smashwords meatgrinder. Everything was great and all conversions made, but the AutoVetter had a problem. My heart sank.
The notice said I used both first-line indents and the block style. If Microsoft Word wasn’t so foreign to me, maybe it would have been easier, but I finally found that I hadn’t changed the after (paragraph) spacing to 0. I made the changes and hit REPUBLISH. Everything was fine now.
Until my husband looked at the sample a few days later and found an error just a few pages in! The word “looked” should have been “look.” A spell-checker wouldn’t have found it, and proofreaders glossed over it as well. REPUBLISH! A week later I found an error in the description for the book. A word in the title was changed, and I forgot to change it in the description. REPUBLISH!
Sunshine Hunter was republished four times before I left the poor thing alone. It finally made its way into the Smashwords premium catalog and is slowly being distributed to their outlets.
Formatting was easier than I thought it would be. I’m grateful Mark Coker put a book out there to assist authors, and I’m especially grateful for the link that reads: Upload New Version.