If you are thinking of self-publishing but have yet to dive in then one issue you will confront is formatting your document so it can be downloaded into one of the platforms you will be using to launch your baby on an unsuspecting world as an ebook. You may well want to launch a print on demand version too; who doesn’t like to hold their own book? But here I want to consider an issue about the ebook.
Before formatting, two preliminary thoughts.
First, I truly hope you have taken seriously the need to edit, edit, edit and especially have someone else check it for all those rogue typos and grammatical horrors that you cannot spot yourself.
Second you will need to give a lot of thought to the perfect cover art and, hopefully, used a cover designer to bring your ideas to life – one great advantage of using a cover designer is they will understand formatting the picture for you so you can download it into the platform or platforms you intend using.
You are ready, aren’t you? You just download your manuscript and ‘Bingo’ you can launch.
Well first there’s the platform to consider and most of you, whatever you feel about the behemoth that is Amazon, know you cannot ignore Kindle as a platform. However, in my view, until you are experienced, they are not the most user friendly when it comes to helping you make the interior look great. My first attempts left me with blank pages, an interactive table of contents that picked up all sorts of random parts of the book as well individual chapters and a final section where the margins cut off some of the contents. I spent ages reworking my word version, re-downloading yet another version, while listening to know-alls bleating about the benefits of Scrivener (know this early; I am not a Scrivener fan – I tried, really and it didn’t work for me – and anyway I do not want to pay when, these days, I have found it easy to go straight from Word).
You see, someone mentioned Smashwords. Through this free-to-use platform, assuming you can format your book in a way which meets their exacting standards, you will be added to their premium catalogue and through that have access to iBooks/iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and others as well as being provided with a ubiquitous .epub version of your book that is the basic template for ebooks (alongside the .mobi that Kindle use).
So how do you bring that about?
Some of you will instinctively style well and will be able to download straight away and pass through the Smashwords Meat-grinders. The rest, like me, will have some problem or other, as I had with Kindle. If you’re confident then download and see what it says. Does it pass auto-vetting; does it conform to premium catalogue status?
If it doesn’t then help is at hand with the simplicity that is a free to use Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. It takes your document right back to basics by getting you to strip out all formatting. This is what he calls the nuclear option, which might seem terrifying but, believe me, it works and the (small amount of) pain is worth it.
He will take you through each step: how to separate out chapters, how to have different styles for the boiler plate, the chapter headings etc; and how to create a clean and tidy interactive Table of Contents.
And when you have such a clean and neat manuscript; well it’s ready to go into Kindle as well and it looks marvellous. Which is a double win.
The proof is as the say in the reading; why don’t you buy my book and decide for yourself!!
Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since.
When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com.
He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls.
He also cooks with passion if not precision.
Buster & Moo
With their relationship under pressure, is adopting a dog the best decision for Mervin and Landen? As they adapt to fit the animal into their busy lives a chance encounter with Dave and Sheri, the dog’s previous owners, develops into something more and the newfound friendship is tested to the limits.
Life is complicated when Landen loses her job following the discovery of her affair with a colleague and then she becomes involved in a police investigation into alleged money laundering and drug dealing at her old firm. She tries desperately to keep the sordid truth from Mervin as events begin to spiral out of control.
As the four lives overlap and criss-cross the one constant is their shared love of the dog named Moo. But the problems mount up. While Sheri and Mervin grow close as they struggle to help each other, it is the unlikely alliance between Sheri and Landen that leads to the dramatic climax. However, there is only room for one hero in this story – who will it be?
Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.
This 30 story anthology covers many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015
Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.