Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Next Entry


I have a shiny edited file of the Goblin novella in my hot little hand.

I am trying to format it for self-pub.


I stripped everything out in a text editor and then Kevin said “Hey, you can do that much easier in Scrivener and it will compile it to ePub” and then we spent four hours figuring out how to do that and then I went to Smashwords and OH LOOK, THEY ONLY TAKE WORD DOCS.

So I spent the last two hours formatting the Word doc to go into Smashwords. Will it work? I don’t know. I’ll find out tomorrow, I guess.

I feel it is important to know how to do this so that I can either do it myself in the future or farm it out with a clear conscience forevermore. This is important. This is building character.

And at the moment, I would kinda like to set the entire Internet on fire and sow the ashes with salt and bleach and vinegar and maybe some Round-Up.

The next person who says that self-pub lets you have more control gets my laptop in their teeth. I have total control over this file, and you know what? IT SUCKS ALL THE ASS IN THE WORLD.

*muffled sobbing into gin bottle*

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

self-pubbing is like being skull fucked by a hedgehog-durian mutant.

And how many zillion things have you self-pubbed at this point? *grin*

If it is of ANY consolation, it gets easier each time. Truly, honestly, it does. It's become second-nature for me now.

The first time, I DID cry, and there WAS rum. The second time was about 60% less awful. The third time was only about 20% frustrating, the rest was boring, and since then it's been smooth sailing. It gets easier.

And yeah, "You have all the control!" Well, fine, but that means it's up to you to make sure the manuscript is properly formatted. It doesn't mean you can do anything you want.

I feel oddly better knowing this. I have literally been five minutes and a harsh word from tears all afternoon--at least it's not just me!

Flip side to more control is always more responsibility (and hassle). Pretty much universal truth.

I was going to say, this sounds like the difference between being a child and being an adult. Or between being an employee and being a small business owner. I can do all the things, now! Oh crap, that means that I'm doing ALL the things now.

I've been running a little side business for extra income, and it's been a LITTLE business because about twenty minutes into it I realized just how much effort it actually is to be manager, lawyer, accountant, marketing, customer service, human resources, and product development all at the same time. Mostly I did that just long enough to get some reliable accounts and I've been coasting along on them ever since.

A while back, the small business owner I'd been working for as my main job confessed that he had hopes that I would buy the business from him one day. I had a good laugh and told him that I'd learned from my side venture that I really, really liked turning up somewhere and having someone else responsible for handing me money as a result. Sure, I wish the place could be run a little differently sometimes, but it's not actually my responsibility to follow through on seeing it happen.

I hope it's a decent gin. Heaven forbid you should guzzle Gordons; it makes your tears corrosive.

Yes, Gordon's is a sign that you have lost the will to live.

Much sympathy. One good thing about going through this is that you do learn what to do while you're actually writing (styles, anyone?) that will make it much easier the next go round.

Except that styles in word are SUCH a pain.

(Graphic design snob. After learning document formatting in InDesign, word makes me want to pull my hair out and run screaming through the streets).

That is the downside of complete freedom, you have to figure everything out the hard way.

*** raids your refrigerator for ice cream ***

This is why I've never tried to self-publish. Too much effort.

Of course sending a million manuscripts (that one has to format just so as well!) off to a publisher is *also* too much effort, and I have no clue how to begin to get an agent to do any of that for you, so I've never tried to be conventionally published either.

I'm not quite sure if I'm the world's laziest writer (I mean... the world's laziest writer probably hasn't *actually* written anything, and I have three or four finished novels, depending on how you count) but I'm probably in the running for worst laziness to words written ratio.

Woman, that is no problem for gin.

*passes the whiskey*

it really DOES get easier every time. the first time i was in tears multiple times; the second time just once. the third time, no tears (although there was some muttering because kindle direct and smashwords files need to be different, grrrrr).

but yes, it willg get easier!

Thirded+ on the, "Easier with practice." The variety of tools for the variety of self-publisher locations are a complete pain in the arse, and I've been working in the e-publishing side of things on and off since 2002, but once you have familiarity with the tools needed by your specific platform, the process becomes far less hair-raising.

Too bad every person has to go through the whole learning curve. At some point, maybe some of the people who have already learned, will moonlight formatting other people's books.

Who's got time for that? The next book ain't gonna write itself.

That said, yeah, there are people who do that. But they tend to charge a living wage - ie, "more than the average self-publisher is willing to pay for their hobby project".

First time I had to format a story for self publishing, it took me about an hour, for just a short story. Now it takes me about 30 minutes to do a full novel. You get the hang of it, I swear! It also helps to learn how to find special characters in Word (like a hard enter is ^p) and do mass find-replaces. If Smashwords gives you trouble, it also helps to do a nuclear strip of Word's tags - copy-paste the entire document into Notepad, then back into Word.

I second that advice. I've not done self publishing, but I have done layout on dozens of program books. Anything anyone sends me gets run through notepad first, so that I don't have to fight hidden coding. Just remember to turn off word wrap, otherwise you end up with extra paragraph breaks at every line.

If so many people have done this, wept, railed and come through the other side tempered, why hasn't even *one* of them tried to profit from their experience by writing a "how-to" book that shows at lest the common mistakes and how to avoid/get out of them?

Well, Smashwords offers a free ebook on how to format books for Smashwords. But if you don't check what format they accept before you format your book, yeah, see the post. (This is the second time this month I came across someone who had that problem.)

This makes me wonder if anyone has come up with a preset to compile from Scrivener to Smashwords.

Google says... sorta. This guy seems to have the easiest way, if you already have Calibre installed it's worth a shot. Otherwise, most people seem to be talking about making a compile preset themselves that does all the fiddly bits than Smashwords wants for the .doc file (line spacing, page breaks, fonts) and having an alternate set of front matter to include specifically for Smashwords.

If I ever finish a novel I'm sure I'll tear my hair out and start drinking when I have to do this myself.

FUCK BUILDING CHARACTER. If a third of the stuff that was supposed to Build Character actually worked I would be Abraham Lincoln by now.

Do a search for Simon's Cat. (LJ labels my link to it as spam.) It's available on YouTube. It helps.