When faced with a steep learning curve, we all handle it differently. I’m prone to be driven to tears, which makes me angry. When much younger, I’d attack the source of my frustration, often my new sewing machine when I was learning that craft, or a baking pan when I ruined a favorite cake recipe. It didn’t take long for me to learn that I had to clean up whatever mess I made, so it wasn’t worth tossing a crumbly frosted cake or burned meringued pie against the wall.
Those lessons are preventing bad reactions as I work on learning to become a publisher of my own ebooks. I haven’t resorted to tears nor have I tossed my laptop out the window, but the temptation has been there.
Giving up on what one of my writer friends called “Funky Word” I downloaded an Open Office file after I learned that a much-published author is issuing her backlist like crazy using Open Office, or as we in the trade call it, OO. Looks sort of like eyes opened in wonderment, doesn’t it? At any rate, if she can do it, so can I. And she’s right, it’s so much easier. It doesn’t come equipped with all that “funky” automatic formatting that makes Word so difficult to use when formatting for ebook publishing.
So, I cut and pasted my short story into OO and it wasn’t but a little while before I had it set up properly.
Here are a few hints for formatting for ebooks:
- Don’t throw the carriage–ha ha, showed my age there– Do not (hit enter) more than twice at a time. If you do any more, you’re apt to create a blank page in your book or story.
- Forget about the pages in your file. Do not create page breaks.
- Divide one page from another for your ebook by hitting enter once, centering asterisks, hit enter once and begin your next page. IGNORE PAGE BREAKS IN FILE
- Once you have finished formatting in OO, in toolbar click show Paragraph sign and double check that there are none except where you intend a paragraph.
- Make sure there are no spaces at the end of a paragraph before you hit Para, not even one.
- Only use one space between a period and the beginning of the next sentence.
- You want to create a title page. Besides your dedication, etc., follow directions in Smashwords Free Guide for what else must be included on your front page and back page.
Those are all the hints I can think of as I’m working my way along this steep and slippery slope. If you have any questions or any hints you’ve picked up that help with formatting for ebooks, let me know. You can check your formatting by saving the finished product to html and reading it there. It will look like it will in your ebook. You can go back to OO and fix anything you catch there before uploading.
Creating a cover comes next, and every thing you upload for epublication must have a cover. I’m waiting for the arrival of a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. This is supposed to be the best program to create covers. You can buy one through Amazon or Adobe, or if you already have Photoshop you might try downloading this upgrade. I’m not sure about that as I haven’t checked it myself, but was told it’s possible. Anyone who is going to do much epublishing will need a good program to make covers. There are a few standard covers available, I think on CreateSpace, for instance, for those just wanting to publish something short now and then.
Until next time, when I may be even more frazzled, this new publisher will sign off.