Formatting for Smashwords

People made it sound like formatting a book is so complex I wanted to walk through the process with something small and simple before I got too deep into formatting Without A Voice, which I intend to put out at the beginning of April.

The Storyteller ( is three home-grown fairy tales and less than 5000 words, so I figured it would be a good test.

The formatting itself was relatively simple. I assume that it would go faster as I get used to the main points. The Smashwords style guide walked through the process step by step and was very clear. I already knew from working with Calibre that the smart-quotes were a problem. It also doesn’t like the formatted m-dash. I replaced these with the two dash format.

I uploaded four versions before I got it where I wanted it. There’s still one spacing error that I can’t figure out how to fix but the Table of Contents (terminal error on the first try) the indents (second try) and the line spacing (3rd try) are as they should be.

When I got into it, I found that usually when I had an error I could check the formatting between the paragraph previous and the paragraph with the error, and fix the error paragraph to match the other. These are probably leftovers from Word, which keeps a lot of hidden formatting.

When I finished I learned that not all formats are equal. Mobi and e-pub looked fine, but RTF kept eating words and the table of contents didn’t work. The problems were severe enough that I turned off that format. PDF looks OK, but Online Reading originally looked like a total waste of space. Everything was jumbled and smashed together in that format. Then I realized that there are options for reading in that format to the left.

I have no way to check LRF or PDB, so I’m considering turning those off as well. I guess we’ll see.

Now that I’m comfortable with the process, I’m going to start formatting Without a Voice.



2 responses to “Formatting for Smashwords

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