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Monday, June 29, 2015


At the very beginning of my #amwriting life, I used Word to write.  Fortunatly I have a Macbook, which has the function on word to use a notebook style of writing, so that helped me keep up with my chapters / scenes, etc.
Welcome to Scrivener.

Photo credit
And then I discovered the WONDERFUL WORLD OF SCRIVENER and my Word docs for my novels went in the archives (to be looked at my researchers a hundred years from now and they will comment, "ohh, so that's what writers used to use).  I love love love love Scrivener.  And I cannot express my joy of the birth of Keith Blount, who hated using Word to write his book almost as much as every other author out there, and decided to program something different.
Now, this may be a very unpopular statement, and maybe even I'll lose some friends over this, but I think that any author that (has the financial ability to buy Scrivener and) is using Word over Scrivener is just plain lazy.  Scrivener has a free 30 day trial.  That's not a month trial, that's 30 days of actual use trial.  So you get to spend 30 days figuring out if you like it.
Let me say this: in this day and age, so many people are used to apps, that we've become lazy.  What??  I actually have to spend time learning how to use a program?  I can't just whisper to it, and it will do everything my heart's desire?  People, everything isn't Google.  And I've heard so many authors that say they've tried Scriver and just didn't get it.
Yes, it's not an app.  You actually have to learn how to use it.  Guess what?? We live in the age of the internet people.  There are tons, and I mean a ton, of websites and youtube videos explaining how to use Scrivener.  Plus they have their own tutorials and guides.
But, I guess maybe those lazy authors get what they deserve because they are stuck with using freaking Word to write their novels.

OKay, anyway (that was an off tangent rant -- sorry Barbara if you're reading this.  You know I <3 you!)...
As I was saying...
I've been fortunate to be able to avoid using Word until.....
That's right.  You heard me.  I have to freaking format my books in Word.
Welcome to Hell

Photo credit

So, let me take you on my journey so far...

(And I'm sorry if that dude playing the drums is giving you a headache.  I know he's givin me one!)
I downloaded the Style Guide that gives your a step by step guide how to format in word for Smashwords specifications.

Let me take a step back.  Why do I want to use Smashwords?

What even is Smashwords you ask??  

Smashwords is a website where you can buy books.  Plus they will send your books out to Nook, Apple, GoogleBooks, Sony.  They use their magic fingers, plus their magic contracts, to get your books into their online stores.  So all you have to do is upload your file (yes, you got it, your freaking Word file) and they'll do all the distribution work for you.
Lots of authors only use Amazon.  Not only are they missing out on potential customers, but the ebook world outside of the United States is about to EXPLODE and guess what??? Amazon is NOT the most popular book downloading site outside of the US.  So if you want to be placed and ready for that explosion, you'd better be on other sites.
If that isn't enough reason to use Smashwords, I'll give you another great reason.  Currently, Amazon only allows you to give your book away for Free for 5 days every 90 days.  Plus you have to stay exclusive to Amazon in order to do this.  However, the loophole to this is that if you have your book Free on any other websites, they will put your book for Free on their website also.
Now, I love Amazon.  They're always very patient with the dumb side of me and willing to hold my hand to explain things.  But I don't ever want to be in a position where they own me.  I want my own readers, my own fans.  Not just Amazon's readers, Amazon's fans.  (It's not like I have to make a choice between the two.  I'll take both.  For reals.)
And guess what?? Smashwords let's you price your book for free.  Yaaay!! Hallelujah for book readers everywhere.  It's free right now.  See?  I've had it upload for just a couple of days and it's already been downloaded 119 times.  And I didn't even do any marketing.  That's pretty great for a newbie author like me.  Right now -- not free on Amazon.  Tell them to get a clue will ya?  (Seriously.  Tell them it's free on Barnes and Noble.  Just go to my page and click on 'tell us about a lower price.'  If enough people tell them, they will change it)

Can I get any more distracted??
Okay, back to my original rant!!!
So I did every little baby thing that Smashwords told me to do.  Plus I did all the things that other websites told me to do.  I took out all my formatting, blah blah blah blah blah.  I'm not going to go into all that stuff because it's the most boringest thing ever.  One hard part was actually the emotional part -- letting go of all the good stuff that Scrivener does for you and realizing that I can manually put it all back in.
Anyhow, I did everything, and uploaded it.
And wow!  Was I excited because their automated program said that I was good to go!  Alright!!  All that sweat was for something.
(Yes, can you tell that that's not the end of this story??)
And then.. oh.  I got a message.  Okay, let me click on this link...  Oh, phew!  It just says that it doesn't want me to capitalize my book series name.  Okay, that's not hard to fix and wow!  Was I even more ecstatic that that's all the comments that they are going to give me?? Well, let me pat myself on the back here!!  I'm super awesome!!  I totally rock!!

Oh wait... what's this?  Another link to click?  You mean they don't tell you everything at once?  They only tell you One Thing at a Time???  Well, that doesn't seem very efficient.

And the blade falls... Let me show you what they said:
For those of you who can't read that, it says I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All those hours spent formatting my book -- to Smashword's exact specifications-- were for naught!!
And I love their suggestions.  Guess what guys?? I did that already.  And apparently your eyes are different than mine cuz I don't see nothin wrong with my 'font size's.

And so.. I'm back to struggling with the HATED WORD.  And I'm being so meticulous that I keep messing myself up.   You pretty much have to go over every single damn line a million times to make sure that it's done right.  Okay, not really, but that's how I feel about it right now.  Word puts in formatting even when you don't want it to.  You have to manually tell them -no thanks- and even when you do that, it still thinks it's smarter than you and adds it's own formatting.  You have to check every line and make sure you don't have a two spaces and a return between paragraphs, because that might be interpreted as a big old huge page break if it's placed in a magic spot.  I had to take out all my italics -- so every single thought that my main character thought had to be taken back out and put back in (thank heavens for people on the internet who tell you how to do that in mass so you don't have to do it line by line).  All these little tiny things that you wish there were tiny elves who could read all the lines and do the work for you.

And, oh, isn't it handy that are are people who are so willing to help me?  Sure, just hand over $50 per book (which if this doesn't work, then I just might have to) and we'll make it all better.
We're here to help the small guy.
Which, by the way, the whole Scrivener program costs less that that and you get to keep it forever!!  and it formats alllll the books -- except for Smashwords.


  1. Outch, I hear you! I dread the day when I'll have to do that because yes, I'm also a Scrivener convert and disciple! Smashwords, seriously, get your friggin' act together and give your customers what they want!

    1. I'm in love with Scrivener! It's so great.