Wow, what a weekend. Over the last three months I have spent time reviewing my book for editing errors, formatting errors, concept errors and just looking for anything I might have missed. I created the e-book cover and received my wife's approval, a huge win. I read everything I thought I needed to know to publish my book on Smashwords and Amazon. The time is ripe, I'm ready, let's do this.
Smashwords has specific criteria and formatting that they recommend before you publish. When you are ready to publish they recommend you have your file in a Microsoft Word document. And the formatting instructions are quite specific about how you should format chapters, break points, copyright info, back matter and any images in your book. I spent probably five hours following the formatting instructions preparing my book for the Smashwords' meatgrinder.
What's the meatgrinder? It is a translation tool that takes your Word document and formats it into mobi, ePub, pdf and multiple other formats that make the text pleasing to people using eReaders. "The Meatgrinder" is a horrible name that strikes fear in the hearts of self-publishing newbies like me. No matter how much time you spend editing, reviewing and worrying, there is that terrible question in the back of your mind, is my manuscript worthy to pass through the meatgrinder?
Last Thursday, April 19th, 2018, I began a final read through for my book. I still found sentences I felt needed to be changed and changed them, but I still enjoyed reading it, too. I guess you can say people that enjoy reading the same types of books I enjoy will enjoy Eclipse of the Triple Moons. I read through the book making minor corrections and finished it on Saturday. It's ready. I'm sure I can read through the book a hundred more times and make changes but after three years of working on it, it's time to push my baby into the real world. Like a mother watching baby eagles prepare to leave the nest, I was worried.
Sunday, our schedule was clear and I said to Mary, "I'm not going to be available for a while, I'm publishing my book." She wished me luck and I'm guessing she felt she would never see me again.
I sat down at the computer, prepared my mind and opened Smashwords. I had the pieces they were going to need, because I had practiced a dry run through the process. I had a short description, a long description, I would use the free ISBN from Smashwords, I had some about this author material and anything else I thought I needed. I entered my information and submitted my manuscript to the meatgrinder and closed my eyes. Would it work?
I saw things occurring and it was looking good but then it errored out spitting bloody pieces of my manuscript all over my screen. What happened to my baby? The error messages were informative and it appeared I needed to do one thing. I was using a version of Microsoft Word that was higher than the recommended version. So, I saved the document to a .doc instead of a .docx and re-submitted.
The computer whirred and buzzed and I saw things flash across the screen and I began to see files being created, ePub, mobi, pdf, txt and a couple of more. The process was working. The meatgrinder wasn't chewing the manuscript into pieces, but gently massaged it and created new files. It worked. I was ecstatic.
I continued the process and added my image, I re-sized it three times and then decided that Smashwords really wanted it in the original format I had it in so I uploaded the image. I entered information for receiving payment, paying the IRS and other personal information required to be a professional author expecting to receive income from my work.
Three hours later, my shirt soaked in sweat and my mind frazzled from worry and concern, Smashwords informed me the process was complete. They had reviewed and approved my manuscript. I became a professional writer. I chose to put the book on pre-order for a month, to give me a chance to advertise the launch and to make changes if I felt something wasn't right. But, baby it's out there.
Tuesday morning, April 24th, 2018 and I see links to my book from Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords. The process was successful. I can't say it was easy. But most people can do it as long as you can follow instructions. I've added the links to all the appropriate eBook platforms feel free to pre-order and be the first to read, Eclipse of the Triple Moons. I can't wait to see your reviews.
This is a wonderful feeling to be a published professional author. I hope that my work is enjoyed by others.