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One nice feature of publishing via Smashwords is that they provide extensive help.

The place to start is with the useful and frequently updated guide by the actual owner of the company, Mark Coker.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52

If you need help beyond what is offered there, check the Support FAQ link.

http://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq

It offers extensive written support, plus contact links. Also check the timely and useful blog by Coker, the Site Updates:

http://www.smashwords.com/about/beta

If all else fails, you can reach a person at Smashwords via the Contact link on the Support page.

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These templates now include a reminder of the exact output format for your book manuscript, MS Word 97/2000(.doc) so it will work with Smashwords.

Fiction Template June 2011

Nonfiction Template June 2011

Best wishes in your book publishing!

Have you been getting the feedback “Too many paragraph breaks?” from Smashwords or Amazon DTP when you submit a manuscript? Here’s why, and what to do.

Quite often these days, we tend to automatically hit a carriage return or extra space between paragraphs. For email, web pages, and other formats, this looks nice, breaking up the text and providing some white space.

But once you convert such nicely formatted text for an eBook reader, it often goes haywire. adding way too much space, sometimes even a whole page-break.

The first fix is to use the templates we have provided here.

For Amazon DTP
Fiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform
NonFiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform

And for Smashwords
Fiction Template
NonFiction Template

The second fix is the same as that detailed within the templates, but we will spell it out here, how to format your document so the only space after a paragraph is within the formatting section, not as a carriage return.

To set the spacing between paragraphs in a way that will not confuse eBooks in Open Office, open your document, then under Format, Paragraph, set the Below paragraph spacing to 0.8 to 0.14 inch. Follow the same general procedure for documents in Word.

This will give you a bit of space between paragraphs without jamming up the machinery.

For fiction, don’t use any space at all between paragraphs, just follow the indenting suggestion in the template.

One of the most important parts of being an author, after writing and publishing your masterpiece, of course, is to spread the word.

And a blog is a great way to do this.

People love stories, especially real ones, so write about your book, what you are doing to publicize and market it, where you are reading or speaking, about the process of writing, and then the ordeals and triumphs of writing a new book as you begin your next one.

The easiest way to begin a blog is to go to WordPress.com and follow the instructions. It really is quite easy.

Click here to sign up for your Blog at WordPress

Just sign up at WordPress.com. You will need to think of a good blog name–you might have to try several to get one that is not taken.

Then you can get to the interesting work of writing your blog. WordPress has good instructions and help files. It may take a few tries to become accustomed to the various screens and tasks, but start simple and then you can add features as you learn.

As you become more experienced, you can incorporate some of the large variety of features, tools, and extras available, such as links, pictures, media or polls into your blog.

You generally should not pay anything up-front for ePublishing a story or book. There are enough good choices now where the ePublishing companies rely on percentage of sales to pay their way.

The one exception is if the company offers services such as formatting, designing covers, or editing, and you specifically hire them for this, in which case the costs should be clearly stated on their websites and in any contract.

Lulu offers these services, Amazon and Smashwords do not, but can refer you to outside sources.

If you have ever published a traditional book, you know that you get pennies, maybe a dime, from each dollar your readers pay for your book, because of the multitude of costs of paper book publishing.

With ePublishing, you get a much higher rate–but you have to do most of the work traditionally done by book publishers.

Check with the companies to see what their royalty/author payment rates are currently. These are changing–for example, Amazon will offer a new royalty rate  at the end of  June 2010.

So you will not have up-front costs unless you hire someone for tasks like editing or book cover creation.