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Because formatting for ePublishing can be very finicky, here are a couple of templates for use in Microsoft Word or Open Office, a free cross-platform word processing software, to help you get started in formatting your document for Smashwords publishing.

Open the appropriate template, paste your text after the included text, and follow the formatting instructions in the template and in the Smashwords Style Guide. Make sure you read the latest version of the Style Guide for final requirements.

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The field is moving very rapidly, but already there are great choices for publishing.

In the past there were fewer opportunities for individuals or small presses to publish and have good distribution. Now there are readily available choices. We will discuss three here.

First, you can publish book directly to Amazon Kindle. This has fairly easy to use setup, the power and reach of the Amazon empire, and flexible pricing.

Second, you can publish with Lulu.com. The have the additional advantage of distributing to a number of outlets, including Apple’s new iPad. They also make it easy to publish hard-copies of your book, since that is one of their businesses. Their setup seems a bit more complicated, but they readily offer their paid services for setup formatting and covers.

If you want to go with a young and energetic company and are ready to do most of the work yourself, Smashwords.com offers an easy and appealing way to ePublish anything from a very short story to a multi-volume set. Plus, they have an extensive distribution network, including Barnes and Noble, iPad, mobile phones, various software book readers, and are working on Amazon Kindle distribution.

Since Smashwords is fairly easy for beginners, has a good pricing structure, and has wide distribution, we will be talking more about them.

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