Voyage of the Indie Treader ~ Leaving the Harbour Part Duex

When last we saw the Indie Treader, she was tentatively hoisting sail and navigating her way out of the harbor. indietYou would think she’d be well underway by now, conquering the open seas. Yeah, well, it’s a big, freaking harbor, let me tell you. That, and there were some blockades set up called The Holidays, and Evil Flu-like Energy Sucking Virus Thingy. And, on her maiden voyage, there are things to learn.

Many. Many. Many. Things to learn. And unlearn.

Like, formatting. I never gave formatting a thought while writing. This manuscript was created in Word. I have a style I prefer: Courier New, 12 point, double spaced, first line indent. Easy to read when printed out as a hard copy. Lots of room to make edits. Doesn’t work worth a poop when getting ready to publish in either e-format or print.

And, apparently, every e-book and POD supplier wants it done differently.  Grrrrrr. Fortunately, I came across Smashwords lovely Style Guide and a technique referred to as the Nuclear Method.  Basically, you dump your word doc into notepad, which strips it of all formatting.  Back in Word, keep your styles very simple. Don’t use a lot of extra fonts or spacing or extraneous doo-dads. I would recommend reading the Smashwords guide even if you’re not going to publish with them. It has quite a bit of useful information.

For POD, Createspace offers templates to take a lot of the pain out of formatting how they want it done.

Again, if you’re working in Word, get familiar with the Styles menu and set yourself up a couple. I have one for body text, one for chapter headings, and one for centering.

Now that I have a totally clean, nuked version of my manuscript, I can use that to easily <cough> convert it to whatever formatting is needed. Since I’m going with Smashwords and Createspace I basically only have to build two finished pieces.

Which would be complete already if I hadn’t gone in and changed the last chapter slightly. I make any changes in the nuked version, then do a copy and paste into the others.  Easy-peasy.

Now, as soon as the cover’s done . . .



  1. Sounds like you’re coming along! I feel your pain since I’m getting my manuscript prepped right now for when the final edits come back. It’s definitely better to read up on formatting ahead of time and the Smashwords style guide is great (and free). Good luck with your publishing endeavors 🙂

  2. You have an audience ready and waiting!

  3. Now comes the Amazon drama. You may want to review the way Smashwords “works” with Amazon. In my less than humble opinion, you may be better off to work directly with Amazon even though Smashwords urges writers not to. There are hurdles other than formatting, and you want to be sure that your book is available from the biggest e-book retailer of them all. Fortunately, in this you *can* have it both ways.

  4. Ah formatting – every writer’s dream task. I wish you luck and endurance and lots of chocolate… oh and banishment of energy-sucking viruses. You go girl. (Another excited customer waiting with anticipation…)

    • Aww, thanks. 🙂 Yeah, so far formatting hasn’t been too bad, just putsy. Then again, that makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong! LOL

  5. I had heard that formatting is a pain in the arse, but it sounds like you’ve got everything under control. So exciting!

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