Monday, October 17, 2011

Smashwords Learning Experiences

Things I have learned when uploading my book to Smashwords

*It's really pretty easy. Just follow their little guide on formatting, and that's a piece of cake -- but then, I'm not putting in all sorts of pictures and diagrams and lists and weird formats . . .

*That little blurb they ask you for? it's shapeless. My blurb that I created for Grieving Mermaid depends on a sense of visual timing that occurs with the proper formatting, as follows:

Once upon a time, a little mermaid fell in love with a landsman prince. Through great trials and tribulations, she traded her voice for legs and went forth to make the prince fall in love with her.

She died.

And her family misses her very much. So much, in fact, that they're willing to make their own dark deal for her life.

A short story of what takes place after the fairy tale.

However, even when entered as above with the lovely little line breaks, the whole text gets compressed into a single little paragraph. Had I known this, I would have altered my blurb.

*Also on the blurb: 400 characters. I didn't know that beforehand. Now I do, and can anticipate for it.

*Again, on the blurb: I recall reading somewhere that the front page is a great place to put a little summary so that people who've bought your book but haven't read it yet can recall what it's about. After all, it isn't as if you can flip the durn thing over and read the back. As a matter of fact, this is frequently done in YA books printed for an American audience: if you look at the copyright page of a YA book, you may find a section on The Library of Congress. In that section, there's a Summary of the book, and I think they tend to be one sentence long? Anyway, I have a copy of Sabriel by Garth Nix close to hand (highly recommended if you haven't read it) and its summary states: "Sabriel, daughter of the Necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead." Succinct, no? and accurate. Just a little refinement to consider.

I'll certainly be keeping all this in mind when I do it all over again later this month!

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