I did it!
My story, Silkskin and the Forest Dwellers is available on Smashwords. It’s free at the moment – a marketing ploy that I’m assured works – so if you want to read it go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/170617 and find your preferred download format. For those of you who don’t have e-readers it’s available in a .pdf version.
To refresh your memories, it’s an alternative fairy tale. The story most of us know as Snow White is transferred to a fantasy version of mediaeval Africa and the young princess is replaced by an adult prince. It got good reviews when I originally posted it in a LiveJournal writing challenge which is why I decided to use it for my first Smashwords venture.
Bear in mind that it’s an m/m romance and is therefore classed as ‘adults only’ so if your filter is on you might not find it, though the URL should take you straight there. (Perhaps this is where I point out that the story isn’t by any means ‘erotica’ – there are maybe two explicit paragraphs in almost 18,000 words.)
Obviously you’re more than welcome to download it just out of curiosity, but if you read it and like it, could I beg you to leave a brief review comment on the Smashwords site?
I still have some formatting worries, though I have no ‘autovetter’ errors so there is nothing dire. Smashwords put all books into a queue for manual vetting before sending them to other online bookstores so there might be advice on its way. However, there are two points I’d like your advice on:
1. I can’t get the copyright/licence notes onto a different page from the title. Smashwords issues dire warnings about using too many spaces via the enter key and I’m not sure how else to get it to a separate page under their formatting system. (And yes, I’ve tried page breaks.) If anyone has first hand knowledge I’d be interested to hear.
2. The squiggles between the sections have defeated me. I followed all the advice and used the same style for each one then some of them drifted to the wrong part of the ‘line’ in the published version. I won’t use centred squiggles again, and I won’t edit until I’m absolutely sure what I’m doing. What do you think? Are four spaces (the maximum recommended by Smashwords) adequate to delineate sections without squiggles, asterisks, etc? Would * or # at the beginning of the line (with a linespace before and after) be a good compromise? Any advice?
Here’s a piece of advice that didn’t occur to me until I was actually uploading my book. I went through all the rigmarole and ‘published’ then had to unpublish very rapidly because the author on the book and the author in the blurb weren’t the same… I’d approached Smashwords through my reader/purchaser route and that was the name they used in the blurb. I looked at the FAQs and found I needed to have a separate account in order to use a pen name, so I had to invite myself, and use a different email address. It’s a small point but just one of those things that make a difference and that need to be sorted out in advance!
Once Smashwords are happy with the book and are distributing it I will probably change the price from ‘free’ to ‘something’ – I haven’t made up my mind what, yet. At that point I will also upload to Amazon Kindle with the same price. So if you’re interested, download soon!