Book Formatting Page.
I saved Smashwords for last. After all, I've already tackled Kindlegen, .opf files, .ncx, know how to type in HTML and wrestled with style sheets. How hard would Smashwords be? It's ONLY Microsoft Word, right? And formatting for Createspace and dealing with mirrored margins, odd/even pages, and renumbering of pages was a much bigger pain, right?
Well, technically, Smashwords is for dummies. So I guess it makes me a dummy. Following their instructions was easy. It's getting a good looking .mobi file and .epub file that was the killer.
You see? Smashwords only takes a Word doc of .doc type, not .docx type [which is what Office 2010 automatically saves a Word doc as]. So first of all, make sure to save your doc as [Office 1997-2003 compatible]. This makes it a .doc type. Secondly, delete that Table of Contents you put in and all the hidden bookmarks you used to generate your toc.ncx and toc.htm files. That's right. You must now type in all your own bookmarks.
As if that wasn't frustrating enough, you must delete the guide bookmarks you put in for Kindlegen, "toc", "start", "cover" and "text" and place them on empty Paragraph Marks so as NOT to interfere with the Smashwords marks. Otherwise, your table of contents could be cut off at the offending mark.
So, how did I get Kindle for PC to recognize where my "toc" guidepoint? I created a blank paragraph before "Table of Contents" and attach "toc" bookmark it. I also did two blank paragraphs before where I wanted my document to start, attached the "start" bookmark and "text" bookmark, but I have to admit that the converted .mobi file starts at the Acknowledgments which is the first Smashword file TOC entry. Not having access to the conversion code, I cannot tell you why it does not pay attention to the "start" and "text" bookmarks. It just doesn't.
Have you ever wanted to go "topless", er, I mean "coverless?" on your Kindle app? The only way to have your image show up is to import your cover image into your Title Page and select the image and bookmark it "cover". If you don't, your Kindle book on Kindle for PC will be coverless. You've seen those, right? The ones you downloaded and it only has the generic blue book with the golden bookmark. Well, now you know how to join the blue book club.
Images. Here's the rub. Smashwords will not resize your image to fit the epub file. Whatever doesn't fit will be cut off. I just randomly made my images smaller and hoped for the best, not having a Nook to test with. So make sure your inline cover image is small. How small? I went for 4" or less for width. The other trick is to remove the first line indent on your image or it might get kicked into the next page. Having a blank page in an e-reader always looks bad.
As if that weren't enough, Smashwords takes your file and converts it to ten different formats. Different bugs hit different formats. So you download and view each format, fix a bug in one format and introduce it in another format. Some, like PDB are hopeless. They don't recognize extended character set so all of your curly single and double quotes are mangled. Ditto with foreign characters.
Technically, nothing in the Style Guide is hard to do. If you want them to generate your table of contents, or you trust them, they will sweep up everything that is in Header <H1> format and make a TOC entry. This is after they told you to make everything "Normal" The lesson in all of this is to use your Smashword formatted document as the template for all of your subsequent works. Then generate your Kindlegen and ePub from altering the Smashwords doc.
The problem with having no table of contents is that the user cannot easily jump through your document in EPUB, and we all know that EPUB is an important format now that almost all devices are moving toward it. For example, I want the reader to be able to refer to the map at any time with a single click. If all my chapter headings had been named "Chapter X", it would have been easier.
Therefore it is worth your while to make sure you have a Table of Contents generated into NCX form, and not just one that is hyperlinked at the beginning of the book. The unfortunate thing is that Smashwords does not receive the MSFT Word generated TOC. Wouldn't want to make our lives too easy!
I hope this document has helped you to avoid a few pitfalls. I do not know if my file will pass their "Premium Screen" yet. Wish me luck!
Anyone know any hints and tips? Please add to the comments. Perhaps it was easy for you, please share. Thanks.