Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Smashwords, LibreOffice and Me – doing it with Style

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sw handSo I just set up my account on Smashwords.
It’s now 18 months I’ve been a self-publisher through Amazon Kindle, and now I’d like to widen my horizon.

So far I’ve been quite intimidated by the Smashwords formatting rules – they have a fame for being complicated and not exactly user-friendly. That, and the fact that the Smashwords system requires me to upload a .doc file – being a Linux user, I don’t use MS Word, and that could lead to formatting troubles.

But now it turns out I can upload an .epub file too – and that’s much easier for me, as the epub is often a by-product of my own coding of my books for Amazon.

styleguideSo I’ve been reading the free Style Guide that Smashwords provides, and I also looked around online for resources.

Looks like using my old LibreOffice will not be a problem, after all – and by working with styles and templates I’d be able to streamline the publishing process, sidestepping most problems.

Now, styles are something I did not use because nobody ever explained them to me.

Basically, a Style is a set of formatting choices you save with a name, and then you can apply whenever you need to.

The easiest way to create a Style in LibreOffice is to write a few lines of text, format them in the style we want to create (say, centered, bold, 12 points Arial, with 1.5 line spacing and 0.5 indentation of the first line), then we select the paragraph, go to Format–>Style and Formatting (or press F11), and then click on New Style from Selection (the button in the top right of the service window).
We give it a name, and it’s done.
Nice and smooth.

Next time we need it, we can select a chunk of text on our page, and apply that style to it.

And templates are, of course, “neutral” documents that include all the elements and styles you may need for your document.
With a good Style set and/or a solid template, work gets a lot easier.

All things considered, I think I’ll start using Smashwords with the new year – but in the meantime, I’ll do some experiments.

Extra – Some Links

In the meantime, here’s some resources in case you needed a hand (just like I needed)

Any other suggestion?
Use the comments field!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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