With apologies to Stephen King, I would like to outline the basic process I use to create a story suitable for publishing on Amazon or SmashWords. I don’t want to teach you how to write as there are far more qualified authors to do that. I am a lowly engineer and fully appreciate my lack of talents with the English word. But I think what I can help you with is the mechanics of compiling your story and make it ready for publication in the most efficient and time-saving method.
First, my bona fides as it were. I have been writing smut, basically stroke stories for almost seven years now. I’ve published over twenty-five stories, most over 30,000 words and several close to 100,000 words.
I’ve focused the majority of my publishing efforts to Amazon and SmashWords along with several other websites but I write primarily for the two major publishes of Indie writers.
When you publish at SmashWords, and the story is accepted into their Premium Status, SmashWords will automatically send your story to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others. So publishing at SmashWords will get you into Apple without any additional work. So it’s like repeating the publishing process multiple times.
For me, a great deal of my sales comes from Apple iBooks, and I’ve done nothing besides send the story to SmashWords. Now certainly, when you write erotica, certain topics will get you excluded from Apple and others. This topic is a blog post all on its own, and I’ll tackle that later.
My thought is to create a special section on my blog, LarryArcher.blog, and place all of these posts in one place for easy reference.
First, let’s talk about what makes up a story that will be accepted into SmashWords Premium Status for wide distribution. If you follow the steps I’ve outlined below, your story will be accepted at both Amazon and SmashWords with a minimum of rework.
This is the system I’m currently using, and while I’m working on version 2.0, it does work pretty well for me. If you have your own method and it’s working okay then don’t change a thing.
The parts of my story are as follows:
- Cover Image, 300 dpi, 1600×2400 pixels
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- Table of Contents (TOC)
- Body (the actual story itself)
- Back Matter (advertising, other stories, etc)
- About the Author
Now a little bit about storing files.
- Draft – Folder for stories I’m working on
- Cover – Cover images
- Front Matter – Amazon (Title and Copyright for Amazon)
- Front Matter – SmashWords (Title and Copyright for SW)
- Table of Contents
- Body (actual story by itself)
- Back Matter – Amazon (Ads, etc. for Amazon)
- Back Matter – SmashWords (Ads, etc. for SmashWords)
- Full – Amazon (Final full copy for Amazon)
- Full – SmashWords (Final full copy for SmashWords)
Once I’ve written the story and moved it from Draft to Body, I assemble the finished product as follows.
- Let’s assume I’ve written a story called MyStory and storied it in Body after proofreading it. I recommend that you write in Word 2003 DOC format and not DOCX as some publishers do not accept DOCX.
- Open MyStory in the Body folder. Let’s assume this is for Amazon.
- Immediately do a Save As “MyStory – Full – Amazon.doc” in the Full – Amazon folder.
- Open the front matter file “MyStory – Front – Amazon.doc” from the Front Matter – Amazon folder. This will be the title page and copyright page customized for Amazon.
- Copy the front matter by selecting it, copying, and paste it to the top of the “MyStory – Full – Amazon.doc” file. If you’re happy save it, just in case. Now the full copy has the front matter plus the body in the Full folder.
- Close the front matter file and open the Table of Contents file. Select it all, copy and paste in between the front matter and the body of the story. Now save that.
- Open the back matter file, select it all, copy, and paste to the end of the full copy.
- At this point, we have a full copy of the MyStory for Amazon. The title page, copyright page, TOC, body, and back matter.
- Next check the points where you joined the various sections to be sure there are no extra page breaks or extra space.
- Go through the body and back matter and set bookmarks at each chapter and point in the back matter which you need to reference in the TOC. I recommend that you create a standardized set of bookmarks to make it easier to reuse the back matter on other stories.
- Once the bookmarks are in place, go to the Table of Contents and create links for each chapter and spot in the back matter.
At this point, we have assembled a complete book yet the individual parts are available for ongoing modifications. For example, in the back matter, you may list all of your other stories.
Then when you add a story, you normally have to go back and re-edit all of your finished stories to add the new material. By keeping the body and the back matter separate, all you have to do is copy and paste.
By the same token, to publish to a different publisher such as SmashWords, you simply create front matter and back matter for SmashWords. Then take the body that you used for Amazon and tack on the front and back for SmashWords.
When you publish a new story, update the back matter file and then rebuild old stories by assembling the new pieces and upload the new copy.
Hopefully, this makes some sense to you and will help to standardize your stories to look consistent and more professional.
I’m going to expand upon this in more detail on my blog and answer any questions that arise. I’ll get into what I use for setting and layout in a later issue.
Thank’s for reading and check out my blog: LarryArcher.blog
See you next month!