Friday, August 26, 2011

Publishing Wizard & Spy on Smashwords : Easy, peasey, lemon squeezee

I put off publishing on Smashwords because it sounded really intimidating. There is some software called "The Meatgrinder" that your book is put through. How much scarier can something sound than THAT? Finally, I girded my loins (figuratively, not literally), downloaded a copy of the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker and went at it.

It really was as simple as 1 - 2 -3 and I was embarrassed I had been put off by the "technical challenge" from doing it before.

Assuming, like me, you already have a book written and that you did it in Microsoft Word, here is all you need to do.

  1. Download the Smashwords style guide and read it.
  2. Make every single formatting change in your document that the book recommends.
  3. Click the "Publish" button on the Smashwords site and fill out the forms. 
That's it. There was a slight glitch when I first uploaded my book because Smashwords had run out of ISBN numbers, but when they did get more numbers, it took, literally, seconds, to update my book to assign one.

The first book in the Wizard and Spy series, The Ex-apprentices is now for sale.
Lucia's sad life improves after she's apprenticed to a witch. She makes her first friend, Denae, and even gets her first birthday present, a pegasus. All would be well if not for the king telling Denae she can't be a spy, a father determined to bring Lucia home, and that prophecy that she's doomed to commit murder by magic. 

It's a fun book to read, if I do say so myself, which I do.

I have sold some copies. There are a lot of options that Smashwords makes available for promoting your book that I have not used, simply because I've been really, really busy at my "day job".

Next on my list of things to do is read both the Smashwords marketing guide (which I have - hang head in shame - downloaded and started reading but not finished) and Michael Hicks book on marketing self-published books.

I would say the marketing is hard, but I don't know, since, before I published on Smashwords, I thought publishing would be hard, too. Instead, to steal a term from the little girl next door, it turned out to be easy, peasey, lemon squeezee.

Suddenly, for some reason, I have a craving for lemon meringue pie.


  1. Hi Julia , Congrats, cute and delicious pictures and meat grinder, great idea. What you going to do with your cup, is it a keepsake or something to use to drink hot chocolate, still debating. Good luck on marketing your book. It seems to be interesting. Will go and check it out.

  2. Thanks! Your post took some of the fear out of self-publishing for me! Plus, I love the easey, peasey, lemon squeezee...I'll have to find a way to use that as soon as possible!

  3. I want pie now. Seriously, that is perfect-looking pie!

    Okay, I'm also eager to get my book ready for Smashwords, but mostly I want pie.

  4. I am going to use my cup to drink coffee - to go with my pie (-:

    Susan - I hope you buy the book. I noticed you were into Christian authors. If you haven't read Donita Paul's Dragonkeeper series, you might want to check it out

  5. Hi Julia. I really enjoyed reading this post. I too have been putting off self-publishing but I finally took the plunge and found it was quite easy. I have yet to generate any sells since I just published last week but I'm ever hopeful. I plan to implement all the techniques I'm learning from fellow Smashwords authors, such as yourself.

    I look forward to reading your book. I currently review for multiple places, and if I read yours, you can bet on a review on my personal blog! I wish you all the success.

  6. For some reason, that post didn't let me link to my account so my email is

  7. Thanks, Sara. What's the title of your book?

  8. Very nice post.My story is similar. I waded through the murky waters of the Internet on a quest to have a book published, then happened upon Smashwords. They made the process so simple and unintimidating that I have already published three books with them. It's like searching through hundreds of recipe books and then finding that one perfect recipe. Thanks for the post, and good luck with your book, it sounds like a good one. I'm going to check it out now.

  9. Sounds like you had a good experience with this particular company, congratulations! You also sound like you possess a wonderful sense of WIT! For that, I salute you! You Also Like Pie! THAT makes you OKAY in MY Book!!!
    Not that I want it published, mind you, I haven't finished coloring it yet...
    Speaking of which, How about Illustrations? Book covers? (I'm an artist, so that is a specialty of mine.) I have a story that has spot illustrations and a cover. Will this format support these elements? I could just send the text but the drawings really help get the humor across. (You know, for those people who really need diagrams!)
    I would just like to know, for Splits and Squiggles!
    (I KNOW that sounds stupid but you can't use that kind of language here!)

  10. I have a Mac and I'm not sure what files I need to make in order to publish my book. It is a book of letters, and I have converted each page to PDF, so is this correct? Then, I also have pages of photos, and they are also in PDF. What do I need to do beyond this to publish? The Mac I have does not have your typical Word, but has Pages, so I don't know if this works.

  11. I wanted to add to that last comment... I would like to publish to Smashwords, hoping that was