Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Smashwords Style Guide Updated; Downloaded 100,000+ Times

We updated the Smashwords Style Guide today to include improved instructions for building linked Tables of Contents, controlling your NCX, building intra-book links for footnotes and endnotes, and troubleshooting. The new instructions are included in an expanded Step 20. Download the latest Style Guide here.

Over the last three years, we've made continuous enhancements to our Meatgrinder conversion engine, backed by over 50 updates the Style Guide where we capture our best practice recommendations for producing high quality multi-format ebooks.

Today, the ebook production quality possible through Smashwords rivals that of many hand-coded books that would cost the author hundreds of dollars were they to hire a professional ebook designer. We still have a ways to go, however. Our support for bulleted and numbered lists needs improvement, for example.

Thanks to the flexibility of our Meatgrinder conversion engine, we also make it possible for you to update or upgrade your book at any time without expense.

Separately today, we reached an exciting milestone. Today, the 100,000th copy of the Smashwords Style Guide was downloaded at Smashwords.com. Thousands of additional copies have been downloaded through our retail distribution network and Amazon.

10 comments:

Jesse said...

WOOHOO!! I must tell you, that guide is bloody easy to follow and helped me immensely. I got the marketing guide as well. I wish traditional publishers were this helpful.

Paul Salvette said...

Dear Mr. Coker,

Thank you very much for updating the Smashwords Style Guide. Glad to see more support and bug fixing for the Table of Contents generation.

In regards to the TOC, I'm still having trouble with the hyper-linked TOC in the MOBI file after it clears the Meatgrinder. I use Heading2 as my font for each chapter, and when I insert a bookmark inside there it links fine. However, (in the MOBI file only) when you click on the link in the TOC that takes you to the Heading, it resets the Heading to the Normal style font. It's very strange, and I think it has something to do with how MOBI files are read.

If you're interested, I found a pretty good trick for ensuring the pagebreaks get put in (without having to manually enter them). If you use the Pagination features in Word 2007, you can force page breaks at each Heading2 font. It's worked great for me so far, and all formats out of the Meatgrinder recognize it.

I whipped up a tutorial if anyone's interested. Thank you for your outstanding platform for publishing.

Chris Rechtsteiner said...

Congrats Mark. This is great news! All the best to you and the entire Smashwords team.

Brian Y Rogers said...

"I tell folks if they have $2,000 to invest in marketing they're probably better off investing that money with a professional editor who can help drive the next revision (I also advise authors to pinch their pennies; never spend money you don't have; and never go in debt to publish your book)."

I couldn't agree more. The trouble is, I don't have a single penny to spend on a professional editor. But from the beginning, I determined to make my stories pay for themselves. So I will simply continue making corrections as I find them and hope that someday, someone finds me.

Mark Coker said...

Hi Brian, here's another option: do an edit exchange with another writer you respect. Barter's free except for your time.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Hi Mark, good job on the guides and thank you for making them free. Just finished your the Smashwords Style Guide and emailed twice for your autoreply "Mark's List" of other Smashworders willing to do formatting and covers. Have not received reply at all. Is there another place to download this resource???
Thanks

joleenenaylor said...

Have to go download the newest one now! yeesh! All these improvements, LOL!

joleenenaylor said...

Have to go download the newest one now! yeesh! All these improvements, LOL!

William and Anna Patterson said...

I really want to thank you for Step 20 of your style guide. I really thought I had figured things out on my books, but to my horror, I found I had real trouble with my fifth book. Since that book is about witches, perhaps, I needed a good spell first. Your revision was so clear and helped me so much. Thanks you for doing this for us. I guess I will save the magic for something on down the road. Love your clarity of writing. And the book went through smoothly, this time. Thanks goodness!

Unknown said...

Dear Mark

Is there any plan to update the style guide to cover Word 2011 for mac users? As it stands there are too many differences between word 2007 & 2011 for me to follow and edit my book correctly using the style guide.
Thanks.