A lot of writers new to self-publishing have commented about how difficult it is to get their work through the Smashwords metagrinder, also known as the MEATGRINDER (for damned good reason). I’ve had great luck with the MS Word 1997-2003 template that I made. It strips out all of the icky code that the new version of MS Word insists on inserting. All four of my books have passed the Smashwords formatting software test without a hitch the first time through it using the template.
So, if you’re struggling with how to format your book for Smashwords, I’m happy to give you a copy of the template I use. Just post a comment below (nobody else will see it), and I’ll send you a copy by e-mail. (I’d give you a direct download, but there’s a problem with the plugin that does that! Grrrrr.) Here are some tips that will help you stay within Smashwords formatting guidelines:
- Open the file and save it as a MS Word 1997-2003 template if you want to keep it in your MS Word template library.
- To keep your novel file in the 1997-2003 .doc format. Use “Save As” instead of “Save.”
- You can use the file as a document and paste your novel’s content into it if you want to do so, but keep it as a MS Word 1997-2003 .doc file if you do.
- You can alter the fonts for any of the styles without a problem (right click on the style in the toolbar), but I recommend you keep the style for “Normal” as is.
- Don’t change any of the font sizes.
- Also, don’t use more than 2 hard returns anywhere in your document.
- Leave only one space after the end of a sentence and the start of a new sentence.
Feel free to pass along the template to any other writers you know who need it.