Monday, December 13, 2010

#4 “I Have Broken Smashwords” or “Yes, You Will Eff Up”

Good morning, kids. Today we continue in the my own little self publishing saga where I discuss some key points for hocking your wares to (unsuspecting) valued customers. Point number four is rather simple if you ask me. It regards those little sections marked CONTACT US FOR HELP/CONTACT US/or just HELP on the sites where you wish to sell you work.

The average human will jump through flaming hoops before clicking that button. Something about us does not want to admit defeat/lack of comprehension/hardship. Do NOT be that person. If you need help when considering a site to load your work—or if you experience issues while loading—CLICK. THAT. BUTTON.

Yes, yes, I have broken Smashwords more than once (or so I thought). The first time I tried to load a book, that thing that shows progress just went spinspinspinspin (for all eternity) for a very, very long time. Abnormally long. And then it gave me an error. I tried again. Finally, I contacted Smashwords via the handy dandy help link and it turns out that .rtf files can cause a snafu whereas .doc files are much easier for Smashwords’ tummy to digest. Simply switching out one document type for another made for easy going.

I never would have known that handy dandy tidbit had I not bitten the proverbial bullet and asked for help. Something normally very difficult for me. However, this is your business—your self publishing—and as a good business person, you need to explore all avenues to get the job done. So click it. It doesn’t hurt and there is no charge and no, you have not broken Smashwords.

Funnily enough—this seems to be a common phenomena—the ‘breaking’ of Smashwords. I got a phone call from a friend a few months after I first put work up on Smashwords. It was her first go at the site. It went like this:


“I’ve broken Smashworrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrds.”

And it wasn’t just the big meat grinder for words I have thrown a monkey wrench into. I have broken Bookstrand and All Romance Ebooks too. And hunh—who’d have thunk it—they also have very kind and patient folks on the other end of the help link/email link that will help you unbreak their system and get you where you need to go.

I spent hours one time on Bookstrand going back and forth with the help person. I was frustrated, but I imagine he was literally weeping on the other end of the internet (because it is finite like a phone line, dontcha know? Well, at least in my head, it is) as he continued getting my panic stricken, typo riddled emails at rapid fire pace, but in the end we prevailed. And now…I can upload a file to Bookstrand while simultaneously packing a lunch and singing Yankee Doodle Dandee.

My point? Ask for help! Yes, you will eff up. You will make mistakes. This is to be expected. Everyone makes mistakes whilst trying to navigate this self-publishing passage. But go ahead and let someone help you. It’s okay, no one will point or laugh and in the end you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to do. Those folks are there to help you. Let them do their job.

Come back next month when I tackle There. That's better.

p.s. due to current issues with Amazon, I encourage you to read the posts below this one


  1. Oh, god, it was me, wasn't it? I was the one who called you! I'm so terrified of new platforms that I'm pretty sure I'll break them before I even start!

    I think you rock and roll with the way you can sing Yankee Doodle and publish smut simultaneously! Thanks for holding my hand while I smashed!


  2. yes, it was you. and's still working over there, the smashwords. unsmashable! :)