Review of Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker.
I think I must state that, understandably, the book has been written as much to promote Smashwords as to guide new authors into e-publishing. If I had to sum the guide up in one sentence I would say it reminds me of the title of
that old movie The Good The Bad & The Ugly.
The good part is that it includes lots of excellent tips and advice that I am sure any would-be self e-publishers will find useful. Not only things you must do but things you should avoid.
The bad part is that it comes over as a mish mash and you have to plough through so much to get to the goodies. Mark states that 75 per cent of publishing is straight narrative (novels, etc) and, in my opinion, he would
better serve authors and Smashwords if he had concentrated on this and added the specialist publishing and questions and answers in chapters at the back.
I get the opinion that Mark is trying to be all things to all men!
The ugly part is the way the book appears on a small e-reader (nook, etc), Mark quite rightly states that readers get distracted if the page does not appear right. I have read the book on my computer in Adobe Reader and on my
nook. The Adobe is fine, the nook has blank spaces every so often; the graphics are sometimes too small to see properly; there are terrible word breaks and even a case where half a word concludes a chapter on its own on a
page; it appears there are no rules regarding “widows and orphans”. Surely the majority of people will want to publish for small hand-held devices like nook, kindle, etc., so every effort should be made for the Guide to look good there?
Mark makes much of the power of the Meatgrinder but perhaps trying to do so many different types of publishing under one set of software is too much for it?
So will I publish on Smashwords? The jury is out on that at the moment. I intend to spend the next few months reading Mark’s book again and picking out the things that make obvious good sense. I will revise and proof read again the books I have written; get my graphic designer son to do my covers professionally; make sure the formatting is right; finish the book I am currently writing. When I have done that I will have five novels and can see the sense in Mark’s advice to publish them all together, possibly offering one for free to get a fan base. If after I have done all this, I
have trouble when I try to “publish” them on Smashwords, I shall probably just move to kindle only.
Review by Mick Green in the UK.
(review of free book)