Tagged with ‘rant’

Automated Ebook Conversion and Smashwords

A week ago I finally uploaded new revisions of my two ebooks, (removed) and (removed). I had reread them a couple of weeks ago and to my horror found a few small errors and typos. I fixed those right away in my master documents, but put off re-uploading them because I didn't want to do the whole conversion thing manually like I had been doing.

So I made a system to convert my master documents into the various formats that I need to upload to Amazon, my website here, and Smashwords. Those are currently the three places that I use to distribute my ebooks. Smashwords of course distributes to other venues, such as Barnes & Noble and Kobo. At the moment these are actually outselling Amazon, so I really want my books up there through Smashwords.

Big kudos for Smashwords for that.

But on the conversion front? Kudos, not so much. In fact, Smashwords is a plain bitch on that front.

Look at the stats

Time to generate one mobi document for Amazon, and three versions for my website (pdf, mobi, and epub), ready to be uploaded with zero extra work? All with the press of one button? Well, okay, a bit more: it takes me all of one mouse click and about 5 key presses to run the conversion system. But that generates all of the above formats, for all (well, okay, all two) of my ebooks.

10 seconds. I timed it. From the last key press to all done.

Oh, and that incidentally also generates an rtf file for me that I can use as a basis for my Smashwords upload. But for Smashwords I need to do stuff with it before I can upload. Copy the text over into OpenOffice and then manually reset all the styles on the different text parts. And manually build up any links I had in there. All stuff that was already in there. I'm doing stuff I've already done! Well, automated, but still… all of this was already there! Looking great in xhtml, epub and mobi. But no, Smashwords wants me to upload in a file format that has literally been obsolete for years.

So how long does it take me to reformat and prepare that rtf file so I can upload it to Smashwords? 15 minutes. That's two or three pages I could have been writing on my next story. And bear in mind, this test was done on a short story, less than 6000 words long. For a novel length ebook this would take quite a bit longer.

So, yeah, Smashwords really sucks when it comes to its submission requirements.

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I am Cecilia Lansing.

Writer of erotica.


Find links to my ebooks here.


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