I’ve been playing with their magical Meatgrinder

Jnana's Red Barn

One of the blessings of publishing ebooks, rather than books on paper, is that they can be updated easily – at least at the publishing outfit I use. If you format the manuscript properly, the Smashwords converter – playfully named the Meatgrinder – can turn your text into six different kinds of digital versions in a couple of minutes. It’s amazing.

If you don’t format properly, though, it can output your precious work as garbage or insert characters that will confuse your reader. You want to follow the guidelines carefully.

Ebooks aren’t formatted like traditional print books, especially if you’re planning to issue them simultaneously on multiple platforms like Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. You don’t want to add too many blank lines, they can turn into a series of blank screens. What you get aren’t standard pages anyway – each of the formats is sized differently, as are the reading…

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9 thoughts on “I’ve been playing with their magical Meatgrinder

    • They have a very precise set of rules, you cannot slip even a tiny bit! The secret is the ‘nuclear method’ that you do at the beginning, to remove all the messy bits that you cannot see, but can still cause problems…

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      • I wrote ‘Prelude’ on Scrivener using the blank template, which made ‘nuking’ it fairly easy. I started my new novel using the ‘novel’ template’ (I think it’s called) and soon realised that all the wizz-bang pre-formatting stuff that was in the template would make the ‘nuking’ step an absolute nightmare.
        I wasn’t so far along that I couldn’t strip everything I’d written our, copy it to a Word doc, delete that Scrivener ‘project’ and start a new one using the blank template.
        Words of warning there! 🙂
        Scrivener does have a way formatting for Smashwords/Amazon, etc, that they SAY is foolproof, but it looks very convoluted, and I’m betting isn’t as foolproof as they’re touting. 🙂

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