There's a bit of a learning curve involved, but I'm slowly getting there.
My first book is in a Works word processing file at present. It's all one font, all one size, and all justified to the left.
As I understand it, this will be important when I transfer it to Word.
I'll eventually be able to center the story titles, put them in boldface, and have them be in a slightly larger font size. Other than that, I'm keeping it simple.
I tweaked the cover a bit today; I made the graphics darker, slimmed down the little aliens and gave them some upper body mass and made their faces less cartoonish (not that it matters much at the size most people will view them at) and I put the small tree on the left behind the saucer. Made it darker, too, which also helps make it clear that the tree is some distance away from the larger one. And of course it makes the saucer more prominent; in the first version it looks like it's hovering over the water.
What's left for me to do is to read the smashwords style guide carefully, and also a book about MS Word that I've already checked out from the library. (I do all my writing in the Works word processor but I'm going to use Word to prepare the final file.) And to transcribe most of one story, and to finish another one. Then upload it to Smashwords. It should all happen this week.
The title, as you can see, is Incident on Sugar Sand Road and other stories. The blurb is already written.
The contents of the book will be:
Saviors of the Galaxy
This is a condensed version of the first section of my upcoming novel of the same name. This will be my ongoing series, about a mixed crew of sentients who travel around the galaxy in an old starship.
Incident on Sugar Sand Road
This one is humorous; it's set in 1989, the year it was written, so it's something of a period piece. I sent it to Omni (yeah, I told you it was old!) and got a nice letter back from one Robert K. J. Kilheffer saying that he did find it humorous but that it wasn't right for Omni, and that it was too long. That's the only feedback I've ever gotten from an editor. Ever. And yes, the version I'm publishing is the drastically shortened version. It was rejected by most of the other SF magazines before I wised up and took his advice. I even submitted it to Century, a magazine Mr. Kilheffer also edited, and he was kind enough to say he remembered it and still liked it, but that it wasn't right for Century either. Oh, well! I've always had a certain fondness for it. So now it gets to be the title story of a collection.
This is from the opening chapter of a novel I wrote in the early nineties. I finished it but never submitted it anywhere; I'm not sure why. I'll be taking another look at it soon to see if I want to publish it now. (I love that I suddenly have that option and that freedom!) The premise I actually still find interesting, so it's still alive somewhere in my writer's heart. The title I slapped on it was Moons of Exile, and that's probably the title it will appear under. The only copy I have access to is on paper, so this is the one I'll be transcribing.
Deus Ex Machina
This is set in the same universe as Saviors of the Galaxy. I think an early version of it may still be at Forward Motion.
This has languished on the hard drive of my old computer for almost a decade, unfinished. It's the one that starts with the explosion! This is the only actual writing left for me to do--come up with an ending for it.
Three of these stories have appeared in rough draft on the Forward Motion website for writers. A lovely place, that.
So. Like I say. Getting there.