Nuclear Option Assistant for your Smashwords ebook .DOC

[More tools for writers from ReAnimus Press]

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We at ReAnimus Press think Smashwords is great, and use it to distribute the ebooks we produce for our authors. However, we know (firsthand!) that Smashwords' formatting rules can be a bit challenging. Sometimes a .DOC file has tricky problems that require what Smashwords calls the "Nuclear Option" — wiping out all the formatting & styles and starting from scratch. This page is meant to help decrease the pain of that.

The biggest drawback we've found to their Nuclear Option is that it requires manually re-marking all the italics, and other formatting items, which can be numerous and really time-consuming to find and restore. So for our in-house use we've designed numerous tools, and this page gives you access to one of them:

It performs a Nuclear Option format removal, AND it leaves the italics in the output. (Updated: for .DOC files [not .docx! Use the 'Word 97-2003' .DOC format], it also preserves bold, underlines, headings, super&subscripts, and attempts to preserve images and footnotes. Also see the notes at the bottom of the advanced features page for what the software can't handle that you should fix manually beforehand.)

We've found that's a real time-saver. Here's how it works:

1. Browse to your .DOC file here:

(Optional: Check this box if you want to keep any advanced-feature "{...}" markup in the output; generally not needed.)

(Optional: Check this box if you want to retain other hyperlinks in the file [usually ok, but uncheck the box if smashwords reports problems with links].)

2. Then click:

3. Then, save the file as a .HTML file, go into Microsoft Word, open the .HTML file, and save it out as a .DOC using Save-As.

NOTE: If you want an even better result, see our Advanced Features.

NOTE: This will also automatically generate a Table of Contents for your document if your document has either "Heading 1" style headers for your chapters (or whatever should go into a table of contents) or if the desired ToC headings have "{{tc}}" at the start of those lines (example: {{tc}}CHAPTER ONE); lacking those, the software will make its best guess, but may miss the mark. FYI, Smashwords requires a ToC with at least three entries in it.

(And if you need any other help with your ebook production, formatting, covers, scanning, OCRing, proofreading, etc., please contact us. It's what we do, and we'd be glad to help you.)

Why this is free

This is a free service because I like to help authors get published. Since my publishing company publishes our own books via Smashwords, I realize how Smashwords' format rules can, frankly, be a pain to implement sometimes. So, I wrote this software for in-house use to clean up documents (we do a lot of OCR'ing which can create some very ugly, complex, even invisible formatting). While we do offer a Smashwords' formatting service for a fee, most of our time is taken up with publishing our own books, so I'm happy to help authors get it done without our intervention.

I don't ask for donations or anything, though if you feel the urge, I also founded (a free writers' workshop that accepts donations) and (the first free ISP, free email/web hosting, and accepts donations). We also publish lots of good books you could buy and/or give glowing reviews to on social media, which we and our authors always appreciate. :)

I hope this site helps you!

—Andrew Burt

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