The Rogue Derelict Returns!

The time has come. If you missed out on the Amazon exclusive Rogue Derelict run, and didn’t take advantage of the recent Bundle, then you can finally get your hands on this standalone entry to Lindsay Buroker’s Fallen Empire series. It’s available everywhere now!

Also, the first Patreon release hit patrons a little while ago.

Artwork is by Fablepaint

This is an origin story for the surly little aye-aye who keeps the Wind Breaker in the air. If you’d like a copy of it, support for $1 over at Patreon, or wait six months or so for it to be released as a perk or part of a collection.

Big Announcements!

Hi folks! Once again I continue the disturbing tendency to make my personal website the last place I announce things. (This is an excellent reason to sign up for the newsletter, by the way.) But better late than never! Let’s get into this. First and foremost!

The Inevitable Patreon!

A few days ago, I launched a Patreon page for my writing. If you’re not familiar, Patreon is a site that allows you to pledge money to your favorite creators. The money is paid either monthly or by creation, and in exchange for your support, you get special perks and goodies. And I’ve got one now!

What will the Patreon be?

In my case, the patreon will be a way for me to distribute my short stories. You may remember, earlier this year, I was releasing some of my shorter stuff as official releases. It was certainly one way to do it, but I realized that doing so would quickly flood my library with super short stories that LOOK like full titles. And though I love my short stuff, I’d really rather keep it distinct from the longer entries. Patreon will be my way to release those shorts on a monthly basis. Depending on your support level, I’ll send you download links to each new novel and novella too. You’ll basically be automatically pre-ordering all of my stuff. On top of that, you’ll get access to a discord chat I’ll have open on the side while I’m writing, and probably lots of other fun stuff as people request new perks and as I think of them. Sound good? Sign up! As little as a dollar will get you a new short story every month!

What will the Patreon NOT be?

A pay wall. Nothing that goes out to the Patreon supporters will be locked behind the patreon wall forever. Eventually everything in the Patreon will be released either as part of a collection or as a newsletter perk. This is only about getting the stuff early, getting it automatically, or just tossing some money in a tip jar to help keep me writing through the lean months of the year.

It also won’t be a get rich quick scheme. If you check out the patreon, you’ll see on the left side there’s a list of goals. On the off chance I reach certain funding thresholds, the extra cash will go to giving folks a better product. Custom covers for the short stories, internal illustrations. Self-narrated audio versions. The more time I can afford to spend making them better, the better they’ll get. This is about making good books, not about buying sports cars. (Although I make no promises that I won’t buy more hand made figurines of my characters if the budget permits.)

So, that’s that. If it sounds like something you’d like to support, please do! If not, that’s a-okay. Things’ll continue on for you like nothing had ever changed. The first Patreon release will be on October 17th, to coincide with…

Rogue Derelict Re-release!

By now you’ve heard me talk about it plenty of times, so I’ll keep it brief. I wrote a story in Lindsay Buroker’s Fallen Empire series as a part of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program. The program ended, and Lindsay allowed me to republish it on my own. It’ll be out on October 17th, and you can find the pre-order here. People who prefer Kindle probably already have this, but this is the first time (outside of last month’s bundle) that non-Amazon readers can get their hands on it.

And then there’s Rustle and Eddy!

Another one I’ve talked about a bit, so just a reminder. A merman and his fairy buddy go on an adventure in the Crescent Sea. Available now!

The Best of Joseph R. Lallo

I’ve got a brand new bundle at StoryBundle right now. It’s called the Best of Joseph R. Lallo Bundle

So many books! If you’re not familiar with StoryBundle, they’re a site that curates collections of books and makes them available for a limited time at a price of your choosing. If you hit certain levels, you get different amounts of goodies, and you can even choose to send a piece of your purchase to a charity. I’ve worked with them a bunch in the past, and it’s always been a great experience, so I’m happy to say that they offered me the opportunity let folks get their hands on a collection of stories that have been lucky enough to have been bundled in the past. You can visit the website for the details, but the short version is, until roundabout August 7th, you if you pay at least $25 you can get 17 full novels and a comic! Here are some of the highlights.

This bundle has three exclusives. Things that either haven’t been available in a neat little ereader-friendly package or haven’t been available anywhere but Amazon before.

The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy is the edited, polished, and published story of a merman and fairy friend who go on an adventure deep under the sea. Previously it was only available as a tumblr blog. Cover art (and, if I’m honest, a great deal of character design) by ViiStar.

Weird Nothing is a webcomic, updated semi-regularly, that has had its first four chapters collected for the bundle into a little digital comic! Written by me, art by Adam J. Hall.

Rogue Derelict is a (former) Kindle World’s novel in the Fallen Empire setting. Kindle Worlds, as the name would imply, is (no longer) an Amazon product, which meant that I couldn’t release it wide. Well, good news! Amazon’s Kindle Worlds doesn’t exist anymore! That means I can now (with Lindsay’s permission) sell the book everywhere. And the first place you can get it, is in the bundle.

So, there you have it! Check it out!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Jo. I love your writing, because you are the greatest dude ever, so I already own all of your stories. Is there anything in this for ME?”

First, cut it out, you’re making me blush. And second, YES! There are three prizes on offer to everyone who buys a copy.

First, there’s these goodies!

Left to Right: Full 3D Print of Squee the Funk by Liz Landis, Faux Bronze Monkey-Toe Wrench by ViiStar and me, and hand painted Myn Bust by Leilia’s Clay Creations. You get all three if you’re the lucky winner. If you don’t get that, you could get this!

White (we’ll call them “unpainted”) versions of the same goodies!

And finally, there’s something called a tuckerization. That’s where you get to have a minor character named after you. One of the winners will get to help me pick the name for a character in the upcoming Big Sigma 5!

So, again, check out the bundle!

Cipher Hill is out now!

Hi! I’ll make it a quick one. You can buy Cipher Hill now! It is the fifth story in the Free-Wrench saga, and it is available wherever eBooks are sold!

New Stuff!

Let’s see. I haven’t updated the site in… four months!? Bad Jo. BAD JO! Boy, I’ve got some stuff to go over, huh?

Cipher Hill

The most important announcement is the pre-order of Cipher Hill! Newsletter subscribers already know about this, but I’d best put it here for latecomers and lookee-loos. 

Cover, as always, by Nick Deligaris

Cipher Hill is the fifth book in the Free-Wrench series. It follows hot on the heels of the plot of The Calderan Problem, and for the first time allows our heroes to go on the offensive rather than waiting around to be targets. The Book releases on July 11th wherever ebooks are sold, but if you’re really impatient, Apple once again has an exclusive early release on July 3rd. So if you want an extra week or so to read it, pick it up on iBooks!

The Poorly Planned Short Story Experiment

It had been my intention to release monthly short stories for an entire year. I made it about three months. Where did it all go wrong? Covers and edits, my friends. Covers and edits. I can pretty easily pump out a 15,000 word novella. Nominally it would take me between 3 and 6 days. But I am pathologically incapable of producing that many words, or even a whole sentence, without making errors. So I’d have to revise and get time with an editor. And I pride myself on good covers these days, so for a story to be recognizable on a store shelf as one of mine, I’d need a good cover.

The issue comes in the form of cost for those things, which could probably managed, and scheduling of those things, which it turns out could not. I simply couldn’t get enough time on artists’ and editors’ calendars to get a monthly release handled. I  might try again and try to streamline the process a bit (I know plenty of authors who do near-monthly releases, so it CAN be done), but for now, I shelf the project after having released the following former Newsletter Perks wide:

Entwell Origins: Ayna

Beta Testers

The Stump and the Spire

Upcoming Bundle?

If you’ve missed out on some of my stuff, or have a hankering for some of my oddities that haven’t ever been released as eBooks, keep your eyes peeled in the coming months. A big fat bundle is coming. More details as they arise.

Sci-Fi Series Bundle

Hello, folks!

As you may know, from time to time I am lucky enough to be called upon by Jason over at StoryBundle to curate something. The most recent such bundle is a real doozy, and it’s going to run from today to Feb. 1st!

I present to you the Sci-Fi Series Bundle!

I’m calling this the Sci-Fi Series bundle because all of the books you see here are parts of larger worlds you can explore. And with the exception of my own addition, The Calderan Problem, they all represent the beginning of their series! Let’s see what stories we’ve got in this bundle, and what the critics and customers have to say about them:

Descent (The SpaceMan: Chronicles Book 2) by Tom Abrahams

“Fantastic continuation of one of the freshest post-apocalyptic/dystopian series out there. Tom Abrahams’ series delivers everything you could want from the genre, adding an entirely clever twist to the greater plot that I absolutely did not see coming. Descent takes on a whole new meaning, as the planet earth braces for an extinction level event. Highly recommended!”

 – Author Steven Konkoly

SpaceMan (The SpaceMan Chronicles: Book 1) by Tom Abrahams

“Tom Abrahams is a master with this genre. In a plot paced just this side of orbital velocity, his not-so-ordinary spaceman –and the family he loves— battle a new and unique unknown that tests their resilience, courage, and love for one another, both on and off the planet. Failure to turn the pages of this book quickly is simply, “not an option!”

 – Astronaut Clayton C. Anderson, 6-Time Spacewalker and Author of The Ordinary Spaceman

Trader’s Honour (Return of the Aghyrians: Book 2) by Patty Jansen

“Trader’s Honour is an enjoyable science fiction read. It’s low on technobabble and explicit sciencey stuff, although the worldbuilding is fairly solid. As such, I think it might also appeal to fantasy fans who don’t mind a few aeroplanes and a spot of interplanetary travel in their fiction. I highly recommend it to science fiction fans.”

 – Tsana Dolichva

Watcher’s Web (Return of the Aghyrians: Book 1) by Patty Jansen

“The rich and powerful tapestry of world building captures the imagination and just doesn’t let go. The characters are full of life and complexity. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It is easy to identify with the peoples and through suspension of disbelief, this world was very real, as are the struggles being faced. Love books that make me think about what I would or wouldn’t do in that situation. Great strong female lead.”

 – Amazon Review

Icarus by Matt Verish

“Well written, fast paced, and solidly crafted. An engaging tale of adventure that takes me back to the early works of past sci-fi masters from the days of John Campbell’s editing years.”


“Matt Versh is my new favorite author with the title ‘ICARUS’. If you like good, old-school sci-fi, then this is for you. A good storyline that grabs you from the very beginning. It’s one you just don’t want to put down, there are no dull moments. And, of course, I can hardly wait for the next installment. Get it and read it…there’ll be no regrets if you like action and a great plot that keeps your attention.”

 – Amazon Review

Derelict (Halcyone Space: Book 1) by LJ Cohen

“Get on board Derelict, and you’ll take an edgy, nonstop flight into an audacious SF future with unremitting danger as your pilot — and thrilling adventure your destination.”

 – Lynn Viehl, NYT best selling author of the Stardoc and Darkyn series

Relic of Sorrows (Fallen Empire: Book 4) by Lindsay Buroker

“I have read the first four books in this series in 5 days, and I’m having to physically restrain myself from launching into the fifth book. I love the characters, the pace is fast, and I’m completely hooked.”

 – Goodreads Review

The Fallen Empire Set: Books 1-3 (Includes Bonus Prequel) by Lindsay Buroker

“This series is one of the best classic sci-fi tales I’ve read in years. Author Buroker’s spare prose leads the reader deftly through an action-packed but character-driven story of loss, struggle and the aftermath of war. Yet the story has an upbeat feel to it, partially due to major characters who engage in the cheeky, ironic humor that we often see in “buddy” films. To add a twist, at the heart of the drama is a slowly developing, fragile love story.”

 – Amazon Review

The Calderan Problem by Joseph R. Lallo

“Simply awesome as always! All of his books are very good and this series is one of the best. With The Calderan Problem just leaving me wanting more!”

 – Ray, Goodreads

Irradiance (The Dream Guild Chronicles: Book 1) by David Bruns

“The premise and the plot of this book hooked me…kept me turning digital pages right to the end.”

 – The Kindle Book Review

The Catalyst (Targon Tales: Book 1) by Chris Reher

“A wonderfully written space adventure that starts with action on page one and doesn’t stop until the last page. There are several twists and turns throughout, both in the story and in the characters. Worth the read, and it’s even one of those rare books I will probably re-read at some point and has earned a permanent place on my Kindle.”

 – Goodreads review

Only Human (Targon Tales: Book 2) by Chris Reher

“I completely enjoyed this novel. The aspect that was a bit challenging was that I was unable to put it down! The characters were all interesting and well defined. The various alien characters were smoothly developed, rather than just dropped into the story. Many were likable and a natural part of the story, which was well developed and had a very logical flow to it. It is a riveting battle tale that will capture the reader in the mire of a well written story. I completely recommend this book to any sci-fi reader!”

 – Amazon Review

I had loads of fun picking out these stories. The novels are fun, exciting, intriguing, and just plain good. If you’re not familiar with StoryBundle, it’s a great site! The bundles run for a limited time, and you can choose your own price, starting as low as a few dollars, and going up to as much as you think its worth. In exchange, you’ll get the base bundle or, if you pay enough, the bonus. These books are yours to keep, DRM free, and the authors get an equal share of the profits.

StoryBundle is a great ally to the indie folks, so please consider picking up a bundle!

Free-Wrench Collection

Hi folks! Look what I’ve got! A pre-order for Free-Wrench Collection: Volume 1, which comes out January 15th!

The gorgeous cover is, as always, by Nick Deligaris.  And the original design of the wrench is courtesy of Viistar.

If you’ve paid close attention to how my releases work. you’ve probably been expecting this for quite some time. When I write a fourth book in a series, that means it’s time to include the first three in a collection, so folks don’t have to buy a stack of books to understand where the story has come from and where it is going. It’s happened with The Book of Deacon and Big Sigma. Now Free-Wrench gets its turn.

If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s my take on Steampunk. The story follows Nita Graus, an engineer from an idyllic island nation, Caldera. She leaves her home aboard Wind Breaker, an airship with an assortment of misfits who trade goods back and forth between Caldera and the mainland, a place called Rim. The continent has been blanketed by a toxic “fug” which has forced most people into the mountains to survive. A whole twisted race of people altered by the fug, known as the fug folk, have got the surface dwellers on a short leash. The series is largely about Nita and the crew attempting to break that leash.

In this collection, you get the first three books, Free-Wrench, Skykeep, and Ichor Well. They lead nicely to the fourth book (released earlier this  year) called The Calderan Problem. Previously, the collections have also included some short stories that weren’t available individually. I’m not doing that this time. Why? Because I will just be making the short stories available individually! It struck me that making people buy the collection to get the short stuff was silly if they were already fans, and making them wait until the stories became newsletter perks wasn’t much better! So expect to see some Free-Wrench shorts hit the market in the coming months.  Along with shorts from my other settings, and maybe even some new stuff!

If you’ve not started the series, consider picking up the collection.  It releases on Jan. 15th, and it’s a cheaper, easier way to get started!

Book of Deacon 5 and Structophis!

The Crescents

The fifth book in the Book of Deacon main series is available now!

You can buy The Crescents wherever you buy eBooks now!

Cover, as always, by Nick Deligaris.

As you may have noticed, the way I usually do releases is a nice long pre-order followed by a launch day flurry of activity. A few days ago, I popped onto twitter and asked when people would like to see the new Book of Deacon story roll out. Just about everyone who replied had the same answer. Monday.

Far be it from me to disappoint.

And so, The Book of Deacon 5, The Crescents, is available now! Since the Book of Deacon series is a little tough to follow in terms of reading order, I’ll clarify where this one lies. It is a few months after The D’Karon Apprentice (Book of Deacon 4) and many, many decades before Jade. You can find the full reading order for the series here. Who knows maybe you’ve missed some!

I took this story in a different direction than many may have anticipated, but hopefully you’ll still enjoy it! Here’s the blurb:

In a place untouched by the Perpetual War, a new conflict threatens to ignite.

Generations of war have been put to rest. The D’Karon scourge has been wiped away. All that remains for Myranda, Deacon, and the other Chosen is the long, slow road to recovery for their weakened kingdom. It is no small task, as dark magic has taken a terrible toll on the land. Crops struggle to grow. The scars of war are slow to fade. But from across the sea comes hope.

The haughty King Mellawin presides over the kingdom of Sonril. His people, the elves of South Crescent, have grown concerned with their place in history. Fate left the prophesy in the hands of the mortals of Tressor and the Northern Alliance. And now the legendary unseen tormentors from North Crescent, the Aluall, have spilled the blood of their people. Mindful that his subjects have come to doubt him, King Mellawin comes to the Northern Alliance with an offer. In exchange for the service of the Chosen, he shall provide a treatment to heal the land.

Myranda, Deacon, Ivy, Myn and the others shall be the first of their people to set foot on the Crescents since before the Perpetual War… Or so they believe. But what they find there will reveal long-hidden secrets of their history, and threats they could never have imagined.

The Crescents is the fifth epic entry in The Book of Deacon Saga, from Joseph R. Lallo, author of the Big Sigma series and Free-Wrench.

Enjoy the story! I’m already working hard on two additional stories in the setting.


Remember that weird story about a Pizza Dragon? It is no longer exclusive!


Get it now in all the usual places!

Some of you may recall this bizarre little story. It was my first experiment in putting a story in Kindle Unlimited. I knew it was a long shot that it would do well there. This is Young Adult (young adults don’t do their own shopping) and it is a niche genre (the mainstream isn’t clamoring for Pizza Dragons). That, as the folks in the book marketing biz would say, is a story that was not “written to the market” and thus isn’t known for succeeding in KU.

Surprise, surprise, it didn’t succeed in KU. It did okay, but not okay enough to continue to exclude the significant portion of my audience that doesn’t shop for their books on Amazon. Today, that has been corrected. If you’d like to know about Blodgette the Pizza Dragon (Structophis Gastrignae), pick it up and enjoy! And if you like the character design, go check out ProjectENDO, who created it! If you like the cover, that’s anti-dark-heart.

How I Write: Step 11 – The Formatting

Now that you’ve got your finished and (reasonably) error-free manuscript, it’s time to get it ready for release. That means formatting. Realistically, you can feed modern ebook distributors a pretty janky file and still get something you can sell. Don’t. This is where the rubber meets the road for your book. You don’t want your killer story to be wrecked by a mediocre reading experience.

The Hardware

If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve got everything you need in the hardware department.

The Software

My own method for formatting uses Microsoft Word and Calibre, both of which have been discussed earlier. If you’re a Mac user, Vellum is a somewhat pricy but highly recommended alternative. It provides spectacular results with very little effort.

The Content

Formatting your ebook can be intimidating for a first timer. If you follow the instructions below, you shouldn’t have any difficulty, and I encourage you to give it a try. That said, if you’re really worried, this is a service many editors provide as an add-on. There are also no shortage of freelance book designers who can help you out. I’ve never worked with one, so we’ll be looking at my methods below.

I recommend working with DOCX as your base file. It works natively with up-to-date versions of Calibre, and saves cleanly to most other formats. Save a copy and clearly label it so you’ll know this is the publishable version. Then open it up in Word (to be able to follow this tutorial literally) or your word processor of choice.

For the best shot at the book looking the way you want it to regardless of how the reader is reading it, you’re going to want to keep the format as simple as possible. eReaders can to things like change font size and font color, so the fewer things you’ve written in stone, the fewer problems are likely to come up. Since it bit me in the butt more than once, I’ll make this clear. WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T SPECIFY “BLACK” AS YOUR TEXT COLOR.

“What? But I want my text to be black, why wouldn’t I want it to be specified as black?” you may rightly ask.

The underlying problem here may have been fixed, but once bitten, twice shy. If you are reading late at night on an electronic device, it is frequently more comfortable to do so with white text on a black background. This is called “High Contrast” mode or “Nighttime Mode” for a lot of eReaders. If you’ve set your text to black, some of the more naïve programs will happily obey your wishes, and you’ll end up with—you guessed it—black text on a black background. This is what we in the business call “a bad reader experience,” what with the not being able to see anything.

So when going through the next few steps, remember, the color you’re looking for is “automatic.” That’ll give you nice black text in standard situations, but still allow the program to swap to a more appropriate color when necessary.

But on to the step by step stuff.

Choose your Normal

Most of your text is going to be “Normal” text. Most of the rest will be based on it. So your first step is to choose normal. On the “Home” ribbon in Word, click the little arrow in the lower righthand corner of the “Styles” section. This will bring up your Styles box. In the lower righthand corner of this, there’s the “Options” link. Click on that. I usually pick “In Use” for the “Select styles to show” dropdown. I also make sure to check “Paragraph level formatting” and “Font Formatting” at this stage. Click Okay.

Now you’ve got a list of every little formatting quirk in your document. Find “Normal,” right click, and choose Modify.

You can make your normal text whatever you like. The eReader is going to make some of its own decisions about this later. As a rule though, here’s what I stick with.

In the Modify Style Window, I pick Times New Roman, size 12, Justified Alignment, Single Spaced, Automatic Color.

In the lower left hand corner, I click the format button and choose Paragraph. Here, I pick First Line, 0.5” for indentation.

Set Up Your Headings

On your format list, you’ve probably already got Heading 1. If you don’t, add it. (Via the Manage Styles button on the bottom of the Styles menu. You can get a little fancier with this one, but I like:

Modify Style -> Times New Roman, size 14, Bold, Centered, Single Spaced, Automatic Color.

Paragraph Style ->Indent (none), Outline Level 1

Once you’ve got that set up to your liking, go through your manuscript and make sure all chapter headings and ONLY chapter headings are set to Heading 1. Missing a chapter heading can cause problems when making the table of contents, and having random text set to Heading 1 will randomly promote it to being a chapter of its own.

If you’re writing Non-Fiction, you’re likely to need lower level headings. I like to make them similar to my regular headings, but not bold and at Outline Level 2, 3, etc.

Other Special Formats

I find I frequently need a handful of other seldom used formats, so here they are.


For this one I use the same settings as Heading 1, but I set Outline Level to Body Text.

No Indent

You probably don’t have a style for this yet, so in the Styles Window, pick New Style from the bottom. Name it something like “Normal No Indent”

Style type: Paragraph

Style based on: Normal

Style for following paragraph: Normal

Then go into paragraph style and change Indent to (none).


 This is, perhaps, a little overkill, but when I center something, I like to make sure it has no indent. Otherwise, when you want something centered on the page, you’ll actually get something on indent to the right of center. Most people won’t notice. The ones that do are driven to the brink of insanity by it. So make a new style like you did for No Indent, except in addition to removing the indent, also set it to Center Alignment.

Your Title Page

For your title page, go to the top of your document and press Ctrl-Enter to make a page break. Type your title, and make it Title Style. Put a blank line, then in Centered Style, type your name.

At this point, I like to put another Blank line, then, still in Centered Style, Copyright ©2015 [Your name]. I’m not sure if this is necessary, but it couldn’t hurt. Another unnecessary but nice thing to do here is to add another blank line, then credit your cover artist (Cover By [NAME]).

From the Author

If someone gets to the back of the book, it usually means they liked your stuff. This is a good place to let them know you appreciate them, and let them know how they can help you out. On a fresh page after the end of the story, I like to make a heading that says “From The Author,” then type a sentence or two thanking the reader. I mention how if they liked it, it would be nice if they left a review. I’ll include links to my social media stuff if they want to get in touch with me, then add in a list of other books of mine they might enjoy.

Linked Table of Contents

This one’s a little overkill, but I’ve gotten into the habit of doing it. Hit Ctrl-Enter after your Title page stuff, then enter “Table of Contents” in Heading one. Under that, in No Indent Style, write the name of every chapter in order on its own line.

Next, the tedious part. Again, this isn’t 100% necessary, but doing this, I’ve found just about any ebook format or distributor will create a good output that behaves as expected.

On the “Insert” ribbon, go to the Links section and choose bookmarks. If you wrote this and spat it out of Scrivener. It has “helpfully” given you a ton of bookmarks. Delete them all. Even the hidden ones. The more unnecessary information you include in a file, the more likely a computer will use it to do something you don’t want it to.

Once you’re clear, click on the page count in the lower left-hand corner to bring up a list of all those headings you made. You’re about to do these next few steps a lot of times.

Click a chapter heading in the navigator. It’ll jump you to right before the heading. Now click Bookmarks and Add a bookmark with a name that will sort appropriately. I like to do CH_00, CH_01, CH_02, etc.

Once you’re done, go back to the Table of Contents. Highlight the title of the first chapter, hit Ctrl+K, click bookmark, and pick the appropriate bookmark for that chapter. Do it for every line in the Table of Contents.

Clean up the Styles

Open up the Styles window again. You want to pare down the list of styles you made earlier. For every style in the style window right now that isn’t one that you made and adjusted to your liking, do the following. Save after every successful adjustment, because there is a strong tendency to cause the program to hang if it is a particularly long file, and it is quite frustrating to lose your work as a result.

Right click the style. Click “Select all # Instances.” It will highlight each of them. Lots of times, there will only be a handful of them, and they will be blank lines. While they are still selected, just click the Normal style. This will shift all of them to normal and, now that the style is no longer in use in your document, it will remove it from the lit.

If the instances are, for example, several hundred individual italicized words, click normal, then click the italic button. The idea is to make sure that everything is at least based on Normal. There will be some variations on this. Using the same example, italicized stuff in a No Indent paragraph will required you to click No Indent, then make them Italic again. But you’re going to want to go through and make sure everything in the “In Use” style list is either one of the styles you made or based on one of the styles you made.

One thing to look out for. If a whole paragraph is the same format—italicized/bold/centered—then make sure you set it back, because sometimes those can get messed up if you fiddle with them.

Finishing Touches

A few last things I like to do, which make things a little nicer but don’t matter too much. If your chapters don’t all start on their own page, go to the end of the last sentence of the previous chapter and hit Ctrl-Enter to make a page break. You can actually do this with the heading format, but I like doing it manually.

Also, and this is super minor, lots of people like to make the first paragraph of every chapter No Indent. Not sure why, but I’ve started doing it. Just click somewhere in the paragraph and click the no indent style in the Styles window.

And there you have it. Save it and you’ve got a file that should convert very nicely into whatever format you like. If you’re feeling feisty and want to have some good copies of files to distribute to readers personally, there’s a few more steps you can do.

ePub Format

Open up Calibre. Drag and drop the DOCX file you just saved onto it. It’ll be added to the list. Click it, then click Edit metadata. Fill in the title, author name, and series. If you’ve got your cover, you can throw it in here too. Then, hit convert books. Make sure the output format (in the top right corner) is EPUB, then hit OK.

When it’s done, right click the book and choose Edit Book.

This is the most tricky and intimidating part. You’re going to edit… HTML… This is all exceptionally optional. All you’re really doing is making sure nothing went wrong in the other steps and putting in some hooks to take advantage of some exceedingly minor features of some ebook readers.

We’ll start with the easy part. Go to the tools menu and choose Add cover. Make sure Preserve Aspect Ratio is checked and hit OK.

Now double click stylesheet.css. CODE! SCARY! Just scroll through this and look for “color: black” and delete it. There’s other stuff you can do here, but it can get hairy in a hurry.

Next, double click “content.opf” Scroll down to where it says “<guide>”. Replace the entire section starting with “<guide>” and ending with “</guide>” with what’s below.


    <reference href=”titlepage.xhtml” title=”Cover” type=”cover”/>

    <reference href=”TABLEOFCONTENTS” title=”TableofContents” type=”toc”/>

    <reference href=”STARTPOINT” title=”Start” type=”text”/>


Once that’s in place, scroll up to the top of the list of files on the left side of the window and double click them one at a time until you find the table of contents. (It’ll probably be index_split_001.html) Replace the TABLEOFCONTENTS (leave the quotation marks) with the file name. It will start to auto-fill. Once you’ve got the file name, put a “#” and it’ll autofill a list of headings. Pick one. Any of them should work.

Now do the same thing for STARTPOINT, except instead of aiming for the file with the TOC, you’re looking for the start of the novel.

Save it all and close the Edit window.

If you’ve got something to test epub files, you can click on the book you just cleaned up on the list, then click “Click to Open” next to “Path” on the right side of the screen. Double click the new epub and see how it looks. If you don’t have something to test it, just click “EPUB” next to “Formats:” and Calibre will preview it for you.

Either way, take a look. If it looks good, you can click Convert Books and make any other formats you like, though realistically, Mobi is the only other one you’ll need.

And that should do it. I started by saying this wouldn’t be too difficult, and now I see that this is one of the longest chapters, so I may have spoken too soon. Regardless, it’s over now. Next step, self-publishing!