I loaded PENELOPE AND THE BIRTHDAY CURSE to Smashwords. Surprising I did not run into any problems that caused the system to hiccup, although I did take four shots at getting it to my liking.After the first load, I read it and found blank pages preceding chapters. The problems comes from a suggestion in the Smashwords style manual to add some blank lines, a few squiggles (~~~~) and a few more blank lines to mark the chapter end. The problem is that blanks at the chapter end mean possible blank pages if the ereader goes to next page on a blank. I removed all blank lines at the chapter end, left in the squiggles and added a final page break. That fixed the problem. I reloaded.
The second time I saw a blaring format error, fixed it and loaded it the third. I downloaded the epub version to my ereader last night and decided to read a bit of the story. Then I realized I had a lot more format errors such as missing italics, things that shouldn’t be centered and smart quotes going the wrong way. I spent the rest of the evening and most of today reading it carefully. I corrected the problems and loaded a fourth time.
Now I wait for the uploaded copy to be reviewed by some human at Smashwords. Upon success, the novel should move on to B&N, Amazon, Apple Bookstore and a few others. The whole process will most likely take another 2–3 weeks before it shows up on the big name websites.
So I wait.