I’ve been working on two complete but older novels to submit for ebook conversion at Smashwords. They were finished in 1998-99 but I wrote them on an old word processor, as opposed to a word processing program on a personal computer. My first PC came in 2000. Benefit of the Doubt was a behemoth at 840 pages and 200,000 words while Conditional Voluntary was a much leaner 278 pages and 67,000 words. Of course, hard copy printouts are not going to work for ebook submissions. The good news was that I had earlier started transcibing Benefit into a Word document but I had gotten less than halfway through the manuscript (this must have been more than five years ago). I have a scanner that can convert the untranscibed pages into a PDF file but I would still need to get the novels into an editable Word doc. I looked into one service that can scan bound books and loose pages into Word docs but I would have had to pay for them to do it of course plus shipping costs. Alternatively there are several downloadable programs that allegedly convert PDFs into Word. I attempted free trials on them: some failed to even download; others simply scanned the PDF of Conditional Voluntary’s first chapter into an image that I could look at but not edit. Maybe the paid service would take it that far but I didn’t want to waste money without being sure it would work.
So that left me with the slow and steady option of retyping the books myself. I picked up where the original Word doc left off for Benefit and am now 64% through the manuscript in terms of pages. However, I was able to cut a lot of material that I found superfluous and the word count is only 44% of the original version; simple math tells me I’ve already dropped 20% of the 1998 draft. Because Conditional Voluntary was already a fairly concise, fast-moving novel, my revisions have been relatively minor (yes, I’m transcribing both at the same time). I have transferred 25% of the pages and the new word count is 21% of the original.
Meanwhile my other four completed novels have all been accepted into Smashwords’ premium catalogue. Still waiting for them to be “shipped” to the ebook retailers; that might happen in the next couple of days.