CyberWitch Press


The end is just the beginning.

🔥Cities have collapsed.🔥

🔥Empires have fallen.🔥

🔥All that remains is a curse of shadows and ash.🔥

Whether you wish to dance with witches at the end of the world, cross into nefarious fae realms, or pass through the gates of hell, EMPIRES OF SHADOW AND ASH has a story for you to brave.

Unwilling heroes battle ancient gods, hexed mages carry their burden through broken realms, and dragons soar over lands destroyed by the sands of time.

Forge your journey home as you traverse over one million words of 20 BRAND NEW stories by today’s hottest voices in dystopian urban fantasy where the line between fiction and reality fades and each tale haunts your thoughts long after you’ve turned the final page.

Fans of Game of Thrones, Supernatural, and The Hunger Games won’t want to miss this incredible collection, where every step leads deeper into danger.

One click today to find out why the end is just the beginning!


Services No Longer Offered

Thank you so much to everyone who has followed my career as an ebook/print book formatter over the past six years. However, my career has moved in a different direction, and I no longer have the time to continue formatting. I’ve tried, but I can’t balance it all.

I apologize to the people I’ve worked so closely with over the years.

Onward and upward!

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

Worth a read for any reader or writer.

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

View original post 2,302 more words

CyberWitch Press Short Fiction Anthologies 2016

I love the written word. (Not a secret.) Books are my narcotic, my raison d’etre. I can spend hours lost in a good novel, where chores don’t matter and sometimes my dogs get fed later than they’d like.

But I really love the short story. I think this particular medium often gets overlooked in a society obsessed with BIGGER IS BETTER. A great short story can pack a punch in less than a few thousand words. To me, that is the signature of a phenomenal writer.


About four years ago, I was part of a great group of authors. We released fun, quirky short story collections every few months. (Click here to see.) They were by no means professional, as we were all pretty new to the game. We edited each other’s work. My friend and cowriter Tara West created eye-catching cover art, and I did the formatting. Not to mention, the genres were alllll over the place. But surprisingly, they’re still pretty popular. We see hundreds of downloads a month, and an interesting percentage of people who buy my novels have found me through those collections. They have remained free to download for years, and thus have become free, eternal promotion for all the authors involved.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time and decided to stop thinking and do it: CyberWitch Press is branching out into releasing short story anthologies. Now, because paranormal is my genre of choice, and I want the authors in these anthologies to be able to market to their fans for each other, these will be paranormal/urban fantasy/high fantasy anthologies.

For 2016, I’m tentatively planning three anthologies.

Current anthology call for submissions:


A Midsummer Night’s Sidhe


Carol of the Spells

CyberWitch Lowered Rates + Updates

In case the title of the post hasn’t made it clear enough, I’ve lowered my formatting rates for 2016. So if cost has ever been prohibitive for you in your desire to hire me to format your ebooks or print books, maybe you could reconsider!

A standard length novel (under 100k words):

  • Mobi/Epub = $75
  • Smashwords = $50
  • Createspace = $75
  • Free PDF
  • + 15% discount
  • TOTAL = $170

I also added a “Budget Formatting” option for anybody who wants a professionally formatted book for rock-bottom cost.

See “Services & Rates” in the top, right-hand corner of my site for further info.

~ * ~

I’ve posted two anthology calls for submissions:

A Midsummer Night’s Sidhe (due April 4)

Broomsticks (due August 1)

I learned a lot upon releasing Jingle Spells, so for now, until I perfect the process, I’m only doing these two anthologies this year. If you want to be a part, you’ve got plenty of time!

JINGLE SPELLS has been released and has been doing very well, even now that it’s post-Christmas. If you’re interested in picking up a FREE copy of the inaugural CyberWitch Press Short Fiction Anthology, get it at Amazon. It’s a beautifully formatted ebook, and can give you an idea of what I’m capable of when it comes to making your book beautiful.

Examples of My Interior Formatting

David Gaughran’s “Let’s Get Visible”


The follow up to LET’S GET DIGITAL, the book I recommend to every new writer who asks me “Hey, I wanna self-publish. Where do I start?” I was updating my site and realized I never posted about this back when he released it.  Copied and pasted from his blog:

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble |

Kobo | Smashwords | $4.99

Here’s the blurb:

Take your sales to the next level! The author of the award-winning, bestselling Let’s Get Digital is back with an advanced guide for more experienced self-publishers.

There are over 1.5 million books in the Kindle Store, with thousands more added every day. How do you get yours noticed? Visibility isn’t a challenge that can be bested once – it requires continual work. But there are tools and strategies to do much of the heavy lifting for you.

In Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books, you’ll discover how to:

  • Leverage Amazon’s famous recommendation engine to take advantage of the various opportunities it provides for exposure
  • Position your books for discoverability on other sales venues
  • Minimize the time you spend promoting so you have more time to spend writing
  • Promote in a cost-effective way that actually works

By using these tips, you will get your book noticed. And getting noticed is the key to growing your sales.

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | $4.99

But hey, that’s marketing copy. Here’s what the first reviewers had to say:

Let’s Get Visible is the best tool I have discovered for a writer to push sales and visibility to the next level, and an indispensable addition to the library of any indie writer. If you’re an indie writer and you’re not buying this book, you simply aren’t playing this game to win.” – Michael Wallace, bestselling author of The Righteous.

“Gaughran distills complex subject matter and explains it in a way that anybody can easily understand, and takes the guesswork out of promotion at Amazon. He removes the mysticism and gets you as close as anyone outside of Amazon will probably be to understanding how stuff works behind the curtain.” – David Wright, bestselling author of Yesterday’s Gone.

“If you are a self-publisher looking to improve your ability to get eyeballs on your books, I can’t recommend this title highly enough. The book contains many ideas I’ve used successfully and several I’m now excited to try.” — Cidney Swanson, bestselling author of Saving Mars.

You can check out all the reviews on Amazon US and Amazon UK, and, if you hadn’t guessed already, you can grab a copy at:

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | $4.99

ME: Word on the street is Dave’s about to publish a Second Edition to LET’S GET DIGITAL. I’m stoked to see the boatload of info I’m sure he’s added after three years in the publishing biz.

The Smashwords NCX/TOC

If you’re formatting for Smashwords, READ THIS POST HERE.


I even have step-by-step formatting instructions for text only books.

Now, we’ll discuss that often elusive Smashwords NCX/TOC.

Ever received an error about NCX?  Have you ever opened your final mobi file and wondered why on earth you have no pagebreaks in the file, even though you used that handy-dandy pagebreak function in Microsoft Word?


So now you know you need a table of contents.  If you’ve got the Chapters and the heading styles goin’ on, you’re all set (as mentioned in that first post I told you to read).  However, if your chapters don’t meet the specifications, you’ll have to do the back door method of showing the Meatgrinder what to do.

Here is our make-believe file.

This file is already formatted per Smashwords’s guidelines.  Now I’m going to show you how to create that snazzy TOC.

Highlight the first chapter heading.  Move your cursor to the toolbar where it says INSERT.  One of the options is “Bookmark”.  Choose it.  A new little dialogue box pops up, as shown below:

In the name line, make the bookmark something that will be easy to refer to later.  It’s best to make it one long name using every word of the chapter heading because there is no room for error when you’re linking to each bookmark later.  So, as you can see in the image, I’ve titled my bookmark elsienewfriend.  (Note: You can’t use characters or spaces in the bookmarks, only text.)

Click add. You’ve put in your first bookmark.  Rinse and repeat for every single chapter heading in your document.

Return to the table of contents.  Highlight the first chapter heading in the list–in this instance, Elsie’s New Friend.  Right-click to bring up that fancy little box.  Click “Hyperlink”.

This new little box shown above will pop up.  See the blue square?  It’s a tab that says “Place in this document”.  Click that, and the white dialogue box will change to show you a list of all your bookmarks in the document.  Click the bookmark for elsienewfriend, and hit Ok, then voila — hyperlink.  Rinse and repeat for the rest of the list.

Your final file should look a little something like this with those nice blue hyperlinks:

Notice how I didn’t even use a pagebreak in the doc.  None.  It’s all on the same page.  Yet… if you want an idea of the separate pages that result from the meatgrinder’s conversion, here’s a montage of images:

Pagebreaks intact.

Happy formatting!

Things You May Not Know About Smashwords Formatting


Yes, you read that correctly.  That cute little “pagebreak” option in Microsoft Word DOES NOT WORK for Smashwords formatting.  You can put it in the doc, and it won’t mess with your formatting, but it will not ensure a pagebreak within the resulting ebook.  The only way to have pagebreaks before every chapter heading is to have a table of contents that points the way for the Meatgrinder to insert those pesky breaks.

There are two ways to ensure your ebook has the NCX/TOC required by Smashwords for premium distribution.

One—if every chapter of your book begins with “Chapter” i.e. Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, AND if you put a Heading style on every heading, then the Meatgrinder will automatically create you an NCX/TOC.  It’s as simple as that.

Two—if your chapters do not begin with “Chapter”, i.e. One, Two, Three, or titles like “The First Day” or “When She Cries” etc. etc. YOU MUST CREATE A HYPERLINKED TABLE OF CONTENTS for the Meatgrinder.  I’ve outlined exactly how to do so HERE.  Once you’ve hyperlinked your table of contents, the Meatgrinder will put your pagebreaks in before every heading.

NOTE: I love Smashwords.  They do us a great service.  But this is not always consistent.  Sometimes, you do everything right, and your pagebreaks STILL don’t show up.  Until SW allows people to upload fully formatted epub files, we’re stuck with what they offer.  And the Meatgrinder isn’t infallible.


Period.  Finito.  If you use any other font that isn’t times new roman, you take the ability to change their ereader font away from the reader.  I get pretty miffed when I open a Smashwords book I bought for my Nook, and I can’t change the font because the author formatted their book wrong.  People are creatures of habit.  We LIKE our own chosen fonts on our ereaders.  We know what feels good on our eyes.  Don’t ruin the reading experience for your readers.


Yep, Smashwords will flag your formatting if you use more than four returns.  You don’t need that many anyway.


Remember, your file is going to be read on a super small screen.  Deep indents are gonna look mighty stupid on an Android Kindle app.

Oh, and you can’t have an indent AND a hanging space (the line of white between paragraphs).  It’s one or the other, not both.  Use both, and Smashwords will flag you to fix it.


The style guide explains this, yet most people still don’t understand why they upload their formatted document and alllll those italics disappear.  You absolutely cannot use the italics button.  Or Ctrl+i.  You have to use a STYLE.  You can read about how to do that HERE.


I don’t care how thorough you are.  Use the paragraph marks.  It’s the only way to ensure consistency, and to catch any pesky problems before they happen.


You could have OCD and think your file is perfect, but it’s not.  Nuke the entire thing.  Strip the formatting. And REDO IT ALL using Smashwords guidelines.  It isn’t that big of a deal to spend a couple hours making sure your file looks perfect.  Your readers will love it, and other indies will thank you for not contributing to the “there’s so much crap out there” theory.


If you want to format your own Smashwords files, do yourself a favor: READ THE STYLE GUIDE.  Yes, it’s annoyingly long and verbose, but it has everything you could possibly need to know about formatting for the Meatgrinder.  If you don’t have the time nor the inclination to do so, hire someone else to do it.  Sometimes you have to put a little effort in for the end result to be pretty.

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