Since I'm still getting over this cold (yay antibiotics!) and I've already written about how I like to stay organized and on top of things, I've started researching my self-pubbing options for the Disintegration prequels. As I'm eventually releasing the bundle of all three for free as an e-book, there doesn't seem to be a conflict with using both Smashwords and Amazon's KDP. For me, both those options had their pros and cons, and I found it difficult to choose one. KDP is appealing because I want there to be a link between the prequels and my Amazon page/other books on Amazon. Smashwords distributes to many different retailers. The only potential issue I can see so far is assigning an ISBN number, but I'll deal with that when I get closer to the release dates.
I created documents now so I can start working on the formatting. Both sites have comprehensive guides for the necessary prep work, which has been very helpful. Really, they're great. They've obviously been made by people who know what they're doing. There is some crossover between the two, but Smashwords is a bit more...particular, let's say. (Note: this is not intended to be a criticism at all; I'm glad they've gone into such detail so everyone can be assured that the final products are the best they can be, authors, readers, and retailers alike.)
I've been using MS Word for years, but as I have never been in a field that required me to make complex documents, I sort of figured I wasn't using it to its full potential. I know how to make tables and columns, and insert images/word art, and so on. Working with my editor on my first book taught me how to use the "track changes" feature, which is pretty nifty. Thanks to the KDP and Smashwords guides, I now know how to make a linked Table of Contents! Fancy! I've also learned a little more about styles and headings. Don't laugh at my previous ineptitude.
The always-fantastic Boobulon has made a kick-ass cover for me (I paid him for his work, though I think he underpriced himself ;) ), and he even tweaked the image to make two separate versions, as the specs were slightly different for KDP and Smashwords. I LOVE this cover hard, and it's taking every ounce of restraint I have to not immediately put it up here. Patience is a virtue, or so they tell me.
Long story short, while I'm sure it gets easier, I'm not sure if I'd ever self-publish a larger project. There's just so much to worry about, and I'm very grateful that I have the fantastic people at Double Dragon Publishing to take care of all the nitty gritty details for me. As with everything, though, this has been a fun learning experience and I'm glad I'm trying it out!