When Tommee proposed she start a publishing company by putting some of my stories on smashwords.com, it sounded simple. She had an article where another author said smashwords had step-by-step instructions, and that it was a simple process. She pointed out that I knew several genre artists from attending sf conventions, so covers shouldn't be a problem.
There were things she didn't mention, but I should have anticipated. When she said her budget was 'a shoestring, to start', I should have realized she meant, 'practically non-existent'. The genre artists I know expect to be paid for their art, and rightly so. We found new artists, who didn't think they were ready for covers. (I've seen their work ... they don't need an official degree in art.) But they do need time.
Tommee can get impatient when she isn't moving forward. She asked me to write an 'introduction story' to the Atlan universe, for her website. As we worked through my rough draft, 2nd draft... Half-way through my third draft, she decided, "Let's make this our first offering." I argued that our artists were working on a cover for "The Cave", but she felt a cover could be done in photoshop in a few minutes, and showed me the concept she had already worked up ... using Word! I asked my son for a favor, and showed him the concept. He didn't want to do it, but his girl friend sent us a beautiful cover that evening.
After a final polish, we opened the instructions to prepare the file for smashwords ... and four hours later, we saved our work and called it a day, our brains fried. Most of our time was spent trying to find the path to the menu item that would let us do the formatting we needed to do, although we did spend time on the internet, figuring out how to get an ISBN. As soon as Tommee gets that – in a day or two – we can finish up this manuscript and get it listed on smashwords.
Everything new has a learning curve. We anticipated there might be some 'bumps' to work through. The next time we're ready to prep a manuscript for smashwords, it won't take us so long. And eventually, it won't take both of us.