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Smashwords Style Guide - How to Format Your Ebook (Smashwords Guides) [Kindle Edition]

Mark Coker
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Smashwords Style Guide has helped indie authors produce and publish over 130,000 high-quality ebooks. 200,000 copies of the Smashwords Style Guide have downloaded!

This guide offers simple step-by-step instructions to create and format an ebook using Microsoft Word.

The Smashwords Style Guide is required reading for any author who wants to distribute their book via Smashwords to major ebook retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel.

Authors and publishers who don't yet use Smashwords can still benefit from the Guide. It provides detailed information on how ebook formatting is different from print formatting, how to create a reflowable ebook, and it offers step by step illustrated instructions on how to tame the beast of Microsoft Word.



Welcome to Smashwords!
Do-it-yourself, or hire help?
Good formatting examples
What Smashwords publishes, what we don’t publish
Five common formatting mistakes to avoid
How Smashwords publishes books
How Smashwords distributes books
How ebook formatting is different from print formatting
How we convert your book into multiple ebook formats
The three secrets to ebook formatting
How to avoid (and fix) AutoVetter errors
Introduction to Meatgrinder conversion system
Your required source file
Understanding the different ebook formats



Making Word Behave
Step 1: Make a back up
Step 2: Activate Word’s Show/Hide
Step 3: Turn off Word’s “AutoCorrect” and “AutoFormat” features
Step 4: Eliminate text boxes
Step 5: The Nuclear Method

Step 6: Unify Manuscript around Normal paragraph style
Step 7: Managing and modifying paragraph styles, fonts
Step 7a. How to choose the best paragraph separation method (first line indent or block?)
Step 7b: How to implement your chosen paragraph separation method
Step 7b-a: How to define a proper first line indent
Step 7b-b: How to define trailing “after” space for block paragraphs
Step 7b-c: Special tips for poetry, cookbooks and learning materials
Step 7b-d: How to define proper line spacing
Step 8: Check your normalized text
Step 9: Why you should never use tabs or the space bar for indents
Step 10: Managing paragraph returns
Step 11: Managing hyperlinks
Step 12: Designating chapter breaks, page breaks, section breaks
Step 13: Working with images
Step 14: Text justification
Step 14a: Centering text
Step 15: Managing font sizes
Step 16: Style formatting, symbols and glyphs
Step 17: Headers and footers
Step 18: Margins, page sizes and indents
Step 19: Add the Heading style to your Chapter headers (optional)

Building Navigation
Step 20: Building navigation into the manuscript
Step 20a: Creating the NCX
Step 20b: Creating the linked Table of Contents
Step 20c: Advanced link building (Footnotes, Endnotes)
Step 20d: Troubleshooting and testing

Front Matter
Step 21: Front matter
Step 21a: Blurbs (optional)
Step 21b: Title and copyright page (required!)
Step 21c: Add a Smashwords license statement below copyright page

The End of Your Book
Step 22: The end of your book

Step 23: Preparing your cover image
Step 24: Review requirements for Premium Catalog distribution

Uploading Your Book to Smashwords
Step 25: How to upload your book
Step 26: How AutoVetter works
Step 27: After you publish – check your work
Step 27a: Check for EPUBCHECK compliance (important!)

How to Market Your Book
Step 28: Read the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (also available at Amazon)
Step 29 Read The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (available at Amazon)

Helpful Resources
Send Feedback
About the Author

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Revision: June 16, 2012

Product Details

  • File Size: 1474 KB
  • Print Length: 130 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Smashwords; June 16, 2012 edition (April 18, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XWJ7UK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,456 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This e-book delivered the most value. Now I know that my e-book will be published. Isn't it unusual: a free e-book gives you the most?

E-book formatting is not as clear as you want it to be, especially if you are very new to e-book publishing. There are several approaches. Different people find different solutions. This e-book worked for me 100%. It has 72 pages. That's good! It has pictures and explains thoroughly how to solve many problems. But that's not all.

I actually learned things I had no idea about even though I've been using Microsoft Word since the 1980s when it was created.

This book is worth attention if you want to publish an e-book and make it as little tortuous as possible.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Follow This Exactly (but not stupidly) August 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A real hand-holding step-by-step guide to getting a manuscript into the Smashwords Meatgrinder. Warning: most of it will make no sense unless you have MicrosoftWord up on your screen to follow along. It's *that* step-by-step.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy January 13, 2012
By Amanda
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There's not much mystery left. If you want to publish an eBook through Smashwords that will be available across the board for all eReaders, this is the guide you need. follow Mr. Cokers easy directions and your book will not only be available for purchase thru Smashwords, but other major eBook retailers thru the Smashwords Premium Catalog.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Genius September 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
If Mark Coker can make ME understand formatting, he is a genius!! This book is worth its weight in gold to any new indie author. His instructions are clear, and easy to understand. Even if you've tried formatting your own books with no success, try again with THIS book, and you will get it right. He makes it THAT easy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smashwords Style Guide-How to Format Your Ebook December 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition

You would never guess how much time and frustration you have saved me. After much time and effort I just couldn't solve the problem of how to make a TOC whose chapter names were linked to the corresponding chapters in the book.
With my Kindle on my lap and your software in front of me and my computer, I worked slowly through your directions. I wasn't sure before that if I was ever going to learn how to make a linkable TOC.

Allen Coryell
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful July 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I don't have much to say about this book. It served a purpose.

For various reasons (e.g., to avoid viruses and to ensure that certain book requirements are met), Smashwords uses proprietary software to convert Word documents into ebooks. If you want to use Smashwords's distribution channels, you have to submit your book in Word format for Smashwords to process internally. I now feel equipped to deal with the little eccentricities in Smashwords's software. I highly recommend this read for anyone seriously considering using Smashwords to publish an ebook.

I was pleased to find that the author lightened the lesson a bit with some jokes here and there. The book was packed with information and not too difficult to stomach.

On the downside, there are a couple of useful tips, such as how to create page breaks that are preserved during the Smashwords conversion, that aren't in this book. (No, Ctrl-Enter will not do the trick.) I had to find this information from other sources.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appropriate for creating books in MS Word May 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The Smashwords Style Guide is, it seems, the only style guide available if you want to publish your ebooks through Smashwords. Smashwords only accepts documents styled in MS Word and while you may use other programs like Open Office, Apples Pages, or Wordperfect and export or save documents in MS Word .doc format, the formatting results you get may be mixed - and you may find that your table of contents, or hyperlinks doesn't work properly or that you need to fix other glitches.

If you just want to create simple ebooks of Kindle, and you're using Mac, Apple Pages has ability to export files in epub format, which makes the entire process quite easy. And for greater control over your ebook, if you need to fix glitches by editing html pages, then using epub html compilers like Sigil (it's free) may come in handy.

Depending on how much formatting you want to do with your ebook, and how do you want to distribute it, formatting your ebook may be a piece of cake or you'll have to deal with dealing with different kinds of challenges. And again depending on what do you want to include in your ebook, the material in your book may look better and more to your liking in some eReaders than in others.

Smashwords style guide shows you how to set up styles in MS word for normal text, paragraphs, headings, insert images, create a linked table of contents, manage hyperlinks, troubleshoot and test your ebook for validity and compliance. It also suggests what additional materials you may want to include in your ebook. At the end of the book you'll find helpful resources, including a link to a free "Smashwords Marketing Guide" and also to a free ebook "The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product December 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was easy to follow and completely easy to follow and read. Thank you for making this book and having it be so user friendly to use. It has greatly helped me out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for all new self published authors
This is ONE book you must get to save yourself time and money. Learn to handle formatting and editing can save you hundreds of bucks. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Eureka English
5.0 out of 5 stars Smashwords Style Guide
If you want to create an e-book, this is the guide to have. It is easy to understand, with directions and step-by-step instructions to follow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paula
5.0 out of 5 stars Style Guide
This book is a good companion for ebook publishing success by the same author. It is easy to read, had a good reference index and offers additional information website address for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Phyllis S. Cherry
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent style guide
A must have for ebook publishing, not only for Smashwords it can be used for any distributor. Great advice and it has helped me a lot.
Published 1 month ago by K. Olsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
It's good I give this product a five star rating
But the picture should be more clear for the product and more information, sometime it's not look the same as in the picture.
Published 1 month ago by Yubu
5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide
Very easy to read guide for Authors wishing to self publish an ebook. The instructions for formatting are described well, going through each section sequentially. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative
I enjoyed the book and was able to gain a lot of very useful tips from it. I do recommend this book.
Published 3 months ago by Joan Ballenger
5.0 out of 5 stars Great clear visuals
Only thing disappointing about this book, was that they want you to use Word. (Graphic designer with background in InDesign) But I love how they can reach out to as many ebook... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Cynthia S Hodukavich
5.0 out of 5 stars a self-publishers reference
very informative. easy to understand guide to launch a lucrative book or article. a must have. a great tool for self-publishers.
Published 3 months ago by greg levesque
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous and easy to use
I love the sense of humor and realistic explanations that Mark Coker provided. The process was tedious but he made it fun.
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Cluett
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More About the Author

I'm co-author with my wife of Boob Tube, a novel that explores the wild and wacky world of daytime television soap operas. Lesleyann is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly magazine. As research for the novel, we moved to Burbank for two months and interviewed about 50 soap opera industry insiders, including actors, writers, hair & makeup professionals, fan club managers, and publicists. We collected hundreds of pages of over the top stories. Next, we moved to a cabin in woods of Vermont and wrote our novel.

Despite representation from an excellent literary agent at one of the top firms in NY, publishers refused to publish the book because previous soap opera themed novels had not performed well in the marketplace.

This lead me to start Smashwords in 2008, which is now the world's largest distributor of self-published ebooks. We represent most of the world's bestselling ebook authors, including many NY Times and USA Today bestsellers.

Since founding Smashwords, most of my writing has been about the topic of ebook publishing best practices. I've written three books which have now collectively garned nearly 1/2 million downloads:

1. The Smashwords Style Guide (how to format, produce and publish an ebook)

2. The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book for free)

3. The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (the best practices secrets of the bestselling ebook authors)

In a prior life, I ran an award-winning Silicon Valley PR agency for nearly 20 years focused on venture-backed startups. Drawing on that experience, I wrote The 10-Minute PR Checklist which teaches entrepreneurs and marketing folks how leverage the power of honest PR to achieve any business objective.

You can find all my books here on Amazon as well as at other major retailers.

When I'm not writing or working on Smashwords, I enjoy gardening, traveling and hiking tall mountains, the tallest of which has been Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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