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Some help when you publish your e-book on Smashwords

Updated on June 25, 2013

word 2003-2009 and Smashwords

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How to get it done on Smashwords

To publish your own e-book on Smashwords may not be so easy when you use other requirements in your computer programs than Smashwords favors.

When I helped Constance Hampton Jones to get her e-books published on Smashwords (www.smashwords.com) we ran into very Smashwords specific problems.

It is true that Smashwords founder Mark Coker wrote a manual called ‘Smashwords Style Guide’ which you can download for free, but it may be a bit easier on Indieauthors/publishers to look at it from their point of view.

You can only use Microsoft Word 2003-2009 Doc.

This is very specific: you go to your Words program, save it as ‘save as’ and then click on 2003-2009 doc. Smashwords does not accept Word 2010 DOCX!

Style = NORMAL

  • As the used format Smashwords prefers that you use ‘Normal’ (as style) without any changes to the ‘neutral’ programs.
  • Don’t use indents separately (put the paragraphs both on ‘ add space before (or after) paragraphs -then you are certain it is on neutral.

For the content:

  • Don’t ever ‘enter’ more than once, otherwise the Smashword publisher sees it as a white page and they hate that in e-books.
  • Don’t use any exotic letters, Smashwords prefers Times New Roman max 14!

The cover page of your book:

  • Smashwords wants you to write on the first (cover)page of your manuscript: ‘Smashwords edition’ or published by Smashwords.
  • Don’t forget to put your name with author of the book.
  • Smashwords wants you to include the Smashwords License agreement on the first cover page. Here it is:
  • Smashwords License Statement:

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Special requirements when you publish in another language

  • When you are publishing an e-book in another language than English you are obliged to put the above: Smashwords edition, your right to be the author of the book (and title), the Smashwords license agreement on your first cover page in English, regardless of the language it is written in.
  • Don’t leave other publisher’s names in your book!
  • You are required to take out the names of other publishers you have used, e.g. Amazon Kindle. The Smashwords computer detects at once if it is still there somewhere.

Watch out for the adult content filter!

You are required to state if the book is of adult content. That will mean that it will not appear on Smashword’s home page, as it only shows non-adult content by default. To see your book on the Smashwords home page, or even to look for it in the Smashword search machine you have to turn off the adult content filter. It is on the far right below the Smashwords home page. When your filter is on, Smashwords will tell you that you are actually looking for a book that is meant for adults.

Requirements for your book cover:

  • Your book cover is not accepted when it is less than 1400 pix minimum. Smashwords favors 1400x2400 pix.
  • Smashwords does not accept square pictures.
  • Even with the adult filtering Smashwords does look to see if your cover is appropriate: no nudity, no violence of one person towards another etc.

Formatting errors due to corrupt files:

When I was helping to publish Constance Hampton Jones’ French books we found out that it did go through the normal publishing files (meatgrinder) but that when they were manually checked for the Premium Catalog strange mistakes and indents were found.

The problem was that the files had been changed several times on different computers. Add to it a not really ‘known and accepted’ procedure of using French lettering in Word, different than what is normal, had been more or less automatically been put in, and you were facing a corrupted file.

Constance and I took the formatting to the basics of those books: we brought it back to ‘no spacing’ style, and lo and behold, quite a lot of indents were visible, where they should not be.

There was nothing to it than to change those indents manually (a lot of work for about 800 pages) and then change the style back to ‘Normal.’

Even then we found out that not all indents disappeared. Some reappeared with force that had to be changed again manually.

Another way (the Smashwords way) is to

  • select all text
  • Push CtrlA
  • and change it to Normal style

When you are asked to change your METADATA

I remember Constance's confusion when she got that message.

The metadata are the information you put into you 'homepage' within Smashwords.

This is the page where your books will be compiled, where you write some information about yourself etc.

  • For the titles of your books never write them in CAPITALS ONLY!
  • Neither should you use only one capital such as: A lieutenant at large. You should write: A Lieutenant at Large
  • Don't use things like captions ( or ' at the beginning of your descriptions
  • Don't put hyperlinks, prices or @ in the book descriptions or on the titles

Smashwords claims it only needs basic formatting. It's just that during the writing of your manuscript unseen and unnoticeable corrections may have crept into your files.

Don't panic or get angry. It's not personal. Just give it a good try. At least you'll learn a lot of Word formatting.


The reward in the end is to be accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalogue, which means your books can be found in the Apple-store, Sony e-books, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Barns & Noble etc.

Nobody told you e-book publishing was easy.

free help book by Mark Coker

Free download at Smashwords.com
Free download at Smashwords.com | Source

collage books on smashwords

e-books collage
e-books collage | Source

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