How to format your ebooks for Amazon Kindle Publishing

How to format your ebooks for Amazon Kindle Publishing (Picture Guide)

Sesan Oguntade

WARNING: No part of this publication may be transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the author. Violators of this copyright will be enforced to the full extent of the law.

Note: This is full reproduction of my best selling ebook guide on this topic. It’s a special gift to you because you read this blog. I did not remove any information from it.


Thank you for your interest in this guide, How to Format your Books for Smashwords Publishing. Smashwords is an interesting ebook publishing websites. Their platform allows you to publish your ebook in many digital formats which can be read on most e-reading formats. When I first got to know about this website, I was glad because I observed it would give me the opportunity to create free ebooks that I can distribute on their platform to publicize my various websites and blogs. It has lived up to this billing so far.

Smashwords allows you to publish both free and paid ebooks on their platforms. These ebook will be distributed to most of their partners online who are major players in the ebook distribution business. You will enjoy this platform. I assure you.

The Hard Part

The hard part of publishing on this Smashwords platform is the formatting you have to do on your book before their publishing system can accept your book for distribution to all their friend networks. Yes it is the hard part and most people find it difficult getting this done. Well I have close to 98 % success getting my books published on this website so I believe I am qualified to teach you. This guide will show simple things you have to do to get around this. Yes I read the articles on the Smashwords website and I believe it will be extremely difficult for a newbie to use that guide to get their books correctly formatted. So i have presented a simpler route for you with this guide. Please enjoy it.

One More Thing

There is one more thing for you to note, Smashwords pays only through PayPal and I believe for a Nigerian or any other person whose country is not listed as a participating country with Paypal may grow cold feet and decide not to use this platform. This should not be. I use it and I am enjoying it. I have a Paypal that a friend of mine operates for me in UK. So I receive my payment through this means. Most importantly, I have gained more through the use of my free ebooks to publicize my other books on other platforms. You can do this too.

Now to the real job. This is a guide so I will not tell you so much stories, lets get down to the business.

You can check my Smashwords profile page to see my ebooks on this platform at

Get Your Book Typed and Proofread

This should be easy. Get it ready the normal way as you have always done in Microsoft Word. See below for the copy of my book that has been prepared this way:

Format your books for Kindle Publishing

Open The Document

You should now open this Microsoft document where you have your book saved. Press CTRL A, then CTRL C to copy the entire book content.

Open NotePad

You should now open a new Notepad document and paste your copied book content into it.


Close The Original Word Document

You should close the original Word document and open a new one. Please note this: You must close the original document before you open a new one. You should then copy your book content from the Notepad document and paste into the newly opened Word document as I have it in the picture below:

NOTE: The reason for the actions above is to allow the Notepad document to remove every unwanted codes or whatever that are always present with Microsoft Word documents which may disallow your ebook from been published on Smashwords. The new book content on the new Microsoft Word document is free to a large extent, from these unnecessary codes.

Save Your New Word Document

You should now save your new Word document as a 2003 – 2007 Word document. The Smashwords platform will only take your formatted book in this old format of Word document. See the picture below:

Go to this symbol below to the upper right corner of your Word document and click it:

Then go to “Save As” and then Word 2003-2007 Document

Save in your preferred name and in a preferred folder.

Click on Normal

Click on the Normal icon in the middle of your Word document as I have it below

Change the Font

Press CTRL A and change the font of your book content to Times New Roman and Point 12

Change Line Spacing

You should now go to Page Layout and under Spacing, change the ‘After’ box to 6 pt and click on anywhere in the document.

Activate Show/Hide

You should now click on the Show/Hide icon so that you can see every hidden details of your formatting process. You will find this icon under the Home tab and beside the Normal icon you clicked on the other time. See the picture below:

This is what your Word document will look like after you must have clicked this Show/Hide icon:

Can you see the Show/Hide icon now all over your book content. This is a very useful feature for this formatting exercise.

Alter the Paragraph

You should now change the paragraph setting of of your book to ‘single’. Press CTRL A, and right click on any part of the document, then click on ‘Paragraph’, the box below shows up:

You can see that I have changed the entry under ‘Line Spacing’ to ‘Single’. This is the only thing you need to change here. Click OK’ .

Remove All Tabs

You will now need to remove all tabs from your document. You can do it this way. Press CTRL H, and under the ‘Replace’ tab, input ^t into the box in front of ‘Find what’. Don’t

input anything in the box in front of ‘Replace with’ and then click ‘Replace All’. This will remove all the tabs in your document with nothing. All tabs are eliminated. See picture below:

You will see a response like the one below:

10 tabs were removed from my document.

Now, you need to start working on the content of your document. Don’t worry, its easy just like it has been all this while.

Edit the Copyright /Book Title Section of Your Book

This is exactly how you will edit and present the title section of your ebook. Please follow the format below exactly as you have seen it here.

Book Title


Published by Firstname Lastname [or PublisherName] at Smashwords

(or, alternatively, if you don’t want to use the “Published by…” line, add the words, Smashwords Edition on the next line. No need to do both.) Copyright 2014 Authorname

(Optional: if you have multiple titles at Smashwords, write:) Discover other titles by Authorname: Title 1

Title 2 Title 3

Your Smashwords Profile (Note: You will be able to see the your smashwords profile

link when you click on the profile tab in your account after you registered. Remember again that it is optional to include a smashwords profile here. It wont stop your book from been accepted)

Look at the way I set my own copyright page below:

You should ensure you center your copyright section and If you’re centering the text on this page, do not use any first line indents. Also base your text on the “Normal”

paragraph style (or a custom paragraph style based on Normal). I used a font number of 14 for my book title. There is no problem about this.

Go to the Body of Your book

I want you to look at how I will edit the remaining part of the body of my book.

Can you take a look at the picture below:

These are the Show/Hide icon that are visible after my copyright section. They signify about 6 lines of spaces before the text, ‘Website: http://…’. You are going to close up these spaces by putting the cursor of your mouse at the back of ‘Website’ and use the backspace button on your keyboard to clear them off leaving only a single show/hide icon between the copyright section and the next text. See how I did that below:

I will also close up other spaces in the document this way. You should ensure you don’t allow a long series (more than four) paragraph returns anywhere in your book while trying to arrange words, sentences and paragraphs on a page, or to designate page breaks, because not only will this cause your book to be rejected from Smashwords’ Premium Catalog, it’ll also create a lot of awful looking blank space in your ebook. Some ebook reading devices will add extra padding after each paragraph return, so if you add multiple paragraph returns this can create excessive spacing between paragraphs.

I advise you close up the spaces between each line as much as possible. To show a paragraph, you can just allow a single line in between. I want you to look at the body of my book below:

Can you see how I have tried to eliminate most of the spaces between the lines . You can also do the same for the body of your book content all through.

Inserting Chapter Heading

Now let us look at how you can insert chapter headings all through your book. This is pretty different from the way you do it for paperback books. You don’t need to go to a new page before you can start a new chapter. You start a new chapter immediately after a chapter by just leaving a line space between them. You must also input your chapters the way I have done it in the picture below:

You must ensure you center your chapter headings, bold them and make sure their font sizes is 14. You must do it this way so that the Smashwords system will be able to produce the table of content of your book automatically. If you fail to do it this way, Smashwords’ ‘meatgrinder’ (the publishing software) will reject your book.

Inserting Links in Your Book

You can insert links into your book this way. Highlight the text you want to insert link into:

Press CTRL K, the box below will show up. Insert the website link in the box in front of ‘Address’.

Click ‘OK’

The text will be hyper linked and readers of your ebook can click on it to visit the website. Caution: You must ensure the websites you are linking to are not affiliate websites. They should be your personal or business websites preferably the ones you use to register at Smashwords. If you link to affiliate websites or any other inappropriate ones, your book will be rejected. You can have your affiliate offer on your website, link to your website and the reader can go ahead to visit your affiliate offers.

You can insert an email just the same way you did it for website link.

Inserting an Image

Put your cursor where you want the image to be placed. Click ‘Insert’, then ‘Picture’ and then navigate to the folder where you have saved your image on your computer. Click ‘Insert’.

You should ensure you don’t copy and paste your image in your book. You should only use the ‘Insert’ feature as I have described above.

If you can avoid using images in your ebook, you can do so. If the images are not really relevant, you should not include them.

Put This After Your Book Content

You should put this line, ### after your book content just before the About The Author page.

Look at how I did it below:

About The Author

This is where you can make more noise about yourself, your business and your website. I leave you to do this. You can also look at how I crafted out mine below:

Designing Your Cover

Your ebook cover image is the first impression you make on your prospective reader. Book covers are one of your most important marketing tools. When you upload your manuscript, you’ll be asked to attach your book cover as an image file. An image file usually ends with the file extension .JPG or .png.

Book cover images are required for the Smashwords Premium Catalog.

NOTE: The Smashwords Premium Catalog is the ultimate in an author’s publishing experience with Smashwords. Even if your book is published on the Smashwords’ website and available on their e-store, it may still not be qualified for the Premium Catalog. If your book is accepted in the Premium Catalog, it will be distributed to all the other online partners of Smashwords where your book can receive maximum exposure.

This is the reason for this guide anyway. If you follow the steps shown in this guide religiously, you will be able to get your book qualified for the Premium Catalog.

What Makes a Great Cover? Here are three tips (as described on the Smashwords website):

——————————————————————————————————————–“1. Don’t design it yourself Unless you’re a professional graphic designer, don’t design your own cover. Your cover should look professional, not amateur. Your cover needs to look as good as or better than what the big NY publishers and bestselling indie authors are putting out.

2. Know your target reader Before you hire a designer for your cover, you should be very clear about the profile of your target reader. Sure, you might have written a romance, but what type of romance reader will enjoy your book the most? Is it a sweet romance or a steamy erotic thriller? Make your cover hyper focused to appeal to that target reader. If your cover attracts the wrong readers, your reviews will suffer.

3. Great cover images make a promise If you strip away the title and author name from your cover image, what promise would your image make to the reader? If you write fiction, the image should promise an emotional experience”.


I use Fireworks to design my ebook covers and most of them look great. I am not a graphics designer but I get my Smashwords ebook covers designed myself. I advise you get in touch with a designer to do this for you.

Unlike print books which have a front cover, back cover and spine, ebooks only have a front cover. So you need only the front cover for your ebooks.

Mechanical Requirements for Book Covers

Book covers must be shaped like a book cover (a vertical [upright] rectangle, not a square) and should include your book title and author name. Keep your cover image tasteful and avoid obscenity. 1,600 pixels wide by 2,400 pixels tall is generally a good dimension, or such similar ratio. The image must be at least 1,400 pixels wide, and the height should be greater (taller) than the width. A good guideline is to make the height between 1.3 and 1.6 times greater than the width. I think 1.5 to 1.6 usually looks best, though you and your cover designer have some flexibility here.

Book covers cannot contain nudity, a price, or a web address (Apple, for example, will reject your book if they see a hyperlink on the book cover image), or advertisements of items not already included in the book. It must include the book title and author name,

and the title and author name must match the title and author name inside your book and in the metadata (Metadata is what you enter on the Publish page, such as the book title, author name, book description. Metadata = data about something else, and in this case the “something” else is your book).

The cover cannot be grainy, blurry or pixelated. Pixelation occurs when you start with a small image and expand the dimensions. Make the text crisp and clear. When ebook retailers display your cover, it’ll be shrunk to the size of a postage stamp, so you want all the cover elements to look good in a small image. This means if you make your title or author name too small on the cover, it’ll be invisible in the thumbnail. Your image must be in RGB color, not CMYK (at the risk of getting too technical, most image files are RGB [stands for red, green, blue], which is what’s supported by computer

monitors. CMYK is a format for printing ink on paper. Most image processing applications will give you RGB automatically. If your image is in CMYK, it will be rejected by Smashwords [assuming we catch it. If we don’t catch it, the retailer will reject it]. Note that it is not easy to tell if your image is in RGB or CMYK. If your

image opens in a Firefox browser, it’s RGB. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably CMYK. Your cover designer will understand.)

Note: Immediately after publishing your book at Smashwords, it’ll be featured on the Smashwords home page if it has a cover. The home page feature typically lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending upon how quickly you roll off the page when others publish after you. Therefore, don’t upload your book to Smashwords until you have a good looking cover image because you want to take full advantage of your minutes of fame. If you upload without a cover, the book will miss the home page feature, even if you upload the cover hours later.

Look at Some of My Covers at Smashwords

The covers above should give you and your designer ideas on how to get yours done.

Go Over Your Book Again

Yes you need to do this. Check to see if you have allowed too many spaces between lines and paragraphs. Check to see if you have done your book chapters very well. Check everything just in case you have left something out.

Now Let us Go To Smashwords

You must register at if you have not done so before.

When you log in, go to ‘Publish’

Fill in the boxes as it applies to your book. They are simple instructions you have to follow.

Under the ‘Price’ Section, you can either fill in ‘Make my book free’ if you want to distribute a free book. If you are charging, you should put the amount in the third box. It can be $0.99, $1.99, $2.99 or whatever. You should also indicate the category where you want your book to be listed. For the book formats, you should tick all the available formats.

You should upload your cover image and also your formatted ebook using item 6 and 7 below:

For item 8, tick the box, ‘Yes, I agree’ and click ‘Publish immediately. This is what you see after this action:

When it must have converted your ebooks to the right formats for publishing, you will have to follow simple online instructions to add the Free ISBN from Smashwords for your book. You will have to wait for some days to know whether your book has been accepted into the Smashwords premium catalog that will allow it to be distributed to all the partner networks. If there are any issues, you will will surely be informed from your profile page when you log in. You will be guided on how to correct the missing link.

I want to wish you all the best.

Please feel free to contact us if you need our help. Sesan Oguntade,

Relevant Resources

If you would like to go the self-publishing route just like i have done with lots of titles already and take your writing skills to another level by publishing the amazon kindle edition of your book and a paperback edition with free ISBN given to your book anytime you publish, we feel you may want to consider our book, How To Publish Your Books on Createspace and Amazon – it is a step by step picture guide which was prepared based on our experience. It is available on the Amazon online bookstore and a paper edition available at Createspace. Visit here to read more about the kindle edition on amazon and other self publishing resources. Visit here to read more about the paperback edition on Createspace


1. Let Us Help You to Publish Your

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After you have written your book you can contact us to publish your books online as an amazon kindle edition or paperback edition that will be available online at the biggest online bookstore, Your book will also be available on our online bookstore and other sales

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