Smashwords Style Guide

Rated 4.65/5 based on 354 reviews
The Smashwords Style Guide has helped thousands of authors produce and publish high-quality ebooks. This free guide offers simple step-by-step instructions to create, format and publish an ebook. It's required reading for any author who wants to distribute their book via Smashwords to major ebook retailers such as Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, & Kobo. Revised September 24, 2014. More
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About Mark Coker

I'm Mark, founder of Smashwords. Our mission is simple: we want to create the world's single best ebook publishing and distribution platform for our indie authors, publishers, literary agents and retailers.

I'm co-author with my wife of Boob Tube, a novel that explores the wild and wacky world of Hollywood celebrity. I also wrote the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book for free), the Smashwords Style Guide (how to format, produce and publish an ebook) and The 10-Minute PR Checklist (helps entrepreneurs and business managers think more strategically about public relations. It's not written for authors, though some authors find it valuable.).

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.

Write me at first initial second initial at you know where dot com (though please direct all support inquires to the "comments/questions" link you'll find on any Smashwords page).

Read Mark Coker's Smashwords Interview
Learn more about Mark Coker

Also in Series: Smashwords Style Guide Translations

About the Series: Smashwords Guides
Learn how to publish ebooks with pride, professionalism and success! These free guides have been downloaded over 700,000 times, making them an indispensable resources for authors looking to learn the best practices of the most successful ebook authors.

Also in Series: Smashwords Guides

Also by This Author

Reviews of Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker

Smashwords Style Guide Review
Review By: conradfranco
An Acrostic eBook Review by Conrad Franco, Jr. on Mark Coker's Smashwords Style Guide #ebookreview 013.20171226
Mariela Velazco reviewed on Nov. 16, 2022
(no rating)
No pude enviar el correo a la dirección que indican en la guía para que me hagan llegar la lista de empresas o personas que pueden colocarme en formato mi libro, se devuelve el correo, necesito me hagan llegar un correo actualizado.
(review of free book)
Zeggane Bélaid reviewed on Oct. 12, 2022
(no rating)
i do not understand, sometimes Smashwords impose less than 50 MB size, and other times impose less than 20 MB !!!!!!!!!!!!!
(review of free book)
Dead Fish Books reviewed on Aug. 9, 2022

This is an amazing book, once you understand how to work the "Styles" section in Word. Mark shows how the Styles section of the Word program can be used to easily format a book. Just work through it, step by step. The techniques he describes here can be used to easily manipulate any Word project.
(review of free book)
Monica Bhalla reviewed on June 13, 2022

As author I have found this guide helpful in many ways, keep on doing the great works and all the best .
(review of free book)
Richard Lear reviewed on March 1, 2022

I'm another author who found the Style Guide unworkable. I had no problem formatting my book manuscript for both paperback and Kindle formats but there was nothing straightforward or intuitive about the guide. It remains way too time consuming for for me unnecessary, considering that my novel has already been published in at least three different formats.
I occasionally get emails from Smashwords advising me that my manuscript has been flagged for modifications before it can be included in the premium catalog. Now that Draft2Digital bought Smashwords, there's no need to make those those modifications. The eBook of my novel has long been published and sold through D2D and Kindle/Amazon.
(review of free book)
Pierre Groussac reviewed on Jan. 1, 2022

Some of you are complaining that you’re not able to follow Mark’s Guide. I thought his chatty approach was an attempt to make the process more approachable, but maybe something like Aaron Shepard’s ‘From Word to Kindle’ might be worth a look. The Kindle version retails for $2.99 on Amazon. He explains the why as well as the how of formatting in Word to create a quality eBook. Note that his book is directed toward publishing on Amazon, so some things might work differently. For example, in the Guide, Mark discusses direct formatting reverting to its underlying style when Meatgrinder (a Smashwords processor) converts the manuscript to an eBook. This is the opposite of the way it works when preparing a manuscript for Amazon. In his book, Aaron discusses how to use direct formatting to override Amazon’s preference for justified text.

Note that both the Guide and the book have been overcome by reality. Amazon no longer accepts MOBI files but now prefers ePubs. Both need to reflect that fact. Aaron’s book discusses how to save a manuscript as an HTML file for more control over the conversion process. A good conversion tool like Atlantis Word Processor will take your docx file and convert it into a presentable ePub within a couple of minutes. Messing the the HTML is not really necessary. If you feel the need to tweak your ePub further, you can do that in a free program called Sigil. And neither Mark’s Guide nor Aaron’s book stress the importance of using heading styles for the creation of the NCX TOC. (The NCX TOC is the list of sections and chapters that readers see when the touch the GO TO navigation tool. It’s a must-have for any eBook.)

What this all means is that guidance for publishing an eBook is a moving target. If you really want to play this game, you’ve got to put in some effort to stay on top of the process. As for the reviewer who’s complaining about not grasping the process in an evening, give me a break. We’re talking about creating an idea—which is all an eBook really is—that someone will actually pay cash money for. Maybe there is such a thing as the ’One Minute Book Publisher’, a companion piece to the ‘One Minute Brain Surgeon’, but I’ve never heard of such a thing…

Good luck!
(review of free book)
Souwesterly reviewed on Oct. 11, 2021

Ten minutes into reading this guide and I'm lost already with plenty more to absorb. Not only that, much as I'd like to devote a whole evening to learning the ropes my time is limited, so well before I've completed my read-up I've had to down tools and change hats, so to speak.
Would have been nice to find the guide to be concise, brief and (wishful thinking), simple.
(review of free book)
Cherie Cabral reviewed on Oct. 3, 2021

Hi everyone I am a newbie author in here. I found that your guidebook is quite hard to understand specially to a newbie like me. Much appreciated if it is revised again. Thank you.
(review of free book)
Obioha Oti reviewed on Sep. 19, 2021

Wow! This is wonderful, I love it!
(review of free book)
David Paul Nixon reviewed on Aug. 10, 2021

Reading this takes longer than actually writing a book. Thanks for not making this simple!
(review of free book)
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