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Smashwords Style Guide

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  602 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Read this before publishing on Smashwords! The Smashwords Style Guide makes it easy to format your manuscript to produce high quality multi-format ebooks. Includes tips on how to gain inclusion into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. This book is updated frequently. Updated October 9, 2009.
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Published May 5th 2008 by Smashwords, Inc.
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Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is very detailed and easy to understand - but something Mark suggested would take 1-2 hours has taken me 2 weeks! I'm not that technically minded but it was good to learn something new. Now back to writing! ...more
May 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Before I started it and I saw that it was over 100 pages, I was leery, okay, that's just kind of a lot to have to learn about uploading my document to somebody's web site. Happily, much of what it has to say will only be applicable to a particular kind of person, you know, you can skip X if you're not writing a cookbook, you can skip Y if you're not a freakin' maniac whose document employs 86 different fonts.

Less happily, the voice was fairly offputting to me. It read like the audio track of a c
Bob R Bogle
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This book is really indispensable for any author who anticipates his or her work may someday be published electronically, at Smashwords or anywhere else. Taking a finished ms and trying to format retroactively is a pain, but it's certainly possible and usually worthwhile. This book will help you discover how to do that. More importantly though, you'll learn tips from this book that will save you great heartache before you type the first sentence of your next blockbuster. As I said, whether you p ...more
Mishaal AbdulKareem
This is the first ebook i have read and finished using my new Kindle basic 8th, so I'm very happy using it. Now lets analyze this book:
1. Reading it once is not enough in my opinion. It needs reading at least one more time while doing the editing of your ebook and may be more while troubleshooting your editing. It's a Guide after all.
2. Most of professional authors use Microsoft Word 2007 or later and few of them uses older versions (2003). I recommend using a separate old cheep laptop that have
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: about-writing
The first part of this book has generally good advice.

Don’t try to make your ebook look like an exact facsimile of a print book, otherwise you’ll disappoint readers by creating a poorly formatted, unreadable ebook.

The second part of the book is very specific advice about how to format a document in Word for Smashwords, and other advice such as choosing a price that ends in $.99 cents, because otherwise your book won’t have the same price on Apple as it does everywhere else.

The big problem is no
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Contains 21st-century e-book publishing information I've never thought of before. Example: Text color should be "automatic," not "black," so that if a reader sets their device to nighttime reading, it will give them white text on black background, not black text on black background.

Easy to read, engaging, and not condescending; no repetitive lectures about why authors should use spell-check. Instills confidence that I can get Smashwords right...we'll see!
Mariana Abeid-McDougall
This book was very detailed and helpful in formatting my book for publication on Smashwords (and to have it ready for their distribution channels).

For the non-technical people like me, a hint at the beginning may have been better: create your own custom styles by clicking on the ribbon in Word, and then just use your created styles to format the manuscript. Also, a brief explanation of what custom styles are and how they work might have been helpful. This tip would have saved me time, as I didn
Taylor J.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is like a hot yoga class:
I hated every second of it.
It felt like some parts of were just physically impossible.
It seemed to come from another part of the world where people don't care about money or time.
After it was over, I felt enlightened and closer to God and now I tell all my friends about how great it is.

A must read for any person interested in Self-Publishing!

Taylor J. McBride
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very clear instructions

I don't mind work if I know what to do, but when things go wrong because instructions were misleading or missing critical info, it is beyond frustrating. I was amazed that I had no problems uploading my books on Smashwords.
Maksim Malik
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very thorough and helpful.
Marc Therrien
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful. Essential to any self-published author.
Linda Zukowski
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
good formatting guide to get all kinds of formats onto Smashwords, including Kindle and other major e-book distributors.
Tamia Rene`
Just recently published My first book of Poetry on This book helped.
David Ready
Didn't get to use it. No time to write outside of work. Maybe in future after retire end of 2020. ...more
Derek Davis
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A fine guide for any of us who don't want to spend our time looking for a publisher. is a sort of online nexus for electronic publishing. With a bit of effort and time, any of us can put a book online and even charge $$ for it!—a first in history. This guide's a pretty complete breakdown of what you need to do, technically and otherwise, to get a book put up (for free) on smashwords in a huge variety of formats that almost any electronic reader can handle.

Of course, you don't end
Doug Bentley
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-friends
In my opinion this is one of the most important books in the entire history of the book publishing industry. This book is literally "the book that launched tens of thousands of authors and hundreds of thousands of books".

The "Smashwords Style Guide" is a technical manual for independent authors. It is a guide-book for formatting ebooks that are sold at major online retailers and ebookstores.

The author, and founder of, Mark Coker, has developed a technology, called the "meatgrinder
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 s
Ben Campbell
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mark has guided his professional life professionally. He's the founder of, which is the elite facilitator to many on-line eBook stores such as Apple's iBooks, Sony, Kobo, B&N, etc, etc. His Smashwords Style Guide is the perfect example of his professionalism in giving guidance to authors about the features of designing eBooks as well as how to format books into exciting pieces of entertainment.

It's free and it's necessary for you as an eBook author to follow his expert advise.

Erik Nelson
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Not an easy read but not a difficult one either. All you have to do is read and pay attention. It may seem like a long guide but the margins actually make it longer and there are a lot of pictures as well. So don't be intimidated by the length but at the same time, don't try to publish your first ebook overnight. And when you do read it, make sure that you have your work right in front of you so that you can make the changes to your manuscript as you read along. You also don't need to be a maste ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I just read the book and really enjoyed it. I have not published a book yet and wanted to learn about formatting for e-books before I jumped into it to hopefully give me an edge and so, I haven’t put any of the tips into practice yet. The book is written in clear enough language that I understand what to do. There are a couple of things I didn’t understand as well but I think once I begin the actual formatting process the concepts will become clearer.

You will need Microsoft Word to follow this
L. Shosty
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Easy to follow and understand. I used this style guide to create my ebook, Swallow the Evil. Though a time-consuming process, the Smashwords Style Guide took what would have been a daunting, headache-filled mess of a formatting process and simplified it, providing step-by-step instructions which made for an easy and worry-free process. Following the style guide to the letter, my ebook was published without having to make any changes to formatting, and I received no tickets from any affiliate sto ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you have any intentions of self-publishing I recommend this book. Smashwords is a reputable self-publishing platform (other platforms are available). The first part of the book is a general description of what Smashwords is, and isn't, and a general description of what you need to do to get your manuscript published. Most importantly, it tells you why you have to do these things.

My book isn't yet at a stage where I needed to try the second half of the guide. This takes you through the steps i
Vincent de Paul
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good and helpful guide. Very useful.

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 differen
Earleen Smith
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a clear, concise, direct guide to assist independent publishers who wish to publish successfully through Mark Coker's website

He educates about the differences between epublishing and paper publishing. Though only a proofreader/copyeditor and not an author myself, I would recommend this book to any author who wants to epublish. He covers many platforms of epublishing. He's honest about the prospects. He gives illustrative guidance to assist the author. No fluff--my favorit
Patricia Green
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is comprehensive. The instructions within are easy to comprehend and follow. It's written in a friendly style, as though someone you know was guiding you through the process of getting your book formatted properly for Smashwords. It doesn't particularly expect you to know anything except MS Word. If you don't know Word, you might find this a bit difficult. As a writer about to embark on self-publishing, this book is proving invaluable. I highly recommend it to like-minded writers and p ...more
Carolynne Raymond
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to-books
This is a great how-to guide to help publish your ebook to Smashwords. The instructions are easy to follow and straight forward. I read this book within a few days and when I got to actually working thru the steps of preparing to publish my book it was easy for me to reference back to the steps explained in this guide. I am so happy to say that with the help of the Style Guide I published my very first book "A Life Cycle Reborn" By Carolynne Raymond to Smashwords. Please stop by and take a peek ...more
Francesco Abeni
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I haven't used the Smashwords service yet but this book make me want to, so I guess that's a good sign. It's clear and focused, so you get useful information.

Against it, I can say that some warnings are repeated many times (I can understand that's done on purpose but it gets boring after a while). And I don't like the idea to be forced to use Microsoft Word to be able to get a decent result, but that I respect that everyone has his/her own tools of choice.

So thumbs up for the book, I'll try the
K.C. Riley-Gyer
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-reference
First, let me just say that this guide doesn't necessarily replace the need of finding a publisher. Yes this book will guide you step by step in formatting your manuscript into a layout that will work with the majority of ebook formats such as kindle, epub, kobo, iBooks, just to name a few. Even if you never want to publish through smashwords, this guide is the best I've read so far in helping with organising one's ebook manuscript to make it ready for a clean publication to be read on any ebook ...more
Bruce Carroll
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great book if you want to self-publish an eBook. Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, explains the advantages of publishing with Smashwords and goes on to explain how to format a Word document for publishing. The book also has advice about book covers and content. The only frustration I had was with the template document (linked in the book). It is very difficult to change the formatting for a particular type of text, and I don't see how to add a new one or how to create one with an automati ...more
Lindsay Miller
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thorough, extensively detailed guide for formatting prior to upload at Coker covers all the specifics, which is much appreciated when it comes to a task as complex as formatting, especially for a new author. I am about to publish my 3rd novel on Smashwords and used the Style Guide every single time, because it assures me that I won’t be leaving anything out. I highly recommend Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide as an essential tool for formatting your eBook. I wouldn’t publish on S ...more
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Autores Independi...: Guía de Estilo de Smashwords 1 9 Nov 19, 2013 08:50PM  
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Creative Reviews: How to get a good quality conversion out of Smashwords 17 60 Apr 23, 2012 03:42AM  

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