Monday, May 12, 2014

Steps to format your book for #Smashwords and get it past that #@!$# Meatgringer!!

These steps were used successfully by me for the whole Vegas Series of 6 books just recently. It's a tried and true method - and once you've given it a chance, you'll see that it works!!

-       Take the latest edited version of your manuscript and make a working copy. I put mine in Times Roman Font #14 as I can tell which copy it is just by looking at the large font.

-       Take another copy and call it Smashwords and then copy and paste it on Microsoft Notepad to take out any formatting. Again copy and paste it from the notepad back to a word doc this time setting your page in advance. Use - Times Roman font #12. Set your indents and spacing (see Paragraphs on home page) Under alignment - click left, Under indentation – special, click first line – by put at whatever you prefer (mine is at 1.27cm) Make sure the Left and Right boxes show zero. Under spacing – put before and after at zero and the line spacing at single. Click the box – Don’t add space between paragraphs and this is what you will want your formatting to be at all times – UNLESS – you need to center a page. (see lower)

-        Once you’ve copied and pasted the file into this new word file, this will be your final copy.

-         Now, go back to the larger print copy and highlight every place where you put italics. When you transfer your work from notepad, every bit of formatting is erased. It also moves your *** to the left rather than in the center which is where we want them.

-         Using the large print copy as your guide, on your Smashwords copy find and italicise where necessary.
-         Next go in using the find and replace option to find the *** and center them using this option.


-         Make sure you put in the backwards P (see top right in box above) so you can see the line breaks and then go to the end of each Chapter and Insert a line break (Go to top toolbar and see the Insert page and Line Breaks) and set up the chapter headings to be the same throughout the manuscript.

-         Then go and add in all the front and back matter, (don’t forget to add in the “Smashwords Edition” line on the copyright page and take out any link or mention of Amazon or any other publisher. Check your back matter and links to your other books if live.

-         Make sure to format those pages that are centered with the paragraphs option rather than the lines one. See the larger box above – where I have it at “Left” you can click the downward arrow and it will give the center option. Use that option to center anything in your back or front matter such as copyright, table of contents, Afterword, Other works, etc. *Remember to always check and make sure the numbers on the left all stay on zero.

-         Type the Table of Contents list. (Smashwords wants the TOC as part of the front matter right after the Title page) You want the reader to be able to travel to each section with one click.

-         Now watch this video and follow Mark’s instructions. It’s really quite simple!! Really!! 

-         Do one last check to make sure it all looks the way you want it to and then you are DONE! Now go and upload to Smashwords.



  1. Excellent Mimi! Some authors won't share this type of information. They want everyone to have as hard a time as they did. You are a very giving person. Of course I already new that. ; )

    1. Leandra, I always thank my lucky stars when someone else has helped me ( I've needed a lot of help on this journey let me tell you LOL) and so I'm happy to pass it on.

  2. Mark's instruction is also recommended by Smashwords. This is very helpful.

    1. Thanks Ruth. I'm glad if it makes things easier for you. I know I was twisted in knots trying to get this right and now that I've done it over and over, it seems so easy....sigh!!