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SmashWords Quick Styling Guide

The great thing about SmashWords, if you are a writer, is that it allows you to distribute your book to various platforms, including Kobo and Apple, all in one click. Instead of signing up with each of the seven or so platforms, all that you need to do is sign up with SmashWords, upload your book and you should be good to go. However, one of the things that you may notice is that SmashWords tends to be a lot more difficult when it comes to styling your book.That is why we have decided to come up with this Smashwords styling guide.

Smashwords vs KDP

When compared with KDP, Smashwords is a veritable pain in the something. Part of the problem has to do with the fact that the SmashWords styling guide, which is supposed to guide you as you prepare your manuscript for publication, was clearly written by someone who has a love for many words.

Instead of giving you in a short concise way, everything that you need to quickly publish your book, you get a University lecture that’s liable to leave you reeling. That is why we have decided to come up with this SmashWords quick formatting guide, to make sure that you get your book out there in as little time as is possible. So, how do you prepare your manuscript for submission to SmashWords?

Preparing your book for publication on Smashwords

To prepare you book for publication on Smashwords, do the following;

  1. Write your book using Microsoft Office Word. Almost everyone has access to this and you are guaranteed to get the best results.
  2. Save your book using the “Compatible Mode.” This is also referred to as the “Word 97 to 2003,” mode. In compatible mode, your document gets the .doc extension. Should you save your manuscript using later versions of Word (eg Word 2007), you will get an error when trying to upload your book to SmashWords. To choose the compatible mode when saving your document, simply click on the Office button to the top left corner of your screen and choose “Save As.” Then choose “Word 97-2003 Document.”
  3. Smashwords is rather finicky about hidden formatting on uploaded documents. In order to avoid problems, its best that as part of the process of preparing your document, you begin by copying everything to Notepad, before creating a new document and pasting everything onto it. This ensures that all the hidden formatting styles are removed from your document. Indeed, pasting your document to Notepad is the first step as far as preparing your document for uploading to SmashWords is concerned.
  4. Use the Times New Roman font.
  5. Set your font size to 12.
  6. Use the show/hide paragraphs option to show the hidden styling options that have been applied to your document.
  7. Make sure that there are no extra paragraphs on your document.
  8. For headings, create your own heading style with Times New Roman font set at size 14. Never try to be fancy as this may come back to haunt you. Set the heading font as centered. SmashWords advices that it is best to create a formatting style, rather than trying to center individual headings.
  9. When creating your heading style, makes sure that you enable the option for having page breaks before each heading. This ensures that each chapter in your book appears on its own page. You can use the Insert, Page Breaks option to separate Chapters. However, SmashWords advices that you do this in the custom heading style that you have created.
  10. To insert page breaks before each heading, simply right click on the heading style that you wish to modify. Click on “Modify.” Next, click on “Format,” then “Paragraphs.” Finally, click on Line and Page Breaks. Here, make sure that “Page break before,” under “Pagination,” is selected.

This is a quick styling guide that should help you prepare your manuscript for uploading to SmashWords. If you need further information, feel free to get in touch. Also feel free to consult the SmashWords Styling Guide for clarity on any of the points that are outlined above.

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