Posts Tagged With: Smashwords

For Cover designers and Formatters

Image representing Smashwords as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

I know this blog is primarily aimed at authors, but many of us moonlight as cover designers or formatters (such as myself and Stephannie Beman) so I wanted to share this from Smashwords:  (I copied it directly from their site updates page. If you have any questions please contact smashwords as I don’t have the answers. Sorry. )


**Mark’s List open for new applicants**  It’s been over a year since we added a new batch of cover designers and formatters to Mark’s List, our list of low-cost service providers.  For a limited period of time, I’m accepting a small number of applications for new freelancers.  If you’re considering applying, please carefully study the information below.  Incomplete or inappropriate applications will be disregarded.

Background on the list:  I created the list in January, 2011 as a public service for our authors and publishers.  It’s currently available via autoresponder when someone emails  A newer version of the list will be made available on the Smashwords web site.  We don’t charge for listings, and we don’t take a commission.   Every individual is a freelancer.  Each freelancer provides excellent customer service, which is why they continue to be on the list.  We appreciate the great, low-cost services these freelancers provide to our authors and publishers.  We’re also pleased to know that for many of the Mark’s List freelancers, their inclusion on the list has provided them much-appreciated supplemental income.  Some have even made it their full time job.
How to apply:   First, email and study the email you receive so you can get an idea how other service providers are providing and pricing their services.   Apply to only one category, cover designers or formatters.  You must be the person who will provide the services.  We will not accept service provider firms, or individuals who farm out their work to others.  Note that I expect to receive many more applications that I can accept in this round, so please accept my apologies in advance if you don’t make the cut this time.  Maybe next time.
Okay, you’re ready to apply.  Compose an email to me at  Use the subject line, “Mark’s List.”  Answer each of the questions for the category for which you want to be considered (cut and paste these questions into your email and then provide your answers inline):
Cover designers:
  1. Provide me a complete hyperlink to your author/publisher profile page, which you’ll find by clicking “My Smashwords.”  Preference will be shown to Smashwords authors and publishers.  If you’re opted in to all our distribution channels (not counting Amazon), that’s a plus.
  2. Provide a link to your online portfolio.  I’m looking for designers with a track record of producing high-quality, professional covers.  It’s also very important that Smashwords authors and publishers can evaluate your portfolio before they hire you.
  3. Provide me hyperlinks to up to five covers you designed for Smashwords books.
  4. If selected, will you provide all your Smashwords clients a listing in your online portfolio, as well as a live hyperlink to their book’s listing at Smashwords?  Such portfolio listings are appreciated by our authors, and a plus for your application.
  5. What is your design fee, and how many revisions does that include?  Most Smashwords designers are in the range of $35-$100.  If you charge more, that’s fine as long as the price is justified by the quality.  We’re looking for great designers!
  6. Do you agree that you will not try to market or upsell other author services?
  7. Why do you think you’d be a great addition to Mark’s List?
  1. Provide me a complete hyperlink to your author/publisher profile page, which you’ll find by clicking “My Smashwords.”  Preference will be shown to Smashwords authors and publishers.  If you’re opted in to all our distribution channels (not counting Amazon), that’s a plus.
  2. Do you consider yourself an expert at the Smashwords Style Guide?
  3. How many books have you personally formatted that have been accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog?  The more the better.  Provide direct hyperlinks to up to 10 of them.  Preference will be shown to formatters who employ smart use of linked Table of Contents, intra-book links (endnotes and indexes), and who provide clean, professional formatting for novels.
  4. How many years have you been using Microsoft Word?
  5. Do you Nuke every project before you begin it?
  6. Do you know how to preserve italics and bolds post-Nuke using CTRL-H wildcards?
  7. Will you guarantee Premium Catalog inclusion for your clients?
  8. Will you perform all the work yourself?
  9. Do you agree that you will not upload client works to Smashwords?
  10. Do you agree that you will not attempt to upsell Smashwords authors to other formatting or ebook design or distribution services?
  11. What would be your approximate rates for a novela, a full-length novel, and a more complex non-fiction book with an extensive linked Table of Contents, or index and endnote links?
  12. Why do you think you’d be a great addition to Mark’s List?
Thanks, and good luck!
Categories: Book Covers, Book Formatting, Smashwords store | Tags: ,

How to Get a Cheap Book Cover… UPDATED!

I’ve recently updated my how to book How to Get a Cheap Book Cover by Joleene Naylor. Updates include:

  • A tutorial on how to use Create Space’s cover creator
  • A tutorial on how to make an ebook cover in Paint.Net
  • Fixed broken links
  • Added new links
  • Fixed a couple of typos
  • Updated information on acceptable file types

If you’ve already purchased the book through Smashwords, I believe you can download the updated version for free. I don’t know about the other sites, such as Barnes & Noble, though it will be a few days before the changes filter through the expanded market, anyway.

Here’s what people are saying about How to Get a Cheap Book Cover:

“VERY helpful! I was like a raft adrift on the adriatic and this book was the ocean liner that came to my salvation.” –  Robin Donaruma on March 07, 2012 (on

“I downloaded this book to help me design the cover for my novel, A Military Republic. The book has excellent advice about licensing photos, websites for buying photos and above all an invaluable guide to using gimp for designing the cover. I definitely recommend this to cover designing beginners.” – Haythem Bastawy on Feb. 25, 2012 (on

“This was a huge help when we were creating covers for my husband’s e-books. This is the first time we’ve done any sort of e-publishing, and we were pretty ignorant of even the basics. I especially liked the information on licensing and sources for images.” –  Marjorie Farmer on Nov. 10, 2011 (on

Categories: Book Covers, Smashwords store | Tags: , , , ,

Formatting Your Ebook for Kindle, Barnes and Noble (or Epub), and Smashwords

Thanks to tips from Melanie Nilles, Stephannie Beman, and Rose Gordon, I was able to put together this post.

I start out with making my book a paperback version for CreateSpace, so my original formatting looks like this:

I have tabs, monotype corsiva font size 24 for the chapter title, use a picture I buy from a stockpohoto site, and use garamond font size 12 for the text.  I have headers (alternating between the title of the book on the odd pages and my name on the even pages) and use page numbers at the bottom.  I also like to show the formatting symbols.  These don’t show up in the paperback or ebook, but I like to know if I’m missing a paragraph because if I do, when I make the ebook, then there won’t be a separation from one paragraph to another.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but I rely on the formatting symbols while working on the book.  :D

Okay, so now that you know what I start out with, I’ll go into how I format my paperback version into an ebook.

For Kindle

The first thing I do is make the Kindle version because I can incorporate the images I have at the beginning of each chapter into it.  Here are the steps I use:

1.  Save the document as a Kindle ebook in Word 2003.  (I don’t know if Amazon or Smashwords will allow for Word 2007 or 2010, but I do know they will take the Word 2003 version.)  I usually save the version as “Title of Book Kindle Version”.  (Ex. Shotgun Groom Kindle Version)

2.  Delete headers and footers.  I do this by clicking inside the space where the header and footer is and deleting what’s in there.

3.  I select the entire book by going to the toolbar and select.  Under Select, you can pick “select all”.  I change the font to Times New Roman and pick 12 for the font size.

3. I get rid of all of my tabs by going to find and replace.  I type ^t in the find box and leave the replace box empty.

This is what you should get:

4.  I show the ruler on my toolbar.  Go to View (on the toolbar) and “show ruler”.

5.  I select all of the book using the Select option on the toolbar.  I use the top half of the hourglass icon at the left side of the toolbar to set the indent for the first line in every paragraph.  Move the top half about 0.25 spots to the right.  You might want to do 0.30.

6.  Now I make the Table of Contents.

A.  Put the cursor at the beginning of the chapter.  Do NOT highlight the chapter.

     B.  Go up to Word’s Insert menu and click the “Bookmark”.  Enter a name for the bookmark and click the button to add it.  Do this for every chapter.

D.  After you set up bookmarks for all the chapters, go to the beginning of your document and create a Table of Contents page.  I do this after the copyright page.

E.  Highlight the first chapter name (all of the text this time).  Go up to the Insert -> Hyperlink.   On the left side of the little window, click the “In this Document” option and look for your bookmarks. Click the bookmark link and click “ok”. The text will show as a hyperlink.

F.  Now repeat for every chapter down the list.  Afterwards, your table of contents should look like this.

7.  I go back through the document to make sure every chapter starts on a new page.  I use page breaks between chapters.  I also go and back and make sure all my drop downs (*** is what I use) is centered and only has one space between it and the text.

8.  I save my changes and upload the book to Amazon KDP.  I check through the Kindle previewer and make any changes necessary.

For Barnes and Noble

1.  I save the document as Word 2003 and label it “Title of Book Barnes and Noble version” (Ex. Shotgun Groom Barnes and Noble version).

2.  I remove all graphics because I’m not sure if they work as Epub.  I know they work in mobi.  I like to put a graphic image under each chapter title in my paperback versions.  It’s not necessary to have graphic images in your book.  This is a personal preference.  (My knowledge does not extend to inserting charts, graphs, etc into a book, so I’m not commenting on graphics beyond this point.)

3.  I bought a program called Word Atlantis.  I close the Barnes and Noble version of my book.  I open Word Atlantis and then open the Barnes and Noble version of my book.  From there, I go to File -> Save Special -> Save As Ebook.  This will save your document as an Epub file, and it’ll save all of your formatting so it’s clean in PubIt.

4.  Upload the book to PubIt and go through it to make sure it’s formatted right.


You can use the Barnes and Noble version (prior to making it an Epub file through Word Atlantis.

What you’ll need to do is change the copyright page so it reads like this:

Title of book – Smashwords Edition

Published by Author Name at Smashwords

Copyright © Year of Publication by Author Name

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes:

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please do. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Nuclear Method:

If all else fails with Smashwords and you can’t the document approved for premium distribution, I’d take the entire book and put it in Notepad to eliminate all formatting.  Then copy it and put it back into Word 2003.  I’d make sure there is a space between all paragraphs, center the title page, center all chapter headings, make the table of contents, make page breaks at the end of each chapter or insert a symbol at the end of each chapter.  I’d also use a page break or symbol after the title page, copyright page, dedication page, or any other page that comes before the beginning of the story.  You’ll have to go back and underline or italicize anything you had in the book prior to putting it in Notepad.

When in doubt, make the book as simple as possible.  Some people think it has to be fancy to sell, but the truth is, if the book is clean and easy to read and readers enjoy the story, all the bells and whistles in formatting aren’t necessary.


If anyone has any formatting tips they’d like to share, please do.  The more input we have on this issue, the better.

Categories: Book Formatting, Book Setup | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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