The final draft is done for my new book, has been read by the faithful beta readers (and all suggestions have been dutifully noted) and now it’s time to dive back into the complicated world of publishing.

I know everything I’m about to tell you is out there in other formats, but I like the abridged versions of things – then if I need more info I can move onto other sources.  If you feel the same way, then read on and I’ll hopefully enlighten you to some shortcuts.

Step 1:  Download the following documents – depending on where you’re planning to publish to.  You will need to refer to them to complete the process, and they are priceless if you get in trouble:

Smashwords Style Guide (available here: and search for Smashwords Style Guide)

Amazon’s Kindle Simplified Formatting Guide (available here:

Create Space formatted template (available when you set up your project at Create Space, it’s under the Interior tab)

Step 2a:  Go through your manuscript and do the following:

Put the same number of returns before and after each chapter heading.  (for example:  Return>Return> Chapter 1 Return>Return)  Make these all match if you find deleting things and counting lines as annoying as I do.

Step 2b:  Make three copies of your manuscript by using “save as” and adding the place you’re going to publish to after the title of your book.  For example, mine are “Destructive Magic Create Space copy”, “Destructive Magic Smashwords copy”, and “Destructive Magic Amazon html copy”   DO NOT FORMAT YOUR ORIGINAL – if something goes wrong you can delete the copy but you don’t want to lose your work or have a few stressful moments (those will come later…).

Step 3:  Write your front material and save it in a document called “(Book Title) front material” – this will include the title, your author name, copyright date, the standard blurb about “All rights reserved, etc. (you can get a great example from the Smashwords Guide),  and finally a dedication.  Save this document because you’ll be copying and pasting!

Step 4:  Write you back material and save that.  This is your About the Author, more books by this author, author website information, preview chapters from your next book (if you have one) and samples from your other books (if you have them).

Step 5:  Write two descriptions of your book.  1.) A brief synopsis that’s engaging and describes the main plot  2.) A longer version that can be used for your back cover as well as your long description on the sales channels.  Take your time with this!  This is the introduction to your book for readers who have never heard of you.  Mine will be posted under “links” on this page if you want to read them.

Step 6:  Format your Amazon KDP file first (I think it’s the easiest).  Open your “Book Title Amazon html copy” file and do this:

Insert your front matter in the order you want it (copy and paste away!).  I do Title, Author, Copyright, Dedication, and Disclaimer.  Put two returns between each one (I never use more than three because it looks like a lot of blank space when you do that)

Go to File:  Save As: and select webpage under the file type.  Other people will tell you “filtered” or some other format, but I’ve used “webpage” twice with really good results.

Step 7:  Open your Smashwords copy and copy and paste your front material there.  Make sure that you add the “Published by (your name) at Smashwords” and “Smashwords Edition, License Notes”   You can get the License notes right on their site (I think they even encourage cutting and pasting of that portion).  Next, type a list of all your chapters (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.) and whatever you’re planning on putting after the story (About the Author, Connect with the Author, etc.)  You’ll need this to build your ToC.  For that portion of the adventure, I refer you to the Smashwords style guide which does an excellent job of making it simple.

Step 8:  Open your Create Space file and prepare to spend some time…It’s not hard, but the mistakes are instantly apparent and it can get frustrating.  Open your Create Space Formatted Template (you might have downloaded it in step 1) and take a deep breath.  Copy and Paste your masterpiece into the appropriate sections.  Click on the Headers and add your Author Name on one side and the Book Title on the other.  If you have more than 10 chapters, or you wind up with Author Name or Title on a page that starts a new chapter (the top of those pages should be blank) you’ll need to manually format the header by doing the following:  Go to the page before the new chapter and click Insert>Break, select “Section Break”, and that should fix the problem for just the first page of each chapter.  If the preceding page (the last page of the previous chapter) is then centered on the page instead of starting in the normal place at the top, you’ll have to go to Format>Reveal Formatting and look to the right of your document at the little sidebar.  Look under Section and Layout and if it says “centered” you’ll have to click and manually change it to “top”.  Yes, you have to do it for each final page in every chapter past chapter 10…I just spent 1/2 hour doing this…but it’s worth it and it’s not hard once you know what you’re doing.

My recommendations:  Pick one format to work on at a time.  Do it start to finish with the handy reference guide at your side before moving on to the next one.  You still won’t be done, but you’ll be closer to uploading and clicking that publish button.  If you find anything I’ve said here to be untrue, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to figure out why it didn’t work or if I left a step out.

Happy Publishing!!!


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