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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dummies guide to publishing an ebook on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

In this blog post I'm going to try and demystify the ebook publishing process. I've been through it and lived to tell the tale. So here goes. Stand by for a fun ride. It'll be worth the trials and tribulations along the way!

  • Book (preferably in .doc format) - see detailed formatting guidelines below
  • Cover picture (in jpg format, max 1200 pixels high)
  • Short book description (400 characters max)
  • Proper book description (up to about 2,500 characters)
  • About the Author summary
  • Book categories (i.e. Young Adult, Fantasy, etc.)
  • Decision on selling price of book

Fergus Fedderfeeny's Food Factory by Paul Dorset. $0.99 from
Farnsworth is worried. Bags of the Food Factory’s vegetables are definitely missing! What will his boss, Fergus Fedderfeeny, say when he finds out? Then there’s the wonderful tasting pies. He doesn’t know how the recipes got changed or if it’s because of the missing vegetables. Armed with a toolbox of hammers & staying well away from The Mangler, Farnsworth is going to solve the mystery.*** READ 20% FOR FREE ***

  1. Do not attempt to publish your book without ALL the above ingredients. Delay or disaster could occur
  2. Ensure you have full publishing rights to the book you are publishing (I know this sounds odd, but if you have signed a contract with anyone, check and make sure...)
  3. Log in to and create an author account if you don't already have one (trust me, there is method in my seeming madness) - complete your author profile
  4. Select 'Publish' on your dashboard and complete the page, copying and inserting the various ingredients from above as requested
  5. Press 'publish' and wait while SmashWords processes your book (this could take several hours. SmashWords uses a queue which will update to inform you of its progress)
  6. When SmashWords has published your book, go to its page (click on book title) and download it to your PC / iPad / Ebook reader. Look carefully at the results and decide whether anything needs reformatting. If so, reformat and resubmit book to queue. PLEASE NOTE - This step is really important and time spent here will saves hours later)
  7. Once book is successfully and satisfactorily published at SmashWords, go to (you will need an account at You will also need an author account at
  8. On your 'bookshelf' page (at, select 'add a new title' and complete the form as requested (similar to SmashWords).
  9. Submit the book to Amazon and wait while it converts it. You will then be taken to a page where you can select royalty rate and book price. Finally select publish and then wait
  10. It will take 24 hours or  longer for your ebook to appear in the Amazon Kindle store. This is why it is advised to publish at SmashWords first (to ensure format looks correct). You cannot view or correct any publishing errors at Amazon until after the book is completely published
  11. Once book is published, attach it to your author profile at Amazon
  12. While book is publishing at Amazon you can publish it at Barnes & Noble in much the same way. Go to and set up an author account
  13. Select 'add a title' and go through a similar routine as at the other sites. It will take up to 24 hours for the ebook to be available at the Barnes & Noble site
  14. Market shamelessly!

Xannu - The Prophecy by Paul Dorset. $0.99 from
Living out a mundane school life is not the norm for Terry West. After digging up some rune coins near a roman road he has been living in another world inhabited by warlocks, seductresses, priests and prophecy. There Terry is a soldier, Teern Truthbringer, who is tasked with finding the Xannu. Battling un-earthly creatures & witnessing powerful magic are all in a day's work. But some want him dead...  *** READ 20% FOR FREE ***

  • You may receive emails from Amazon or Barnes & Noble if there are problems with publishing. Do not ignore these emails. The quicker and more fully you respond to them, the quicker your book will publish. Each email will delay the publishing process by at least a day
  • If you have previous books published at Amazon that you want linking to your author account you can do that at the authorcentral site
  • If there are also physical copies of the books that you are epublishing you will need to email amazon to 'merge their entries'. This can take several days
  • Check back regularly for publishing progress (often the books will appear in the bookstore before they are highlighted as 'published'. Try searching for them on Amazon or B&N)

Xannu - The Healing by Paul Dorset. $3.99 from
Continuing on from The Prophecy, this book follows the journeys of two groups of travelers who are both trying to heal their charges. Back in England, Terry West is distraught after the loss of his best friend. But as Teern Truthbringer the soldier, Terry is busy battling un-earthly creatures & witnessing powerful magic on a daily basis. But is he prepared for the perilous journey he has to take to heal his charge; the Xannu.   *** READ 20% FOR FREE ***

Detailed Document / Book Formatting:
  • The best instructions are HERE
  • Seriously, read the guide linked above...
  • In a nutshell, no fonts bigger than 18pt. No multiple lines between paragraphs. Use Word to automatically set up indent and trailing line space on paragraphs. Never use 'tabs'. Don't use lots of different fonts. Don't use odd fonts. Insert all pictures inline. Etc., etc.
  • Seriously, read the guide linked above!!

This article is one of twenty-five essays from my new ebook: How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel. Check it out. Become a best-selling author!


  1. Hi Paul. Agreed all important ingredients when uploading to an eBook site. Will tweet to our followers as similar is needed for our new site as well. Thanks for the article.

    All the best


  2. Market shamelessly? When I do that, I get accused of spamming.

  3. Shameless marketing is to be expected! In fact, if you want to shave hours out of your process (as well as not having to read a complicated manual, too) you could always head to and give that a try.

  4. Thanks for this, it will be useful in the future.

  5. Thanks so much, Paul. I'm getting ready to e-publish for the first time and this was just what I was looking for! I appreciate you sharing it. I found your blog so helpful... I followed you on twitter, added you to my list, and bought your book! ("How to Write and Self-Publish your first novel") Look forward to reading it! - Robert David MacNeil

  6. @ionaportal - Enjoy! And thanks for the comments...

  7. Thanks! Helpful hints and suggested guidelines as I progress to this stage.


  8. Great information, Paul, as usual!

  9. With Smashwords, I always take the nuclear approach that Mark Coker advises ie copy the document from Word to notepad and then copy it back into Word so that all the formatting is stripped away. Then reformat from scratch. This saves a lot of time later.
    Excellent post, thanks!

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  12. Your page count will be detected and an automated print
    check will run once your upload is complete. By far, the largest book publishing
    trends surround the power of self-publishing along with Amazon's major impact on making e-books popular, making the path e-books have traveled
    as magical as the steps Dorothy took on the Yellow Brick Road.
    Unfortunately, many people do judge a book by its

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  13. This time the demand of online books are increasing day by day. And this giving a new hike to online book publishing or ebook publishing. Ebook publishers also coming with new technology and attractive offers.