Kindle, Smashwords, and Nook – Oh my!

Most of today has been spent publishing several of my books to the various eBook sites, namely Amazon, Smashwords, and BN’s Nook. This entry has two purposes:  to save others some of the headaches/time expended on this venture, and so I don’t forget everything involved in this ‘adventure’

Why those 3 eBook providers? Because there the biggest and the best – if you want a good ebook, it’ll likely be on Amazon, Nook, or in Smashwords (which distributes to Apple’s iBookStore and many others). This ‘tutorial’ assumes you already have working accounts with all three sites.

We’ll start off with Smashwords, because it’s the “pickiest” of all the eBook processors. However, if you can get it passed the Smashwords Meatgrinder, you can be fairly certain it’ll work in all the others.

 

Preparing Your Book for Smashwords

1. Create a Word document (or equivalent) and copy in your book.

2. Immediately format the entire document to the  Normal style (with Arial or Times New Roman fonts). For Chapters/Sections, use the Header type styles. Keep your styling very, very basic – if you have more than 4 styles in your document, the Meatgrinder may get picky.

3. Toggle the “reveal-codes mode” mode in Word to see all the invisible formatting and remove all the junk breaks/CRs, ALL tabs, and extra-spacing. Word hides a lot of junk in your book, and the Meatgrinder won’t like it.

4. When your book “looks good”, save a copy and then add in all the Smashwords copyright stuff and follow their Smashwords Style Guide (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52). Don’t worry about putting your cover image into the Word doc, because the Meatgrinder will do that for you.

5. To add a Table of Contents to your book (recommended), follow the “Creating a Hyperlinked Table of Contents” section in the Smashwords Style Guide. This TOC will work in all the other eBook formats, so you should only have to do this once.

Basically, this involves creating a ‘bookmark’ for each TOC entry then using hyperlinks to specify their corresponding locations in the document (Word specifies the Header styles by default)

SHORTCUT: Use Word to auto-generate the TOC, then copy it to Notepad. Then remove Word’s TOC and copy in the one from Notepad – this will save a lot of typing if you have lots of chapters.

6. Prepare a short/long description for your book, along with a good cover JPG image that’s roughly 600 x 900 pixels.

7. Upload to Smashwords and let the Meatgrinder do its work. If your book is rejected right away, then it has major formatting problems.

 

Uploading to the Amazon Kindle Store

While your book being processed in Smashwords, it’s time to format your book for the Kindle.

1. Open up the non-Smashwords copy of your book in Word and save it to HTML format (make sure it’s the ‘Filtered’ option so it strips out all the Word formatting junk)

2. Open the HTML document in Notepad or another non-UI editor so you can directly see the raw HTML.

3. Insert the cover image into the HTML doc by adding the following code right after the <body> opening tag (‘MyBookCoverImage.jpg” should be set to the filename of your cover image):

<body …>
<div id=”cover”> <center> <a name=”start” />
<img src=”MyBookCoverImage.jpg”></a> </center>
</div>

4. Add Amazon pagebreaks to the HTML file by searching on “page-break” and then adding “<mbp:pagebreak />” after the next closing </span> tag. Example is below:

<span style=’font-size:16.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”‘><brclear=all style=’page-break-before:always’></span> (!!make sure you don’t put the page-break inside a span tag!)<mbp:pagebreak />

5. After you’ve added all the page-break tags, save the file and then open the HTML file in a web-browser. Check cover, Title (centering) and that the TOC works correctly. Don’t worry about the page-breaks, because browsers ignore them.

6. Create a ZIP file that contains the HTML  file + the JPG cover image(s).

7. Go to Amazon and create your new Title, and upload the ZIP as the new book (http://kdp.amazon.com), not the HTML file or the Word doc.

8. After it has uploaded, check your book/image in the Kindle Preview and complete the new-book process.

Uploading to the BN Nook Store

Uploading to the Nook Store is pretty straightforward compared to the others.

1. Go to Pubit (what a goofy name) at http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com and upload the HTML document you created in the Amazon step, (not the zip)

2. Check the Nook preview and complete the new-book process.

 

While You’re Waiting…

All your books should be processing now, and most take about 1-2 days to process. Meanwhile, you can use that time to add your new book(s) to your blog, website, and/or other sites. You may have to resize the image(s) you created in earlier steps since some sites like smaller images.

If you’re updating your websites/links and know some basic information about your book (such as Smashwords ID, Amazon’s ASIN, or the book’s ISBN), you can update the links by using the basic ‘template’ below (just replace the 012345.. with the relevant number of your book:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0123456789

Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?EAN=0123456789
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ISBN=0123456789

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/01234

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About Chris Hambleton

Chris resides in Denver, Colorado, where he is employed as a software developer and consultant. He has authored more than a dozen books, as well as developed several websites, software applications, and written software-related articles. His other interests include traveling, hiking, running, studying the Bible, reading American history and politics, and literally devouring good fiction books. Recently, he has been learning to enjoy classical music, playing the piano, and learning Hebrew.
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2 Responses to Kindle, Smashwords, and Nook – Oh my!

  1. the writ and the wrote says:

    This is a great post, Chris. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. Awesome headstart on Smashwords and epublishing! Many thanks.

    Like

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