If you can crack 3 eggs, dump in water and oil, stir and pour into a pan – than you can format.

It’s that easy. Sure – if you knew html or had some special program it might make things ‘easier’ but I promise you – if you follow my directions – you can format your own fiction self pub book.

On Monday I gave the basis for a ‘stripped’ document. Start with the basics. Whether you are just starting out or your novel is complete.

Next, you want to format it for Smashwords and Kindle. Yes, both need to be formatted differently. And yes, both are sticklers for how they want things done. But can I tell you a secret? (their bark is worse than their bite).

Once your story is formatted (remember – no tabs, no more than 3-4 returns, single space) you want to add your extra ‘stuff’. Your cover. Your title. Your copyright and dedication. Sell yourself – list your reviews if you have some  At the back – list your other titles, your bio, links where people can find you and if you have it – an excerpt for your next story or a previous title. Add your cover for that too if you can.

Cover art work is tricky. Get a good one. First and foremost. Your cover sells your story. Remember – depending on the device, it might not be shown in color. And yes – you do want your cover in your manuscript. While Smashwords will insert your cover automatically for ‘most’ of their formats, they won’t do them for all. So save yourself some trouble. Add it. Put a page break after your cover.

Okay. Now you are ready. Right? Not yet. Your copyright is crucial. Smashwords wants it a specific way. For example:

Chocolate Formatting
Steena Holmes
Smashwords Edition
Copyright by Steena Holmes

Next you’ll want to add a license statement. You know – the one that says, this ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment etc …

Before you submit you might want to add bookmarks for your chapter headings. Smashwords doesn’t like it if you use TOC (Table of Contents). Have I mentioned how picky they are? I have 3 kids – one likes chocolate, one likes vanilla and one likes anything. GEESH.

Adding bookmarks is easy. Yes – I’m repeating ‘easy’ for a reason. Cause it really is. Bookmarks are basically links your readers can click on to take them to a specific spot in your book.

First step is to go to all your chapter headings and make them an actual heading (under paragraph styles, choose Heading 2 for example). Highlight Chapter 1 (or any other section you want to link to), go to your Insert Tab and select “bookmark”. Name it (like … oh I don’t know …Chapter 1) and click add. Once this is all done you want to hyperlink these. So highlight Chapter 1 and right click, click ‘hyperlink’ and click ‘place in document’.

Now – I’m used to using ipages for Mac – so there might be an easier way in word (please tell me if there is).

Because Smashwords prefers bookmarks – and you’ve gone through all the work to create them, why not just keep them instead of creating a new TOC for Kindle? Remember – I’m all about making it easy. All you need to do is save this as the Smashwords version, change the copyright to exclude smashwords and voila – you have your Kindle edition.

Easy peasy. No html involved. But … before anyone starts throwing empty chocolate wrappers at me – this is not a magic bullet system. I have found that Kindle likes to throw curveballs when you least expect it and Smashwords will find errors you never imagined. But it’s a start. You will need patience. Lots of it.

I suggest loading it onto Kindle first – use their viewer and look at every single page. Make sure your page breaks are there. That you didn’t tab by accident, that your cover works. Kindle will sometimes add an extra page … especially if you place the cover as your first page … but then sometimes it won’t.

The one thing I’ve learned throughout all my formatting is that no matter what, every ereader is different. Every book is going to look different. Do your homework. Know what works best. Check out the kindle boards, search online … read ebooks … your success depends on one person. YOU.

I believe in you.


Remember, in the end, all things succumb to chocolate!


If you’re a lover of romance, check out my re-released inspy romance Chocolate Reality (originally published under title Once Upon A Dream by Word Alive)!
I hope you’ll pick up on of my books where I write under the name of Anya Winter. Be sure to fall in love with The Master, Stampede Fever (Stampede Sizzlers) and The Blindfold!