Self Publishing your eBook the DIY Way!

So you have written a book, you might have had it published as a paperback but now want to tap into the eBook market.  Well it doesn’t have to cost the earth, in fact I formatted my late Grandfather’s book by following the guidelines on Amazon KDP and Smashwords.  Of course the first time it took me many hours to get it just how I wanted it, but now most formatting jobs take me between 1 and 3 hours depending on the length of the book.

If you want to go the DIY route, these are the key points you need to follow:

1. I recommend going to Smashwords first and foremost and downloading their Style Guide – it’s very easy to find as it is at the number 1 spot on the Most Downloads section.

2. Read this guide from cover to cover and make notes on the key points you need to achieve for your eBook to be accepted onto the Smashwords catalogue.

3. Work on formatting your eBook… the first thing you should do before anything else is to clear all formatting from the document so you can start with a clean text document.  You can do this by copy and pasting the document into Notepad and then copying it back into Word (or whatever word processing software you want to use).

4. Follow the guide, it’s as simple as that!

5.  Set-up your account on Smashwords and upload your formatted eBook, if there are any problems with the file they will inform you so you can go back and correct them.

6. Once Smashwords have approved your eBook and it’s ready for distribution, use your formatted file and upload it to Amazon Kindle.  I found the formatting suggestions for Kindle a lot more complex than Smashwords, but my finished eBook looked more professional following Smashwords Style Guide.

There are some really useful tips on the Smashwords website, this document in particular – How to Publish and Distribute Ebooks with Smashwords.  I like the fact that Smashwords distributes your eBook to many different retailers, these are Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Amazon and Diesel.

It does take time to get your eBook into the system, through formatting, setting up your accounts and then promoting.  Alternatively you can get someone else to do all this leg work for you.  eBook formatting is one of my specialist services and it doesn’t cost a lot, so if you’ve just written a book and would like a quick and cheap way of getting it published to the masses drop me an email so we can get started.

If you’d like to publish your book in a paperback version, then take a look at my previous blog post How to Self Publish your Book on a Budget.  For some marketing tips please see this great blog post by Stephanie Chandler Strategies for Promoting Ebooks.


  1. Thanks for an informative post. I have ambitions of my own to write a book and self publish some day, just need to get the ideas flowing

  2. I would love to write a book, and with self-publishing being easier than ever I think it could be done. Just need to find all the time in the world to come up with my best seller now ;)

  3. Great post I had wondered how to do this, another string to your bow as well, well done.

  4. Great post and very helpful advice. I would hate to think of the amount of time I have spend (wasted?) formatting a word doc of 50-60 pages, before converting to a PDF. I can see me using your advice in the very near future. Thanks for the link to your blog in the #blogboost group.

  5. Hi Jo – really useful and helpful info …..

  6. Thanks Jo,
    My book is 80% written and I’ve been wading through info on how to publish it to Kindle.This was great info and looks nice and simple to follow :)

  7. I need to get through the 30 day Blogging Challenge before I even consider a book! :)

  8. Jo,
    This is any awesome post. Thanks for great advice. I am working on my firtst ebook now and really had no idea how to go about getting it properly formatted so this will be a great help. Thanks.

    • Thanks Tony, glad it’s been some use to you. I know quite a few people who are writing their first book, so hopefully they will benefit from my post. If you need any help let me know! :)

  9. Great tips Jo and timely because there are so many peeps wanting to do ebooks.

    Wishing you success with your biz!

  10. Thank you very much for linking to my blog post, Jo!

  11. Hello Jo. This is a quite a nice resource for writers if they have some knowledge to share and want to publish it in a book. I’ve recently researched Smashwords and actually connected with Marc Coker via email. He’s actually a very nice guy and very approachable. Besides publishing on Createspace and Kindle, I would definitely recommend them as they also have a great promotion program.

    Publish newsletter

    • Thanks for your comment Ivin, I always advise my clients to publish on Smashwords, quite a lot haven’t even heard of them. I like to spread the word! :)

  12. Hi Jo. Great post. What irks me about copying and pasting text from Notepad into Word, though, is the way unsightly extra paragraph marks appear at the end of some lines. I tried turning Word Wrap off in Notepad, but then that just caused me more problems, as I had to scroll right across the screen to read the text in Notepad.

    • I don’t tend to use Notepad, I copy and then paste special into my eBook template. You get the same nuclear effect, but without having to copy/paste into Notepad and then out again.

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