January 20, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions by Authors

Converting my manuscript to an ebook for Kindle, Nook and other formats

kindle-direct-publishing-logoHow do I convert and publish my Word doc to Kindle?

I provide a Word-to-Kindle / Nook (and all other ebook types) formatting service. When your Word doc is ready to publish, I can convert it to the file type acceptable by Kindle, Nook as well as all the other major ebook retailers.

What is the cost for having my Word doc converted to an ebook for Kindle, Nook and other formats?

Each project is different. After your manuscript has been edited, proofread and is ready to publish, email the Word doc and I will provide you with a quote and an approximate delivery time. Amazon Kindle is the biggest ebook market.  Smashwords is a distribution service that reaches the other major outlets. The quote I give you covers formatting for both these venues as well as uploading the files to your accounts on their sites.

What formats do you convert my Word doc into as an ebook?

Amazon Kindle:

  • Kindle (.mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps)

smashwords publishing logoSmashwords:

  • HTML, good for sampling in web browser)
  • Epub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others)
  • PDF (good for reading on PC, or for home printing)
  • RTF (readable on most word processors)
  • LRF (Use only for older model Sony Readers that don’t support .epub)
  • Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
  • Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting)
  • Plain Text (view) (viewable as web page)

Do I have to have a Kindle reader to view the MOBI (Kindle format) file you send me?

If you do not have a Kindle, you can view a MOBI file with a free program called Kindle for PC http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311

If you have a Mac, go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_mac_ln_ar?docId=1000464931


Do you create the copyright page for my ebook?

If you do not yet have wording for your copyright page, I can create one based on what I use for my own books, at no additional charge.

Distribution for my ebook

Do you handle the distribution of the ebook and if so, to whom do you distribute it and how is it distributed?

I do not personally handle distribution. However, I publish your ebook to two places that basically cover most distribution options. Kindle Direct Publishing (owned by Amazon.com) makes your ebook available throughout the world through their websites. Smashwords.com sells your ebook directly to the public through their website and also offers the option of being included in their Premium Catalog (free to you to be included) which distributes basically everywhere other than Amazon.

smashwords distributionWhere does Smashwords distribute to?

Online retailers such as Apple (distribution to iBookstores in 51 countries), Barnes & Noble (US and UK), Sony, Kobo, WH Smith in the UK and FNAC (both powered by Kobo), Livraria Cultura in Brazil (powered by Kobo), the Diesel eBook Store,  eBooks Eros (operated by Diesel), Baker & Taylor (Blio and the Axis360 library service), Page Foundry (operates retail sites Inktera.com and Versent.com; operates Android ebook store apps for Cricket Wireless and Asus), and other distribution outlets coming. For more information on their Premium Catalog, see: http://www.smashwords.com/distribution

How do I distribute my ebook to libraries?

Smashwords distributes to 3 major library wholesalers including Baker & Taylor, one of the largest.

How do I get paid royalties

How do I get paid royalties from Amazon and Smashwords for my book sales?

If your ebook is priced at $2.99 or more, Amazon pays you a 70% royalty. If less, you earn 35%.  Smashwords pays 85% to 70% depending on whether the sale comes through their site or their distribution partners. Amazon pays 30 days after the month of sales and Smashwords pays 30 days after the end of each quarter. These are subject to change, so check with each site to get the current rates.

Should I open an account with PubIt to get my book on BarnesandNoble.com?

Smashwords distributes to Barnes and Noble so there is no need to set up a separate PubIt account. PubIt has not received good reviews for their service in terms of being author friendly. Unless they change, I don’t recommend using them when Smashwords does a great job of getting your titles on BarnesandNoble.com without the hassles of dealing with PubIt.


Do I need an ISBN for my ebook?

You do not need an ISBN for a Kindle ebook.  However, you may want to have an ISBN for Smashwords.com because they do require an ISBN to be considered for wide distribution through their Premium Catalog.

Do you supply an ISBN and Library of Congress number?

No, the author/publisher typically buys ISBN numbers for paperback editions ( from http://myidentifiers.com). If you are on a budget, I can instruct Smashwords at the time of setting up your title to give you a free ISBN (you still retain all rights to your ebook). Or if you or concerned about having your own publishing company name show up, you can purchase an ISBN from Smashwords for around $20, which is cheaper than you can purchase from the link below.

There is no need for a Library of Congress number for an ebook.

Do I need a separate ISBN for my paperback edition?

Yes. For each format that you publish in, you will need a unique ISBN.

How do I obtain an ISBN outside of Smashwords?


Can you set up accounts for me at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords and PubIt?

Because Amazon and Smashwords both require your personal financial information, I usually recommend authors set up their own accounts at http://smashwords.com and https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin and then let me know their user name and password so I can go in and upload their books. You can go in later and change your passwords. If you choose to have me do the set up, I will provide you with my personal secure fax line for sending your social security number and bank routing code.

Here is the info needed to set up your accounts:

  • Your mailing address, phone number, and social security number or EIN for IRS reporting requirements of Smashwords and Amazon.
  • Your PayPal email address for Smashwords to pay you. Or you can opt to have them mail a check.
  • Bank name, routing number and account number for Amazon to send payments to.

What do I need to provide you to publish my ebooks?

  • A product description of your book.  This can be two to three paragraphs or longer describing what your book is about.  This text will appear on the sales page of your ebook on Amazon and Smashwords so it should be written to entice readers to buy.
  • Category of book:  Business? Christian? Self-help? You can choose two categories. Selecting the best category can boost your sales. See the article at: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A200PDGPEIQX41
  • 7 tag (keyword) phrases that help readers find your book.  Tags could include the book’s title, plus phrases that relate to the topic. Example: romance, management, how to knit, team work, productivity, etc.
  • A JPG image of the book’s cover (at least 2500 pixels on the long side)
  • Retail price of your ebook


How do you handle ebook covers? Do you need to talk to the person who is designing the cover for me?

If you don’t already have a cover for your ebook and you need me to design one, request a quote. Otherwise, please pass on to your cover designer the following link for Kindle specifications for your ebook cover: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2J0TRG6OPX0VM  Ideally, you cover image will be a JPG file and 2500 pixels on the longest side. Your designer can email me the completed ebook cover image. I do not need to speak to them directly as usually, we can handle the cover issues easily by email.

Should I include my author photo in an ebook? If so, do I send that to you as an attachment?

I can include the author’s photo in the ebook. Ideally, it would be placed on a page that is “about the author” at the end of the book. This page will have your bio / background and link to your website or Facebook page or however you want readers to contact you.

Making changes after publication

What if I find errors or want to make changes to the ebook after it has been published?

Make sure you have had your manuscript proofread and edited before you move into the phase of  formatting and conversion to ebook file. My quote for formatting an ebook is based on receiving a manuscript that has been edited and is ready to publish. If you request editorial changes to the text after I have completed the layout, there will be an additional $50 per hour charge for me to go back in to incorporate your text changes and then upload it to Amazon and Smashwords. Once I do the layout work on your Word doc, I must manually make text changes to my formatted version, which takes considerable time and attention.

How to pay for services

When and how do I pay you?

After I have completed the conversion and published your ebook and you have given approval to publish, I will upload your files to Amazon and Smashwords. Once they have approved and published your ebooks, I will email you an invoice with payment instructions. I accept credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, Discover, AmericanExpress), checks by mail and PayPal.