self-publishing success for indie authors


Smashwords style guide for libreoffice openoffice (book formatting)

Update! Smashwords has now partnered with Draft2Digital, so the old “meatgrinder” now uses the Draft2Digital Ebook formatting tools, which are a little easier and more straightforward to use.

However, there are a few premium options, like Vellum and Atticus. Or you can start with some book formatting templates.

If you’re an aspiring author who wants to self-publish your book, then formatting it properly is crucial. Smashwords is one of the most popular self-publishing platforms available today, and it has a very specific formatting style guide that authors need to follow. In this article, we will discuss the Smashwords style guide for LibreOffice and OpenOffice users.

Step 1: Install the necessary software

To format your book using the Smashwords style guide, you’ll need to use either LibreOffice or OpenOffice. These are both free, open-source office suites that are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download LibreOffice from the official website, while OpenOffice can be downloaded from Apache’s website.

Step 2: Set up the page

The first thing you’ll need to do is set up the page size and margins. In LibreOffice or OpenOffice, go to “Format” > “Page” and set the paper size to “Letter” and the margins to “0.5” inches on all sides.

Step 3: Set up the font and line spacing

The Smashwords style guide requires the use of specific fonts and line spacing. In LibreOffice or OpenOffice, go to “Format” > “Styles and Formatting” and select “Default” from the list of styles. Change the font to “Garamond” and the size to “12” points. Then, set the line spacing to “Single” and the spacing before and after to “0” points.

Step 4: Format the title page

The title page should be centered horizontally and vertically on the page. Type the book title in all caps, centered on the page, and two-thirds of the way down. Type the author’s name underneath the book title, also centered. Finally, add the copyright notice at the bottom of the page.

Step 5: Format the table of contents

The table of contents should be formatted with the book’s headings and subheadings. In LibreOffice or OpenOffice, use the “Heading 1” style for the book title and “Heading 2” for the chapter titles. If you have subheadings, use “Heading 3” for those. Then, go to “Insert” > “Table of Contents” and select the appropriate options.

Step 6: Format the body text

The body text should be formatted with indented paragraphs and no extra spacing between paragraphs. In LibreOffice or OpenOffice, use the “First Line Indent” option to indent each paragraph by “0.5” inches. Then, remove any extra spacing between paragraphs by setting the “Spacing After” option to “0” points.

Step 7: Format the chapter headings

The chapter headings should be centered and formatted in all caps. In LibreOffice or OpenOffice, select the “Heading 2” style and change the font to “Garamond” and the size to “14” points. Then, center the chapter heading on the page and change the text to all caps.

Step 8: Format the scene breaks

The scene breaks should be indicated by three asterisks centered on the page. In LibreOffice or OpenOffice, type three asterisks and center them on the page.

Step 9: Add the copyright page

The copyright page should include the copyright notice, ISBN (if applicable), publisher information, and any other legal information. It should be placed immediately after the title page.

Step 10: Save your document as a PDF

Once you’ve formatted your book according to the Smashwords style guide, it’s time to save it as a PDF file. In LibreOffice or OpenOffice, go to “File” > “Export as PDF” and select the appropriate options. Make sure to choose “PDF/A-1 as the PDF format, as this is the format required by Smashwords. Then, click “Export” and save the file to your computer.

Step 11: Upload your book to Smashwords

Now that you have your book properly formatted according to the Smashwords style guide, it’s time to upload it to Smashwords. Go to the Smashwords website and create an account if you haven’t already done so. Then, click “Publish” and follow the instructions to upload your book.

During the upload process, Smashwords will check your book for errors and make sure that it meets their formatting guidelines. If there are any issues, they will notify you and give you a chance to correct them. Once your book has been approved, it will be available for purchase on the Smashwords website and other online retailers.

In conclusion, formatting your book according to the Smashwords style guide is essential if you want to self-publish your book on their platform. By using LibreOffice or OpenOffice, you can easily format your book to meet their guidelines and ensure that your book looks professional and polished. Follow the steps outlined in this article to format your book properly and get it ready for publication on Smashwords.

Written by: selfpublish

Derek is a book cover designer finishing a PhD in Literature. These days he spends his time building tools and resources to help indie authors publish better on his blog, Read More


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