Coding Files and Uploading Them

Coding files for your book so you can upload them to their respective platforms may be a task you farm out. It has to be done but you don’t have to do it.

Coding Files Starts with Smashwords

I start with Smashwords when coding files for my ebooks.

I like Smashwords. Founder Mark Coker is a writer who has created a writer-friendly platform to distribute ebooks. He regularly posts blogs and offers website promotions to help Smashwords authors sell more ebooks. His free ebook, The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, suggests more ways to promote books than I will ever absorb.

I also like that he pays royalties monthly even if the amount owed is as low as a penny. Let me put that into perspective. Traditional publishers often  withhold royalties until the cumulative amount due exceeds an arbitrarily high bar, often more than $50.

To get onto Smashwords, you simply code your Word files to fit the formula that Mark created.

  • For the techno-savvy among us who are comfortable coding files themselves, he has provided complete instructions in his free ebook, The Smashwords Style Guide.  More power to you.
  • For the rest of us, he created “Mark’s List,” a free list of graphic artists, authors, and techno-geeks who have successfully coded books onto Smashwords and are now offering their services to others at incredibly reasonable rates.

I found my current typesetter, Cal Sharp from Caligraphics, off “Mark’s List.” Cal has designed and coded cover files for me as well; and he has tweaked cover files and turned them into business cards.

Converting from Smashwords to Amazon

The Word file that you will need to upload your ebook main text files onto Amazon is so similar to the Smashwords file that your typesetter will include them both in the package if you ask. The big difference between the two is, the Smashwords edition makes reference to itself potentially up to four times as being the “Smashwords edition”:

  • On the inside cover page below the title, where you write “Smashwords Edition”;
  • At the top of the copyright page, where you write “Published on Smashwords by” and then your company name;
  • At the bottom of the copyright page, where you include the “Smashwords Edition License Notes” (see The Smashwords Style Guide); and
  • In the suggested back matter section, “Connect with Me Online,” where you include links to your social media sites and Smashwords author page.

Delete the first three of those references and replace the Smashwords author page with your Amazon author page for the fourth.

Then follow the simple instructions on the respective websites to upload your files. You can easily do that yourself.

Uploading to IngramSpark

I uploaded my files to Smashwords and Kindle myself. I balked at using IngramSpark because I didn’t like that they charged.

But independent booksellers don’t want to pay Amazon a cut of the profits to be a middleman and I support independent booksellers. So, when IngramSpark offered one of their periodic coupons for free setup, I made sure I got in before the deadline.


Those are the platforms that I use. Newer ones may be better. Find the ones that work for you.

As they say in the banking industry: Diversify. That’s why you don’t sign exclusive book author contracts and you keep your copyright.

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This piece was adapted from Ken Wachsberger’s You’ve Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You. Ken’s other books may be found here and here. For book coaching and editing help, or to invite Ken to speak at your meeting, email Ken at [email protected].

Schedule your complimentary 30-minute coaching and editing session now.

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