Tag Archives: ebook specifications

DIY: Checklist for e-Book and Print Book Guidelines for All Publishers

This post is this author’s recommendations on creating your e-book or book  files before you write the book so it is acceptable to all online publishers. Many publishers will distribute your book to many places that require different publishing specifications. Amazon/Kindle will offer your e-book free or discounted with the purchase of the print version. The challenge is to create the e-book/print file so it is acceptable to all the publishers. That is possible with two files: Doc and PDF for print.  However, it is advisable to convert these files to ePUB for e-book publication.  The distribution channel is wider and PUB is readable on most readers and technical devices..  I have summarized the on-line publisher’s guidelines into a technical submission checklist cheat sheet just for you.  It’s FREE.

Writing an ebook
Writing an ebook

I recently wrote and published a DIY reference manual that includes a workbook (e-book and print book): Essential Blogging Tools for Influencers.  It is available on this site by a digital content distributor as well-Sellfy.        A few years ago, I translated and published my  teenage daughter’s bi-lingual poetry book and e-book: Random Thoughts.

It amazed me how each book was a totally different experience. The first is a text workbook written for profit and creditability. The latter was to learn the process and get my daughter extra points in her English class. There was more to consider in the publishing of the reference e-book because it contains tables, infographic, and links – like a text book.

Below, I give tips on what to do before writing your e-book/book to help market it in the submission on-line process. In addition, included is a technical submission checklist cheat sheet. Regardless, of the type of book you are writing, these tips are for you. The tips below are derived from my  experiences and research of other publisher’s submission guidelines. This checklist will make the process a lot smoother. You won’t have to wait a day or two to correct each file submission that returned with errors from the publisher’s inspectors. Thus, helping you meet your publishing deadline.  Click  the chart below to view and download the checklist for a  technical reference cheat sheet .

Checklist Chart
Checklist of technical submission guidelines

1.  Title: Establish the title of your e-book using keywords.  Starting with the end in mind will help you focus on the three big questions: 1. What are you writing about?  2. Why are you writing about it?  3. Who are you writing for? Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.  You will fine tune it as you write the content.

Free Recommended Resources and Tools:  Google Trend
Tools:  Keywordeye HubSpot’s Blog Topics Generator.



2. Sale Copy and Description:  Before you write your e-book/book, write an 800 word or less web sales copy and a description (synopsis) of your e-book/book that will sell it – brainstorm.  Remember, words sell. This will help you focus your writing from a unique perspective. Research your competition on similar content.

How is this book different from what is already being sold?

What are the benefits your reader will get from purchasing your book?

You will need this information when it is time to upload your book onto the publishers platform. Therefore, give it some thought as a working piece.

Free Recommended Resources and Tools:  Pro-blogger     Copyblogger    7 of the Best Blogs for Learning Copy writing   Tool: All Tops

Social Media
Social Media

3.  Social Media: Establish or improve your blog, website, and social media presence: increase visitors.  Join Facebook groups on your subject matter-be active and answer questions. Add an email subscription plugin that automatically ask readers to join your emailing list.  These plugins offer opt-out to subscribers which is required by law as well.  If you don’t have an online presence start building your audience  with a blog, website, or micro-blog. Social media is an acceptable way for people to find and contact you.

Free Recommended Resources and Tools: Social Media Examiner   Tools: Mail Chimp

4. Publishers: ***Important:  Decide where you are going to publish your e-book/book. Then read each publisher’s guidelines. Most of these sites also offer great advice on marketing your e-book/book. Below is a list of publishers that this author has experience with. It is by no means exclusive. These are the largest e-book/print publishers available. Most are free to publish with but  fees are deducted upon sale of your book(s) in physical or digital form.  This author summarized publisher’s guidelines in the FREE Checklist Chart.

Publishers:    1. Scribd  2. Smash-words  3. Kindle   4. Amazon  5. Lula  6. Kobo  7. Pubit and Nook 8. Blurb   9.  Ingramspark


5.  File Type. After reading publisher’s guidelines, decide which file type you will use to publish your e-book and print book. Most e-publishers do not accept PDFs.  Scribd, Amazon, and Kindle accept PDFs.  If you have tables and charts, you will have to use Kindle’s textbook converter.  It’s easy enough to use- 10 min. This file file cannot be used elsewhere. The PDF file is recommended for Amazon and Kindle if you have tables and charts.  The PDF’ file  is recommended for digital content distributors such as Sellfy. For example,  if you sell on our site. Do not give out the doc file as it makes it too easy for others to change your work and create a derivative  from it.

Lulu and The Nook state they accept PDF’s. but transfer was not so smooth. I recommend the doc file with them. PDF files limit distribution but is better to use because  the content does not move around after uploading. DOC files seem to be the most common accepted file format because Doc files are easily converted to ePub files. ePub files make it easier for the publishers to distribute your work  through their expanded distribution partners.  Some publishers will convert your work to ePUB but will not give you a copy unless your purchase it.   In conclusion,  Files accepted by all publishers for e-books:  ePub, doc, and mobi   Some publishers extend to ,txt, docx and PDF. However for print book files, publishers accept doc and PDF files.

Warning: Review publisher’s guidelines because technology is updated and rules may change. Some publishers have stop accepting submissions.  That is another reason they may not be listed. This information is provided as a general guideline.

6.  Page numbers and Headers. Prior to typing your book, add your page numbers or your headers. If you add them later, it can disrupt other formatting preferences you might have. The first page of the printed book with text should be a right odd facing page. For an e-book, start your first page with an odd number including the cover, even if you choose not to show the page number on the cover.

Estimate how many pages your e-book/book with be.  For each genre there is usually a standard. Your page count will determine your price range and publisher fees. This translates to international pricing as well.  Most publishers have a minimum page count. Twenty five pages will meet all minimums; even thou some publisher’s count are slightly lower-18 pages.

7.  Running heads/running feet are the elements at the top or bottom of book pages. Typically, these sections can include things like the author’s last name, the book title, the title of the chapter, etc. A common running head/footer item is the page number. Any information in the heading or fooder needs to be before the top and bottom margins of .75.

8.  Fonts.  Roman Times Numeral is generally accepted but for a PDF file the fonts need to be embedded. The 11 to 14 size font is an accepted size across publishers platforms. To embed fonts for a PDF go to the  Microsoft Word file and  <Save>. as PDF >  Select <Options> and select <embed> IS0 19005-1.  Font size 12 is standard. Font size 14 is considered large print.

Margins and Gutters
Figure 1. Margins and Gutters

9.  Margins are customized based upon the submission requirements for your page count and whether or not you are including bleed. In order to meet most requirements, this author recommends settings of 0.75 on each side of the text except for the gutter. The gutter is  1.0”.  The gutter is the margin on the left that gives space to bind the book.  It is the same as the left margin. . Therefore, set  the left margin to 0′. In Microsoft Word Select> Page Layout> Margins to see the menu on the left.

Custom Margins: Right .75”, Left 0”, Top .75” and Bottom .75” Gutter 1” Larger Gutters for books over 600 pages.  Mac users:  Gutter 0’,Left  1’, all others  .75’ and select Mirror.

Margins and Trim Size. This one is a big one. Decide on your margins and trim size (book size) according to publisher’s guidelines before typing your e-book/book. Trim size will depend on the type of book you are publishing. Most common trim sizes are 5×8, 6×9, 7×10 and 8×10.  Set your width and height based on your book’s final trim size.  Be sure to apply this setting to the “Whole Document”.  See picture below.

Free Recommended Resources and Tools: Free Converters/Resize:  https://docupub.com/pdfconvert and https://smallpdf.com/merge-pdf

Trim Size
Figure 2.  Trim Size or Book Size


In Microsoft Word Select> Page Layout> Size> More to see the menu on the left. Here you select your size of your book.







Center Layout
Center Layout


After the tabs: Margins, and  Page Size is the Layout tab. Select the Layout tab to “Center” the  text in your e-book/book away from the left margin and/or gutter. Make sure to select “Whole Document” to apply selection to the entire book.







10.   Cover – The cover sells your e-book/book along with your sales copy (words). The publisher’s offer a choice of Glossy or Standard covers.  Glossary is impressive and used by most authors. Standard is a matt finish. Most publishing services offer free cover templates and photos.  I suggest using the free templates but replace the images with your own. The templates meet the publishers specifications for the cover.  This e-book cover was created with a publisher’s free template but I replaced the photo to match the concept of my title.

Essential Blogging Tools For Influencers
Essential Blogging Tools For Influencers

 Buy stock photos or create original art work for your cover and give credit inside the book. Stock photos require it and usually will give you the credit sentence to use. Read each resource license requirements. If you create your own covers, please review cover guidelines for publishers as  the size requirement will be larger than your trim size.

The free templates are cover sized and correct fonts pre- selected and sized for attracting readers.  You can change colors and fonts on most of the templates.  The publisher’s site will usually give you a copy of your finished cover in JPEG so that you can use it elsewhere, Create Space does and transfers the cover to Kindle. Rename this file if uploading to other publishers. You will  need to use your own photos in order for the cover to be accepted elsewhere. Most of the photos on the templates are public domain and are heavily used by others. Have a little fun while you look at best seller books, books that have won awards in the library, books in stores, and online. Notice book design, size, colors, fonts, pictures, and placement of titles, author name(s), and logos for your niche topic.

11.  Graphics:  The rule for printing is 300 to 600 DPI (Dot Per Inch) High Resolutions.  JPEG in RGB color. (Photoshop compression level with quality 10 or higher). The standard is 300dpi.   Cover art for uploading is limited to 50 MB. Cover size limitation varies for print and e-book.  Remember, most color blind persons cannot see red, blue, green and some mixtures of these colors. However, they can see in shades – use dark colors if these colors are chosen. This author included links that appear in black and are  underlined for this purpose.

Never re-size images in Microsoft Word before inserting  images in the document.   You cannot cut and paste. Re-size pictures to the size you want them to appear in a graphic editing software then insert pictures.  Click here for free infographic for creating graphics.  This is better for e-books and print as this method embeds your images into the document.

Disable compression:  <File> <Options> <Advanced><Image and Quality>.  Make sure the boxes are not checked.  Always <Insert><Picture>.

Free Recommended Resources and Tools: Free interactive list of graphic tools. 

12.  Bleed interior is when the content extends past the edge of the page (infographics/scans)  with no white space on the edges. These documents must have .125 for bleed at the top , bottom, and outer margins (exclude the gutter).  This author recommends a work around: re-size page to trim size with a converter. The image below was re-sized from a PDF 8.5 x 11.5  to 8×10 trim with above margins .75 and Gutter 1″. The white boarder automatically appeared. Free to  use is Docupub Converter. The original document graphics and background extended to the end of the page.

Free Recommended Resources and Tools: Free Converters/Re-size and Scale:  https://docupub.com/pdfconvert and https://smallpdf.com/merge-pdf

Info Graphic PDF re sized to 8X10 using a free converter.
Info Graphic PDF re sized to 8X10 using a converter. Created white trim acceptable for printing and e-book. All pages in book need to be the same size and have same margins of .75 except left margin or gutter-1″

Ready, set a publishing date and writing schedule. Then get started because it will take longer than you think.   Recommended Resource:  Writers Digest #ebook self publish #self publish #specifications guidelines #guidelinesforallpublishersm

Click here:   Before image     After resized image -acceptable for print.