First off, welcome to BookRix! We’re a free self-publishing platform that offers eBook distribution services to independent (indie) writers. BookRix has helped thousands of indie authors release their eBooks around the world. Over the years, we have seen many of our talented writers struggle with formatting issues. Unfortunately, when incorrect formatting occurs and mistakes are made, an author’s hard work can be rejected by online shops. For this reason, we created a simplified style guide our writers can follow to get their work published and distributed to major online shops.
Not everyone is tech savvy, which is why we designed our style guide with simple, easy-to-follow steps. You don’t need technical skills or a background in computers. All we ask is that you have (A) enough patience to read through these pages, (B) some confidence in yourself (trust us, you’ve got this) and (C) the desire to succeed. Don’t be scared - writing your book was the hard part, now let us help you with the rest. It’s that simple.
To Indent or Not To Indent: The best rule to follow here is not to indent by clicking the space bar or using the tab key. It’s best to code your paragraph layout to create a first line paragraph indent automatically. However, if you don’t have indents in your Word doc, don’t worry. Our editor will automatically indent the first line of each paragraph for you. This is required by most external shops like Amazon and iTunes so don’t be alarmed when you see it in the editor. We’re just trying to make things easier for you.
The Return of the Enter Key: Avoid over clicking the Return or Enter key. There shouldn’t be more than one or two spaces between paragraphs, or between text on a page inside your book. Over clicking the Return key will result in blank pages in many eReaders. It might look good in your Word doc, but in the end that doesn’t matter one bit.
Six Degrees of Paragraph Separation: If you are good at what you do (writing) then you understand the importance of paragraphs. You also know that each paragraph needs to be properly separated, and so do your lines of dialogue. This is a common error that causes a book to be rejected. And as a reminder, there should always be a space between each paragraph and lines of dialogue.
Fancy Schmancy Fonts: Fancy fonts and colors might be ok for a print book, but keep in mind that you are creating an eBook. Most eReaders can’t register irregular fonts and colors, so it’s a lot of work for no reward. Also, the reader can use their eReaders to manipulate fonts based on personal preferences, throwing the author’s choices to the wind. The BookRix editor limits your text to a standard font, therefore, you are limited to bold, italics and underline. Keeping it simple to save you time and effort.
Links that Lead the Way: Most authors check their epub version after they have uploaded their book to make sure everything looks perfect (a sign of a good author). But one thing always seems to get passed over and that’s double checking all the links in the book. Sometimes the http:// could be missing before the web address so make sure your links actually go somewhere.
Once you have your book perfect and ready to publish, you can simply upload your file, fill out the book data, upload a cover, choose a price and click “Sell Book”. Your book will be converted to an epub file and go through a review process before getting shipped to our distributor.
After conversion, your book will be readable on multiple eReading devices, such as the Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Sony Android, The Nook, iPads, smart phones, your personal computer, and many more. From there, your book will be delivered in various formats to many online eBook retailers around the world.
Just an FYI, the first 10% of your book is automatically available as a reading sample which is required by many shops.
What is OK and Not OK to Publish
BookRix accepts only 100% completed books where the rights belong to the author. Your eBook must not be published with another publisher. In the case of erotica, your characters must all be over 18 years of age. We love indie publishing and are serious about what we do.
Keep in mind that an eBook is not the same as a printed book. With printed books, you have more control of the book layout (the font size/style, colors, formatting, etc.). However, with eBooks, your reader decides how they want your book to appear. They can alter the font style, colors, sizes, layout, etc., so they can enjoy your words the way they prefer. Basically, the reader is interested in the content, not the fancy layout.
Remember that each reading device is different; therefore, the BookRix editor “forces” your words to conform to fit various devices. But in order for us to make this happen you must correctly format a file that allows us to “free” your words into a high-quality, digital style that can be read on virtually any reading device. This system also allows us to offer this conversion and publishing service at no cost to you.
Example of the same book in two different readers:
One of the most important things to remember when you are formatting your eBook is to keep it as clean and simple as possible. We can’t stress this enough: Keep your paragraphs normal
- Separate your paragraphs and dialogue
- Do not create paragraph indents by using the space bar or the tab key
- Headings should ONLY be used for chapter titles
Don’t get fancy. Remember, you are creating an eBook, not a print book. We need your words as pure as possible to conform to the digital world. If you go beyond the basics, your file could result in a poorly converted ePub file that will cause your eBook to be rejected from sale.
Files We Support
BookRix prefers that you upload a Microsoft Word doc. file. This is the best format that is supported by our editor and will be the easiest for you to upload. Other supported formats are .docx, .odt, and .rtf.
PDFs are NOT supported!
Regarding PDFs, in the world of eBook technology, it is impossible to convert a PDF directly into an ePub. A PDF is a print format, so PDF documents are basically less-structured versions of their word-processor originals. While PDF content is made to look really good, it actually includes very little structure. And by that we mean that it doesn’t contain enough clues about the function of text elements (like bold, italics, spacing, line breaks, indentation, paragraph alignment, etc.,) or how they should be displayed in a different context (i.e. your eBook). This means that converting a PDF document to ePub first requires conversion to a more structured text format, like Microsoft Word… So now you’re back to the basics. Formatting from a PDF can’t be extracted because it just doesn’t work as an ePub. If you want nice clean formatting in your eBook, all you need is Microsoft Word (for all you Mac users out there, you can save your Pages doc as a Word doc when you “Save As”).
With all the hard work you put into writing your book, you don’t want it rejected for formatting errors. Here are a few errors that you must avoid if you want your book approved.
*Avoid using different fonts and colors. The BookRix Editor will standardize your text to our default font style and font size. This is because it’s creating an epub file that will be used for various eReaders, which can alter font styles and sizes to the readers preference, regardless of the author’s choices.
If you prefer to get fancy with your text, you are limited to bold, italics and underline. Keep your font to Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri.
*Avoid inserting information in the header or footer of the document. It will be lost in the upload and can cause formatting issues. e.g. Your name, page numbers, dates, etc., can be affected.
*Avoid manually clicking “Enter” or “Return” when you want to move text to the next line. The information transferred to the BookRix Editor will think you are starting a new paragraph. This will result in breaks in sentences that will cause your eBook to be rejected from sale.
Only click the “Enter” key when you are starting a new paragraph or when there is new dialogue.
TIP: Never have more than 1-2 lines of space between paragraphs, dialogue or any text.
*Avoid clicking the space bar when it is not necessary. This will result in words appearing where they should not in the epub file.
*Avoid creating a manual table of contents in your book. One is already created for you via the BookRix editor (with the minimum containing the “Cover”, “body of the book”, and the “Imprint”). Books with a manually created table of contents will be flagged by the shops for having double contents and your book will be rejected. So don’t list the contents of your book on the first page of your document, simply use the chapter function in the editor if you are adding each chapter one at a time. An easier solution is to allow the editor to create your table of contents for you. Once you have used the Heading feature to mark your chapter titles, simply upload the file and your interactive table of contents will be automatically created.
*Avoid adding page numbers to your book. Page numbers are automatically inserted in the epub file. In addition, each eReader has adjustable settings that can be manipulated by the reader; therefore, the number of pages displayed in the eReader is often different than the number of pages in your document.
TIP: If you ever want to see what your formatting looks like "behind the scenes", you can always click on the Show/Hide button (¶) at the top of the tool bar in Word. This will show you every click that was made on your document so you can make sure that there is no unnecessary formatting that will affect your file.
1. Can I upload a part of my book or a work in progress? No. BookRix only publishes and distributes sale books that are 100% complete and proofread. However, you can share your book sample or work in progress with the BookRix community for free without publication.
2. Should my cover graphic be included in my file? No. We prefer that you upload your cover separately in our editor. Make sure that it’s a high quality .JPEG or .PNG file (approximately 900x1100 pixels) or you run the risk of rejection.
3. Do you edit my book or format it prior to publishing? No. It’s the responsibility of the author to upload a completed, professionally written, edited, proofread and formatted book. We assume that our authors are serious about their work. You are free to use editing services to help you; however, if your book has grammar/spelling/syntax/formatting errors, it will get rejected from sale.
4. What is the maximum file size I can upload? We would prefer that your file is less than 10MB in size. If your file is larger or it’s taking a while to upload, you may want to remove your graphics and upload them separately into the editor after you have uploaded your file. You can drag and drop your graphics directly where you want them in your text.
5. Is my book protected from plagiarism or piracy? There is no 100% protection if someone wants to take your words; however, members on the site cannot copy/paste your text from our BookRix reader. Copyright laws are strict so many people don’t break the law, but if you notice that your words are stolen, you have the right to take legal action.
In the case of piracy, this is also not 100% avoidable. If your epub is downloaded and shared between friends, think of it as free marketing. This way your work is out there getting noticed and for many authors, this is success. Your “free” sample could lead readers to purchase your other works.
6. Do I have to use Microsoft Word? You do not have to use Microsoft Word. But if you want to eliminate any headaches with your formatting, MS Word is the best program to use. If you plan on writing and uploading files more than a few times, it’s worth it to purchase Microsoft Word to make life easier for you. As mentioned above, if you are using the Apple program, “Pages”, you can simple click “Save As” and save your file as a Word.doc.
Always have a back-up of your work – Never make changes to your original document. Always make a copy. Technology is not 100% perfect and glitches and technical difficulties can occur at any time. If you lose the only copy of your book, you can only blame yourself.
Always see what you are typing (from the “back end”) – It’s always a good idea to see every key stroke and the details of your document.By clicking the “¶”symbol in Microsoft Word, you are activating the back end of your document to display every paragraph return, space, page break, etc. It’s always a good idea to see this to avoid unnecessary formatting issues and keep your document as clean as possible.
Turn off any “AutoCorrect”, “Format As You Type” and “AutoFormatting”– Make sure to turn off these features in your Word document. Any forced formatting will mess up your document when it comes time to convert your file.
Remove any text boxes – Text boxes can wreak havoc with your formatting and they are not easy to find, in most cases. Remember to click on your header and footer to see if anything is hiding in there, like page numbers, dates, etc. If so, remove them!
Remove hidden corruption in your file – If your file has been put through the wringer and passed through various word processors or if it originated in a different program, we highly recommend starting with a clean slate for your document to remove any hidden formatting that will corrupt your file. First, make a backup of your document in case there is a technical error. Next, copy and paste your entire document into any text editor. This will strip out all your formatting. Close Microsoft Word. Then reopen Microsoft Word so it’s showing a fresh new document. Next, copy the text from your text editor, type CTRL+A (press the CTRL key, hold it down, then press the A key at the same time) for “select all” then CTRL+C for “copy”, then paste into the empty Word document using CTRL+V (for paste). Remember to make sure you complete the previous steps, such as turning off “Auto Format as you type” and “Auto Correct as you type”.
Set your paragraphs to “Normal” - Setting your document to Normal Paragraph style will save you time and an unnecessary headache. If you chose not to remove any hidden corruption in your file (step 5) then it’s best to set your document to Normal paragraph style to avoid any issues with conflicting paragraph styles that you may not even know you had. Microsoft is set up to help you format your document; however, most of these set-ups are not good when formatting a file for an eBook, so keep it simple. After highlighting your text then selecting “Normal”, you may lose some formatting that you had established in your text. This is what happens, unfortunately, so you’ll have to go back through your text and re-insert any italics, text justification, etc.
First Line Indent or Block Method – Choosing whether you want to indent your paragraphs or not is up to you, however most external shops are now requiring paragraph indents in the eBooks they are selling. Regardless if you choose the block method (no indents) or the first line indent, the BookRix Editor will automatically set the paragraph indents for your text. Whatever you choose, keep it consistent. Do not use both styles in your document. In addition, do not ever simply click the space bar or tab key when you are attempting to create paragraph indents. Set your paragraphs to do this automatically for you. If you do it manually, you are guaranteed to create inconsistencies and errors during conversion.
Hyperlinks in your text – Hyperlinks (links that are clickable and direct one to a web address) should be used sparingly throughout your book. Too many and your reader will get frustrated with your book by clicking on them accidently. As a side note, any “direct-to-buy” links that lead a reader to other shops or sites for purchase of books or other goods, is forbidden and will result in rejection of your eBook. Understandably, stores don't want to see links/shop names leading to competitor sites in their eBooks.
Creating a table of contents – Having an index/table of contents is not only convenient to the reader of your eBook, so they can navigate through the chapters if they wish to go back or move ahead, it’s also required by the shops. However, a manual table of contents will not do. The BookRix editor is designed to automatically create a table of contents for you when you divide your text into chapters. The easiest way to accomplish this task is to highlight your chapter titles in your document (only the title should be highlighted and no extra spaces) and click on a Heading from MS Word (see below image). These headings will automatically separate into chapters when you upload your file and a table of contents is automatically created. Click here for more info: http://www.bookrix.com/_ebook-bookrix-com-how-to-upload-a-file-with-divided-chapters/
Images in your text – If you feel that images are crucial to your story, then feel free to embed them directly into your text. However, if the images make your file size too large (over 5 MG) then we suggest removing them from your text and inserting them directly into the BookRix editor after you have uploaded your file. You can drag and drop, or click on the image icon in the tool bar to place your image where you want it. You can only insert a .JPEG or .PNG file. Regarding your cover image, this is already inserted into your book and is listed as a chapter in your index. There is no need for you to insert your cover image into the body of your text because it will appear as a duplicate in your book and will not look professional.
Justifying and centering your text – It’s best to justify your text to the left. This will create a cleaner document and avoid extra spaces between words when the file is converted. Center justified is good to use for your title and copyright pages only, but avoid it for the body of your text.
Fonts – When it comes to choosing a font for your text, keep it simple and don’t get fancy. Regardless of the font style you choose, the BookRix editor will default to our system standard font, but using Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial. Doing this decreases problems with the conversion. The BookRix Editor will standardize your text to our default font style and font size. This is done in order for the created epub file to be used for various eReaders, which can alter font styles and sizes to the reader preference, regardless of the author’s original choices. If you prefer to get fancy with your text, you are limited to bold, italics and underline. (We can’t tell you this enough.) In addition, avoid using colored text since this will not be transferred in the conversion.
Headers and footers – Please remove headers and footers from your document. This can cause text box errors and can result in a poorly converted epub.
This is the information that appears on the front or the back of your book that is required by external shops.
NOTE: Avoid typing info in the metadata fields with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Anything typed in all caps will be rejected. This includes the author name, book title and blurb.
WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, and WHEN
WHO Are You? – What you choose as an author name is very important. Pen names (nom de plume) and pseudonyms can be used, but keep in mind that if you have a name that is difficult to remember, you will not be searchable online. Try to avoid unique spelling of your name or initials. This can complicate your search because readers are not going to remember if you had a period in your name. For example, R.J. Huffmann or RJ Huffmann. Sometimes it’s best to use a full first name and last name. Extra things to remember: no details of titles or job titles (except Dr. or titles of nobility) are permitted (e.g. PhD, MD, Plumber…), you can’t use a business or a name that is not a name of a person as an author name (e.g. Vintage Bikes, Apple Bottom…), and the selected author's name must appear exactly the same inside the book and on the cover.
WHAT Is Your Book Title? – The choice of a title can be crucial! Not only because an appealing title makes the reader curious, attracts attention, and hints to what the book is about; the title can also cause certain associations in the mind of the reader.
Apart from the obvious requirements of a book title, there is another factor that should be considered. There is always a chance that a reader comes across a book by chance. The author can actively increase this chance just by using common words in the title of the book. There are some keywords that are typed in store searches more often than others. A practice example might be a book titled, Vampire Love. Many readers, for example, search for the words “Vampire” or “Love” on Amazon. Also, if your book has a common title, it might get lost on page five of the search results, so having a unique title will help your chances of being found.
This can be an advantage on BookRix, too. Properly set keyword tags lead to more readers reading your book. If a reader is interested in vampire-stories and a book is indeed about vampires, but isn’t tagged with the word and doesn't show this in the title, the book will never be found. Even if the reader really would like to read it.
Thus, a good choice for a title (and "keywords") decides much more than it seems to at first glance.
Put some thought into your title - it's the one thing that people will remember about your book long after they've read it. The more original and interesting, the more likely the reader is to remember.
WHERE Does Your Book Belong? – Choosing the category/genre of your book is an important decision and will determine where you book will appear in the external shops. Make sure you are accurate with your category and think about if someone were to search for your book, where would they look? If you have a book that fits multiple genres, it’s best to enter specific genres as keywords. For example, if you have a short story that contains romance and fantasy, you may want to choose the Short Story category and use Fantasy and Romance as keywords. If you write Poetry and your poems are about romance, it’s best to categorize your book as Poetry and use the keyword Romance. You can be as specific or as vague as you wish with keywords but keep in mind that most shops will only grab the first 4 keywords listed for the book so make sure you have the best keywords in the front.
WHY Should Anyone Read Your Book? - The cover will definitely attract readers, but the blurb decides whether the book is read or not – it tells the potential buyer why they should read the book. When it comes to the blurb, the author has the opportunity to prove his or her writing skills. Creating an appetizer for the whole story with only a few words often seems impossible, but follow these steps and you'll be "blurbing" in no time!
A blurb shouldn't provide too much information, but rather set potential readers thinking about what the book is about. However, there still has to be enough information to entice the readers. The length of your blurb can also be determined by the length of your eBook – For example, short stories should have shorter blurbs. Four or five sentences will often suffice. However, if you’ve written a 300 page novel that spans centuries, you should probably amp up your description. A full length novel (60,000+ words) usually has a blurb that is 10-15 sentences long.
In addition, the author will find more obstacles in his or her way:
1. How can the author objectively decide whether or not the blurb achieves the desired result?
2. The author is influenced by his work, so how will she/he know if the blurb appeals to the target audience.
3. Does the blurb fit the book’s content?
4. Does the blurb raise expectations the book can't meet? This would be very bad because it would cause the readers to be dissatisfied. This might result in upset readers writing a bad book review.
Of course, our users have found a solution for these problems: They get help from fellow BookRix members who will collectively and honestly critique and improve their blurbs.
Simply put, if your blurb poorly drafted, readers will assume your book follows suit and won’t bother to open it.
WHEN Did You Publish Your eBook? – The Copyright Information and Acknowledgements Section– These fields in the book info area include the publication date and are also meant to give credit to those who contributed to it. It’s important to mention who holds the rights to your words (it should be you, the author, of course), your images (you or your cover designer), and if you had any editing or translation help. NOTE: Do not reference anywhere in your book regarding “Printed in the USA” or any other reference to print. Remember, your book is an eBook and not a print book therefore, nothing is being printed.
Did you know that books with professionally designed covers sell twice as much as books with poor quality covers? It’s true!
We've all heard the saying “Don't judge a book by its cover”, but don’t fool yourself! Even if a book’s content is amazing, if the cover doesn't look good, it will never be read.
This is true for retail stores and online shops: A stunning book cover may be the sole reason for catching the attention of a reader. There are tons of books available, and some can get lost in the shuffle; especially, if their appearance is unappealing. It’s not uncommon for people to believe that a well designed cover means a well written book.
We understand that not every author is an enthusiastic artist. Most writers would rather live in a world of letters, than deal with images. As you've probably guessed, we’ve spent some time thinking about this, and decided that no one on BookRix should face this problem alone. Especially, when there are so many BookRix members willing to help out.
There are many groups that discuss the topic “cover design”, but we would like to specifically recommend the "Art Writers” group. There, you will find users who offer their assistance with cover design.
DON'T FORGET: It is extremely important to observe copyright laws at all times! But don’t fear: you can even get advice on this topic from group members. If you don’t feel properly skilled to design your cover yourself, ask the group and our members can assist and offer their advice.
For those of you who prefer to pay for this service, there are several great artists (blogs and websites) that sell ready-made eBook covers for as little as $10. If you are unable to fine something you like, you can opt to pay a little extra to have one designed for you. Also make sure the images used on the cover are not copyrighted.
In the end, a nice cover attracts attention to your book and therefore, will get you more readers. And that’s exactly what we all want, right? Don't forget - BookRix won't publish your book if it doesn't look good - so put forth the extra effort!
You are welcome to choose a cover image from the cover image gallery provided by BookRix (although we don’t recommend this). If you choose to use your own customized covers, we ask that you observe the following guidelines.
- The graphic must be in the form of an image file, such as .JPEG or .PNG. Cover images in a PDF file cannot be used.
- Be certain that your cover is at least 1100 pixels wide and 2000 pixels high. This ensures that your cover is not pixilated.
- Your author name and title inside the book must match the title and author name on the cover.
- Your cover should have no white edges and not be represented as 3-dimentional.
- You cannot advertise anything on the cover that is not included in the eBook, such as "CD Included ".
- All image rights to your book cover must be owned by you or obtained by you (the author).
BookRix is not permitted to give out legal advice. The following information is to be regarded as a reference, however it is subject to change. Our advice does not replace the expert advice of a national legal professional.
Note: The following is in regards to a cover that you did not create yourself.
1. If your cover image contains material whose copyright does not belong to you, then we recommend the following:
*Obtain the right to use the copyrighted image, i.e. conclude a license agreement.-Artists who make images available for free often make their work under Creative Commons licenses (CC).
*Pay the artist compensation (if set out in the License Agreement).
*Insert the name of the artist of your book cover into your book.
2. If your cover was designed by someone other than yourself then the following are relevant:
*When you instruct someone to create a cover design, you should, in writing, state the terms and conditions, etc.
*Whether professional or a friendship service, in any case, the cover designer must be mentioned in the book by name, unless they expressly waived this.
*Each image is protected by copyright.
*Images may be used only with permission of the artist; otherwise legal action will be threatened against you.
*Sites that provide images free of charge, often mention that the photos may be used for private use only. For your fee-based eBook you must present the permission for commercial purposes.
Your masterpiece is complete and you are at the end of your book. What’s next? A simple “The End” will do but you can always do more as an indie author.
Readers like to connect with the author and the author should allow this. Add a personal message or a biography about yourself. You can also add social media info or other ways the reader can get informed of your works.
Another great marketing technique is to offer reading samples from some of your other books. It’s one way to tease your reader and get them hooked.
For more advice on how to market yourself and your work, click HERE for our BookRix Marketing Guide.
Once your book is complete and your formatting is correct, it’s time to upload your masterpiece to BookRix.
1. Simply click on “Create New Book”.
2. Enter the title of your book (you can change this later if you don’t have a book title yet).
3. Upload your perfectly formatted file by clicking on “Edit Book Content” and then click “Save” after you have checked to make sure that your text has been perfectly transferred from your file to the BookRix editor. If you’ve used the "Heading" function for your chapters, you should now see each title separated and clickable.
4. Click on “Edit Book Info” to enter your book’s required metadata then click “Save”.
5. Click on “Edit Cover” to upload your cover image then click “Save”.
6. Once your book is uploaded and checked thoroughly (which includes downloading the ePub version and checking your formatting there as well), and you are ready to sell it in the eBook market, simply choose a price for your book (average price for an eBook is ranges between $0.99-$2.99) and then click “Sell Book”.
Your book will then go through quality control. If it's rejected for any reason you will receive an email from BookRix, letting you know what needs correcting before we can send your book for distribution. Otherwise, if you don’t hear from us within a few days, you can safely assume that your book was sent to our distributor and will appear in shops, such as Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble within a few days. Keep in mind that some shops can reject your book for any reason; therefore, we do not guarantee that your book will appear in every shop.
You have chosen not to go the traditional route by self-publishing. That means you are an Indie Author and as an Indie Author, you must do your part to market your book.
Most authors say the easy part is writing the book. The hard part is marketing it. Don’t fret. BookRix has put together a guide with tips to help market your work. When followed correctly, it can increase your ebook sales and aid towards your success as an author. Remember to consistently update your information and try to stay informed on all the current eBook marketing trends – Constant vigilance!
For helpful information on how to market your books, please click our Marketing Guide HERE.
Text: BookRix.com 2013. This free eBook may be copied, shared, distributed, reposted and reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it.
Publication Date: 01-31-2013
All Rights Reserved