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Here are new templates for Smashwords, spring 2011. We have found that Open Office works as well as MS Word for the final formatting, and if you have a Mac, NeoOffice is the best of all, making the later addition of a Table of Contents very easy.

Manuscripts prepared with these templates also work for Amazon DTP Kindle eBook publishing.

Here is the template for fiction books:
FictionTemplateMar2011

And here is the template for non-fiction:
NonficTemplateMar2011

Instructions are in the text within the templates.

Hope these help. If you find them useful, support our work by doing your Amazon shopping using our store—enter via the link in our blogroll.

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Important news if you are just starting to publish direct to Amazon Kindle using their Digital Text Platform: the process may be easier than some of their help docs indicate.

In their help forums and documents, you will find contradictory information on their supported formats. A colleague just discovered that MS word/Open Office .doc documents work just fine. So start with .doc or html, which ever you know best, and possibly save yourself time and work.

Some of their help forums even say you need to run your doc through Mobi or Calibre, and while these can add nice touches, they actually are not necessary. Html formatted documents are their first choice. If you are familiar with html code, it does provide the easiest way to clean a document and remove any trouble-causing junk. But Word docs work too.

Amazon DTP Supported formats:
Zipped HTML (.zip)
Word (.doc)
Adobe PDF (.pdf)
ePub (.epub)
Plain Text (.txt)
MobiPocket (.mobi and .prc)

One caveat, the .doc that worked well here had already been formatted according to the far more stringent rules for Smashwords, so a lot of problematic styles, characters and formatting had already been removed.