Top 10 Best Resource Guides for e-Book Authors

by | May 27, 2011

The new world of e-book publishing promises almost-instant gratification at virtually no cost. It seems that authors with a manuscript in hand can glide nonstop to great sales, wealth and fame, probably before lunch. At least that’s the way it seems sometimes.

Unfortunately it can be tedious searching for the resources you need when you decide to publish your book as an e-book. I’ve been researching for my series of reviews of e-reader apps. As usual, I’m gathering links and resources as I go, keeping in mind this very task.

I assemble lists of links in Evernote, one of my favorite tools for research. Since it runs on all my platforms—iPhone, iPad and iMac—I have it with me just about all the time. It’s a real advantage in keeping organized while taking in tons of new information.

So far, these are the best resources for e-book authors I’ve come across. There are formatting guides, tutorials, and information from the major e-book retailers and distributors, all in one list. I cut it to 10 to keep it from becoming a burden just to read through it.

To save you the time of looking up all these resources, just bookmark this page and you’ll be able to come back to it when you’re ready. They are listed here in no specific order:

  1. Smashwords Style Guide – Complete formatting instructions
  2. Creating ePub files with Apple Pages for iBookstore – from Apple
  3. Kobo for Authors and Publishers – the Guide to publishing on Kobo
  4. Barnes & Noble Pubit! ePub Formatting Guide – Downloads the PDF
  5. Calibre Manual – Contents for this popular e-book management software
  6. Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines – How to use the Kindle Platform
  7. guidelines for e-book conversion – a new service with a unique approach.
  8. Amalthia’s e-Book formatting tutorial – pages of instruction
  9. The ABCs of e-book format conversion: Easy Calibre tips for the Kindle, Sony and Nook – tons of helpful tips
  10. Getting Started With Google eBooks – The lowdown on publishing to Google’s eBookstore

Ed: I’d like to keep growing this list and updating it. Readers have contributed these additional links and also alerted me to new versions, which is a real help. If you know a great resource guide for e-book authors, please put a link in the comments. Thanks!

More Free Resources

Formatting for Kindle, Guido Henkel’s 9 helpful blog entries. weekly e-book podcast

Great Paid Resources

Formatting e-Books with Open Office Writer by Dr. Kerry R. Bunn

Kindle Formatting by Joshua Tallent

Photo by Sam Churchill

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Gayatri mantra

    Just wanted to thank you for such a comprehensive article!

  2. Sylvia McGrath

    Many thanks Joe for the great information – you do not know just how much it is appreciated.

    Warm regards,

  3. Rinelle Grey

    Ohh, great list of links! I’m bookmarking this page, because I’m definatly going to need these in another few weeks. Thanks!

  4. Heather

    Joel, thank you SO much for putting this together. I’ve been having a devil of a time with formatting my new novel for epub (mobi was a cakewalk, but epub is proving to be a bear). These resources might just have what I need to finally tame the format!

  5. Chris

    eBook Ninjas podcast, news and technical info about eBooks.,

  6. Sylvia Hubbard

    Can i just say how much I love you Joel! I mean really!

    This just takes the cake of how fabulous you are.

    I’m not trying to brown nose or anything, but this couldn’t have come at a better time.

    Much love in all you do and thank you thank you thank you!!

    • Joel Friedlander

      No worries, Sylvia, I love you too! Have a great day.

  7. Shelley Hitz

    Thank you so much for always providing such great resources for authors! I shared this on Twitter and hope others check it out!


  8. Stephanie Keyes

    Thank you for these great links. I have just decided to self-publish recently and the timing is excellent on this!

  9. Joel Friedlander

    Okay, in response to the great suggestions I’ve started to expand the list using input from readers. Also updated the link for Amazon’s Kindle formatting guide. I’m happy to add more resources, so if you come across something that should be on this list, please let me know. Thanks.

  10. Chris O'Byrne

    Although not free, I’d add Joshua Tallent’s “Kindle Formatting” book. It’s been invaluable to me.

  11. Roger C. Parker

    Dear Joel:
    Thanks for sharing so much valuable information in one place! Very helpful.

    Your blog is a cornucopia of advice and links.

    Best wishes–

  12. Gold

    It seems to me that this eBook thing is a work in progress and stuff is constantly changing. I read one thing, last week, to do it this way and another, today, that tells me that is wrong. Do it another way! Take your 6. Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines, It is version 1.3 which I was under the impression was the latest version. Nevertheless, I already had for a month version 1.8.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Gold, thanks for the catch, I’ve updated link #6. What I may do is revisit this list once a month and update the links. That would keep it current and more valuable to readers.

  13. Gordon Burgett

    A great guide, Joel. I heard good things about Evernote so I’ll look there more seriously.

    Have you or your friends had much success saving books in PubIt? It was very hard to use in the beginning (particularly proofing what you had sent) so I got gun-shy.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Gordon, I didn’t have any trouble with the Pubit! process although it took a while to get approved. But I submitted my own ePub files, so I already knew what it was going to look like.

  14. paula hendricks

    oops. sorry. but i was so into not using word and wanting to use another program that i thought $3 was reasonable. and i’ll look up the guide for pages… i believe there is one, which i want to try next time… anyway… i have not used word for any of the 3 books up on smashwords now.

  15. paula hendricks

    joel — useful as always…. i was using open office and found this manual helpful — i simply refused to use word for smashwords….

    formatting ebooks with open office writer by dr kerry r. bunn (available on smashwords)… i thought there was one for pages but….

  16. Joel Friedlander

    Glad to help out. And by the way, if there’s a resource you’re looking for or a problem that’s got you stuck, leave me a comment and I’ll see if I can help out.

    • Carol Costello

      I can’t figure out whether to sign up on Smashwords as Publisher or Author. I’m putting up a fic and a nonfic book, both by me, but may (or may not) put books up later under a pseudonym. Any advantage, financial or otherwise, to doing one or the other. Thanks again for your always-amazing info, Joel.

  17. Pam Stucky

    Great post as always, great resources, thank you!!

  18. George Angus


    This post is exactly why your blog is the most helpful resource I’ve ever found in terms of helping us self published types work our way through this new world.

    I’m saving this one in my bookmarks because I know I will refer to it often.



  19. Carol Costello

    Joel, you’ve done it again! This is a fantastic resource, and just as I’m starting a big e-book conversion. Thank you!



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