Self-Publishing With An Apple Computer

self publishing with an apple computerApple Macs may be very popular, but publishing with an Apple computer is not always so simple.

The self-publishing industry runs on Microsoft.

Most self-publishing platforms insist on manuscripts being uploaded in Microsoft Word format, which for Apple Mac users means paying out for a copy of Microsoft Word for Mac.

There is little choice, however, as although Apple’s Pages word processor is a great programme for writing and creating, when a file is exported from Pages to Word file format, it is full of code, which can cause formatting and font problems when processed by KDP or Smashwords.

I had this problem in the early days of Smashwords.


After a lot of help, and effort on Smashwords’ part in trying to find a solution, in the end, there was no way around the code problem.

Even copying text from a Pages document, converting to plain text and then pasting into a clean Word document failed to fix the issue, as the Apple code, and in particular, a small element called Apple Space remained hidden deep within the newly copied Word file.

I have tried to export from Pages directly into .epub format, which was more successful, but there were still a few small formatting problems.


Over the years, I have tried a number of word processors for publishing with an Apple, and none have been fully successful.

This included Open Office and Google Docs.

Macbook AirThe only sure way I have found to create a clean error free e-book file for electronic publishing on an Apple MacBook computer is by using Microsoft Word.

Once a manuscript is finished using Word, the whole text should be copied and pasted into TextEdit, and converted to plain text.

Then the plain text needs to be copied and pasted into a new blank Word document, ready to be formatted with fonts, paragraphs and styles.

Once the new formatting is complete, the manuscript has to be saved in .doc format for Smashwords. For other platforms, .docx is usually a better option.

This same file can also be used for KDP. Another copy needs to be made and then saved in .docx format, which can be used with Calibre to create epub and .mobi e-book files.

The .docx file format is also necessary if you wish to publish with Google Play Books.

While Apple Macs may be very popular, the self-publishing industry is running on Microsoft, so there is no point fighting the inevitable.

If you are planning on writing e-books on your Macbook, using Microsoft Word from the outset will help avoid a lot of problems when it comes time to publish.

Update: Since I originally wrote this article, the new version of Apple Pages works much, much better. Not perfect, but almost. So try your luck. Read the article below for more details.



Newer article: Can Apple Pages Replace Microsoft Word If You Write On A Mac?


Derek Haines

A Cambridge qualified CELTA English teacher and author of 18 books with a life long passion for publishing in all forms. I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business. Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.

13 thoughts on “Self-Publishing With An Apple Computer

  • November 11, 2018 at 6:56 am

    I use a Mac and Scrivener to write and publish ebooks. It’s simple and works well: no fuss, no muss.

  • April 17, 2018 at 7:25 am

    If you mean the Kindle upload interface, yes. It generates different formats for you for different ebook publishers, including Kindle.

  • April 17, 2018 at 6:45 am

    Does it work seamlessly with Kindle Publisher?

  • April 17, 2018 at 3:07 am

    So, no one here has ever tried Vellum? Easiest way to create epub, Kindle, and POD files on the Mac, bar none.

  • April 3, 2018 at 10:11 am

    As long as you don’t enrol in KDP Select, you can publish on all three without any issue. There is no contract with Amazon or Kindle. It is only when you enrol in KDP Select that you grant Amazon exclusivity, but only for a period of 90 days.

  • April 3, 2018 at 10:08 am

    I want to know if publish in Kindle now, can I retract my contract and publish it with apple or google play later?

  • August 23, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Scrivener is available for Mac and PC–for under $60 at this writing. It doesn’t require relying on a cloud. I hate cloud computing. There is no monthly subscription. It’s far more useful and stable for long documents than MS Word. FWIW, every day at work I use Word on PC for long documents. I use Scrivener on my Macs (yes, multiple) for my novels and non-corporate jobs. Why? Because MAC and Scrivener work. Always. And I never lose a day of productivity waiting for IT to figure out what Microsoft’s latest patch did to hose up my computer.

  • April 19, 2017 at 3:24 am

    This post is 100% correct. Apple Mac and Scrivener are the king and queen for self publishing.

  • April 19, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Oh goodness, use Scrivener! It was specifically designed for Macs. It does a great job on file conversations.

  • February 3, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Great article and observation. Microsoft seems to be for writers while Mac books are perfect for graphic designers.

  • January 25, 2017 at 6:33 am

    My goodness. Does anyone really use Pages to write a book?

    I don’t understand why you would put your finished Word doc into text edit and then back into Word. I’ve never had to do that.

    You also did not mention Scrivener, the incredibly popular writing app. These days I use it to write, then put the book into the Vellum app when it is time to publish an ebook.

  • January 25, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Pages works great and has for 28 books so far. In fact, it is the easiest of all, because you can save directly to the epub format and be done. You can then easily convert the epub to Kindle using Calibre, which is a donation-based program that converts file formats, or by using another program or Amazon itself.

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