Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#IWSG: 10 Tips for Formatting Your Ebook / Wattpad Wednesday: Reborn Chapter 10

10 Tips for Formatting Your Ebook


You wrote, edited, and polished your manuscript to perfection. It took months or years to get everything perfect. Whether you self-publish your book or go with a publisher, it helps to know some formatting tricks so you can have a great looking book beyond just a great read. These ten tips correspond to Microsoft Word.

1. The Show/Hide button is your friend. It’ll reveal the hidden formatting within your document.

2. One space after a sentence-ending punctuation (or quotation) mark.

3. Never ever use Tabs. Seriously. Don’t do it.

4. Set your indents.

5. Styles will keep your formatting the way you like it through a .doc, an .epub, and a .mobi file.

6. Don’t leave extra spaces after a paragraph.

7. If inserting an image, be sure to position and wrap in line with the text.

8. To create a linked Table of Contents, you will need to use bookmarks and hyperlink.

9. It is better to use page breaks for chapters instead of hitting the enter key multiple times.

10. Set your em dashes (—) and ellipses (…) through symbols.

Having a great base for your manuscript will make formatting much easier for yourself and formatters. And if all else fails, clear out your formatting and start over in a fresh document.

Books recommended:
Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker
Design and Upload Your ePub: The Steps to Your Success by Cheri Lasota
Indie Author Survival Guide by Susan Kaye Quinn

Websites/Software recommended:
Microsoft Word or something similar
Calibre (convert files to other formats) http://calibre-ebook.com/
Sigil (an .epub editor) https://code.google.com/p/sigil/
Jutoh (an editor and convertor of files) http://www.jutoh.com/

Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. http://cheriereich.blogspot.com

I give permission for this publishing topic article to be used in IWSG to Publishing and Beyond.

IWSG was created by the Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. To visit the IWSG participants, please click here.

It's time for another chapter of Reborn to go up on Wattpad. Click here to start at the beginning or here to go to Chapter Ten.

Time's almost up to get Twisted Earths on pre-order and obtain your free Untethered Realms' authored book for free. Click here for purchase links and more details.

I'm one of the hosts of the 2014 Realms Faire coming November 10-14. I'm hosting an event titled Riddle Me This. Each day during the Faire, I'll post a riddle about a mythological creature. Anyone can play and those who guess the creature will be entered to win a prize pack. For more information about the Realms Faire, click here.

33 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent tips. If I ever have to format a book, I will refer to your list. Thanks for contributing to the book!
I'm involved in the Realms Faire as well this year, but not as a host...

Sarah Foster said...

Great tips! I hope I never have to format an ebook because I would just be terrible at it. Like the tab thing? Never would have even thought of that!

Chemist Ken said...

Lots of good tips there, especially near the end of the list. I hadn't thought about how one adds em-dashes and ellipses. Thanks.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Nice, practical and succinct advice! Smashwords style guide is invaluable, and tabs are evil.

Chrys Fey said...

I may have to format an ebook in the future, so these tips are handy! Thank you!!

Cathrina Constantine said...

WOW! I've never formatted a book. Sounds so, so overwhelming!

Christine Rains said...

Great formatting tips. I'm getting much better at it... right? ;)

EEGiorgi said...

I really have to get around learning how to make a table of contents ... :/

M Pax said...

The Smashwords Guide was a great intro to formatting. You have been my advanced course. :)

Great information.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Great tips, Cherie. The ellipsis dots give me the willies and I try not to use any punctuation that could send it to the beginning of the next sentence on an ereader (an impossible goal!)

Elizabeth Hein said...

Great list of tips, Cherie. It is hard to untrain people from automatically putting two spaces between sentences. Our typing class teachers pounded it into our skulls too well.
Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

Patricia Lynne said...

Great tips. I'll have to keep this post handy because it's been a while since my last formatting, so I'll need the reminders of what to do.

dolorah said...

Great tips, and good luck on the WattPad voting.

I am intrigued about the realms faire but need to know more about it to participate.

Gina Stoneheart said...

I need to bookmark this when I get home. Fantastic tips, Cherie! I imagine the space after the period would be the hardest to get used to. Ugg, something I have to look forward to when I publish my Ebook!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Excellent tips. If I ever need to format a book, I'll refer to this and the books you recommend.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great formatting tips. Many publishers have slightly different demands. My one publisher insists on tabs instead of automatic indents. Go figure.

DMS said...

What fabulous tips! I had no idea how helpful the "page break" was until I realized my ebook formatting was wayyyyyyyyyy off. Also- the advice about "tab" is spot on and another one that has taken me ages to learn.

Thanks for sharing! I cannot wait for the Riddle Me This week. :)
~Jess

Dean K Miller said...

Thanks for tackling formatting for the book. I am still learning and your list had a few things I hadn't utilized. Always a challenge in formatting, not always a fun one!

Becky Mushko said...

Great tips—and very concise! Thanks for posting this.

rebeccabradleycrime.com said...

Great tips! I love Scrivener and know it has some great uses for formatting for self publishing. I've not got that far yet though. Thanks for the list of books as well though. Useful. I'm hopeless at the tech stuff.

Medeia Sharif said...

Thank you for these, and like me you also chose a publishing post. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Cherie .. what a great simple set of steps and ideas .. especially with the links ...

The Guide will be so helpful to many and this post particularly .. cheers Hilary

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Great information. I'm glad this will be in the book.

Nick Wilford said...

Great tips, especially Show/Hide which reveals all manner of sins. I learnt from Smashwords Style Guide. My first formatting job was my anthology, which was a baptism of fire because it included images and poetry, not like a novel. I can handle most things after that!

Cathy Keaton said...

I still follow these tips in every manuscript I write up.

I've recently discovered some software that will create any type of ebook extension you want, perfectly formatted every time. It requires that you just copy and paste everything into it and it spits out an ebook of your choice.

I haven't bought it yet, so I can't vouch for it for sure, but I'll let you know about if you're interested in being pointed in its direction.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

PLEASE don't use tabs! Nothing like trying to format a book with tabs. Or all of those spaces at the ends of paragraphs. Those take forever to eliminate.

cleemckenzie said...

Very helpful, Cherie. The first time formatted a book I thought I'd lose my mind. When I found the Coker book, it all fell into place.

Jocelyn Rish said...

Thanks for the tips. Although now that I've read this, I'm pretty sure I have spaces at the end of all my paragraphs since I automatically hit the space bar at the end of a period. Those should be tons of fun to remove. :-(

Julie Flanders said...

I chickened out on formatting this time and paid someone to do it for me but next time I am going to remember this list and give it a shot. Great topic for the IWSG guide.

Milo James Fowler said...

Good advice, Cherie. Uploading via KDP is so much easier than Smashwords, but I've gotten the hang of it. Calibre rocks.

Kelly Steel said...

Excellent tips. I'm bookmarking this page. Thanks Cherie!

Sarah Allen said...

Excellent, solid, practical advice. Thanks for this!

Sarah Allen
(Writing Blog)

Jack said...

Thrillers aren't really my thing, but this one does sound good. I should let my mum know, she's more the thriller reader.