Saturday, March 31, 2012

eBook Formatting for Dummies: Tips I've Learned

Since my eBook is releasing this Monday (eeeek!) I've decided to do a mini series on ePublishing.  If this is your first day, be sure to read my other posts in the series.

Posts in This Series

As I posted yesterday, formatting an eBook isn't hard, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't tedious.

The guides for Barnes and Noble's Pubit! program and  Amazon Kindle are very good.  If you're going to format anything yourself, be very familiar with them.  The formatting guidelines are also very similar.  The only thing I had to change between my kindle and pubit documents were how I made the page breaks, and I had to change all of my bullets to numbers for the pubit document.

Follow the guides like a recipe, don't leave out any steps and things will look good, and you want your book to look good.

Here's some tips to get you started:

  • Make your book as simple as possible to begin with.  Things like images, bulleted lists, and any auto formatted numbers are a booger to format.  A BOOGER!  The less of these you have in your document, the less time you'll need to spend formatting.
  • You don't need, nor should you have page numbers.
  • Do not use the tab key.  EVER!  This will cause big empty spaces to show up on some eReaders, not good.
  • Type with the paragraph button "on."  You want to be able to see all your spaces and returns.  And hopefully you'll never see any arrows indicating you used a tab.
  • If your document is really far gone, copy it all to notepad.  This strips it of ALL formatting.  Then copy and paste back to word.
  • Make sure you turn off Word's auto format feature.  It will make your life miserable.
  • After you upload your book you will be able to preview it.  Go through and look at every single stinking page.  Do not publish until you love it.  Give yourself ample time before a launch deadline for this reason.  
Monday is launch day, squeal!  You can take a sneak peak at the blog here if you'd like.

Will you learn along with me? Let's encourage one another.
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