Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I thought today I’d offer some tips and encouragement for those of you preparing to format an ebook for self-publishing.

Ebook formatting is usually done in Word (unless you have a program like InDesign that can create epub and other formats for you) which makes it simple. However, there are a few things you want to watch out for:

No hard line returns unless you are ending a paragraph. Either remove them all or be prepared for weird formatting in your ebook.

No extra spaces at the end of sentences. If you’re uploading to Smashwords, you’ll get an error message. Those also need to be removed.

Watch your line spacing - single is best.

Since the font size can be changed by the reader, you need to think of your ebook as one long scroll rather than a physical book - don’t try to guess where pages will end or begin.

For that same reason, no page numbers in your table of contents.

Go easy on graphics.

Taking care of those things before you begin formatting will save you hours of frustration!

If you’re still beating your head against the keyboard, let me know, as I do formating for both ebook and print book form HERE. Believe me, I’ve seen just about every weird formatting issue out there!

Don’t let ebook formatting get the best of you.

And do I dare tell you about Word’s weird way of including ghost formatting in documents? Fun!

37 comments:

  1. I think the first time you format a book it can be a little overwhelming, but then you get the hang of it. Great tips!

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  2. Some great tips Diane, am hoping to get a Kindle for Christmas .

    Yvonne.

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  3. Yup. I'm working on the paperback and the Kindle formetting. Amen to all that.

    Hugs and chocolate.

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  4. I can imagine formatting for ebooks can be frustrating sometimes. Good tips!

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  5. Great tips! Formatting sounds like the most boring part of self publishing. :P

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  6. These are great tips - really helpful! Formatting a book the first time can be quite daunting.

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  7. Wow, these are great tips! It will come in hand for me in the future.

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  8. Great tips, but I was told 1.5 line spacing was the way to go. Maybe that's why my formatting is sometimes wonky. But not always. It could just be ghosts in the machine.

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  9. I was frustrated to tears the first time I tried publishing on Smashwords until I finally figured it out. Now I've learned some patience with their uber busy site.

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  10. I've not done Smashwords yet. They've talk about somewtime in the future letting us upload an epub rather and a doc - that's what I'm waiting for.

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  11. So glad there are people like you I can let do these kinds of things for me, Diane.
    Karen

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  12. I've been working on this in a separate word document since I have a tendency to format my writing a certain way automatically. I have to cut, paste, and go through it line by line to make sure that I don't have extra returns, extra line spacing, etc.
    Thanks for the tips!

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  13. Hi Diane - gosh some really useful tips there - I'd be cringing with fear and insecurity if I was formatting an ebook - one day I will probably get there ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  14. Great tips! I think every writer needs to know about ebook formatting, since it's so different from print.

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  15. Yes, do tell us about the weird formatting of Word, which I use a lot. And, thanks for sharing those tips.

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  16. Ciara, it does get easier.

    Stina, that's why I do it for so many people.

    Anne, with some formats, that ends up being two full spaces, thus the wonky.

    Tyrean, that's what it takes.

    Steven, very different.

    DG, it's the ghost formatting that does it every time.

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  17. Thanks for the tips! I will keep them in mind when I publish my book of short stories.

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  18. I know I would be beating my head on the keyboard. Word and I do not get along.

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  19. Thanks for these tips. You've given me a good resource here. I have most definitely banged my head on the keyboard.

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  20. Our family motto is "technology hates me" - I'm not looking forward to this part of the process :P

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  21. Thank you for these tips! Sounds like there is some kinks to work out..never fails, when it comes to formatting!

    Thank you so much :D

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  22. Don't let technology beat you!

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  23. Thanks for the info! I'll be trying this myself sometime soon, and I need all the advice I can get! Thanks for the follow and for signing up for my blogfest. I'm following back!

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  24. This...is frightening.

    I'll be sure to save this post in case I ever get the opportunity!

    Thanks for the info.
    Heather

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  25. I'm glad, for now, that I have someone else to do all this for me. I'm hopeless with technology.

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  26. Great tips here. Keeping it simple is the key.
    I've never tried to add graphics. That would be scary territory for me.

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  27. I am sure I could do this. However, this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me crazy. So I pay someone to do it for me. For me, it's well worth the cost. It keeps me sane :)

    I applaud those writers who do their own.

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  28. Just out of curiosity... "No extra spaces at the end of sentences." Does that mean all sentences or just sentences at the end of paragraphs? I have a Word macro that changes all space+CRLF to CRLF, but wonder if I also need one to change space+space to just one space. (I know, I'm old school on two spaces between sentences.)

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  29. Awesome tips; good to keep in mind for submitting to agents and publishers.

    .......dhole

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  30. Some great tips on formatting for self publishing. I've been looking at a few of the sites, Lulu in particular. Thanks for sharing.

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  31. As it stands, technology and I are not on very good terms...
    Now you've got me worried... it sounds complicated!

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  32. Ooh, I've heard some nightmare stories about that. Thanks for the tips!

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  33. I'm bookmarking this post for later. I need all the info I can get if I end up doing the self-pub route. Thanks for this! :)

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  34. UGH!! Formatting is my arch-enemy! :)

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  35. Always such great advice :) I'm planning on e-pubbing my NaNo project, so I shall be returning to this post for reference!

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  36. Great tips Diane! They'll certainly help me when I'm finished with one that I'll be self-publishing.

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