One aspect of book formatting most people don’t discuss is the initial cleanup. Whether you are formatting it yourself or someone else is doing the job, here are some things to look for that will make formatting easier.
- Click button to show paragraph marks and formatting. Spaces are dots, paragraph returns are P’s.
- Do a Find & Replace on all of the double spaces. There should be a single space between each sentence and word.
- Remove any manual indents. Those will show as arrows.
Never use the tab key to indent. Open up the paragraph box and set the indent there. This is also where you control justification and line spacing.
- Do a search and destroy for all spaces at the ends of sentences. These can cause a sentence to extend one line farther. In a print book, that might be what sends a lone line at the end of the chapter to a page all by itself.
These spaces come from the habit of hitting the space bar after every sentence. Sometimes we type another line, but sometimes we hit the return key and start a new paragraph, leaving that space (or two) at the end of the sentence. I can always tell when an author is on a roll - those spaces vanish.
- Do a search and destroy for extra spaces at the beginning of a paragraph. This is even more critical, as those will indent the line just a little bit more than the rest, resulting in an unprofessional look.
- Look for odd issues, like forgetting a space before or after * * * or too many asterisks.
These are simple, basic items that need attention before the manuscript is formatted for either print or eBook. But they will make a world of difference in how the book appears. (And your formatter will thank you!)
Did you know to look for those issues?
NEW IWSG Day Feature!
We’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive.
Every month we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
The first IWSG Day question is for July 6th.
JULY 6TH QUESTION: What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?
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