Monday, August 28, 2017

EBook Formatting Tips

EBook formatting may seem overwhelming at first. Even once we get the hang of it, there are still little details that are often overlooked. As authors, we want our eBooks to stack up those produced by the big publishers.

Here are some tips for producing a professional-looking product:

The layout is similar to print books. Keep in mind that text sizes can be changed by readers, so don’t overload the front matter - we want those who download a sample first to get a portion of the first chapter. The general page order should be:
Title page
Copyright page
Reviews/blurbs
Dedication
Table of contents
Chapters
About author
Other books by author or excerpt from next book - with purchase links if possible

Set font size to 12 and stick with standard fonts. Unusual fonts don’t translate well.

Clean up the manuscript. Remove all extra spaces at the end (and beginning) of paragraphs. Those extra spaces at the end could create a blank page.

Always use the “Paragraph” feature in Word (or similar feature in other programs) to set indents. If the tab key or space bar were used, remove all of those with the “Find and Replace” feature. Indents can be set at .2-.5 for fiction. (With the first line of each chapter not indented and the first letter a special character or larger size if desired.) Non-fiction isn’t indented–paragraphs are separated either by a line or by setting the spacing in the “Paragraph” feature.


Text should be justified for a more professional appearance.

Chapter titles/numbers are a couple sizes larger than the text font and usually centered. Use a “Heading” style (in Word) for chapter titles, adjusting it to the correct size and position. This helps when hyperlinking the chapters, as that feature will seek out headings.

Images and tables are often bumped to the next page. The nature of eBooks makes positioning them exactly almost impossible. (Unless you are creating an ePub in InDesign where you have a little more control over image placement.) Set them “in line” with text to create a smoother flow. Always use 72 dpi sized images.

Pages are impossible to control since readers can adjust the font size, so don’t include page numbers.

Once the eBook is formatted, chapters can be hyperlinked. Create at table of contents. In Word, highlight the words “Table of Contents” and go to the “Insert” tab. Click on “Bookmark” and call it ToC. Then highlight your first chapter title in your table of contents and click on “Hyperlink.” Choose “Places in this Document” and select chapter one. Repeat for the remaining chapters and double check after finishing.

There are two ways to include links. The actual link can be used or a hyperlink. If using the actual link, it must be the full web address.
Correct - http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
Incorrect - www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com
For a hyperlink, highlight the text in the book and when setting the hyperlink, select “Existing File or Web Page.”

Be sure links line up with the retailer. Barnes & Noble will not appreciate links to Amazon in the eBooks they sell.

Follow these guidelines and produce a professional-looking eBook that readers will devour!

26 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great tips, Diane!

Pat Hatt said...

Never knew that about spaces at the end of a paragraph. Have to keep an eye on myself for that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm at least getting better about cleanup.

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic tips!

Jemi Fraser said...

This is great - thanks!!! :)

Bish Denham said...

Thanks! This is great information.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm glad this helps some of you.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I've done e-book formatting for personal books I wanted on my phone and it's incredibly hard. I can only imagine scaling that up to a professional level can be a nightmare. The tip about extra spaces is a great one since that would be so easily missed.

Great tips L. Diane

cleemckenzie said...

Taking the time to get it right the first time is something I learned the hard way. It's not rocket science, but it is precise and painstaking, and for this author, tedious. Great post today.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks, Diane! This is filled with useful tips!

Sandee said...

I never realized that this was so difficult and precise. It's good that folks can come here for guidance.

Have a fabulous day and week. ☺

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Maurice, and it seems every writer has extra spaces somewhere.

Lee, sometimes tedious - definitely not for people who don't like the detail stuff.

nashvillecats2 said...

Good tips there Diane, must get round to get an EbOOK.

yVONNE.

Chrys Fey said...

I may have to test this out one day, but I still think I'll come to you for my formatting, Diane. At least my projects are small. ;)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I always make sure the manuscript I submit to my publisher is cleaned up with those extra spaces after paragraphs taken out. But I'm glad I have a publisher to do the final formatting.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Thanks for sharing - these are great tips! I didn't realize how much was involved in formatting.

Patricia Stoltey said...

When it comes to doing my own e-books, I've been of those people who puts my hand over my ears and sings Lalalalala. Now that I'd like to put some short pieces up, however, I must pay more attention. Thanks for the helpful tips!

Mina Burrows said...

These are so helpful. Going to share them now. Thanks!

dolorah said...

ebooks that are poorly formatted are impossible to read. I usually give up on them.

Sandra Cox said...

This is very helpful, Diane!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane - I think these tips are excellent ... thanks so much for setting them out for us - cheers Hilary

Gina Gao said...

This is so helpful! Thanks for sharing these tips.


www.ficklemillennial.com

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Patricia, I hope this helped you.

Lux G. said...

I'm seriously considering starting an eBook lately. I can't stop thinking about it. Where to start, how, etc. This is a great help. THANK YOU!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great tutorial!

The Yum List said...

Great tips! I'm still using what I remember from university days for standard formatting, but so much has changed since them with the widespread use of the Internet and online publishing.