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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Formatting Your Book

So, your book is all edited. It's ready to go! Yea, you!

What now?

You can go with Smashwords and have their program get your book in various formats. But--didn't you know there would be a but--there are some important things to consider when formatting for an e-book.

WORD (Microsoft Word) makes it relatively easy to prepare your book for e-book versions, both mobi (Kindle) and e-pub (Nook).

Some basics.

1. Get rid of TABS. Go under Format-Paragraph-Indention Here, you want to click the box and check "first line"--I always use .3 as my indention. This makes your first line of each paragraph with that nice indention that makes it easy to read. It's best to format you book at the beginning with this method. Tabs are not your friend, for those of you that remember Typing 101 in school.

2. When you hit the end of a chapter, hit enter one time. Now, go to INSERT and click "page break" for mobi format. (For Nook (e-pub) you will need to use "Next Page" instead)

3. If using a table of contents (which I recommend)use "INSERT-REFERENCE-INDEX and TABLE" from there, choose the single heading style, uncheck the page number box. E-books don't use page numbers.

4. Don't use Headers and Footers in e-book files.

5. For the copyright page--be sure to give credit to the proper people. If you're using iStock, for instance, credit the artist whose picture you used. If you have someone else design your cover, give them the appropriate credit. The copyright page should be formatted single spaced. If you're using 1 1/2 spacing in the book, highlight the copyright page and left justify it--with single space. Put your ISBN number here as well. Remember, an ISBN is different for an e-book version and a print version. (Amazon and Barnes & Noble don't require an ISBN. I recommend one. Smashwords will provide one free)

6. Insert the cover image on page 1--and don't forget to use page break (for mobi) so the copyright page is on the next click of pages when read. KDP allows you to tell the program to use the image inside the book--or to use one you upload to their site)

7. Fancy fonts aren't your friend. It's fine to do the first word in a chapter with a slightly larger or bold font--but don't use fancy fonts that aren't compatible. Also be sure to include the links to your cover, table of contents and the beginning of your book for Kindle. It's easy to do. Click the cover and then use "Insert Bookmark" and type in 'Cover" for Table of contents, same steps, using "TOC" and for the Beginning, use "Start"

8. You can also save your WORD document as an unfiltered web page. For Amazon, this seems to work best--though the WORD doc will work if formatted properly.

9. After uploading your file to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, review the file! Look at every paragraph. (Amazon does automatic word wrapping--and justification) Are the paragraphs indented at the first word? Are any scene symbols centered?

10. Set your prices and rights, etc. This is an easy process, but still requires some thought. By now, your book should have gone out to reviewers--but if it hasn't, consider this a 'soft release' and make sure your reviewers have the link to the Amazon or B&N site to leave reviews. Personally, I used KDP Select for one of my books--because I wanted to have those 5 free days to use. I make more on Amazon Prime LOANS than I do for sales at my price point. Worth it for me, without a doubt.

11. If using Smashwords, be sure to opt out of Amazon and Barnes & Noble distribution--it's just as easy to do it yourself and save those few cents on commission.

If you don't want to do formatting yourself, there are a multitude of sites that will handle this for you. Prices range from $50-$100 for a book. Well worth the cost if your version just doesn't look right. First impressions mean everything. It must look good when a reader downloads the sample or uses the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon.

So, there you go. Formatting is a snap--if you remember to keep things simple. Be sure to include an author bio with links to all your websites.

One last thing to remember--if you're also doing a print version, I highly recommend you use the template from Create Space to do so. But, and this is an important but..don't use this version for your e-book. Too many things are different.

Be sure to check back tomorrow. I'm going to be having a contest for a Blog Tour I'm participating in. Lots of prizes :)

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