If you are a self-publisher, chances are at some point you will need to format an e-book. While it would be nice if the manuscript file you’ve been working on for months would magically transfer over to e-book format and look great, it isn’t really possible. At some point, you’re going to have to do some formatting. Here are some of the key things you need to remember when it comes to e-book formatting.
- E-books don’t have pages. Your book will look different on each platform. It all depends on what kind of e-reader people are using and how they’ve set it up to display the text. This means the concept of ‘proper’ pages like in a printed book goes a little bit out of the window.
- Be careful with page breaks. This relates to the point above. E-books don’t have pages in the proper sense, and too many page breaks can end up looking awkward on an e-reader screen.
- Make sure you make a new version of your manuscript file for formatting purposes, and keep a back-up copy. You don’t want to take the risk of turning the whole thing into a disaster if you should have a serious formatting mishap.
- Don’t have your word processing programme set to ‘print layout’, as the separate pages will make it harder to determine what your e-book will actually look like.
- Get rid of as much of the blank space as possible. Even though it might feel wrong not to leave blank space at some points in the book, resist the urge.
- Follow the guidelines on the publishing platforms you’re using. They’re there for a reason
- Check it before you publish it properly. You can use tools such as the Kindle application for PC or Mac to check your Amazon e-book, and Adobe Digital Editions for Smashwords epub files.
- There are people out there who will format your e-book for you for a fee. If you have been driven insane by trying to format your e-book or really aren’t sure how to go about it, hire someone to do it for you. Whatever you do, don’t publish the book without someone formatting it first.