Knowing simple tips for how to format your book can save you time. It would be nice to say it will save you frustration as well, but the truth is that if you are of a certain creative tilt then dealing with technology can often be frustrating – even with a guide to get your through.
You can always work with a company or format designer to get it done. But no matter how you go about it, formatting your book will take an investment on your part.
Simple Tips to Format Your Book
If you are using Word to write your book, then you are only a few keystrokes away from having a clean format for your digital book.
- Turn on the ¶ button in the “Paragraph” block of your top bar. This will mark all the formatting you have added to your manuscript.
- Use CTRL F (hold down the CTRL button on your keyboard and press the F key while you are holding it down) to pop up a search box. You can use the search to find all the examples of formatting by putting them in the search box. This is also a good way to search for overused words in your editing and rewriting process.
- Remove excess returns. Each time you press ENTER on your keyboard, it will create one of the ¶ symbols on your manuscript. Avoid having more than two in a row.
- Skip the indents. When you are working with digital, keep the content even. Remove any indent commands.
- Stick the basics. In your fonts, stick the basics – those that are used across templates. Fancy or copyrighted fonts may not be accepted across platforms.
- Go nuclear. You can clear all the formatting from your document by using CTRL A to select all the content. In the “Styles” section of the top bar, click the arrow in the bottom right corner. Choose the option to clear all. This will remove custom formatting and take your manuscript back to a default point.
- Try it out. Upload the content to your phone or other device and view it from that location. How does it look in the different devices? You want it clean and easy to work with to make it enjoyable for your reader. If they have to struggle then they probably won’t bother (and they definitely won’t be back).
Start with a Word .doc for saving. Platforms, like Kindle Direct Publishing, will use this format. Always read the upload directions to be sure of what format you need. If you need a different format, simply save your manuscript using SAVE AS and choose the format you need in the drop-down menu.
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Don’t let the threat of technology hold you back. With a few keystrokes and a little patience, you can format your book for digital release.
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