eBook formatting guide for self publishers

How to format an eBook

Formatting of eBooks is a pain considering the amount of information that has to be keyed in and the rules to follow while formatting them. To assist you with manuscript formatting guide, here are a few effective tips.

eBook conversion tips

  1. Responsive and smooth text

    Instead of adding more styles and contrast it is often better to stay simple and elegant like most of the service providers do. Since the same book is viewed in a plethora of devices it becomes hard to adjust the contrast accordingly. But if everything is simple, everything is perfect.

  2. Understand ePubs

    EPub files are very simple with no complications in any facets. Using Calibre and Sigil are the recommended ways to edit epubs but Sigil is more complex. Fonts and images are easy to edit in many of the alternatives but style sheets can take up a considerable amount of time.

  3. Microsoft Word is the best initiator

    There are a few tools as competitive as Word when it comes to formatting. You need to first setup a word file by setting the margins and proper indents. Heading needs to be selected for all chapter titles and check for a TOC every time.

  4. Online collaboration

    Online sites offer support by allowing you to add chapters individually which is a good alternative when editing pages uniquely.  An online editor can help reduce complexity and export on the go. Some of the most familiar ones out there are table.io and backtypo.com.

  5. Online support and reference

    manuscript formatting tips are available in many websites, so it is quite feasible to carry out the jobby yourself. However, professional service providers offer better and extensive support when it comes to conversion and publishing.

Proven formatting tips for converting your manuscript to eBook

  • Step1: Paragraph indentations and line spacing setting

    For making the textual content in the body of your eBook appear properly, you need to indent the paragraphs suitably. Remember, tap spacing is incompatible with kindle direct publishing. Spacing of line must be set in a way to facilitate smooth reading. Time can be saved and consistency can be maintained if you choose to change the ‘Normal’ style.

  • Step2: Giving finishing touches to your manuscript

    • Formatting chapter titles:  When writing the eBook, make it a point to cover chapter titles under Heading 1 formatting style. This would prove beneficial during creation of table of contents later on.
    • Adding front and back matter:  The content that is displayed in the front section covers title, copyright and ‘dedicated to’ pages. In the back section, ‘About the Author’ and bibliography is usually included. The title page of the ebook must necessarily feature the title of your book along with author’s name. On the front and back sections, other relevant matter can be added although the same should be avoided if possible. You can form an idea by going through other eBooks in your genre.
    • Adding page breaks:  The pages breaks are a critical component for ensuring aesthetic display of text. They give a sense of continuity when a page ends and the next begins.
    • Inserting hyperlinks:  You may add relevant hyperlinks to link to external sites or resources that would add value to your reader and enhance the appeal of your ebook’s content.
    • Adding footnotes:  Functioning links must be present in the footnotes of your eBook to facilitate ease of switching between content body and footnotes.
    • Inserting images:  To ensure professional appearance for your ebook, relevant images must be inserted. The images must be edited and aligned with the content of eBook using preset options available for kindle formatting or other standard ebook.  You need to complete resizing of images outside the manuscript and then insert them adequately in the final version. The color mode of images must be RGB; format must be .TIF, .JPEG, or .PNG; and resolution 72 dpi or more.
    • Creating active table of contents:  All content that is presented within tables or along sidebars must be extracted and listed as ordinary text
    • Checking quality:  Once you are done editing your manuscript, you need to conduct a thorough check of the content to ensure that grammatical and spelling errors are eliminated and other components like size of cover image, page number, header, footer, text boxes, shapes etc. are properly placed.
  • Step3: Previewing your eBook

    You must preview your eBook prior to sending it for online publishing. You can use Kindle Previewer, which comes free for desktop applications, if you have been using Word for formatting. Otherwise, if you have been using Kindle Create for formatting, you can press the Preview button for having a glimpse of your final eBook.

  • Step:4 Uploading your eBook in KDP

    For uploading your eBook in kindle direct publishing (KDP), you need to log on to kdp.amazon.com. You have to use your Amazon account for signing into the KDP platform. Once done, you would land on your bookshelf where you can glance through all the ebooks that you may have published till date at one go. Proceed by choosing the ‘Add New Title’ from the option present there. In the subsequent page, you would be prompted for providing the details related to the digital book. Provide all needful information as required.

You can now upload your eBook which has been formatted in accordance to the eBook formatting guide discussed over here. Prior to that, you would have to check a box for applying the ‘Digital Rights Management’ (DRM) option to your eBook. You may choose to opt for it or leave it for the time being. The option is available for applying until the digital book has been published.

Formatting an eBook definitely requires some level of expertise. If you find yourself lacking confidence, it is advised to get assistance from any of the best professional eBook conversion service providers.