A few people have released books recently and I’ve been asked by a few people to talk about formatting and marketing. Not sure why me, but I’ll be using today to touch on both topics. We’re going to start with formatting.
Honestly, this is not as difficult as people think. Many indie authors that have done this dance before will tell you this. It’s only scary the first time because there are tricks you stumble into. All it requires is patience and continually uploading, previewing, and fixing until you get it right. That and finding an author who did it and getting them to help. Smashwords has a free eBook on formatting too.
Here are the big lessons I learned when formatting for Kindle:
- Amazon auto-tabs, so you don’t need to put tabs in your work. This gets sticky because it reacts to EVERY tab. I cleared this by doing a Find/Replace for them. Find- ^t and Replace with nothing. The ^t is Word’s symbol for a tab and if you put nothing in the Replace slot then it deletes all the ^t.
- You can set the indentation to Special: First Line and By: 0.3 to help with the tabs too. You find this in the Paragraph options of Word.
- DO NOT use more than 4 ‘Enter/Return’ strikes in a row. It causes trouble. I never tested this to figure out what though.
- DO NOT use double-spaced lines. 1.5 works best.
- DO NOT use page breaks. Use section breaks instead because that’s what the Kindle acknowledges.
- This link will tell you how to add a Table of Contents to your book.
- There may always be paragraphs that are screwy because Word is imperfect. Easy to catch in short stories and smaller works, but difficult to find in bigger works. Don’t panic if you find them later. Fix and reupload, but try to get several issues at once. Otherwise, you’ll go nuts.
There you have it. My formatting tips. Again, patience is key and you can learn a lot from those that came before you. Just ask.