Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Don't Pull Your Hair Out! A Few Basic Ebook Formatting Tips

Three hours, three beers, and two Tylenol....

Ever want to say, "Arrrrrggggggg!"?

Let's just say that I haven't self-pubbed enough books to be "great" at formatting, but what little I picked up may help you from wanting to toss your computer out the door.

First, remove your TAB KEY. Throw that stupid thing out the door. I'm going to tape a tack to mine. Tabs are your enemy, and every one you use, you will have to take out come format time.

To save a lot of time, before you even start writing your book, use the first-line indent to set all indents, and you'll save yourself ooodles of work. If you are past that point, don't be a dumbass like me, and take indents out one at a time. It sucks. I knew there had to be a better way, but I didn't know what it was!!! I found out after I took an hour to do so. Sometimes my intelligence waves bye-bye to me and laughs.

Important: Use the little paragraph button on the top of Word on your home tab. It will show you all your indents, spaces, and hard returns. We'll get to hard returns in a minute. If you're like me and use the tab key to indent your paragraphs, your manuscript will be full of arrows!!

To seek and destroy all of them quickly, use FIND and REPLACE. Type ^t into Find and leave Replace empty. Hit Enter!

Gone! In seconds no less!!! Gee, I feel like idiot.

If you already knew this then all I have to say is:

Moving on to hard returns. Don't, don't, don't use them to get to a new page or to start another chapter. If you do, you will have to remove every one of them! Instead, use the Page break feature immediately at the end of the chapter. This will save you oodles of formatting time, patience, and your SaNiTy!

Also, don't use crazy fonts. Don't double-space your book. Don't use a header, a footer, or page numbers. You will end up having to fix all of it.

These items can save time, and believe me, I have learned my lesson. Since I'm not a formatting guru, and there is so much more to learn, I will recommend the best guide I have found. Guess what? It is FREE! Even though it says it is for Smashwords, whatever, it has fantastic how-to's on how to build a table of contents, and the rest of your ebook. I'm a major goofball and even I could understand what to do with their easy instructions. If, in the event you are going to publish at Smashwords, Woo hoo! It's FREE.

Go To Amazon and Get For Free!

I hope my mistakes will help you format with less hassle.

And not do this:

 Good luck!

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