How to Become an Effective Indie Author Part 2 – Formatting

11 07 2013

The second in a series of how to self publish by our founder, Mark Wilson.
You can find part 1 here


Getting your document formatted and ready for Publication as an eBook

Now that your novel is complete, your next step is to have it formatted correctly for the marketplace(s) that you intended to use to sell it. My preferred option are; Amazon and Smashwords(after I use Kindle select for 90 or 180 days), and Paperback edition. Smashwords will distribute your eBook through iBooks, Diesel, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Nook, Kobo and skme others without you having to reload and reformat your document each time.

I’ll cover paperback formatting in a subsequent article.

The formatting process is surprisingly simple for kindle; the trick is to keep your manuscript document very simple, with no fancy-pants fonts or characters throughout.

The first time I approached formatting with my debut novel Bobby’s Boy I read lots of different manuals, forums and guides on how to prepare the manuscript and all served to terrify me.

Being hard as nails, I ignored my fear and pushed on. Each document suggested that however much time and effort I spent prepping the document, that the kindle transfer would say “sorry big man, that’s shite, try again” and spit it back at me endless times.

Not so it turned out.

The main formatting techniques I paid heed to worked for me and my manuscript slipped on through the fearsome KDP beast, perfectly, first time.

Here’s my top tips: for making sure your word doc will be easy to format:

1. Indent paragraphs, first line, 0 space before an 0 space after.
2. When inserting a new paragraph, hit enter key once.
3. when looking for a gap between paragraphs, for a change of scene or something else, hit the enter key twice.
4. I used Cambria at size 12, with 1.15 spacing.
5. Use ctrl/enter to insert page breaks.
6. Use insert pic, to put in pics rather than cut/paste them.
7. Do not use the tab, instead, use your left/centr/right align buttons for titles or chapter headings.
8. Keep it simple.

By doing this, it was incredibly easy to save the file as a HTML doc, pop it through Mobi- create and then onto Kindle Direct. Job done.

I used a great series of videos as instructions for this part and found them spot-on. Part 2 especially was a great help:

Of course you can pay someone to do this for you, which is what I’ve chosen to do for Smashwords formatting, simply because the Smashwords process is a great deal more arduous and found it easier to just get someone else to do it.

Steve Caresser and his team at eprintedbooks offer an excellent range of formatting services and are quick, inexpensive and reliable.

Mark Wilson is an Indie Author and runs Paddy’s Daddy Publishing, a small, independent publishing house called.
You can find him and his books here.

PDP has an Indie Author resources section designed exclusively for Indie Authors.





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