So, you’re thinking of writing, or you already have. Your document file is your work of art and you’re proud of it right? Have you ever thought of what it will look like say, on a kindle, or on a Kobo tablet, a Hudl perhaps. Do you think it will look the same as the file you sent over? Guess again……………….
When you send your pristine word file over to kindle, they basically meatgrind it to their formatting, what that does is take away some of the things you have specifically entered into your word file such as Italics, certain fonts, and lets say, no spacing before or after speech lines.
Now, I use word 2007 which auto saves in .docx file format, that’s fine for kindle, but for smashwords I can only save in .doc file format so I have to convert my file. I also “write to print” which means I don’t write to epublish, but style my pages, alignments, fonts, etc to fit a real book, not a virtual one.
There seems to be no standard when it comes to formatting our work, some authors write with speech in line, some with segregation but I’ll tell you the basics that I write by, and the template saved to word for my stories.
I use Century Schoolbook font, it is clear, crisp and looks as good enlarged as it does made smaller therefore easy to read for most people. You can use different fonts AS LONG AS YOU EMBED THEM IN YOUR FILE. I use font size 11 though I have seen authors use 10.5, purely for the word count per line average, which is eleven, by the way.
I write my books using the JUSTIFIED text, simply because it makes the most effective use of space, keeps your page count down, which in turn keeps the published price of your book down to produce. When reading, it also looks far more presentable than half and quarter lines ending all over the place. I have a bit of OCD when it comes to my book presentation, it has to look as pretty on the inside as the cover does on the outside.
Little tip : You’ve published your ebook on kindle right? Have you ever thought of buying your own book, to see what your readers get for their money?
You accomplish two things by doing this. You get to see what others see, despite you thinking it was perfect when you sent it and blaming kindle for the now different looking document, that’s the eye-opener for you to find out how to correct it. Secondly, in buying your own book, you’ll improve it’s sales ratings and hence, push it up the kindle chart ;’)
Now, if you’re like me and new to all this editing milarkey, you’ll be looking a little baffled as to how to fix what the kindle formatting did to your work of art. Read on………………
If I could tell you one secret it would be this, go search kindle for Smashwords Style Guide For Dummies and buy it when you find it, it will tell you how to change your word file so that kindle accepts it AS YOU WANT IT TO LOOK. It can be quite drastic, and DON’T USE YOUR ORIGINAL FILE to practice on, copy and paste, then rename the pasted file so that if you mess it up, you still have your original.
It has taken me several attempts to get Salby Damned looking spotless on Kindle, but now it does ;’). It is trial and error and each time you try, download a sample so that you can see what readers see when they send their hard earned cash to you for your work. One of the things indie authors struggle on the most, is getting their work to look like a professional author’s. That’s crucial to raising the standard for people like us, something I have a rapidly growing passion about and have spent the last few weeks learning and practising tirelessly. I have yet to format the Smashwords version of the book which is next on my chop list 🙂 If you have any questions about the above, please feel free to ask, I will do my very best to answer them for you though I stress, I am no expert in this area either.