How to format your manuscript before proceeding with professional eBook conversion?

Paper books will always hold a dear place in our hearts because we know that nothing can replace the happiness of actually holding a book in our hands. As glorious as those days have been, growth in the technology sector has given way to digital books or eBooks, that we have easy access to, are easier to carry around and don’t even cost as much.Professional eBook conversion is in huge demand these days as now readers increasingly prefer digital books than traditional printed ones.

Since avid readers do hold books in high regard, and are very particular about the format of the book or document that they read, there is a purpose to symmetry, the right font and proper spacing. It makes the reader enjoy the book more as he is not constantly swiping through pages. One always remembers an eBook with a horrible formatting, but for all the wrong reasons. No author wants this to happen.

In case you’re a budding writer and have just stepped into the wonderful world of eBook self-publishing, you might be facing some troubles trying to find the perfect format for your book. Even though self-publishing eBooks get you quite a lot of easy money, the entire process of formatting the book is tedious, to say the least. However, you can do it with perfection if you take care of different vital aspects associated with the formatting process.

A standard eBook is usually in ePUB or .mobi format (ebook file format for kindle). The reader has the option to alter the font size according to his or her preference, which is another positive for eBooks but there are several factors that comes into play while editing a manuscript for an eBook.

Some of the most relevant points to look out for while formatting before you actually convert your manuscript into eBook file format are furnished below.

  • Since there are no “pages” in an eBook, page breaks become a very difficult task to successfully master and hence, it should be inserted only when needed. The main element of a well formatted eBook is the flow of the text. The reader should not be left looking at messy pages and blank spaces.
  • Always choose a simple font that is pleasing to the eye. There is nothing “innovative” in using a creative yet crazy font, as it ends up being difficult for the reader to decipher. Choose a simple font like Arial or Times New Roman. The font should remain uniform throughout the book. Even though the fancy fonts that are available on Word look great to you, they often leave the text illegible.
  • The format should show the clarity of the author’s mind (even though he’s been going nuts trying to understand this entire concept!). The text should not look like a garbled mess. 12 or 10 is the perfect text size. There should preferably be single line spacing. You can get an idea of what your manuscript will look like as an eBook if you set your MS Word ‘View’ to a different option like ‘Web’.
  • Avoid inserting footnotes, headers, footers, page number, tables, columns and all other fancy elements. Your book could do without them and their absence would probably save you a lot of time while editing. Keep the text left or centre justified. Never opt for a full justification as it can keep abnormally large spaces between two words.
  • Margins should be uniform and preferably small so as to allow quite a lot of text to fit that one page of the eBook. Most of the companies offering eBook conversion services keep the said in mind. This is good for the author as he will have lesser number of pages to edit. It will also be appreciated by the reader as he’d have reading and less swiping to do. The margins need to be in positive numbers otherwise your words would get dropped off from your manuscript.
  • Utilise a basic text editing software; this is one of the basic ebook formatting tips. Normally, this would be the NotePad or TextEdit. Copy your manuscript from Microsoft Word to this basic editing software and get rid of all the ‘formatting’ you did on the Word document and then transfer it back to Word, without any formatting. Another important thing is to save the document as .doc, .txt, or .html because the file has to be converted into ePUB or .mobi, after the formatting has been completed. You can start formatting your manuscript and keep on checking what it looks like by selecting the “draft view” option. Keep your paragraph returns visible on your screen.
  • You can insert page breaks between chapters. You can edit your font however you want. Insert bold or italics where needed. Adding hyperlinks works wonders! It is appreciated by readers who want to know more about certain information that you’ve used. A hyperlink is also helpful when you provide your own information and other books that you may have authored.
  • It is important to upload your eBook and check the end result of the formatting i.e., how it looks. You can upload the eBook and then download it via Amazon’s kindle or Adobe. If the results are not pleasing, delete the eBook immediately and work on it.
  • The page size of your manuscript doesn’t need to be a fixed layout; no companies indulged in availing fixed layout ePub conversion services would disagree to the said fact. Since the reader can change the size of the font, he is able to play around with the total number of pages of the eBook. However, when you are using Microsoft Word for formatting your manuscript, a portrait size of 8.5 x 11 inches is recommended, as it makes sure that all the images required to be in the manuscript are properly included.
  • While inserting pictures, make sure that the picture has enough pixels to make it look clear. A grainy picture is not pleasing to the reader. Professional companies offering illustration design services can help you in assuring that the images are refined and of high quality. A small description should be given along with the picture so that the reader is able to associate it with the text of the manuscript. Generally, a standard size of 600px tall and 550px wide is suggested for the images that occur in the book along with the words and 800px x 550px is suggested for the cover graphics. For images, .jpg format is preferred.

It takes time to get used to the formatting system needed to successfully publish a well formatted eBook. All the information gathered on such related topic needs to be read a number of times for the author to understand the dynamics of the task at hand. If formatting is something the author is not able to handle, there are several eBook conversion service providers that would do the work for you. Just get the right people to do the task so as to assure that you receive the expected results.

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