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Need formatting tips

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by BWFoster78, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I'm working on my final draft in Word. Any formatting tips to help make my eventual conversion to an ebook easier?

    I've been told that tabs make the conversion process harder, so I used the autoindent feature.

    Anything else I should do? Should I set the font or size a certain way now? Should I full justify?

    I'd rather do everything I can now to make my conversion job easier later.

    Thanks!

    Brian
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I don't know how you do the formatting, but I just write the Word doc as normal, save it as an HTML file, and then modify the HTML directly. You can save as filtered or unfiltered, I think, to get rid of a lot of extraneous tags early on. Then, if you use a nice text editor designed for programmers (like the free jEdit program) you can very easily strip out other tags you don't want and add in ones you need to get the formatting just right.
     
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  3. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    If the formatting that you already have is causing problems on your final version you can clear all formatting in word (2007).

    Highlight the whole text (ctrl+a)

    Where you have your style bar - the bit that displays normal, no spacing, Heading1, Heading 2 in thumbnails... is an expander arrow. Select it and at the bottom is the option to clear all formatting. It will take away the italics, bolds, tabs, and justified text and leave you with the text in its basic font.
     
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  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Also, Brian, I have an e-Ink Kindle, a color Kindle, a Kobo Reader (e-ink), and a Nexus 7 with the B&N app, a third-party reader, and the Kindle app on it. If you want me to check the final product against any of those devices, let me know. I'd be happy to do it.
     
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  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Thanks for that offer! I'm months away, but I'll forward to you when it's ready.
     
  6. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I'm confused. Why would I want or need to do this? I was hoping to have italics, etc. be converted to the ebook format.
     
  7. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    Well, it could help for the entire work. I've heard transferring directly from word to Kindle imports some things that can cause problems in display of the formatting. I don't know exactly what though and can't remember the source. Maybe its' even been resolved now.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    It can (or used to anyway), which is why it is best to save as an HTML file and then open the document in an editor. You can scan through the doc and get rid of any crap that you don't want in there. Also produces a more lean document at the end of the day, and I think that helps with the automatic conversions done when you upload.
     
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  9. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

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    I use a pre-made document, with a style for the body and a header 1 style for the chapter headers. How to make these up is explained in the CreateSpace FAQ and the Smashwords one.

    Also, I write in Word 97-2003 (2007 will give problems with conversion).

    I suggest reading both FAQs, as they give a quite clear explanation of what to do, also for your Table of Contents, etc.
     
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  10. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Okay, reading through FAQs and tips now. What is my trim size? (Meaning what trim size should I use rather than a definition). My book is 115000 words.

    Thanks!
     
  11. C Hollis

    C Hollis Troubadour

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    I consistently utilized a couple of resources for getting my manuscripts ready for conversion.

    David Dalglish has a blog post that covers it pretty well.

    And Smashwords has a freebie you can download that walks you through the process to prepare the manuscript for them, but a large portion of it is applicable for Kindle Direct also.
     
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  12. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Wow, that link was incredibly useful! Thanks a bunch!
     
  13. The Smashwords Style Guide recommended above is usually a good first place to start. If your manuscript is formatted to survive the Smashwords Meatgrinder, it can likely do ok in any other auto-conversion system. Learn those rules of best practice, and you're in good shape. :)
     
  14. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I went through it and got a lot of useful data.

    One question remains though that I haven't researched yet: a couple of sources tell me to set my Word paper size to the size my book is going to be (or at least that I need to know it in order to set my margins properly). How do I determine that size?
     
  15. C Hollis

    C Hollis Troubadour

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    I'm assuming you're talking about the hard copy.

    Just go to wherever you intend to create the hard copy and see what sizes they offer, then you can set up your page in Word to match that size. Most of the print-on-demand places will have a quick guide on how to format the manuscript. Just remember, while e-book formatting is not what you see is what you get, formatting for hard copy is; so, if it looks like a college term paper on screen, it'll look like that in print.

    Of course, you'll want to do that to a different copy of your manuscript than the one you put all the work into converting for e-publishing.
     
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  16. What Hollis said. When formatting a layout for printed books, you lay out the page to the size the final page will be when printed.

    For ebooks, page size is irrelevant. Ebook text reflows, so it will be read on everything from 50" TV screens to 3" cell phone screens. Just leave ebook manuscripts in the default page size in your word processor, and it will work fine.
     
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  17. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I'm planning on doing POD as well as the ebook. Are there any guidelines as to how big you should make your book?
     
  18. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

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  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Okay, it looks like page count is important as the sizes list a maximum, so I'll want to make sure that, if I'm going to exceed the count at one size, I go up to the next. Are there other considerations when determining the size?
     
  20. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

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    You could check what is most used. I was told 6 x 9 was a common size, but you could compare sizes in a bookstore.

    Think of the next book. Use a size that fits all.

    Of course, you can change the trim size later on, but that means changing the lay-out of your cover as well.
     
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