Preparing your manuscript for eBook file format requires you to pay attention to formatting, font styling, and page layout. Standard file formats are the best option for eBooks consisting mostly text content because they are easy to distribute to a huge range of libraries, retailers, and even subscription services. They can also be read on reading apps and devices, making them even more flexible.
For a book that is fully illustrated, you might need to convert to fixed layout formats. There are so many conversion programs you can use to convert Word doc into eBook files. When converting or submitting a manuscript, eBook formatting can help in getting everything right. What you should remember is to create a manuscript that’s easy to read across modern devices. This means choosing formatting and styling that will make your novel manuscript reader friendly.
Preparation Guidelines by Amazon:
The following is a list of things that you should avoid when preparing your novel manuscript.
- Headers and footers
- Page numbers (because eBook files have no universal page numbers)
- Fancy drop caps when starting a chapter
- Background images, background colors, and borders (they can interfere with the text appearance on reading devices)
- Color texts that are different
- Layouts with multi columns
- Text boxes to avoid breaking to the next page
- Specific eBook retailers references because this is promotion and it is not encouraged
Now that you know what you need to avoid when preparing the novel manuscript to let us look at how you should handle the rest of the features and aspects.
Page layout – Page size does not matter, and you do not have to worry about margins. Just use the standard settings.
Manuscript Formatting – Use page breaks to separate chapters and avoid using multiple paragraph returns when moving to your next page. A single break is enough to separate the paragraphs so avoid using double paragraph breaks. Use a centered break to separate chapter sections or sub-sections. Prevent the utilization of multiple spaces and tabs.
Text and fonts styling – Support for the styles can be different on eReader devices, and hence you should make a point of keeping your styling simple. You can maintain consistency and save time by using the Quick Styles tool of the word.
For the main body, the text uses black text and standard fonts like Arial, Georgia and Times New Roman for your body font. The font sizes should be from 10 to 12 for the body, and you should select single spacing. Use the ‘Normal’ quick style on Word and then manage the appearance of a beautiful body. If you must make a few words or sentences stand out, use italics, all CAPS or bold.
For subheadings and chapters. Use ‘Heading1’ on your Word quick style for the titles and ‘Heading 2’ for the subtitles. You can also use a fancy font for the chapter titles if you so wish.
Images – They can be included, but you should remember that color images won’t have the color displayed on reading devices. The images are shown as grayscale instead, and hence there is a need to make sure that your images still make sense in grayscale if they need the color. You can insert the images to the manuscript, but you have the option of supplying on separate files. GIF, TIFF, PDF, JPG formats are all okay to use. Let the images remain on own lines compared to floating them on the left or the right areas of your text.
Links – They can be added to the email address and websites on your manuscript but remember that they will only work automatically on eReader devices that have an internet connection. If you want to link different places on your manuscript, then you can use bookmarks in Word and hyperlink tools. You can follow Microsoft tutorial to learn more about how you can get that done. When linking or referencing a part of your manuscript, ensure that you avoid page numbers; remember that ebooks do not have standard page numbers and you could, therefore, end up confusing or misguide your readers.
How to add Table of Contents:
For fiction titles, a simple linked Table of Content will be used, but for non-fiction titles, more focus should be given to the table because it plays a very important role. It is the tool that is used for navigation and displaying the book scope snapshot. You can use the inbuilt ToC generator on a word to be sure that the shows are relevant regarding section headings and chapters if you have used Quick Style titles, then it is important that you use the generator for your table.Remember not to include page numbers on the table of content because again, they become entirely irrelevant on eBook versions.
Things you must remember to do:
You already know what to avoid when preparing your manuscript for eBook conversion, so now it is also important to know what things you must do when making the preparations.
- Ensure that you run a full spell check and a grammar check before you look at your document as complete. All corrections should be done, and another check is done just to be sure. You are better placed finding your mistakes than the Amazon person who gets to review it. Such overlooks can lead to rejection which every publisher wants to avoid.
- Have another competent individual read through the document before you consider signing it off? If it is possible, it is more valuable to hire an editor or a proofreader to go through the manuscript wholly. Remember that reviewers do not have that time to go through the entire manuscript looking for and fixing typos hence it should be your responsibility to ensure that everything included is correct or as it should be. Engaging a third party in proofreading can be a great way of taking note of mistakes and sentences that do not read well.
Be sure of the quality of the manuscript before you go ahead with the signing off.