Learn how to convert your manuscript to standard eBook file format
Formatting an eBook is an important aspect that needs to be approached strategically so that the best results can be reaped in the end. If you wish to get the best from your eBook formatting, the following steps can prove to be helpful in achieving what you desire.
Step 1- Prepare the manuscript
Remember that there are features that do not work for an eBook and it is highly likely that you could have these features if you and your editor have been working on the manuscript in Word. Your first step should, therefore, be to ensure that the unnecessary things are eliminated from the manuscript. Those that you need to get rid of to have your manuscript ready for an eBook include headers and footers, automatic footnotes, columns, text boxes and fancy drop caps. Simply edit the manuscript to have it ready.
Step 2 – Edit your text
The simplest way to go about this is to open a text-editing program such as Notepad for PC and Text edit for a Mac. Paste the work there to strip it off any formatting including images. You can then select all and copy to a new Word document. When saving the work, keep it as .doc and not .docx and ensure that you turn off auto correct and auto-formatting on the appropriate boxes so that no automatic changes are done to the text.
Step 3 – Modify your text
Choose a simple style for your content. Times New Roman is the best, and the font at 10, single spaced and left aligned. After the simple changes, you can save the document and then switch to draft view so that you can make the paragraph returns visibly.
Step 4 – Replace what you need
The things you should be thinking of putting back include the eBook relevant front details such as license notes and centring your text where first lines are indented so that you maintain a pristine formatting.
You can also insert page breaks between your chapters, add bookmarks for chapter headings and format your headings. In the place of fancy texts, place italics and bold for the words to stand out. You should also get rid of any first line indents whenever necessary and make all used URLs live by hyperlinking.
Finally, ensure that you end the eBook appropriately, and this can include other book titles you have, your blog and others. Also remember to place “###END###’ at the end in a centered format so that your readers know this is the end of the eBook.
When making all these changes, make sure you do not replace the font size, justify the paragraphs, refer retailers or have more than four paragraph returns in the eBook.
Step 5 – Add other necessary features
If after step four you still don’t feel happy with the eBook, you can add a few more details. Those that you can consider are Table of Contents, especially for non-fiction books. You can insert the table quickly in Word and ensure that the table is live by hyperlinking it so that readers can easily find the bookmarked locations in the book.
Images too can be included, but it is of importance to remember that they will only be displayed in greyscale and not in colour on e-reader devices. If you are thinking of including images that rely on colour to drive the point home, you should confirm that this will still be achieved in the grey-scale display. Apart from inserting the compelling images on your eBook, you can use different or separate files to supply the images to your readers still. The good thing about images for an eBook is that you are free to use formats such as JPEG, GIF, PDF, and TIFF. However, when placing the pictures, ensure that you do not end up floating them to either the left or the right sides of your text. It is best that you let the images stay on their lines.
You can also add links to the email address and website on the eBook but remember that they can only automatically work on devices that are internet enabled. When referencing or linking different portions of your eBooks, make sure that you do not use page numbers because they can be confusing and misguide to the readers. eBooks do not have any standard page numbers and you, therefore, cannot be sure what pages display on the reading devices of your readers. It is best that you stick to simply guiding the reader. For instance, instead of saying ‘for more information on this topic, refer to page 102’, you can only say ‘for more details on this subject, refer to the Types of Systems section. The statement will make sure that every reader finds their way to the relevant information easily.
Step 6 – Upload and check the eBook
With everything now in place and you are comfortable and happy with the look of your eBook, it is time to upload it. You can have a third party help you check the book, or you can use different other methods just to be sure. If you are uploading on Amazon’s KDP, then you can have an on-screen preview. Checking your work for grammatical errors and other mistakes is very important, and you can use the professional services of an editor just to be sure that everything is okay.
Remember that a simple mistake can lead to an eBook rejection or you can have your book credibility doubted by readers in case it is approved. Double check every part of your eBook to minimise chances of having the book rejected and also to ensure that its quality in the eyes of the readers is not reduced in any way. Formatting your eBook plays a huge role on how it looks in the end and there is, therefore, need to ensure that you give it your best to attract readers and allow them a pleasant reading experience.