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There’s more to properly formatting an e-book for publishing than just slapping words on a page...but don’t let the prospect scare you. It’s easier than you think!

Below are some easy-to-follow tips that will make your e-books process quickly and easily, and stand out above the rest. If you have any questions about these steps, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help. We’re always glad to teach authors the proper way to format their e-books; it makes the process of publishing them for you much faster and easier for us!

How To Properly Format Your e-Book

The First Page - A properly formatted e-book should have the book cover centered on the first page, with 0” for the indent, and a single hard return above and below it.  Follow the trailing hard return with a page break.

This may seem unnecessarily fussy, but there’s a very good reason for it: Following these steps makes the cover display properly on any e-reader. Otherwise, only part of the cover may appear, because it’s too large for the screen.

Naming Your Book - Everyone has their own preferences for keeping track of the books they’ve written. Some authors use the book title’s initials; others use the first syllable of every word in the title; still others prefer to type out the entire name. When we receive your submission, we will rename it “Author Name - Book Title.docx” with no commas, apostrophes, or other special characters. This is a requirement, since most websites will not properly process any book title with special characters in it.

A simple step that’s often overlooked is the “Save As” screen.  The Author Name and Book Title must always be filled in accurately. (Many thanks to Becca Sinh for allowing us to use her newest book, “Compromising Clara,” for our examples.)

The Second Page - The title page must include certain elements to be acceptable for publishing. First, of course, is the book’s title. Second is the author name. If your cover was created by a graphic artist, it’s only polite to give them credit. Follow this with the copyright line; lastly, all erotica books MUST have an age disclaimer. While we do not insist on this for our own suite of websites, many other sites do. Adding it to your template will save everyone much time and effort.

ONLY use “websafe” fonts (Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, Times New Roman, or Verdana) throughout your book, because many e-readers will not properly display “exotic” fonts. Also DO NOT use text larger than 18 pt. E-Book processors cannot handle exceptionally large fonts. The conversion process will fail, and your book will be rejected.

Proper Text Centering - It’s very tempting just to center a line of text by using the Center button in the Paragraph panel...but if you do, your text may not center the way you want it to. Additionally, e-formatting rejects multiple hard returns; the only way to be sure your text will appear as you want it is to create and use a Center Style.  Below is an example of a Center with 12 points of space above and below the line:

Styles & Headers - This is probably the most difficult part of the entire formatting process...but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be amazed at how easy it really is.

The book title and any chapter headings, if you choose to break your book into distinct chapters, must be configured as Heading 1 in the Styles panel. This will automatically create a Table of Contents (TOC) which is required for all e-books. If you do not have a TOC, your book cannot be properly compiled and published.

To review your TOC, go to View, then click Navigation Pane in the “Show” box. A panel will pop up on the left side with your book title and chapter headings, if you used chapters. There should never be any blank lines in the TOC. If there are, click on the blank line and change it from Heading 1 back to Normal.

To easily create spacing like the example above, create a Center Style, and modify the Paragraph module so that the alignment is centered, the regular and special indentations are 0, there’s 12 pt of space above and below the line, and the line spacing is single.  Save it, and it will appear in your Styles box above the document. (You may need to open the drop-down box to see it.)

Any time you wish to center a line, simply click anywhere in the line, then click the Center Style. The line will instantly be centered, with space above and below it, removing the need to individually triple-check every odd bit of formatting you might include in your book. Additionally, it will display properly on all e-readers, regardless of brand or type.

Indents vs Tabs - In the old days of typewriters, the tab button was used to indent a line. However, e-processors do not recognize the Tab command. Instead, an Indent must be used. The best way to indent paragraphs is, again, through use of Styles. As shown in the example below, right-click on the Normal style, open the Paragraph module, and set the Special Indentation (first line only) to about .25”.  This will provide a comfortable indent on all e-readers.

NOTE:  NEVER try to indent a line by putting blank spaces at the beginning of a line. Not only will it look wrong, but many publishers will not accept documents created with these blank spaces.  Likewise there should never be a trailing blank space at the end of any line. Easy tips for finding and removing these unwanted spaces are below.

Removing Unwanted Spaces - As noted above, most websites will reject documents that have leading or trailing blank spaces in any paragraph or line of text. These unwanted spaces must be removed prior to book submission. Fortunately this process is quick and easy. Simply click on the symbol in your header bar that looks like a backwards P. This is your Reveal Codes command. This will show you all spaces, line breaks, and other special character codes that are normally invisible. Once you can see can easily modify them.

To Remove Unwanted Leading Spaces - Open your File / Edit box (Alt E / E in Microsoft Word), and type the following command in the Find box: ^p Blank Space  In the Replace box, type ^p  This will find all the leading spaces in your document, and get rid of them.  Repeat the process until the results are 0.

To Remove Unwanted Trailing Spaces - Open your File / Edit box (Alt E / E in Microsoft Word), and type the following command in the Find box:  Blank Space ^p  In the Replace box, type ^p  This will find all the trailing spaces in your document, and get rid of them.  Repeat the process until the results are 0.

Please check back again soon for other easy-to-follow tips and tricks that will really make your book shine!