What Authors Should Know About Ebook Formatting

This is part three of a six-part series. authors, writer, ebook, ebook formatting, self-publishing

You’ve got your finished manuscript in Microsoft Word and you’re ready to turn it into an ebook. You need to convert it into MOBI format (for Amazon Kindle) and EPUB (for everywhere else). There are various companies, tools and programs that can convert your file for you, but how can you make sure it ends up looking right? You already know that ebooks behave quite differently from Word documents, so how can you be confident that your carefully crafted file will work as an ebook?

Keep it simple

Don’t forget that most ebooks—unless you’re specifically opting for a fixed format to handle lots of illustrations, charts, tables, etc.—are reflowable, which means that the reader can choose the size of the text and some other elements like font, line spacing and margins. So your careful choice of 12 point Palatino won’t always render exactly as you envisaged. By keeping the formatting as simple as possible, you reduce the risk of introducing anything that will be too distracting to the reader. After all, you want her to focus on what you’ve written, not on what it looks like.

Before you submit your book for conversion, there are a few really basic things you can do within Word to make it look more professional.

Much more.


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An Alternative to ACX for Audiobook Production and Distribution (Jane Friedman)
Audiobooks are experiencing some of the best growth in the book publishing industry; sales were up by more than 24 percent in 2015 according to the Audiobook Publishers Association. Along with that growth has come increased interest from both traditional and independently published authors in getting their backlist books available in digital audio form. But the costs can be prohibitive—usually in the low four figures if not more.

Has the Tide Gone Out for Ebooks in Mexico? (Pub Perspectives)
After the arrival in Mexico of Amazon and Apple, ebook sales growth has slowed and some wonder what all the fuss was about, according to editors, publishers and entrepreneurs.

Indie Authors Left in Limbo After Booktrope Closing (PW)
The news that hybrid publisher Booktrope was closing its doors at the end of May came as a surprise for many authors who worked with the Seattle-based startup.

Daunt Deems Amazon’s Tax Affairs ‘Unconscionable’ (Bookseller)
Waterstones MD James Daunt has said Amazon is undercutting his business because of the “unconscionable” way it exploits the tax system.

Selecting the Right XML for Your Content (BookMachine)
You see, publishing with XML is not just a matter of deciding to “have an XML workflow.” There are many different “flavors” of XML and you need to pick the one that fits your needs. These needs are defined by the type of content you are publishing and your workflow.

Disrupting Class? (Bookseller)
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BookWalker to Be First to Offer ‘Monster Musume’ Backlist (DBW)
BookWalker announced today that it will be the first e-bookstore to offer Seven Seas Entertainment’s digital Monster Musume backlist volumes 1-8. The first digital volume was released on June 1st, while volumes 2-8 were released on June 7th.

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