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Formatting Your First eBook

EBook Formatting for Beginners

Ebooks are becoming more popular by the day and writer’s are taking advantage of the relatively simple production process in getting their books online. Unfortunately, some seem to be unaware there is a procedure that must be followed in order for their words to be readable on a hand held device, an eReader. Following are a few basic formatting tips that will give your readership the best experience possible.

Fonts

  • Do not use a variety of very fancy fonts especially the curlicue scripts where some strokes are lighter than others. Use Times New Roman or Verdana.
  • Keep the font size at 12pts. Under 9pts your readers will squint or over 14pts their eyes will wander over the page.
  • Don’t mix up the fonts using serif and San-serif in the same block of text.
  • Retain one colour your text – although you can flirt with colour in the headings and title.
  • Bold or italicize text repeated throughout the document is a real pain. Don’t do it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Use capitals at the beginning of a sentence only.
  • Underlining specific words to get your point across is an insult to your readers.

 

Paragraphs

  • Always indent the first line.
  • Make sure there is a separating space between paragraphs so they won’t run together.
  • If you hit the paragraph return bar many times to separate text it causes blank lines on the eReader. Format your space between paragraphs in your word processing format.
  • Be consistent with paragraph spacing.

 

Page Margins

  • Make sure page margins are consistent – usually 1.5″ left, right, top, and bottom.

 

Page Backgrounds

  • Do not use a brightly coloured, solid background for a page with a contrasting colour for the text. This will immediately put your readers on edge.
  • If you do choose a background colour make sure it’s consistent throughout your publication. Don’t alternate between many colour combinations for every page.

 

Page Numbers

  • eReaders scroll in a continuous manner so page numbers are redundant.

 

Arranging Text

  • Use sub-headers for large continuous blocks of text.
  • Use bullets and list numbers sparingly.

 

Punctuation

  • Never leave two spaces after a period. The second space creates a gap between sentences and sometimes causes rivers of white space.
  • Do not use exclamation or question marks to get your point across – they have their place.

 

Headlines

  • Bold your headline – don’t use fancy fonts, outrageous colours, italics, etc.
  • Watch your hyphenation.

 

Subheaders

  • Always use a slightly larger size font than the text – it’s ok to bold.
  • Keep subhead close to the text – don’t leave gapping spaces between or it looks like the heading is floating.

 

Logos

  • It’s okay to include your logo but put it in its place – randomizing placement causes distraction.
  • Hyperlinks are fine although they shouldn’t take away from your text.

 

Headers and Footers and Borders

  • Because an eReader will scroll text, headers, footers, and page numbers are redunant.
  • Encasing each page of text with a colourful border in a variety of widths is a waste of time and a turn off to readers.

 

eBook Covers

  • If you design your own cover make sure it’s interesting and attractive.
  • Watch out for copyrights in cover design and images.
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  Everyone has got a story to tell, or expertise in a particular field, that they want to share with the entire world. eBooks are becoming increasingly popular with many people taking the leap and publishing their own information for downloading. We’ve decided to jump in and add our two cents worth by sharing tips and tricks on how to make the ugliest ebook possible. After all, why would you want to follow the crowd?

 Here, for the first time, are the previously well-guarded secrets to help you publish an ugly ebook. Just follow these tips and you’ll have successfully created your very own Ugly eBook:

 Fonts

  • Use a variety of very fancy fonts especially the curlicue scripts where some strokes are lighter than others.
  • Font size should be under 9pts to allow readers to squint or over 14pts to wander over the page.
  • Mix up the fonts using serif and San-serif in the same block of text.
  • Colour your text to make it stand out.
  • Bold or italicize text repeated throughout the document is a real eye-catcher.
  • Use capitals whenever possible.
  • Underline specific words to get your point across.

 Paragraphs

  • Never indent the first line.
  • Do not place a separating space between paragraphs – allow them to run together. This is very eye-catching when using justified formats.
  • Hit the paragraph return bar many times to separate text – causes wonderful blank lines.
  • Don’t be consistent with paragraph spacing.
  • Leave the first letter in a new sentence in small letters, especially at the beginning of a paragraph.

 Page Margins

  • Who needs them? Let the text freely run from right to left.

 Page Backgrounds

  • Use a brightly coloured, solid background for a page with a contrasting colour for the text.
  • Alternate between many colour combinations for every page.

 Page Numbers

  • Make sure page numbers are highly visible – ebook readers vary from horizontal to vertical so page numbers can appear anywhere at all.
  • Use a large 14pt or bigger font for the page number.
  • Choose a bold colour and a cute symbol to encase the page number.
  • Type ‘PAGE’ before each number in case the reader forgets to what the number refers.

 Arranging Text

  • Make multiple paragraph returns to arrange text on a page – this makes many blank pages.
  • Cram text into huge continuous blocks without subheaders.
  • Use bullets and list numbers wherever possible and as often as possible.

 Punctuation

  • Always leave two spaces after a period. This creates a nice gap between sentences and sometimes causes rivers of white space.
  • Use exclamation points relentlessly. Don’t stop at just one – put in three or four after a word.
  • When in doubt, don’t use any punctuation at all.

 Headlines

  • Capital letters only – uses much more space and makes it difficult to read.
  • Hyphenate – hyphenate – hyphenate anywhere within a word. Works especially well with one syllable words.
  • Underline, bold, and italicize.
  • Use colour and fancy fonts to make sure readers know where they are within the eBook.

 Subheaders

  • Always use the same size font as the text – don’t bother to bold or italicize.
  • Equally space subhead between paragraphs so it looks like it’s floating.
  • see Headlines for more tips.

 Logos

  • Put the largest and most colourful logo throughout your book. Randomize its location as this makes a great distraction.
  • Place hyperlinks throughout making sure they are colourful, bold, and stand out well.

 Headers and Footers and Borders

  • Use headers and footer on every page and in every colour.
  • Encase each page of text with a colourful border in a variety of widths.
  • Make sure any hyperlinks are bold and prominently displayed.

 eBook Covers

  • Design your own plain, one-colour cover with bold text.
  • Scour the web for the most widely used cover and upload it for your own use.
  • Don’t worry about blurry images.

 These tips and tricks should give you a great start on creating your very own Ugly eBook. Of course, I may have left something out so I’m open to reading your suggestions.

 Good luck and good formatting!

About the Author

Val Blake is an artist, author, publisher and owner/operator of Lamooki.com.

Visit http://www.lamooki.comfor the BEST articles on writing your own eBook and getting it published. Our storefront offers fast and easy eBook downloads. Subscribe to our FREE newsletter by sending a blank email to val@lamooki.com with ‘Subscribe’ in the subject line.

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