Since I use the blog here more as an advice column for writers, I opened post subjects up and one that was strongly requested was how to format for ebook. To me, it’s one of the easiest things to do, but I guess as I’ve formatted all eight of my books for paperback and ebook, I’ve come to learn how to do it in my sleep.
First, I know you would love to keep all your fancy fonts and maybe you have the chapter headings and title and everything in some font that is cursive and pretty or something amazing that you think defines your book, but when it’s converted to an ebook, none of those fonts hold. They’re all in the plainest fonts you can think of.
– Times New Roman
When I’m formatting an ebook, the first thing I do is CTRL+A and put the entire book in Times New Roman and 12 pt font. This is only because everywhere will convert it anyway and it just makes it easier to read and to distinguish.
– Page Breaks
After the fonts are all the same, I go through and put page breaks at the section dividers. The title and author name should be on it’s on page (page break), the copyright page (page break), dedications (page break), table of contents (page break), and then your chapters start. EACH CHAPTER SHOULD START ON A NEW PAGE! Put a page break at the end of them! This is to guarantee that on the ereader, each chapter starts on a new page.
– Font Sizes
After the above is done, I go through and work on font sizes. I increase and maybe bold the title and author name. I put the copyright page at either 10 pt or 11 pt. I put the “Table of Contents” header at a bold and bigger font (size is ultimately a personal choice, but remember the number)! I then go through and put the chapter headings in the same size and possibly bold and that takes care of your font sizes.
Spacing is next and this is mainly something I do so it looks neat and polished. I put a little bit of space (empty lines) between the chapter headings and the first paragraph of that chapter. Again, this is just something that is a personal choice, especially if you’re OCD like me.
I went through this, assuming that you already had indents. If you don’t, it’s the perfect time to insert them. Go back up to chapter one and start at the very first paragraph. Click and hold your left mouse button and highlight just the paragraph. of the first chapter, setting their indents at either 0.25 or 0.5 (again, persnal preference). And do this for each chapter.
At the end, you can add a list of your other books, an author photo, bio, an excerpt of another book (put that in the same format as above though), and anything else that you want. Because Amazon changes the page size to fit ereaders, your page size doesn’t matter.
Everything above for formatting is ONLY for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Draft2Digital, and places like that. IT IS NOT FOR SMASHWORDS! That formatting is more complicated. I know how to format for Smashwords, but I don’t use that site personally.
For Paperback formatting, I would recommend Hearts on Fire Editing.