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Steps to convert your manuscripts to eBooks - Part 2

02 August, 2018

In the previous section, we discussed about first few steps involved in eBook conversion process- indenting paragraphs, inserting page breaks, margins, text justification and image formatting. Now let us see what are the further steps involved.


Choosing the font size

No matter how much you break your head on deciding the font to be used while formatting your book, it may frustrate you to know that the reader will ultimately decide and select the font when he start reading your eBook.

To make sure that the formatting and conversion process of digital book is executed hindrance-free, it is advisable to use only a single standard font. Times New Roman, Courier and Ariel are some of the common fonts most of the eBook formatting firms prefer. Stay away from fancy fonts as they get converted to weird symbols or characters on conversion.

Also using format font buttons or menu from tool bar is the best method for incorporating properties like boldness, underlining and italics etc. The font size for titles can ideally be 14-18pt and when it comes to text, 12pt can be effective.

Deciding the page size

In eBooks, pagination are not fixed; readers can according to their will customize font type and size as well as spacing which means that your eBook of 100 pages when printed can extend or reduce to any size when it is converted for digital platforms.

But still, because of certain reasons that only professional eBook conversion companies know, they suggest 8.5 x 11″ page size.

Taking care of the titles

All the titles as well as subtitles of the chapters must be given consideration. Thereby it is essential to tag them as headings; else the ebook conversion software will fail to identity them and leave them out of the contents to be used within the table.

For this, you need to click on the chapter title that is in the beginning and choose ‘Heading 1’ that falls under the ‘styles’ section. This allows you to select any kind of formatting of your choice. But remember to update that specific style after completing. Repeat this process for all the chapters and also, subchapters. By simply selecting ‘Heading 1’ alone will help to apply the same formatting everywhere, automatically.

The main body

While the body of the book already falls under the ‘Normal’ style, one can format the general paragraph according to their wish (such as typefaces and sizes, among others). Now it is up to the person to decide whether he is using spaces or indents to divide the paragraphs. But it is advisable not to use the two formats together. You can refer various ebook design templates from professionals.

Choose Spacing ‘After’ or ‘Before’ paragraph, if taking spaces as the option.

Similarly, it is not a good idea to insert a tab while using indents, in front of the paragraph. Instead, opt for the ruler that is there in the top.

After deciding on how the paragraph will look, do right click on ‘Normal’ and choose the option ‘Update Normal to Match Selection’. By doing so, it will be easier to format the remaining paragraphs in similar manner.

Now if you want the first paragraph of every chapter to be different, then first do the relevant changes in the first paragraph and choose the option ‘Create a Style’. Rename the style with something that you can easily relate with.

Automated bullet list for the dialogs

The dialogs are usually intended with automatic lists. Such that, several languages dialogs are highlighted with a dash, rather than the quotation mark. However the catch is that, the length of the dash and that of the ‘bullet’ are not similar. Plus, bulleted lists’ styles are fixed for eBook readers, and they mostly have different formatting that would make one’s book weird.

While choosing the bulleted lists for the dialogs, it is good to follow the strategy mentioned in previous section before this.

Removing page numbers

The headings and footers must be free from the page numbers when you turn book to ebook. This can be achieved in Word. Double click either at the top or the bottom of the page. This will show the ‘Headers & Footers’ tool option; after which click on ‘Remove Page Numbers’.

Table of Contents (ToC) should be removed

The Table of Contents (ToC) is important for an eBook; however it is not right to include the same at the beginning of the document. This is one of those tips for ebook formatting that should not be ignored. For, it won’t be productive enough – it will fail to click or show page numbers. In an eBook, page numbering has no scope. Hence one should do away with the TOC.

For removing TOC, click on ‘References’, choose ‘Table of Contents’ that is there on left and then click ‘Remove’ given below. A new TOC will be made anyway while conversion.

Dealing with Line Breaks

It is bit tricky to deal with hard or soft line break when you convert manuscript to ebook. In Word, Choose the tiny paragraph icon - that looks like this ❡- on the Home tab to show various characters that couldn’t be printed. In fact, this will show all the formatting signs which are invisible.

One can see the said icon for each paragraph break and a soft return-like sign ⮐ for each soft line break; whereas, the space will carry little dots.

Ensure that the paragraph icon is shown at the end of every paragraphs and not anywhere else. Having paragraph breaks in between sentences is not good, right? Simply delete them if you come across soft return or paragraph breaks. If there are forced line breaks in between sentences it will look confusing and harm the flow of reading.

Converting endnotes

It is best to have endnotes converted from the footnotes. While this is automatically taken care of by most eBook conversion tools, it is advisable to do the process yourself. One can either choose to keep them towards the end of every chapter or at the end of the book.

Promoting links

One can direct links towards their own website, profile or social networking sites. But it is bad idea of directing links to any other specific sites by competitors like Google Books or Amazon through the eBook store. If you are keen about having readers’ review section then ask them to review the eBook in the store from where they purchased it.

It is best to remove certain things - including automatic numbering, bullet lists, double and extra paragraph breaks, double spaces, direct store links, footnotes, forced line breaks, image wrapping, local formatting, page numbers, tabs and table of contents.

Removing tabs

Avoid tabs in order to align paragraphs. For the time being, remove them completely – later we can add some indents. Click the icon ❡ to see invisible characters. Setting the indents is not required now as we will be arranging them in form of styles. The tabs must really go, we say.

Give front content and end content

Great! You have finally got the book manuscript formatted well!! The next step is to make a book out of it. At this point, it is better to go for the ‘Save As’ option in order to work on a fresh file.

Unlike book manuscript, the book could not be started with the first chapter. A cover, the title page, table of contents and copyright page are required. Author’s profile and ‘Other Books by The Same Writer’ sections are preferred by some for including at the end of the book. From these, we will add only the title and name of the author on the title page, copyright page and the end portion. The cover or the table of contents can wait for a while.

Save the file for conversion

After the eBook manuscript is done, save the file in .docx or .odt type of format. Such formats will be more feasible while an eBook gets converted rather than a normal .doc format.

Finally, avoid spaces in files. Armed with the information provided through our manuscripts to eBooks convertion - part 1 and 2, things hopefully are much clarified for you now. Keep reading for more.

So what are you waiting for!

Go for a reliable and professional online converter or ebook formatting service provider right away! Formatting a manuscript in this way will work remarkably for any kind of ebook converter.

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