Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Figuratively Speaking… Text Is Better: Pitfalls you can avoid


Figuratively Speaking… Text Is Better: Pitfalls you can avoid
When you write your story, you will/should be using a word-processing program. Like it or not, MS Office/Word is the industry leader. Many/Most all publishers recommend/require .doc/.docx format for their submissions. This quotation is copied from Amazon’s Kindle Direct formatting page:
Word is a great tool to use because it's extremely easy to format. We suggest writing your book in Word or converting an existing source file into Word (.doc or .docx) format before continuing.
I am assuming you are using MSWord for your manuscript.
If you even think you might be publishing an ebook version, start with that. The formatting is much easier to convert to print version than vice-versa.
For Kindle, you just need to remember a few basic rules.
  1. Don’t tab anywhere.
  2. Format your paragraphs so they automatically indent the first line. That’s at the top of the dialog box when you open “Format/Paragraph” from the dropdown menu. If you don’t do this, Kindle will do it—and justify your text in your paragraphs. Another quote:
Paragraph text displays with justified alignment by default. The first line of each paragraph is automatically indented.
  1. BIG IMPORTANT NOTE! Kindle now allows tables, however, the quote above still applies to the sentences inside the table.
  2. You cannot use bullet points. Remember, you can’t have tabs—bullet points have tabs—therefore you can’t have bullet points.
  3. If you use figures in your text, you must use specific formats and low resolution (72-120dpi). Make the figures large—mine are all about 6 inches in width. Use the “Insert/Photo” dropdown and insert each photo individually. You can’t copy/paste from other sources—even within the document. And, if you insert small figures and make them large by formatting them in place, you will get small figures in your ebook—these are VERY hard to see on small screens.
There are other requirements for figures, so be sure to follow those, or you will spend inordinate amounts of time fixing rather than writing.
Ultimately, if your book is all text, you will find the Kindle experience much more friendly than if you have lots of tables and figures. RIFTS has over 30 figures, but now NO tables after learning by experience.
Next week: The second in the series of “Things I learned about the process when I published through Amazon.com (and how you can streamline your experience!). First up: PDF does not equal .doc—which to publish first: ebook or paperback.
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