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eBook Formatting: Look Good, Sell More August 23, 2011

Posted by ninapaules in How 2 Write, Writing.
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Want to sell more eBooks without giving your work away for free?  (I think every author does.)

What to sell your next eBook almost as soon as you sell your first eBook?  (I know I do.)

The key is creating a reader experience that is e-bump free on every eReader Device, app and software program out there.

Here’s three formatting tips that will put on your way.

Chapter Heading: Dropping a chapter heading in the middle of a page is a perfect way to toss your reader out of your story. Design your book to clear the eReader screen at the start of every chapter, using the process designated by your eBook conversion program. That way, each chapter will start on a “new page”. (Technically, eBooks don’t have pages, but that’s an article for another day) Lowering your chapter heading a few lines and adding a flourish or glyph will also make your reader’s experience feel more familiar – more like a paper experience – with all the comfort and portability of an eReader.

Scene Break: Avoid using a single blank line to indicate a scene break. Kindle for PC, and the Kindle app for iPhone and iPad ignore blank lines, making it visually impossible to tell where one scene ends and another begins; major e-bump. Here’s an easy fix. Place a centered #-sign or a series of asterisks between scenes. Not altogether traditional, but your reader will (subconsciously) thank you.

Ellipses: A series of three (or four) spaced ellipses (. . .) have been the way of traditional publishing since the early nineteenth century. But in the World of “e”, spaced ellipses are viewed as individual words and thus breakable. Encountering an orphaned period (or two or three) at the left margin is another great way to derail your reader’s experience.

The fix is simple. Keep your ellipses together (no spacing in-between) and connected to the left-hand word, only. Connecting your sans-spaced ellipses to both words will cause an eReader device to view the left-hand-word + the sans-spaced ellipses + the right-hand-word as one long single word. Depending on the font-size set by your reader on his/her eReader device, a jarring early-line-wrap could result.

Here’s another tip. Avoid HTML coded ellipses. Some eReader Devices (apps and eReader software) interpret HTML ellipses as a series of numbers, or simply ignore the HTML code (and thus the ellipses) altogether. Not good for the reader experience.

The self-publishing author’s ticket to looking good and selling more is packaging a good story inside a familiar and e-bump free reader experience. 

 Written by Nina Paules

 Nina Paules is the founder of eBook Prep, a full service eBook design firm that caters to the busy print-published author working on a budget. Headquartered in New Freedom, PA – the last stop to freedom on the Underground Railroad – eBook Prep connects e-reader savvy readers with their favorite authors’ backlists and authors with a bright new source of royalties. www.ebookprep.com  www.epublishingworks.com

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