Formatting Matters!


Formatting Matters!

I love eBooks. You can take your entire library with you. What I don’t love is the way some eBooks are formatted. As a self-publisher and an indie author, your ebook needs to be neat and readable. When your reader buys one of your books, you are telling him or her that your product is worth their time and money. You may have written the greatest story in the world, but if the formatting is screwed up, no one will want to read it. I’ve deleted a number of eBooks from my Kindle after opening them and seeing how the formatting was. They were horrible! Next to bad grammar and other mistakes, bad formatting is a real turn off.

Before you ask, I create my own ebooks and covers.

A few tips:

  1. Don’t use fancy fonts for the body of the text except italics!
  2. Use font size 12 in your word doc.
  3. Center the Chapter Headings and have a space between the heading and the body of the text.
  4. Do not indent the first paragraph of a chapter or a new section.


Formatting your eBook. Here you have two choices: One you can do it yourself or two you can hire someone to do the formatting for you. Since I’m doing my own formatting, I use MS Word and Scrivener.

Parts of a Book

Parts of a book. You need to know what the parts of the book are:

Book cover

 A cover can make or break a book. This is the first thing a potential reader sees and you must make a great impression. You can hire someone to make the cover for you, you can use Canva, My Cover Maker, or use a program like Photoshop or Gimp.

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication Page (optional)

Table of Contents

Preface or Acknowledgments

Art (if you include a map for a fantasy world)

Prologue (Optional)

Body of the book (the story)

Epilogue (Optional)

Back matter — author bio, promotional blurbs about other books, excerpts from other books, a lengthy acknowledgment section, Notes on any research you did, links to your website, etc. In nonfiction, appendices and the index.

Take your time and don’t rush through the formatting ofyour ebook. AFter you have compiled it, load it into your eReader and go through it page by page. If you come across something out of place, go back and fix it. Good writing is important, but so is the way you present it. Don’t get fancy and add lots of images to your work unless they are necessary. Images make the file size bigger and takes up more space on your Kindle.

The following are screenshots I took of an ebook I put together.

May the words ever flow!










About Anna Dobritt

Anna Dobritt is an independent eBook author and an indie publisher of RPG PDFs and fantasy maps through Cartography Unlimited for RPGs. She loves to read and write, and lives in Michigan. Anna enjoys watching Dr. Who, both the classic episodes from the 1960s-1980s and the current episodes. Anna has three trilogies in the queue: Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe – Volume 1: The Beginning has been released, and Volume 2: Discovery, is going through the editing and revision process, with plans to self-publish in 2016. Volume 3: Truth is currently being written. Two other trilogies are The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures, and the Guardian Blades Trilogy. Anna has self-published Volume 1 of the Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe titled The Beginning; three short stories: The Hunter, First Raven, Raven Voice; a novelette titled Raven Flight, and a collection of short fiction titled Whispers from Within. Where the imagination soars on glowing wings! May the words ever flow!
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20 Responses to Formatting Matters!

  1. Gill McGrath says:

    Thank you for all this useful advice.

  2. Excellent post. Thaanks! Shared on Twitter. 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on cicampbellblog and commented:
    Couldn’t agree more! The formatting of your ebook is vitally important. If it’s all over the place, it is very off-putting and your reader may well put off reading, and put off buying your next book.

    • Anna Dobritt says:

      Next togrammar and spelling errors, bad formatting will make me set aside a book and not bother to buy other books by that author. With the internet at your fingertips, learning to set up a template for the format that lloks good is easy to do.

  4. Thanks for the advice and examples. For my ebooks, I followed Smashwords’ Mark Coker’s excellent instructions and think I’ve succeeded in producing good products. Formatting for print, now, that’s a different and much more complicated thing. Headers and footers, page numbers, section breaks — they can drive you crazy, but getting those details right makes a big difference. For those who want to do it themselves, I suggest using a traditionally published book as a model.

  5. Fantastic. I like words straight from the hip. Thank you for this tutorial. 🙂

  6. Being a book blogger rather than a writer, I’ve never had to format an eBook. It does make a difference to me as as reader, however, to see a nice cover and layout. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Friday Finds: Week 38 | Avid Reader

  8. Reblogged this on Everything Indie and commented:
    This very thoughtful post by author Anna Dobritt is worth reading. I’ve never had to format a book, but as a reader, I do look for these essential elements in a book. They are part of the appeal of a well-constructed book. For historical fiction, I also enjoy reading what sources the author used, and how they used them to flesh out the people and situation(s) in his/her novel.

    For eBooks, many authors have realised that a link to their next book, or a sample of it at the end of the book, attracts the attention of readers. If you don’t have another book yet, nonetheless include a link that makes it easy for the reader to rate your book–or hopefully even write a review– from their reading device.

    Thanks, Anna, for this article.

  9. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is another helpful post from Anna Dobritt on formatting.

  10. adeleulnais says:

    Very helpful advice. Thank you for posting. I have been lucky so far, with the e-books I choose to read, their formatting has all been correct. I am publishing for the first time and it is very daunting so having advice is priceless. Your blog always gives good, straight to the point advice. Thank you.

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