Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Formatting, Shmormatting

Q: You mean we have to format things, and stuff? 
A: Yes.

Q: But, I'm a creative-type.  I just barely learned how to market my book.  Is it really necessary?
A: Yes.

Q: *Whine* How do I do it?
A: Carefully.

Q: Seriously, it can't be that important.  Can it?
A: Yes.

This is the last thing authors want to do with their manuscript; removing the tabs, creating a Table of Contents, ensuring images are inserted properly, blah, blah, blah.  But not doing it could very well be the demise of all your marketing efforts.  Even if you are self-published...scratch that...especially if you are self-published, your book needs to appear, like, hella-proffesional.  Otherwise readers and reviewers won't give you the time of day.

You know who else didn't format properly?  Hitler.  And look what happened to him.  Listen, I'll make it easy on you – go to the 'resources' section listed on the right hand side of the page, and open the 'Basic E-Book Formatting Guide'.  Follow this guide to format your novel first; then use the additional guides to format specifically for Smashwords, Kindle, and Nook.  If you have a go at it by yourself, use Mark Coker's Smashwords Guide – it is very user friendly and very detailed.  Kindle is understandable, but not as detailed.  Barnes & Noble PubIt! formatting guide for Nook is just plain confusing as hell.  Don't attempt to use it; unless you are the geeky type or like a challenge.

Formatting a full length novel should only take a few hours.  There are plenty of help forums out there if you have questions.  If you intend to self-publish more books in the future, I suggest you learn how to do this now instead of hiring help.

A quick 'Google' search led me to these helpful resources:

Hella-proffesional, shmormatting, and...GO!


  1. Thanks for the links, Terra. I'm building a list of resources for my self-publishing clients, and this helps.

  2. Hi Jessica - no problem! Glad to help!