books · formatting · self-publishing · writing

A Novel Idea

It’s a pun. I think. 🙂

Anyhow, I’m right in the middle of a full-length novel at the moment and it’s getting to that time when I need to start printing off the manuscript in order to edit the final draft.

I usually, print off so many chapters at a time because to print off a whole 80-100,000 words in one go would not only be tiring, (refilling the paper tray) but also it would eat through all my ink very quickly and probably set fire to the printer from overload. 😉

As a writer, I would never pretend nor profess to know everything about writing. All I put on my blog is mere suggestion and mostly my own opinion.

I have my way, others have theirs. I believe, this is how it should be.

And yes, there are some awful books out there, with bad grammar/spelling/lack of any editing or just a poor story…BUT this is not limited to self-published or Indie. Some traditionally published books have made me cringe at page 1 or even at the blurb.

I would never claim that my work is the best either. I write what I’d love to read and while I take every effort to ensure quality as well as a good story, not everyone will like my work.

And to be fair, the task of formatting is my least favourite part, but I did find these few tips to be of good use when creating an ebook for Kindle:

  • Send your manuscript as a Word document (.doc or .docx).
  • Use double-spaced line spacing. If you’ve already written your book with different line spacing, select all of your text in Word, click Format > Paragraph, then select “Double” in the drop down box under “Line spacing.”
  • Use a single space following periods.
  • Use black, 12-point, Times New Roman as the font.
  • Don’t hit tab to indent paragraphs. In Word, select all of your text, then set indentation using Format > Paragraph. Under “Indentation” and by “Left,” type .5. Under “Special,” choose “First line” from the drop down menu.
  • The first paragraph of any chapter, after a subheader, or following a bulleted or numbered list shouldn’t be indented.
  • Use page breaks between chapters. In Word, place the cursor at the end of a chapter, then click “Insert > Break > Page Break” in Word’s menu.

In addition, I don’t use double line spacing, except when editing, which makes it easier to read through and pick out errors, but to read, I find 1.5 is perfectly fine.

I’ve had to learn to deal with the indentation for paragraphs and in my new word format:

  • I go to the small arrow next door Paragraph and a drop-down menu comes up.
  • I choose Indentation, but there’s a second drop-down titled Special, with three options, NONE, FIRST LINE or HANGING, where I choose the second option.
  • This automatically puts in the indent for each new paragraph, except the first on a new chapter, which has none.

I also select: don’t add a space between paragraphs of the same style, which makes the text look better once published and more like an actual book format.

This is what I’ve learned so far and many have different ways of doing things, which is perfectly fine, but I know how hard it is starting out and not everyone finds navigating a computer easy. Never mind formatting. So, I just wanted to share what I’ve picked up and more importantly, what had worked for me. 🙂

Feel free to comment or ask questions… Or even share writing advice that’s worked for you?  

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