Formatting tips and tricks for the newbie #WritingWednesday #AmWriting

If you’ve already written and published a few books, move on. No need for you to be here. When I say newbie, I mean exactly that – someone brand-spanking new to publishing. Over on my Readsalot blog, I promote self-published authors like myself. I actively encourage self-published authors to contact me for reviews and spotlights. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed quite a few formatting issues occurring on a regular basis.

So, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Double space is D-E-A-D. I know you learned this back in school. I did, too! But using two spaces after each sentence is no longer the standard. And it’s really disruptive to readers. Who needs all that space, anyway?

formatting 2

Copyright Phreelance Writers 


Line spacing is dying a slow death. Line spacing is the space between lines within a paragraph. In hardcovers and paperbacks, you won’t see them. In fact, sometimes I think editors try to put lines too close together in paperbacks! If you’re a self-published author, most of your books will be purchased as eBooks. Line spacing is annoying when reading on an ereader. There’s just too much space! Readers can change the size of font on their ereader so there’s no need to ‘help’ them out with line spacing.

Maintain the same font throughout your novel. It goes without saying that you should try to use the same font throughout a novel. Using different fonts for emphasis (or even different sizes) makes the work look amateurish, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

Always, always, check the actual file. Amazon makes this easy. You can download a mobi version of your eBook from the KDP website. Make sure you do! Strange things can happen to your formatting when it gets converted to an eBook. This is especially true if you try to add cute pictures or symbols in between chapters. They almost always end up looking like squiggly lines.

formatting 1Follow the style guides – religiously. Both Amazon and Smashwords have extensive style guides to help the self-published author. Don’t skim through those. No! Read and follow them to the letter. Please, I’m begging you.

Remember, what you find ‘easy’ to read in an eBook or word document may not be the same as readers. So, even if it you have to force yourself to stop making that extra space between sentences (for example), suck it up and do it anyway.


14 thoughts on “Formatting tips and tricks for the newbie #WritingWednesday #AmWriting

  1. Chuck says:

    Even though I have two books that I have self-published, I still consider myself a newbie. I’m always learning from those more experienced. I agree that the final format of your manuscript to be submitted to Amazon needs not be double space. Yet it should be more than singe. If I’m correct, Amazon’s CreateSpace recommends 1.15.
    However, I found most of the editors I interviewed to hire, wanted the manuscript in double space. Perhaps easier on the eyes for review. Thanks for the advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D.E. Haggerty says:

      You would not believe how often I receive promo material from an author and end up spending 15 minutes deleting extra spaces between sentences and at start of paragraphs (because they haven’t discovered this awesome thing called tab!)


  2. Phillip T Stephens says:

    Reblogged this on Wind Eggs and commented:
    It amazes me that people still use typewriting rules.
    Do they make typewriters anymore? Do they let the old typing teacher teach word processing?
    I worked with other tech teachers in a project sponsored by Microsoft and Texas A&M in 2000 to teach these rules to high school teachers.
    I started using word processing rules in the eighties. They were listed in the first chapter of every Macintosh Word for dummies book in 1984, and the same for MS Word. Only XyWrite and WordPerfect users hadn’t seen the memo. (Which is why those programs died.
    Then I download another Kindle novel by an indie writer and float back to the days when I could still remember the high school typing teacher’s name.
    D.E. Hageerty runs you through the rules again, and I would check to make sure you know them.
    Hopefully, by the 22nd-century, long after I’m dead, everyone will know them.
    (By the 22nd-century, mindhoppers will probably be neuroposting: “Word processing died with blogs. No one reads text. No one reads but your grandmother.)

    Liked by 1 person

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