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?
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.
Follow 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.