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How Authors can Create a Basic Writing Template in Word

Excerpt from eBook Formatting & Publishing Guide 4.0

Many of you are picking up this book after you have your manuscript written and ready to publish. So you may have a little more work than others starting from scratch.

Before I get into how to clean up your manuscript, I want to share how to make a Writing Template – so you hopefully won’t have to go through this process again. Continue reading How Authors can Create a Basic Writing Template in Word

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How Authors can Create a Basic Writing Template in Word

Excerpt from eBook Formatting & Publishing Guide 4.0

Many of you are picking up this book after you have your manuscript written and ready to publish. So you may have a little more work than others starting from scratch.

Before I get into how to clean up your manuscript, I want to share how to make a Writing Template – so you hopefully won’t have to go through this process again. Continue reading How Authors can Create a Basic Writing Template in Word

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Word Formatting: How to Correctly Indent Paragraphs for Ebook Formatting

What is the biggest mistake self-publishing authors make when preparing their book for ebook conversion? Improper word formatting of Paragraph Indents.

Say No to Tabs and the Spacebar

Old school taught us to use the tab key to make paragraph indents. This can be a difficult habit to break—but break it you must.

NEVER use the tab key or spacebar to indent paragraphs

Now I am not saying you can’t use the spacebar, ever. But you should never EVER be using the tab key when preparing your Word (or other program) document for conversion—print or digital. Continue reading Word Formatting: How to Correctly Indent Paragraphs for Ebook Formatting

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How Authors can Create a Basic Writing Template in Word

Excerpt from eBook Formatting & Publishing Guide 4.0

Many of you are picking up this book after you have your manuscript written and ready to publish. So you may have a little more work than others starting from scratch.

Before I get into how to clean up your manuscript, I want to share how to make a Writing Template – so you hopefully won’t have to go through this process again.

Creating a Word Template

It is very easy to make a Word Template and you can create more than one. In the following, we are creating a very basic template for most fiction books using Heading 1 and Normal styles only.

The following is based on Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac. Please refer to your manual for locations of features discussed.

  1. Open a blank Word file.
  2. Type “Chapter 1”, highlight the words and select “Heading 1” from your drop down style menu.
  3. Type basic text. Select the text and make sure “Normal” is selected from the drop down style menu.

Now, you need to modify the styles. Let’s start with the text style Normal.

  1. Place your cursor anywhere in the Normal text.
  2. Go to Format > Style
  3. Click Modify
  4. Adjust the font style, weight, and alignment. (Note: Make sure you choose “B” for bold and “I” for italic – do not choose a “bold font” such as Arial Bold – It will not convert as “bold” to an ebook – Always use a “regular” font and “apply” the styling.)
  5. For your Normal text you need to decide if you want indented or block paragraphs. Choose the “Format” button in the lower left and select Paragraph.
  6. Choose the First Line Indent if you want indented paragraph layout. Or choose spacing before or after each paragraph for block layout. Only set the Line Spacing to Single, 1.5 or double: DO NOT use At least, Exactly or Multiple.
  7. Click OK to close the paragraph box.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click Apply

Now, you need to modify the Chapter Heading

  1. Place your cursor in your Chapter heading
  2. Go to Format > Style
  3. Click Modify
  4. Adjust the font style, weight, and alignment to your desires. (Note: Make sure you choose “B” for bold and “I” for italic – do not choose a “bold font” such as Arial Bold – It will not convert as “bold” to an ebook – Always use a “regular” font and “apply” the styling.)
  5. You do not want a first line indent for your Chapter headings. So to make sure it is removed: Choose the “Format” button in the lower left and select Paragraph.
  6. Make sure Indentation is set to NONE.
  7. Click OK to close the paragraph window.
  8. Click OK.

Before you click “Apply” we want to apply these styles to your Default.

  1. Click Organizer…

    On the left are the new document styles you just created in your open document. On the right are the default styles for Word (Normal.dotm).

  2. Choose the Heading 1 and Normal styles on the left and Copy – -> them to the Normal.dotm (right).
  3. A Popup box will display: “Do you wish to override existing style entry “XXX”?” Select Yes.
  4. Click Close.
  5. Click Apply.

Your new Template is almost ready.

  1. Select File > Save As from your Menu.
  2. In the Format dropdown menu, choose .dot or .dotx.
  3. The Save window will take you to a folder called “My Templates”. This is the default area for all the Word Templates you create.
  4. Pick a name that you will remember for the Template, such as Fiction-indent.dot.
  5. Save.

See our Pre-styled Word, InDesign, Photoshop and eBook Templates

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CSS: Center Images Using Display:Block and Margin

Centering images can add a special design appeal to your ebook formatting. This can be applied book-wide (to all images) or applied individually. The easiest way to center images is to make the image a block of its own and set the margins to ‘auto’.

Here is an example:

CSS

img.individual {
    display: block;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
}

HTML

<IMG class="individual" src="..." alt="...">
Castle Rock, John Day Area, Oregon
Castle Rock, John Day Area, Oregon

CSS for all images to be centered

img {
    display: block;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
}

HTML

<IMG src="..." alt="...">
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CSS: Center Text Blocks using margin and fixed-width

Calling attention to a block of text

At times, in both nonfiction and fiction ebook formatting, you may want to set off an area of text from the rest of the content. The easiest way to center text blocks is to set the margins to ‘auto’ along with a fixed width. Without the fixed width, the block would simply fill the available width of the screen.

Here is an example:

CSS

p.blocktext {
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
    width: 6em
}

HTML

<p class=”blocktext”> This is a very narrow block of text that is centered….

centering text blocks using CSS

Modify the width to the exact measurement desired. You can also use a percentage value if desired.

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CSS: Center Text Blocks using margin and fixed-width

Calling attention to a block of text

At times, in both nonfiction and fiction ebook formatting, you may want to set off an area of text from the rest of the content. The easiest way to center text blocks is to set the margins to ‘auto’ along with a fixed width. Without the fixed width, the block would simply fill the available width of the screen.

Here is an example:

CSS

p.blocktext {
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
    width: 6em
}

HTML

<p class=”blocktext”> This is a very narrow block of text that is centered….

centering text blocks using CSS

Modify the width to the exact measurement desired. You can also use a percentage value if desired.

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background-color: CSS Style Tip

Highlight eBook Text using background-color

Add background color to ebooks using HTML / CSS code

The CSS code can be added to your external or internal stylesheet. Works with iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Color; does not display on older Kindles (1,2,3).

background-color: Define the color. See HTML Colors from W3Schools.com

padding: Adding padding adds a space between the text and the edge of the color background. I am using 1em, but you can increase or decrease to your design tastes.

margin-top and margin-bottom: This adds space between the background color and the text above and below.

CSS Code

div.background {

background-color:#ffff00;

padding: 1em 1em 1em 1em;

margin-top:1em;

margin-bottom:1em;

}

HTML Application

<div class=”background”>
<p>Text you want in color</p>
</div>

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How to Embed Fonts in an Epub or Kindle ebook @font-face

Embed Font in e-book
2 page spread of embedded fonts in an epub e-book: Click for larger image, hit the BACK button to return to post.

Licensing Use

IMPORTANT UPDATE: TRAJAN PRO is an Adobe font whose license DOES NOT allow embedding on websites or ebooks using @font-face. See comment section on details and links to Adobe licensing.

When choosing a font to embed, make sure you have the legal right to do so.


Many authors want to spice up their pages by adding attractive typefaces and fonts. This can add a lot of interest to your book IF you don’t overdo it.

What you need to embed fonts

  • Include your fonts in your ebook
  • List your fonts in the CSS first
  • Link to font

Step 1

Finding a Typeface:

Embedding Fonts with @font-face
Embedding Fonts with @font-face

There are literally thousands to choose from and many are free for the using. But is more better? Not always. I find that I stick with about 12 typefaces for page layout. I call them my apostles, and they cover the basics of what I need: serif, san-serif, heavy, thin,fancy, plain, grunge. I recommend you find a few typefaces you like and keep them organized on your computer.


LINGO TO KNOW
Typeface: In typography, a typeface is the visual representation or interpretation of a set of characters; it is their appearance. Each typeface is designed, and there are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly. Wikipedia


Resources: I like to use Linotype (paid) and DaFont.com (free) as my sources for finding typefaces when designing book covers.

TTF or OTF?

Should you use a True Type Font (TTF) or Open Type Font (OTF)? Both should work, but in my testing I found OTF to work better in the long run. (at least for me.)

When I have a TTF I want to use that is being obstinate – not displaying correctly all the time – then I convert it to an OTF.

Resource: Convert your TTF fonts to OTF using this free Online Font Converter, http://onlinefontconverter.com/

Step 2:

Create the Cascading Style Sheet

The style sheet for you file can be either inline or a separate file. I either case, the fonts must be the first items listed. You need one declaration for each font (normal, bold, italic, etc).

CSS example of embedding fonts
CSS example of embedding fonts

LINGO TO KNOW
Cascading Style Sheet: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation semantics (the look and formatting) of a document written in a markup language. Its most common application is to style web pages written in HTML and XHTML, but the language can also be applied to any kind of XML document, including plain XML, SVG and XUL. Wikipedia


CSS

I prefer to name my fonts without spaces or underscores – just one word. If the name is two or more words then it MUST BE enclosed in quotes.

Example:

font-family: “Font Pro”;

The CSS Code for Font Pro:
Substitute FontPro for the name of your chosen font.


@font-face {

font-family:FontPro;

src: url(../Fonts/FontPro-Regular.otf);

}

@font-face {

font-family:FontProBold;

src: url(../Fonts/FontPro-Bold.otf);

}

Step 3

Applying the font-family to your tags

In your CSS apply the font-family to the tags you want displayed as Font Pro.


h1 {
font-family: “FontPro”;
}

Step 4

Adding the fonts to your ebook ‘package’.

The actual fonts need to be included with the file (.epub or .mobi). I prefer place all my fonts in a separate folder named “Fonts”. If you place them somewhere other than in a font folder then modify the CSS to the correct location.

NOTE: SIGIL automatically puts the fonts in the “Fonts” folder.

SIGIL font folder
SIGIL font folder

Excerpt from: Embedding Fonts: First Steps Supplement

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Thinking of Ebook Formatting? Know Your Digital Options

Every day I get questions from customers asking about formatting their ebook. This is not unusual as that is what I do, but what is difficult to understand is why they do not understand the medium they are trying to “advertise on.”

“I am viewing my book and there aren’t any spaces between the paragraphs.”

“Why won’t my font display? I have it embedded properly.”

It all comes down to this… readers (people) will read your ebook on a variety of devices and Apps: and every App and Device will display your book DIFFERENTLY — every one.

These ‘concerns’ are valid — but in the first instance, there were spaces between paragraphs — just NOT on the App she was using. This was a flaw with the App itself. Additionally, the font was embedded properly; Adobe Digital Editions refused to display it, while Kindle Fire and the iPad were fine.

Know what you are up against

Digital eBooks. Understand the technology you are considering. eReaders vary, and while you may want your book to appear like a printed book on every device, that just isn’t possible (yet).

Digital books stem from HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). The latest is HTML5. Not all ereaders or Apps utilize HTML5, so you are having to adjust your layout for various e-readers.

Example:

Fixed Layouts. Many Childrens books are fixed layouts. Full page color images with text overlaid. Beautiful on the iPad and Kindle Fire. but this type of format does NOT display on the Kindle. You can only upload ONE file format to Amazon for publishing, so be aware how it will look for BOTH the Fire and basic Kindle.

In Addition iBooks and Kindle have their own twist on the code for fixed layouts — so you have to create two separate files.

This is just one of the frustrations authors and formatters are up against in the ebook formatting world.

Buy a Device

Amazon is the most prominent source of e-books. So, spend a little $ and get the cheapest reader they have. If you are going to sell your wares you want to be able to see how it looks.

Example: If you were to place a classified ad in a newspaper, you would probably buy a newspaper to make sure it is correct, right? Not a preview of the ad, but the actual ad itself.

TV or Radio? You wouldn’t create a radio spot and then not listen to it live on the radio. A lot can happen between the final master tape and the actual airing.

So when you consider publishing in digital form, consider buying an ‘actual’ e-reader device. It not only will help you become more familiar on how digital devices work but will give you a better understanding of what to expect.

Side Note

I realize that it isn’t possible to purchase every e-reader device. And you may think that the reader Apps for your computer or phone would be fine. Well they are… and they aren’t.

For Example:

  • Not ALL e-readers will display embedded fonts
  • Not ALL e-readers will understand the HTML5 or EPUB 3 standards
  • Some Apps fail to display the non breaking space between paragraphs (Kindle for PC).
  • As of today (3/22/2012) only the Kindle Fire is utilizing HTML5 full capabilities: the older Kindles and the Kindle Apps (ie for iPad and iPhone) are lagging behind.)

There is a slew of other issues when comparing e-readers and Reader Apps. Your best bet is to have an actual device and then use Kindle for PC/Mac; Sony or NOOK Reader for PC/Mac, as well as the most recent Kindle Previewer.

CONCLUSION

Purchase a device of your own and find “friends” or colleagues who would be willing to view your book on their devices.

And above all — purchase your own book to make sure the product delivered is flawless.

Another Note: what you see in the Kindle Previewer is not “exactly” how it displays on the Kindle Fire, Kinde, or the Kindle App — it’s close but not exact.


[ORIGINAL POST: UNRULY GUIDES]