I taught myself to format ebooks, and print-on-demand books, when I first started publishing my travel books. I found the information available, incomplete, and worse, contradictory. In the end I got frustrated and ended up writing **a book** on how to format. But I know that fiddling around with code is not for everyone, so I started offering book formatting services to online friends, the rest, as the cliche goes, is history.
I’m a self-published, indie writer myself, so I know what it’s like doing it for yourself. Exciting and daunting at the same time. I understand where my clients are coming from, because we are all writers!
Why Book Formatting Matters
I’ve read a lot of self-published nonfiction books recently. Most of them have had appealing cover design, have been well-edited, and the content has been fairly good.
But the formatting, has, let the book down. Which is ironic because getting a book well-formatted is generally an awful lot cheaper than a classy cover design, or a thorough edit
What’s the fastest way to kill sales of your book? Bad reviews.
Reviews like these:
I bought this because it was advertised as having an active contents list. It doesn’t. The contents list is not presented immediately: you have to page back from the ”Note”. Then you are confronted with Section 1, Section 2 ,.. etc with no titles. The sections do have titles, but they don’t appear in the contents list. You can select a section and jump to it. Once there, you cannot go back to the table of contents directly. The big dot button, which takes you to the contents on other books and newspapers, doesn’t work here. All very poor in my opinion. All very unnecessary too One star review of “Pensees” .
I am furious! Bad review for poor format upload!
I uploaded my book following all of Kindle’s instructions. Today I note a poor review because of repeated sentences, typos, and errors and I opened the book in kindle to see what was going on. To my horror, there are dashes missing between words (self-employed became self employed), there are spaces either added or completely missing between words, and this was just on the first page!!!!
Another poor review of a cook book:
The table of contents does not work in this book. It is pretty short, but almost every cook-book on the Kindle market includes some kind of table of contents functionality. The exclusion of such a feature is really annoying, especially if you are in the kitchen, and you have to flip through these pages to find the recipe you need.
This sums it up – a one-star review of a self-help book:
This seems like an interesting book. However it’s not readable. The formatting cuts off the first two letters on each page.
Common Formatting Errors in eBooks:
- no Table of Contents available on the Kindle’s menu button, sometime not even a linked (i.e. clickable) table of contents at the start of the book!
- indented paragraphs which makes sub-headings look strange and which is not the correct format for some nonfiction;
- bullets which are either not attempted at all (using an “*” or “-” character instead) or has unusually large gaps between the bullet and the first word of the bulleted line and/or inconsistent indenting of bullets and/or inconsistent style of bullets;
- inconsistent spacing between paragraphs and headers and sub-headings, sometimes very large gaps between individual words or between paragraphs.
Common Formatting Errors in Print Books:
- missing a half title page at the front
- not having the main pages (main title, table of contents, start of book) falling on the right side of the book
- page numbers and headers on blank pages
- page numbers on title and copyright pages
- page numbers starting at “1” on the first page of the story, even though there are several pages of front matter first.
You never notice a good design of a book – but you most certainly will notice a BAD design. You’ve worked hard on your book don’t let the design let you down.
Read more about my book formatting services
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