Continuing with my post from last week, here are some more tips and tricks for formatting an ebook so that it will be compatible with almost any ereader.
One of the most common mistakes that authors make when preparing a manuscript is in paragraph indention. Never use tabs to indent a paragraph. In most ebook converters, any tab functions will be ignored. So, paragraphs that have been indented this way will come out with no indention. The best way to format paragraph indentions is the use the paragraph formatting tool in MS Word and set the first line indent to no less than .25 (1/4 inch) and no greater than .50. Also, do not put extra returns between paragraphs. A change in paragraph should always and only be denoted by a new paragraph indention.
Special characters are another fine point of formatting that take a little extra work but will ultimately improve the look of an ebook (or printed book for that matter). Em (—) dashes are always preferable to short dashes (--) or short dashes with extra spaces ( - ). The latter can actually cause text to be split in places where you might not desire it to be. Em dashes can be created by depressing the Alt key while typing 0151 on the number or keypad on a PC. On a Mac, Em dashes are created by depressing the shift and option keys simultaneously and then hitting the dash (-) key.
Likewise elipses (…), alt key & 0133, are better than typing three successive periods. As with the em dash, it will keep the text together that's supposed to be together.
A very good reference for all of the shortcuts to special PC characters can be found at this website.
If you're a self-published author or independent publisher in need for print or ebook formatting, please visit: http://design.lkcampbell.com