What's more difficult than a query letter, a synopsis and line edits combined? Formatting your book for an eReader.
Not to fear. Francine Howarth, author of the historical novella Her Favoured Captain and a contemporary romance scheduled for release in July, is here today with some a dose of good humor and some tension-taming tips.
Hi, I'm Francine, and this is my first guest blog appearance. To say I'm thrilled is understating the obvious, and it's all thanks to Michelle for inviting me along. As to the reason for my being here, I can say it's not about the contemporary romance novel now contracted to a publisher, though I'm thrilled about that as well. Oh no, my being here is all about a hair-pulling experience I endured whilst attempting to self-publish the historical novella to Amazon's Kindle store.
With hindsight, the process of getting the novella lodged on Amazon all seems so simple and a matter of straightforward, logical steps. But at the time it felt more akin to finding oneself handed a self-assembly kit with instructions that appeared vague at best. Of course, I sensibly read all the helpful hints and tips Amazon's Kindle manual provides but ended none the wiser beyond how to download and install differing applications—laughable!
I couldn't fathom where I'd gone wrong. I was beside myself. Those same formatting problems I'd noticed within e-books from the big boys of publishing, as much as within Indies really bugged me. Why? Because I'd also read books on my Kindle that looked perfect, and I was determined I'd crack the right formula to get the Kindle formatting to perfection. Which I did, eventually, and I now look back on the whole exercise as just another learning curve in the process of obstinate writer who wanted to become self-published for the sheer hell of it. ;)
The following is an example of the kind of formatting one will often encounter within a Kindle book; notice the wonky/irregular indents.
It is often said, when in the throes of death one's past life flashes before one's eyes.
What might Andy be thinking right now and what had pushed him thus far to even contemplate suicide, let alone . . .
Lungs almost bursting she was running her heart out, for she hadn't—as yet—heard the report of a shotgun fired from within the woodland.
Needless to say, the above formatting looks unprofessional. The indents are too deep into the page. Another mishap is that of chapters chasing tail of the previous chapter (same page). So too that of blank page prior to the next chapter and/or the chapter header half way down the page in different place to previous.
Unfortunately Kindle auto format (irritatingly) indents first line of the first paragraph per chapter and does the same for first line after a line break action. It basically reflects your keyboard motions. But there is a way to render your book as near to perfect as you can get with Kindle. All it takes is a little effort and make your text neater and better reading. The indents will now look normal, with the only remaining buggy blighter, that of Kindle's auto first-line indent, which cannot seemingly be altered.
Rather than go into great detail here on Michelle's blog in how to format for Kindle, I have posted a tutorial for Kindle formatting and the basics for making a book trailer movie. You can find it at Romantic Friday Writers, http://fridaynightwriters.blogspot.com/p/kindle-book-trailer-turorial.html.
Thanks for having me here, Michelle. And for anyone interested in looking me up you can find me at http://francinehowarth.blogspot.com.
Thank you very much, Francine, for this excellent advice delivered with some much-needed levity!
If you'd like to be a guest blogger on Bird's-eye View or participate in a book review/author interview, I hope you'll let me know. My e-mail address is mefayard(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Your turn: Do you have a formatting horror story or tip to share?