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Friday, March 23, 2012

Manuscript Formatting Tips Before Uploading to Nook

Let me say up-front that I have not yet conquered the beast, but wanted to share some tips with fellow Indie authors. Even though I already have five e-books online at B&N, this particular one I am uploading now is longer, a novel, which compounds the errors to be fixed as I preview my work.

1.  Because I recently upgraded to 2010 MSWord, I ended up with my fiction document in "compatible" mode as I tried to upload to B&N. I found hitting "convert" saved some time and left me with less formatting snafus than from my previous tries.

2.  Beware of the default within the PubIt! site that lands you in the COLOR Nook preview. Because my offering has no color, except for the cover, and since I'm guessing there are more black-and-white Nooks in use right now than color, I'm working off the older Nook version and will so state in my Description. Although once I get the first "publication ready," then I may see if it simultaneously aligns within the color Nook as well.

3.  Styles. Use styles within MSWord. It was the only way I could get a Page Break to stay put so my chapters all ended up on a new page, along with my back matter.

4.  Extraneous spaces. I found that a paragraph ending with a period or question mark or closing quote followed by any extra spaces and then the return paragraph symbol lent all sort of havoc to my uploaded preview of my MS. Just a warning here.

And just to be clear, the resulting problem showed up pages before, pages after, no rhyme, no reason.

5.  FYI: On one of the LinkedIn communities, I saw a comment that the first paragraph of every chapter should be flush left with the large initial cap on the first word.  Yes, this does show up in many of the paperbacks I have in my personal library, no matter which traditional publisher. But, it shows up indented in regular type in others also. 

In my freelance copy editor life, I work for a large NYC publishing house with well over thirty individual lines and each one has a particular look (design) assigned to it. Some repeat. Some are different. Some are flush left, large initial cap. Some aren't. I guess I said all that to say this: I'm not sure where I sit on this particular fence. Whatever you decide, make it consistent throughout each of your books.

For now, I'm just trying to get my debut e-novel uploaded to PubIt! without one single glitch. And still working on it. Afterward, I may think about pretty-fying my work with some design elements.  Hey, I made all my chapter headings bold, so I'm getting there.

6.  Another LinkedIn community complaint was about the double space between sentences.  I learned to type on a manual typewriter therefore, yes, I continue to put the double space between sentences when I type anything--a blog, a novel, a letter, a recipe, whatever--and having a dickens of a time untraining myself.

I had to go back and delete the extra space at the end of each sentence in this very blog talking about it. Grrr.

I know. Times have changed.  I also know because, as a freelance copy editor, I am very familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style.   Per CMS 2.12: Line spacing and word spacing.  . . . A single character space, not two spaces, should be left after periods at the ends of sentences . . . . 

I'm really trying on that one. 

Hopefully this helps you and saves you the hours of frustration I have dealt with every other day this week. The days in between were to regroup.

Should I find out more, I'll report back.

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