If you missed part 1 of Deb Dorchak’s fantastic guest post yesterday, check it out before continuing.
Formatting Your Word Document
To format your Word document, you’re going to have to get used to using the manual procedure instead of the convenience provided by the toolbar. The upside of this is once you have a specific document set up for your manuscript you can save it as a template to use over and over without formatting everything each time you want to write a new novel or chapter.
To start, create a new Word doc file for each section of your book. This includes the front matter (your copyright and publisher information, ISBN), acknowledgements, introduction, prologue and each individual chapter. I mentioned above that ePubs don’t recognize page breaks. eReaders are all about flow and work the same way as a web page. They’ll scroll through a whole file in one long line without any breaks. The only way to get or make a forced break is when the HTML files inside that ePub zip file come to a new HTML file.
Now, with your fresh new Word document opened, you’re going to start putting in the types of formats you need. To do this go to Formats > Styles and Formatting. Click on that and a window will open up. In it you’ll see some basic formats already (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc.)
The “Normal” setting is for the body of your content. This is for all your regular paragraphs. In it you’ll set your paragraph indents, spacing and font style.
Next you want to add formatting for your chapter headings. Since most eReaders disregard fonts and use their own, you can use Heading 1 for your chapter headings. So each time you start a new chapter and give it a title, you will highlight that line of text and then click on Heading 1 in your Styles and Formatting window. The text will automatically change according to your settings.
Now, to create the other basic formats like “Bold” or “Italics“, type out a single line of text and highlight it. Click on the Bold button in the toolbar. You should see a new format show up in your Formatting sidebar. From now on when you want something bolded in your content, you will click on that format to make it so. Continue to do the same for italics, underlines, bullet points if you are using them in your book.
In short, if you’re changing or adding a new format to your document, you want to have a style for it in the sidebar with the other formats and use only that as you write. This is what’s going to keep your Word doc as clean as possible for your designer.
Once you have all your formats set up, save the blank document as a template. On my computer I have it saved as “6x9_trade” because it’s set up with everything I need for doing a trade paperback or hardcover.
Not Just for ePubs
The process of setting up formats and styles in Word docs goes beyond getting them ready for an ePub. Printed novels and PDF ebooks also begin the same way, with just a few differences:
- Unlimited Fonts: for print and PDF you’re not limited to only web friendly fonts. These are the fonts that come installed with every computer. If your computer does not have a certain type of font, it will substitute the closest one. Print files are bundled with the required font for any given book. The printer installs them on their computer if they don’t have it already and work with the layout files that way. For PDF, the fonts are embedded into the file and therefore show up as they should no matter what computer you open them on.
- Images: ePubs have a difficult time with inserting images and wrapping text around them. There are a few adjustments needed in the HTML version of the ePub files that need to be made in order to do that and it involves some basic knowledge in coding. Similar to the embedded fonts, a PDF also embeds the images, like text wrapped images, background images and so on. One important point to remember when using images in your print or PDF book is to include the images in hi-resolution as jpgs in a separate folder you send to your designer. Images cannot be pulled from a Word document and set up into an InDesign file. When an image is placed in InDesign, it links to that specific image in the InDesign final bundle. High resolution is important in case your designer has to reduce or enlarge the original image to fit the layout. It’s alright to put the images in the Word doc for placement only (FPO).
- Interactivity: Many PDFs allow you to click on hyperlinks (live links within the document), or on graphic images to take you to other pages or sites on the web. Right now, hyperlinks are the only form of interactivity you can use in an ePub with any kind of accuracy. Creating live linked images is still labor intensive for the designer and again requires coding knowledge to get them to work in the ePub file. Adobe Acrobat Pro has special tools that make this easy when you’re doing a straight PDF ebook.
Even though you have to go through a few extra steps to format your Word document, the results will be worth it. You will have a clean file ready for your designer to work with and trust me, your designer will thank you.
Deb Dorchak, the co-owner and Lead Designer of Blue Sun Studio, Inc./Sirius Graphix. Deb’s been a graphic designer for more than 25 years and an artist since she could hold a crayon. She’s worked in the graphics industry doing everything from newspaper and glossy magazine layout, to animation in Las Vegas’ largest and oldest sign company. Deb got her start in Illustration, and her passion for telling stories through images hasn’t wavered yet. She and her business partner, Wendi Kelly, have finished their first novel Bonds of Blood & Spirit: Loyalties, due to release late October 2010.
You can find more of Deb’s articles on design, writing, and publishing at Sirius Graphix, or follow her @SiriusGraphix on Twitter. If you’re an author who needs a new site, or book for print, PDF or ePub designed, send her and the team an email at email@example.com.