Planning

Styling Your E-Book With Proper Formatting

Introduction

The use of styles in word processing is a bit esoteric for many users. However, when formatting an e-book, styles can be very handy. With that in mind, I’ll follow-up on last week’s post about formatting by digging a little deeper into what styles are, why they are important to e-book formatting and how to use them. As a reminder, create a back-up copy of your content before formatting so you can easily revert to the original.

Does Your Manuscript Have Style?

So what’s a style and does your book have it? Well, when considering formatting, this is not so much a question of writing style as visual presentation. You don’t want to worry about this while your actually creating your content but when you are formatting styles add, well – style.

Formatting Word Styles

Styles, as implied by the term, is a way of changing the appearance of your content. That’s a simple statement but there’s much more to than that. It’s basically using a template of different format settings. In Word this is done via the Styles section of the Home menu. Using different styles means you can change headings, first lines of chapters and other sections of your content when a simple click. It’s very handy when it comes to formatting.

But why should you use it?

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The Importance of Styles

Your e-book needs style. It’s like when Kramer (think Seinfeld) found the wide-brimmed hat when he was wearing the coat from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. It’s just not as gaudy. The use of styles adds effects to your manuscript that improve reader experience.

For instance, if you have a book with headings or chapter titles a different style that’s in bold with larger font size can be helpful. However, you don’t want to just make those changes anywhere since they can create discontinuity if used improperly like I just did. Additionally, the first line of a chapter or scene can be enhanced so that it’s noticeably different from the rest of the text and alerts readers to the change. Styles also set apart other types of content in your e-book such as copyright, end material and block quotes (non-fiction).

So that’s a thumbnail of what styles are and why you need them. But how do you use them?

How To Use Styles

The use of styles can actually range from quite simple to complex. I’ll keep it simple here for the sake of brevity but a more thorough discussion can be found in the Smashwords Style Guide. Let’s scratch the surface to get started.

Pre-set styles are on the Home menu in Word 2007 or later. My screenshots are from Word 2010 so yours may be different. First of all there are several styles of which you may need to make use: First Line of a Chapter, Normal, Block (for non-fiction), etc. These are all changed or created from the Styles Manager. It must be noted that just highlighting and changing formatting to suit your needs may not mean that these are picked up correctly when processed by Kindle or Smashwords. Styles manage formatting on a larger, more consistent scale and allows you to change the style easily with a click or two.

In Word 2010 to modify a style right click on the style and choose modify:

Modify Word Style

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Next click on the format button in the lower left and choose Paragraph.

Word Style Modification

The paragraph properties for this style are displayed.

Word Paragraph Properties

Settings such as indent, line spacing, etc can be changed here. Try to make your “Normal” style consistent with what the whole book will be. If you will be using a first line style to forego the use of indent for the beginning of a chapter try creating a separate style. There are pre-set styles for headings, titles, subtitles, etc so don’t try to re-invent these – just change them to suit your needs. Apply the various styles besides Normal wherever necessary by click to that location and clicking the applicable style and the text will be changed.

Scriv Preset StylesThat’s the basics of managing and applying styles in Word. Scrivener is similar in that it comes with presets like Word and you can apply them from the format bar. I’ll discuss these in a later post but for now these should help you learn the basics of formatting for e-books.

Have you tried formatting your e-book? What tips or tricks do you use with formatting? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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The Black Bag by P H Solomon

 

Managing Scrivener Projects and Templates Pt. 6: Newsletter Update

Sciv Newsletter TemplateBack in December I created a Scrivener template for Newsletters which is available for download. The post was rather popular so I wanted to update how I’m using it with readers and whether it’s been beneficial.

I’ve created a 2015 Newsletter project and organized it according to my schedule for this year. I’ve cut back on my newsletter to once a month to allow for more time to write as well as not overburden list members with messages.

The template has been very helpful to me. I’m able to write an edition rather quickly from the template based on regular features. It’s quite simple to create a new newsletter and write content in short order and transfer various sections into my Mailchimp template easily. This lessens my time working in the online template and reduces errors and issues with the content.

During the month, I write various ideas in a new folder to further develop once I’m ready to write the next edition. In this way the template acts as a repository of ideas for each newsletter. Once I’m up to date on the ideas they can be written rather easily.

I’ve found using these kinds of templates very useful for other types of content including blogging, my platform management and even book reviews. Scrivener’s design and functionality have increased the amount of content I can produce across the board and project templates are a major key to my productivity as a whole. With the correct configurations I can write without putting too much energy into preparations so I’m much faster at completing a piece of content.Scriv Newsletter Doc Temp

Additionally, I’m using document templates withing my projects now so I’ve set one up for my newsletter that includes all my regular content, headings and formatting. I’ve posted an updated Newsletter template that includes document templates. To learn about document templates click on the link below. To learn more about making a managing project templates check out these posts:

Managing Scrivener Projects & Templates Pt. 1

Managing Scrivener Projects & Templates Pt. 2: Newletters

Managing Scrivener Projects & Templates Pt. 3: An Author’sPlatform

Managing Scrivener Projects & Templates Pt. 4: Author Project Manager

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyManaging Scrivener Projects & Templates Pt. 5: Book Reviews

Under Construction: Templates & Scrivener

Scrivner Tip: Making Document Templates

Have your begun using templates? How has your productivity been impacted? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Project Management For Writers Pt. 9: The Priority Trap

CalendarLast month I sent my book, The Bow of Destiny, to my editor for a structural edit. I expected the book to be out of my hands for about thirty days. This meant it was a perfect time to work on the next book in the series, An Arrow Against the Wind, as well as some of my short fiction projects.

I set a schedule to complete the rough draft of the second book and got started. I also began a hefty overhaul of a short story that was a very rough draft. I worked into a balance with these projects after weighting their priority according to my available time.

By the time I was in a steady rhythm with these projects I had accomplished a great deal. I had written several chapters in the second book and revised the short story into a cohesive draft. I expected to finish the rough draft of An Arrow Against the Wind by the time The Bow of Destiny came back from the editor.

WritingBut to my surprise, the editor returned the manuscript several weeks ahead of schedule. There was good news as she far fewer structural issues than previously so the book is rounding into shape. I just needed to address these structural issues and be ready for the next round of detailed editing.

But now I was faced with problem. Should I finish the rough draft on which I was working or pivot to edit the manuscript in progress. I had allotted time to complete An Arrow Against the Wind but I also needed to have The Bow of Destiny ready for the editorial schedule. What should I do?

This question stopped me cold for a few days while I weighed the options. I thoroughly enjoyed writing like I was on book 2. However, the first manuscript needs to be completed.

Dueling priorities had me trapped. The quandary had to be examined. I took a serious look at An Arrow Against the Wind. I knew there would need to be some structural changes to the manuscript. I decided to go ahead and do these to find out how much writing was still needed to complete the rough draft. In the end, I found that I needed much more than I originally thought. I could still write higher word totals each day and finish the draft by the deadline.

Puzzle Pieces.jpgNext, I considered all that needed to be addressed on the first manuscript. I started a fluid schedule to determine when I could finish the changes and be ready for the editorial schedule. I found that I would be well ahead of the schedule.

In the end, I’ve chosen to complete the edits for The Bow of Destiny. It needs to be completed first and be ready for the editor’s schedule. This weighed much more to me than the second manuscript. The advantage to completing the editing was that I would have the manuscript waiting for the editor and I could already have pivoted back to completing the rough draft of the next book, even have that completed.

The take-away here is that you can make a solid schedule but circumstances change. A project schedule should be fluid enough to allow for shifts in priority. Learning to be flexible with your schedule is necessary to managing projects – and for me these books are parts of a larger project. How you prioritize your projects is up to you but flexibility may be necessary.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat unexpected events have you encountered that required changes to your schedule? How have you adapted to circumstances to move in a different direction while still accomplishing your over-arching goals? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed via Microsoft Office