There are many pitfalls that can be hiding within a manuscript the you may not know are there. However, these formatting mistakes can be troublesome when submitting your manuscript to Kindle or Smashwords. Even worse, if you are making your own file rather than letting these services compile your manuscript you may find these when viewing you finished product. Worse yet, if you don’t check the whole manuscript you may have your readers find these flaws.
Here’s where formatting correctly from the beginning comes in handy. As discussed previously, you should use styles in Word and consult the Smashwords Style Guide for best practices. Some of the issues that may be hiding in your manuscript are:
1. Empty spaces that may not appear in Word but will in an e-book.
2. Paragraph returns used instead of correct page breaks which will also throw of the appearance of your manuscript.
3. Manual indentations affect the spacing on your writing when compiling to e-book. Use automatic indentation instead of empty spaces.
4. The same is true of tabs created for indentation instead of setting up the paragraph format of your file correctly.
You can easily view these flaws in Word by using the Show/Hide command. It will display all the hidden formatting that needs to be corrected. The Show/Hide button is located on the Home tab in Word 2010 on ribbon menu between the Sort button and the Styles options.
Once you see these you can do searches for the tabs to replace them with proper indentation. Likewise, you can correct for incorrect page/chapter/scene breaks by designing these into your styles. For now, use the Show/Hide to help eliminate the flaws in your work. Next week, I’ll discuss more about removing format problems with searches and the week after I’ll write about designing styles with correct breaks.
Have you looked for format flaws in your manuscript? What tips and tricks have you learned to better manage your manuscript? 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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