Anyway, one of my HUGE PEEVES (I would say pet peeves, but Vegas is our pet and he is tiny, and this is not a tiny peeve, SEE MY LOGIC) is when the formatting of an ebook is screwed up. This can take the form of random blank lines inserted between every paragraph (sometimes two or three lines), random line breaks or page breaks, LACK of line breaks (sentences each meant to be on their own line get crammed into one paragraph somehow) and table of contents' that don't work.
Recently there was a post that says publishers don't know how their content gets screwed up, because it's perfect when they input it.
Personally, I think a lot of trad publishers (not all by any extent, but a lot) are idiots when it comes to ebooks: pricing, selling, and MAKING them. And seeing as how I've gone through several ebooks and corrected them, I think I know what I'm doing, and what I'm saying when I say that it's really not that hard.
So this is my experiment to see if I do actually know what I'm talking about.
Step One: the Word document. I have it. I'm going to be using a copy of Starfire, which is currenly 141 A4 pages in Word. The formatting is perfect. It's also not overly complicated, but does include italics, underlining, and bolding.
Step Two: turning the Word doc into .rtf. Easy peasy lemon squeezy: open the doc up, then click 'save as'. When the dialogue box comes up, instead of saving it as a Word document, click 'save in rich text format'. Done.
Step Three: open the doc up in Atlantis. This is an incredibly easy to use program which you can download for free right here.
Step Four: Check your formatting is as you want it. Most of it will be fine: the thing to watch is where your chapter beginnings have gone. Typically they'll have moved from the top of the respective page to...well, somewhere else, either the bottom of the previous page or a little lower down. This is REALLY easily solved, though.
- Use the backspace or whatever you need to get your chapter heading to the bottom of the page that comes before the page you want it at the top of.
- Place the cursor before the letter of your chapter heading.
- Now go to the bottom left hand of your screen, under the box that says 'page headings'. There are five symbols under this box. The first one should be lit up. Hover over it and it will say 'insert section break'.
- Click it.
- Click 'next page'.
- Your chapter heading will move to the first line of the page you actually wanted it on.
Step Five: forming a table of contents is easy but a little time-consuming. Insert a blank page wherever you want your toc. Write 'Table of contents' or whatever at the top of the page - pick the font size, underline it, center it, whatever you feel like. Then comes the trickier part.
- Go to whatever is to be your first entry on your toc - for example, the heading of your first chapter.
- Place the cusor before the first word, be it 'chapter' or 'One' or whatever.
- Beneath the box which has the name of your font are several symbols. One looks like a white page with a red dot beside it. Hover over it, and it says 'new bookmark.'
- Click it, and name it - prologue, chapter one, whatever.
- Go back to your toc page, and place your cursor where you want that first entry.
- Beside the bookmark symbol is one that looks like a world and says, when you hover over it, 'insert hyperlink'.
- Click it. Fill in the 'text to display' - that's what you want your first entry on your toc to say. So, 'Dedication', 'Prologue' or 'Chapter One', probably.
- Then click 'bookmark from the active document', and choose the bookmark you made earlier.
- Click 'ok'.
- And voila! Now you just have to do that with everything you want to have an entry on your toc.
Step Seven: run it through Calibre to give it a cover, or turn it into some other ebook format.
Voila, you're done! Perfect formatting. Done. Took me about 40 minutes, and that with constant breaks to type down each step as I did it.
So there's no excuses for anyone to muck up, now is there?