Tuesday, September 30, 2014

IWSG One Year Anniversary

October 1st is the Insecure Writer's Support Group's website's one year anniversary! Happy Anniversary! As always, it is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This month, his co-hosts are:
Fundy Blue http://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com/
To go to the website and visit other members of the IWSG, click HERE.

I wanted to give you ten tips on e-book publishing today. These tips were gleaned after publishing six e-books at Amazon and Smashwords. They are not in any particular order, but all are important tips to make a successful publication.

Tip 1: Always keep a backup file. Before preparing your manuscript for publication, set aside that file. If you make mistakes on a copy and accidentally erase the copy, you still have your backup or original file.

Tip 2: Never use more than four consecutive paragraph returns (hard returns by hitting ENTER). On a small screen device, this creates blank pages.

Tip 3: Don't use tabs or space bars to create first line paragraph indents. Instead, code your paragraph style at the top of the page under "paragraph."

Tip 4: Don't use fancy non-standard fonts, colored fonts, compressed or expanded fonts. And, in most cases, drop caps don't work either. Think of the different size tablets that your reader will be using and keep it simple.

Tip 5: The e-book doesn't come out the same as a printed book, where you can set the page. It will change with the different size readers and the page will be different on each one. Also, no page numbers.

Tip 6: Use font size 11 or 12, or 14 at maximum. Consider the different size readers.

Tip 7: Microsoft Word gives the most predictable results and works well when converting your book.

Tip 8: Make sure your book is edited before publication. So many times a good book can be spoiled by poor editing or none at all.

Tip 9: If you aren't a graphic artist, consider hiring someone to do your book cover for you. The cover is the first thing that a reader sees of an e-book.

Tip 10: Activate Word's show/hide before you start formatting. This is the backwards "p". When clicked, it exposes your paragraph returns, extra spaces, tabs, or strange formatting.

These ten tips are a few things I've discovered that will help make a cleaner, more well-formatted book. Also, both Amazon and Smashwords have books to help you format specifically for them and the last time I looked, they were still free. Good luck with your newest publication and I hope these suggestions have helped.


  1. Those are all solid tips! And yes, the cover is so important.
    Thanks Karen - do we have your permission to use this in the book?

    1. Alex: Sure, you have my permission. If it will help someone, then I'm happy.

  2. I'm sure lots of writers are going to find these tips very useful. Thank you for sharing them with us. I would certainly encourage all writers to make copies of all their work, you just never know when the gremlins may strike and it is terrible to lose your precious words.

    I am visiting today as IWSG co-host, great to meet you.

    1. Suzanne: Welcome! I agree. I always make a backup that's not on my computer just in case my computer crashes.

  3. Excellent advice. Getting into the habit could avoid trouble ahead. I'm hoping all our roads end at the same place. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    1. Anna: We all need to use these tips to avoid a tragedy. I'm glad you could drop by.

  4. Great advice, thanks! It's tricky to know how to format an e-book when we spend so much time learning how to format for the printed page.

    1. Shannon: We are oriented to the printed page so e-book configuration is not always second nature. But we learn as we go.