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Formatting Your Story for E-Readers

You finally finished your manuscript and it looks wonderful! Hooray for you! You head to your Smashwords account, not to publish the book, but to convert it to the mobi format so you can see how it looks on your Kindle.

You think to yourself that it is going to look as great as it does on your Word processor. Then you see it on your Kindle and it looks likes...

                     This... Why are the paragraphs 
            not aligned?
         With the rest of the story? Why    are there so     many unnecessary     spaces. This looks 
  So damn ugly!

I know a couple of writers who spend so much time editing their story and not enough time properly formatting it for their e-book audience. So all that hard work to make the book look professional was wasted. 

You remember the first paragraph of this blog? Ya know, about using a e-book file converter and then uploading the story to an e-reader to check for formatting errors? Do that first! 

If you happen to find formatting errors such as the major one highlighted above, you can use various methods to fix those errors. The one I use is actually suggested by Smashwords. It is called the nuclear option. 

That is where you simply copy your manuscript, paste it to notepad, and then copy it back to your Word processor. This takes your manuscript back to a basic format, which is now easy to work with. The next step that I use is pressing the show paragraph marks and formatting symbols button in my Word processor. 

This allows me to easily see if I had applied to many spaces or paragraph indents. If I have made way too many errors to fix on my own. I copy the formatting symbol.

For example, if I find that I have made too many paragraph  indents in the story. I actually copy an indent symbol, head to the find and replace tool and paste the symbol in the find bar and just leave the replace with bar empty. Then I select replace all and BAM. The error of having too many paragraph indents in the story is fixed. 

One thing though... when you copy and paste the formatting symbol into the find bar, you will not see it. You will know that it worked after you paste it and see that the cursor moved to the right. 

Give that a shot and tell me what ya think.

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