Self-Publishing

Adventures in Formatting Part 2: Beyond the Basics

Ok, so you’ve seen your book as a web page now, however, it wasn’t really pretty. The basic formatting was there but there wasn’t really any flair to make the book obviously yours. All we need to do to add a bit of that pizzazz, and we can easily achieve this by adding a few more style definitions, and there are a number of things we can do to create these styles.

5. I’ll share some of my more key style tags with you.

This is my chapter style.

p.chapter

{

margin-top:3.25em;

margin-bottom:2em;

font-weight: bold;

font-size: 3em;

text-align: center;

text-indent: 0em;

}

That style will place the chapter title a little ways down the page, in the center with larger bold text.

Side note: If you want something to be 100% surefire centered you’ll need to create an additional style that looks like this:

span.centered

{

text-indent: 0em;

text-align: center;

}

(We need to do this because for some baffling reason “centered” does not mean the same thing to all devices. Crazy, I know, but it’s true.)

So when put into practice it would look something like this

<p class=”chapter”><span>Mercury, Sulfur, &amp; Salt</span></p>

This line would result in something like this

Mercury, Sulfur, & Salt

6.  You’re almost there, just a little farther. Next we need to make sure everything that should be in bold and italicized is. And how do we do this you ask? Well, if you’ve been paying attention I bet you can field a pretty decent guess. We  use HTML tags, specifically <b> and </b> for bold and <i> </i> for italics. Peruse your manuscript for anything that should be in bold or italic and wrap the text in these tags. Be sure to include the ‘/’ in the closing tag, lest you turn all the text after the tags bold and italic as well.

Knowing all this you should be able to create most any kind of style you want or need for your book. If I’ve left any commands out that you need you should be able to search them fairly easily using Google, but feel free to ask below in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to help you.

Now just make sure you’ve got some front matter (Your copyright statement, the title, anything required by the site you’re pushing to, perhaps even a dedication.) and some back matter and you’re set to make an ebook! Before moving on to the next step go ahead and open up the html file again to make sure everything looks to be in order.

7. Go ahead and download Calibre. This program will allow you to stitch all that html  you just wrote into a perfect and pretty ebook. Thankfully it’s fairly self explanatory. In the top left corner click the “add books” button and upload your html file to Calibre. Once its loaded and on the menu click the “edit metadata” button (it’s right next to the add books button).  Fill out all the fields you need to fill out such as Title and Author (be sure to click the right arrow buttons). You’ll probably want to fill out the tags as well. Put your book description over in the box labeled comments, and then load up your book cover. Now click ‘ok”.

Next we’re going to click on “convert books” button. In the upper right hand corner select the file type you want to output (Since we’re making this for Amazon you’ll want a .mobi). Then pull the trigger and make your book a thing!

Next we have to have to make your book into a .doc file that Smashwords will find acceptable. However, I’m lucky enough that someone has already written a guide that I found to be very easy to use and compact, therefore I don’t have to write it, I can just direct you to the lovely Heather Marie Adkins’ blog. She has written up a fantastic, simple, short and easy to follow guide on just exactly what it is you need to do to get Smashwords to accept your manuscript into its premium catalogue.

I hope you found this guide to be helpful. If anything is unclear, please let me know so that I can tweak it to help myself and others understand. Happy formatting!

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