This is eBook Tip #10 from my eBook Tips. If you want to opt-in after reading this, then go to this page and sign up.

We all dream of making a “terrific” living with our writing.

The image of working from home, having residual income flow through to our bank accounts every month while we let our creativity burst forth is no longer a fantasy. It’s a very real possibility for every Author now.

Or is it?

Not unless the Author realizes – s/he is the owner of a business.

With this business comes some things to know and, I’ll be discussing what they are over the next several eBook tips.

I can’t show you how to write that’s something that has to flow out of you but I do have some posts on my blog which might help. Like Let the Movie Run in Your Head or Write Your Book the Kaizen Way.

No, what I can do for you is give you perspective of what’s important in my 40 plus year experience (IRS Revenue Officer, Tax Consultant, Director of 2 Computer Schools and Internet eBook Author and Tutorial Expert) for becoming successful in your writing career.

The first step is writing a great book but the second for being successful in the eBook world is…

eBook Formatting

Most of us (yes, I include myself in this) would love to have a program where we could magically push a button and wham, we have an incredible formatted eBook.

Guess what?

We’re not there yet. Why?

Because Amazon (Kindle), Apple (iBooks) and Barnes and Noble (Nook) are all trying to garner their share of the eBook market. Which means, their devices are proprietary and the formatting for each is different.

Yes, the Nook and Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod) use the .ePub format BUT, and this is a huge but, they haven’t adopted the same ePub standards. Right now we have ePub 2 and ePub 3 formatted eBooks.

As of this writing, Apple is ahead of the game with ePub3. Their iBooks app will definitely show enhanced features like video, audio and CSS animation in eBooks.

Barnes and Noble’s Nook will display ePub 2 very well and ePub 3 formatted eBooks. The trouble with eBooks formatted in ePub 3- the Nook will read (display) them but they will be a striped down version of your eBooks.

Add Kindle to the mix with its KF8 formatting and banging your head on your keyboard is quite understandable.

Welcome to my world for the last 14 years. Granted the first 7 years, there was only .html eBooks (.ePubs and .exe file) that had to be compiled along with PDFs. But when Amazon entered the eBook arena all hell broke loose.

So that leads us to today. And why I’m going to suggest the keep it simple (K.I.S.) approach to eBook formatting for fiction and non-fiction text eBooks.

This means you don’t get “fancy” just yet and maybe not for a couple of years. The reason?

Your readers have control of your eBook formatting. They can change the font, the size and even how it’s displayed (portrait or landscape) in their eReader device.

Plus they might also own the original Kindle, Nook and Apple products and your “oh so fancy eBook” could look like crap on them.

By keeping your formatting simple, you’re actually creating an eBook that doesn’t interfere with their reading pleasure.

Your reader (customer) won’t ever email and say “Wow, I really like the way you formatted your eBook.” No what they will say and do, if your formatting interrupts their reading, is complain loudly in their review of your eBook thus killing any future sales.

So what makes up Simple eBook Formatting

  • No crappy code that can hang up the different eReaders.

This means you do not use ANY word processing program to convert your eBook. I realize there are so called eBook gurus and websites out there advocating this and if they were in my vicinity, I would slap them silly.

Why?

Because word processing programs leave unnecessary code even if you use the “filtered” .html feature in them. And if you send Amazon a word doc and have them convert it, you’ll usually find a lot of formatting errors when you preview it.

If this doesn’t bother you and have the attitude “what’s a few errors,”, then please unsubscribe from my eBook Tips. You’re definitely not the Author I want to share my knowledge with.

  • No unusual fonts

Sure, you can embed fonts but why would you want to do this in a fiction eBook or even a non-fiction text eBook with pictures?

I just told you the “reader” has the last say in how your eBook will look on their device. It ticks them off when they can’t use the font they’ve chosen.

The only thing you should want is for your words to be read without glaring errors.

In other words, I’m telling you to get “over yourself.” eBooks are not print books where you can control the aesthetics of every chapter and page so my suggestion is use the K.I.S. formula for formatting…

Fiction:

  • Great cover image that looks good in thumbnail size.
  • Chapter headings bold, larger font-size and color is optional.
  • Page breaks between chapters.
  • Don’t specify a font-size, leave that up to the person reading your ebook.

Non-Fiction:

  • Exceptional cover image with keywords in the title. Can be read in thumbnail size.
  • Chapter Headings bold, larger font-size and color.
  • Chapter sub-headings bold, a little larger font-size than text and no color.
  • Again don’t specify a font size.
  • Images must be clear with good resolution.

By using the K.I.S. approach to eBook formatting, your eBooks will stand the test of time even though eReaders will become more advanced or become more standardized.

When they do, there is nothing to prevent you from updating your eBooks.

signature of Judith Tramayne

And if you’re doing a Children’s Read Aloud eBook for the iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone then you really do want to buy my ebook at iTunes for $9.99. It will save you a ton of time and gnashing your teeth or banging your head on your monitor.