Self-Publishing is the EZ-iest part of writing your ebook. It won’t take long hours of blood, sweat and tears to get your words right. What it will take is learning how to format your book so your readers will have an enjoyable reading experience.
Most Authors are under the mistaken idea that their words are all that’s important.
OK fine, that’s a given but talk with any editor or publishing house and they’ll tell you…”it’s also about how much white space is around the words, what font to use and the importance of a great cover graphic.”
So in this second post, we’re going to talk about…
- What free program to use for making your PDF ebook.
- And some tips on how to format your PDF.
The HTML formatting for eReaders will be explained in a later part of this series on self-publishing.
If you haven’t read Self-Publish-Part 1, click here as it explains why you should want to self-publish your fiction or non-fiction book.
Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of making an ebook in PDF format.
There are many expensive wordprocessing programs being sold but these aren’t necessary for making your ebook or self-publishing it in PDF format.
You can use a free program from OpenOffice.org. Just click on the Green Down Arrow.
There is a version for both Windows and Macs.
After you download and install Open Office, a splash screen comes up with several programs you may or may not use because Open Office is a suite of office programs similar to Microsoft Office but with a better price tag 🙂
The program you want is the Text Document. This is the Writer program that you’ll be using to make your PDF.
If you are already using a different program that’s just fine also.
The formatting tips you want to keep in mind while writing your ebook are:
- Leave lots of white space around your words
When reading on a computer, your customer (reader’s) eyes can tire quickly. If you add more white space around your words, their eyes can rest and read for longer periods.
This means your margins should be set to 1 to 1.5 inches on each side and your line spacing should be 1.25.
- Center your Chapter Titles
Chapter Titles should be centered, bolded and larger in font-size than your ebook. You should also use the formatting style of Header 1 (h1) so when you publish your book to a PDF, you have a clickable left pane.
You can read my rant here why I think a left pane is necessary in any ebook.
- Sub-Headings are Bolded and Left Aligned
This isn’t necessary for fiction but if your non-fiction has sub-headings, then you also might want to use the Header 2 (h2) formatting so it’s also included in your left pane. The EZ-ier you make it for your readers to find the information they want, the more they’ll appreciate you as an Author that cares about them.
- Vary your Paragraph Length
For non-fiction ebooks, readers want their information concise and to the point. Long paragraphs are hard to read on a computer so vary your length. Shorter is better and if bullets will work to get your point across…all the better.
- Make sure you have a Header and a Footer in your eBook
Some of your readers will want to print off your ebook so if you have a footer with your page number on the bottom of each page, they’ll know how to put it back together if they drop it on the floor.
Your header can have your title on one side and your name on the other side with the copyright symbol. If it’s on every page, your name is more likely to be remembered the next time they want to buy an ebook.
Yes, self-publishing is EZ and in my next post, I’ll be discussing your marketing mindset while writing your ebook.