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eBook Formatting for Traditional Print: A Guide

You may know by now just how much formatting is important for selling eBooks. If you don’t opt for a eBooks formatting service provided by an eBook writing service, you have to do it yourself, which can be tiresome and a hassle in itself. But, let’s say you spent hours formatting your eBooks and trying to get the fonts, titles, and pages right to meet the requirement of the publisher you work with. For traditional print, you need to start all over again to meet its formatting standards.

If you are choosing to do the formatting for the traditional print yourself, you may have more freedom on your hands. Traditional print is more relaxed in terms of formatting and has more styling options compared to the electronic print version. All in all, formatting still is tricky to get right since it has so many rules and do’s and don’ts. Since it holds so much sway over reader engagement and your eBooks sales, learning how to do it right for traditional print is essential.

Why Is Traditional Print Formatting Essential for Your eBooks?

In simple words, your eBook formatting is the design process of arranging and editing the text in your eBook in an attractive layout so readers can enjoy it more. However, getting the formatting right, especially for traditional print is vital when you look at it from the reader’s point of view.

Your readers aren’t only just purchasing your Ebooks but they are also spending quite a lot of time reading them. If you have managed to sell them your Ebooks, it is now the duty of the content and its layout to impress the readers enough so that they’ll love them, rave about them, and become your loyal customers.

While your content may be impressive, how you present it in your eBook by formatting it correctly is what matters. Here are some major aspects that define why formatting for traditional print is important:

Increases the readability: The content in eBooks is often not easy to follow especially if there are dialogues, flashbacks, and setting changes involved. The font, size, paragraph styles, and text alignment have a direct impact on the readability of the eBook. If the writing flows and the reader can skim through it easily, they are more likely to enjoy the eBook more.
Impresses the publishers: When you are pitching your eBook to publishers, you have a limited window to impress them. If the formatting is too jumbled and gimmicky, they are most likely to pass on publishing it. Good formatting helps in getting your eBooks picked up by publishers.
Helps in representation: Formatting done correctly can often help readers associate the eBook with the author. While it is a subtle thing, how you design and align your eBook carries a subliminal representation of your eBook business to your readers.

Checklist for Formatting eBooks for Traditional Print

For traditional print, you can use MS Word, Kindle Create, or any other custom software for formatting. However, no matter which software you choose, here are the mandatory style guidelines you need to check when formatting:

Step One: The General Settings

The first step in formatting your eBooks for traditional print is selecting the general settings below:

Trim size: Trim size determines the page size. It is important to select the trim size according to your content but still avoid making it too long.
Left and right-hand settings: Select narrow margins on left-hand pages, and wider margins on right-hand pages for binding. Select your chapter titles to start on the left-hand pages with even numbers, and right-hand pages with odd numbers to appear more cohesive.
Distractions: Be very careful when selecting fonts and titles and see if the style aligns with the content. Bold fonts and characters can be too distractive for the reader.

Step Two: Text Formatting

Next, select the text formatting with the options below:
Breaks and spaces: Use breaks and spaces when changing the narration or setting.
Caps, colons, and cases: Be mindful of where you use colons, cases and caps. Remember to be consistent with this setting throughout the book.
Quotes and italics: Use italics only when presenting inner dialogues, flashbacks, or quotes said by other characters. Avoid using too much italics since it can become confusing for the reader to determine their purpose.

Step Three: Paragraphs and Indentation

Lastly, choose the paragraphs and indentation styles with the options below:
Alignment: Be careful when using justification to set your alignment as it can space out the words too much depending on your font style. If your font style isn’t compatible, skip it entirely.
Indentation and paragraphs: This setting depends whether your book is fiction or nonfiction. With non-fiction, select spaces without indents. Fiction content is more skimable with indentation sans paragraph spacing.
Images: Images are tricky when it comes to making them look good and viewable in print. Make sure the images you use are high-quality in pixels, are aligned with the pages and are placed when they need to support the content rather than being there to just make the book “pretty” or more “engaging”.
Drop caps: Drop caps can make the beginning of the chapters stand out. If you opt to use them to make the chapter’s first line unique, skip on using an indent for that line or go for a small cap. Still, if you want to play safe, skipping out entirely on drop caps may be a good idea.

Common Formatting Settings Do’s and Don'ts

If you have an understanding of what you should and what you shouldn’t do, you can format more easily. Here are some common do’s and don’ts when formatting your eBook for traditional print:

The Do’s

● Keep the styling consistent throughout the entire eBook.
● Select a trim size prior to choosing other styling settings.
● When working with a publisher, stick to your publisher’s requirements.
● See what works with your content when experimenting with different style options.
● When formatting with MS Word, embed fonts so they are easy to transfer to a PDF format.

The Don’ts

● Avoid using more than two fonts styles ans sizes
● Avoid stuffing spaces in between paragraphs to add to the book volume.
● Avoid using special characters and symbols.

Don't Take Traditional Print Formatting Too Lightly

Formatting depends on how you perceive your book to look in your mind and on its content. It is there to make the content be more readable and interesting and not to confuse the reader. It can take any time from a few hours to several weeks to format your eBook properly for traditional print.

Before selecting your settings, it’s a good idea to experiment with different options, since eBook formatting can either encourage the reader to keep on reading or entirely put the book down. If you don’t know where to begin, you can pick up a classic or your favourite author’s best custom book printing and see how the formatting is done.

Make sure that your manuscript can be skimmed easily by a reader, and that all bits and pieces are effortless to skim before diving into deeper reading. Formatting is easy if you are able to understand how to make your eBooks attractive and readable so they can sell more.

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