Tag Archives: ebook formatting

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Print Vs. Digital – Understanding the Flow of Text

Ebooks are not STATIC like print books.

So, what does that mean?

This is my book, Constant State of Disaster, in PDF form. This is what I upload to Createspace. The words on the page are STATIC – meaning, they do not change or move. Ever.

Well, to start off with, let’s look at print books.  A print book is a work of art.  Every word, every bit of punctuation, every heading and footnote and glyph—they are printed on the page in a specific place.  The floral pattern at the start of each chapter—half an inch from the top right corner.  The chapter heading—three lines down, and then another two lines before the start of the text.  Justified lines don’t always flow beautifully, which is why in print, one utilizes hyphens, or the artistic method of rewording and adding until the text is displayed with just the right amount of white space.  There is a lot of planning that goes into making a print book beautiful.  All of the aforementioned things are what make a print book static—embedded on paper and immovable.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?  It is.  But, it’s what sets apart your book from the crowd, so I personally believe print books deserve that kind of love and affection.

Same book in digital. Average screen size, average font size.

Now, let’s talk about how ebooks are completely different.

Same book but in digital format. This is my Kindle app on my 17-inch computer screen. The Kindle screen is as LARGE as it goes, and the font is abnormally large, as well.

Ebooks are NOT static.  When you open a print book, the words are exactly where they’re supposed to be, no matter who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing.  This is not so in the ebook format.

Same book, same chapter, only in abnormally small font on an abnormally large screen.  See how it goes over into the new scene?

What you have to remember is that not all ereaders display the same way.  There are people read your ebooks on tablets the size of a piece of five-subject notebook paper, and there are others reading on screens as small as their tiny Android phone.  Not only does screen size have to be taken into account—there is also the fact that nearly all ereaders allow for the reader to change the font face and the font size.  This means that your book will never display exactly the same as it does on YOUR ereader/app.

Same place, smallest possible screen size but average-ish font size.  Notice it doesn’t go into the new scene.

Ebooks flow to the size of the screen based on font size and face.  Bigger font size means less words on one screen, and skinnier font faces mean more words on one screen.  Your app may display a single lonely word at the end of a chapter—obviously hideous to the eye for that one word to be on its own page—but you must remember that’s not how everyone will see it!

And last but not least (though I could seriously do this a million ways), smallest possible screen size, abnormally large text. Holy cow! Barely anything on the page!

Individuals who own ereaders are well-aware of the idiosyncrasies of their device.  It’s like one’s favorite sweater—yeah, there’s a hole in the armpit and the hem is unraveling, but you know that’s just how it looks and you love it anyway.  Readers will recognize when they see a single line on a single page that it is meant to be with the text on the page previous—cut ‘em a little slack, they’re pretty smart if they’ve joined the digital revolution.

Kindle App for Android. Kindle Fire. Kindle app for PC. Regular, run-of-the-mill Kindle. Four different ereaders from the SAME manufacturer, and each displays a different amount of paragraphs. Let this be your lesson for the day. :)

This is why its important to understand formatting if you’re going to attempt to do it yourself.  The above reasons show why you should never have page numbers or headings in your ebook. You should never plan for your ebook to have one-page chapters (your reader on her Android phone is gonna see a single paragraph at a time, if that, so your “one page” turns into ten for her.)  Leave those nuances to the print books, and go for simplicity in your ebooks.

Your ebook CAN be gorgeous, as long as you understand the limitations of the formats.

(This post isn’t about the fancy stuff that can be done in ebooks, like glyphs and images.  Those things are possible, but to put it simply, leave them to the professionals if you want your book to look its best.  Those people are the ones that know the issues that come from formatting and can act accordingly.)

A CyberWitch Ebook Formatting Update

Lots has happened in the world of the CyberWitch!

Number One — Smashwords Formatting.  I’ve finally managed to pull over all of my old Smashwords How-To posts from my real blog.  It is a 5 part series (with a sixth part coming soon on the NCX/TOC).  You can find it on my blog under Articles on Formatting.  I’m hoping to get some other posts up too, including how to do an html TOC.

I’ve taken on several new clients in the past couple months. 

  • I branched into Nonfiction formatting with Pooktre and their “pamphlets” on tree shaping (which is actually a pretty neat thing). 
  • I did a gorgeously written erotic novel by author Kristabel Reed for all 4 platforms (Nook, Kindle, SW, and CS)
  • I’ve also taken on author Larissa Hinton with her cool world of “Iwishacana”, as well as a collection of short fiction and poetry.
  • Eloquent writer Mark Shainblum hired me to format his ROCKIN’ sci-fi short, “Endogamy Blues” — he was referred to me by my lovely cover artist, Stephanie Mooney.  Mark is an excellent writer, and I’m looking forward to possibly working with him on my first formatting of a graphic novel/comic.
  • I worked closely for several weeks with author Phyllis Lily Jules on her heartbreaking, heartwarming debut memoir, “Turning Inside Out”.  Phyllis is one of the kindest, most generous ladies I’ve ever met.  I admire her deeply for her bravery in the face of a hard life, and I highly recommend her book.

I don’t believe this is everyone I’ve taken on in the past few months, but I finally moved my formatting jobs OFF my computer and onto a specific USB for safe-keeping, so it’s not nearby to double-check.  I’m honored to be working with such a grand group of writers!

I’ve also recently taken to what I call “fancy” formatting.  I will be adding it to my list of services.  “Fancy” incorporates fleurons (glyphs) at chapter headings or section breaks, as well as creating pretty title page images.  I did the entire Keegan’s Chronicles series for YA author Julia Crane (ebooks and print), and I’m currently “prettifying” my own books, as well. 

I am also registering CyberWitch Press as an LLC with the state of Kentucky :)

That’s all folks!

New Formatting client – Tara West

Currently available at Barnes & Noble and coming soon to Amazon and Smashwords!

After shedding 30 pounds of baby fat,Sophie Sinora has grown into a pretty, but insecure, teen in bloom. To make her life more complicated, Sophie can sometimes read minds.

Sophie’s BFFs, AJ and Krysta, are also ‘gifted’ with paranormal abilities. Keeping their gifts secret proves difficult, as their powers are strengthening, making them feel more and more like freaks.

When Sophie falls for Jacob, she hopes he’ll ask her out to the Freshman Formal. But when she’s forced to cheat and lie for him, she wonders how far she’ll have to go to make him like her. Add to her growing list of problems – her teacher’s suicidal thoughts, a locker bully who wants to kick her butt, the hot flirt who won’t stop teasing her, her pregnant sister who boots Sophie out of her room, and the growing tension between Sophie and her best friends. Sophie’s got issues.

Hopefully, she can fix them in time to save her teacher’s life and her social life.

Tara is a breeze to work with on ebook jobs.  I’m delighted to count her YA series among my current hires and will be pushing out the next 2 in the series not only on all ebook formats, but for Createspace as well.

I’ve been a busy bee lately with formatting!  I’m currently finishing up with the last 2 books of Sheila Horgan’s awesome Tea Series, a 5 book mystery series that is heavy on the Irish — and y’all know how much I love all things Ireland ;)  They’re really cute and I’m excited to finish reading them!

I just finished formatting two Createspace books for Parody Queen PJ Jones — Driving Me Nuts! and The Paranormal Parody Collection.

I also formatted rockstar YA author Julia Crane’s “Conflicted”, teh 2nd book in her Keegan’s Chronicles series.  Julia is one my closest friends and she lives in Dubai, so I hold in hand her proof copy of Conflicted, and let me tell you… I’m rather good at this Createspace business if I do say so myself… :P

Other than Sheila’s two final books, I am currently working on Athanasios’s “Committed”, the sequel to “Mad Gods” in his Predatory Ethics series.  Tom, as he is known by moi, is a phenomenal writer who likes to dabble in mythology, much like myself!

That’s my update in the ebook formatting world!  I am also currently pushing to finish my now-titled, first-in-a-new-witchcraft-mystery-series “Mother of All” before the end of the month.  I’m a busy girl :)