All Paragraphs Are Not Created Equal
Make sure your entire Word document is currently under the “Normal” style setting. If you turned off alllllll your Autocorrect options like I told you too, it should be. If it’s not, you didn’t do what I told you and a pox upon your house.
But if you were my precious little angel and did what I asked, you’re ready to start formatting!
You ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT use tabs in your Smashwords document. Can’t do it. Meatgrinder will puree your document and your readers will be wrinkling their noses at your epub saying, “This guy has NO idea how to format an ebook…”
Also, do you really want your paragraphs to have a space between them rather than an indent? In my humble opinion, that’s not really professional looking. When I’m devouring a traditionally published, paperback novel there aren’t spaces between the paragraphs. Just sayin’.
Here is exactly how I format my paragraphs. Grab a shot of whiskey or eight, you’ll need them.
Highlight the entire document. (You can do this by going to edit and clicking “Select All”.) Right click inside your highlighting and go to “Paragraph”.
You’ll have your little paragraph box up. You want it to look like this:
Make sure there is never anything in the AT: box. Ever. I always do either .25 or .35 for my first line indent because I think it looks best, but Mark says you can go up to .5. Consider the size of your average ereader screen. You don’t want the indent taking up half the line, so .25 is a good compromise.
At this time, you also want to have your epub or original word processor document open so you can return your italics to your document (remember, the nuclear method ate them). Just highlight what should be italicized and push your SWitalics style button. Don’t use the italics button from up in the tool bar of Word, they’ll get lost in the Meatgrinder. This is the single most time-consuming part of the SW formatting process. Look at it this way, this is a great time to scan for errors.
Finally, you’ll also center your section breaks as you come across them by highlighting the asterisks and choosing your SWcentered style. (Or, again alternatively, click the paragraph BEFORE the section break and hit your SWScenebreak button).
Please skip ahead to Part 4, where you will learn how to breathe. Or something.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them and I will attempt to respond promptly with either an answer or perfectly crafted bullsh**. I’m not an expert!
If you’re looking for ebook formatting tips for files OTHER than those used at Smashwords, let me refer you to ebook god Guido Henkel and his nine part series on crafting the perfect ebook.