Thursday, May 1, 2014

Formatting Tips

This has been said in a lot of other places, but I just spent part of yesterday helping my best friend format her book (The Lady is Blue by Aurora Springer). She made a bunch of simple mistakes that made her task much harder.

  • Spell Checking. With big documents (80,000+ characters) Word's spell checker gets erratic. You may have to check sections.
  • Use the formating macros.  Createspace defines a nice set in their template. Use header1, header2, ... for chapter headers. You can create your own, I've made one for letters, which occasionally should appear in regency romances. (They didn't use twitter, did they?)
  • Use the Format paragraph to control indents and spaces rather than adding your own with tabs. It looks fine in the hard copy, but when converting to Kindle you get very erratic paragraphs. It looks sort of lousy if your first page has uneven paragraphing.
  • If you use headers, using the automatic table of contents is easy. This is one place where word shines, getting libreoffice to generate a web-link table of contents has consistently defeated me (and my computer scientist husband).
  • Word's grammar checker is better than Libreoffice's so it's probably a good idea to hold your nose and do a pass through it.