Before you publish an eBook, you need to format the eBook. The way you format the eBook depends entirely on how you want to publish your eBook. Formatting for a Clickbank product is very different than formatting for a Kindle eBook, for instance.
There are a few different things to take into consideration with eBook formatting:
- How it’ll look to the end user.
- The format required by the eReader, if applicable.
- The “vibe” you want your book to convey.
- How the eBook will be read.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of eBook formats and look at how you format each type.
Clickbank, PDF and Digital Downloads
Clickbank eBooks are best in PDF format, as are most other digital downloads. Sending a Word document is too unprofessional and sending an .exe reader is perceived as too dangerous. There really is no option except PDF.
Here are a few tips for formatting your PDF:
- Header graphics. Having a header graphic as well as a footer graphic can make your book seem a lot more professional. Choose a graphic that has the same colors as your brand to promote brand continuity.That said, try to make sure the file size is small by using a GIF with just a few colors or a lower resolution JPEG. This avoids the “really laggy PDF” problem because of graphics.
- Font. A good font in print is different than a good font for eBooks. In print, most fonts are serif fonts. For instance, the ever popular Times New Roman was popularized because it was so good in print.In eBook however, sans serif fonts are much better. Tahoma, Verdana, Calibri and Century Gothic are all good choices.
Note: Sans Serif fonts are fonts without the little marks at the end of characters.
- Have a cover image. This helps welcome people to the experience of reading your eBook. It’s also an opportunity to look more professional.
- Spacing. You’ll usually want to have spacing that’s more than single spaced. Sometimes double spaced is too wide though, so play with your spacing a bit to get the perfect effect. You want your text to be easy to read, so people don’t have to squint, without it looking like a lot of white space.
- Font size. There’s no hard and fast rule on font sizes. Again, you want it big enough to be readable, but not so big that it looks abnormal. Play with different sizes. Many publishers use between 12 and 14 point sizes, though there are eBooks that go a bit larger as well.
- Margins. Play with your margins, especially if you’re using header and footer graphics. Your text shouldn’t collide with the top, the bottom or the sides.
- Images, tables and sidebars. All other page elements in your eBook should have some spacing around them. Try to have your tables and sidebars be colored to make your pages seem less monotonous.
Once you’ve got everything together, try sending your book to a few friends to review before having it published.
Formatting for Kindle
Publishing on the Kindle means taking out a lot of the formatting that you’d normally put into a PDF. For example, font sizes are chosen by the reader, not by you. You can still use italics and bold, but you shouldn’t use bullets.
Graphics can only be in black and white. You need to page break after every chapter so the Kindle knows when a new chapter is beginning. So on and so forth.
To learn about all the Kindle formatting guidelines, go to:
Formatting for Barnes & Nobles Nook
Formatting for the Nook is quite different than the Kindle. You can use bullets, as well as underlines. Indents should be done using the paragraph formatting tool, not with the tab key.
Unlike the Kindle which uses page breaks, the Nook uses section breaks. Page breaks are ignored completely.
For a complete list of the things you need to check off in your Nook formatting process, visit:
Formatting for the iBookstore
The best way to format your book for the iBookstore is to use Apple’s proprietary iBooks Author software:
You can also go through the Lulu to publish your iBookstore book:
You can also submit your book through iTunes Producer:
Since there’s no set iBookstore application process, there’s no set format. Lulu for instance doesn’t accept iBooks Author format, while other publishers do.
Adding Images to Your eBook
Images can be a huge part of your book’s content. There are a few different places you can get images.
- Take photographs. If you’re doing something that involves demonstrations, take a lot of photos. Choose the best ones after the fact. For example, if you teach a workout in your book, make sure to get photos of all your poses.
- You can create the graphics from scratch. For example venn diagrams, pie charts, mindmaps and other teaching tools can be created from scratch with a variety of different tools.
- You can get free stock images from morguefile.com or sxc.hu.
- You can get paid stock images from iStockPhoto or Dreamstime.
Note: If you use stock image, make sure you get permission to use it in book format.
Links Inside Your eBook
Every device except the Nook supports linking. Formatting your links depends in part on what device people are using to read your book. An iPad reader for instance has a lot more web access than a Kindle reader.
Links inside your book should point to other resources that people might be interested in. You should also have links back to your website and to other products that you offer.
Your eBook should be only one piece of your entire marketing apparatus. Use it to demonstrate your credibility, as well as to get people interested in other products you’re selling. Don’t over promote, but do make sure your audience knows you have more to offer.
For example, in Tim Ferris’s bestselling book “The Four Hour Workweek,” he repeatedly mentioned free bonuses and guides that were only available on his website. This drove tons of traffic to his site.
That’s how you format your eBook for a variety of different formats. Make sure you read the formatting guidelines for whatever eBook you’re publishing before you try to upload your book. If you find the process confusing, you can try outsourcing the actual conversion process. That said, if you follow the eReader platform’s directions, you should generally have no trouble getting your book up within one or two tries.