Simple eBook Formatting Using MS Word

The-Journey-Begins_OPI hear lots of chat about the difficulties of ebook formatting. Now I won’t say doing your own is a cinch, but I’m here to tell authors, aspiring authors, and everybody standing on the sidelines because they think the ebook formatting process is too hard or too expensive … that you can do it yourself!

I’ve created my own simple formula, and it appears below. Important: this applies to fiction manuscripts (mss) built with an “indent” style, where each new graph is indented with no white space between graphs, not “block” style, which adds a line of white space between graphs.

There are many reasons to create your own ebooks: 1) so you can add new titles to each backlist title as you launch new books, so you can catch and change those last couple of pesky typos someone is sure to point out, and 3) because it saves money and provides more control.

Amazon’s Word doc conversion process will create a lovely basic ebook, as long as you format your Word doc correctly and do not have a bunch of extra code to mess up the works. The following process is based on Word 2010. Older or newer Word versions users will have to adapt. First, be sure to run through your Manuscript Proof Checklist, then go through this process after the final, final proof. I use Times, 12 point font.

Okay. Here we go.

MS Word is the problem

If your mss has been shared with betas and/or editors and proofreaders (which it should be), and they’ve added comments and you’ve tracked changes ad infinitum, all the code that Word auto-adds to the mss to make that happen is a problem. Sadly, “saving” changes and deleting comments doesn’t delete the code, and it can wreak havoc when your doc is being converted into an ebook. If comments and tracking have been added to your work in progress (WIP) during the natural evolution of your novel, you need to go through Step #1. If your WIP hasn’t been adulterated with a lot of code, you can skip Step #1.

Note: If you’re an avowed experimenter, use your existing code-heavy doc and skip to Step #4, upload to Amazon, then preview your mobi file and see what it looks like.

Step 1: Strip out the code

A simple software program called “Notepad” comes free and pre-loaded on every PC. To locate it, simply type the word “Notepad” into the search box bottom left in your Start menu. Click on the program and a new document will come up. Save this as “WIP – stripped” or whatever. Now open your WIP, “copy” it, and paste it into the saved Notepad doc. (Be sure to add all additional content to your mss prior to this step, such as front matter (copyright info, ISBN, etc.), and an excerpt from your next book at the end.) Now highlight all the “stripped down” text in the Notepad doc and paste it into a BRAND NEW Word doc. Save it. This is called the “nuclear” method. From this point on, you will no longer touch the Tab button or the space bar on your computer, got it?

Note: As Stef noted in the comments, “The problem with “nuking” the document using Notepad is that it removes bold formatting, and, more importantly italic formatting.” … I don’t think we often have much bolded text in a fiction doc, but yes, you will have to go through and replace italics, bolded text, small caps for “signs,” etc. She also notes to try Wordpad first to avoid this. You’ll also find Wordpad on your PC. And just an FYI, I no longer use the nuclear method on my mss because my editors and proofreaders and I don’t add comments and track changes in the mss Word doc.

Step 2: Create styles

smiley-faces_OpStyles are Word’s way to standardize the treatment and appearance of words, characters, and blocks of text. Although your Word doc formatting looks correct when you use the Tab button to indent and the space bar to create multiple extra spaces, etc., your ebook formatting won’t look right if you create visual effects using manual processes.

You need to create a different STYLE to define each element.

First Graph Style: First graph of each chapter and scene
In a fiction mss, the first graph in each new CHAPTER and SCENE should begin with the first line flush left, which means pulled all the way to the left margin – no indent. The first line of each subsequent graph is slightly indented. If you create this manually, during the convert ebook process it will be disregarded and the flush-left opening graphs may be indented unless you use this trick: Fool the converter by creating the very smallest indent possible, .01″, which will not be visible to (most) human eyes, but will provide all the direction your ebook formatting converter requires. How to create this style:

  • In Word’s upper menu bar, find the section far right that says, “Change Styles.” Don’t click on the arrow next to it! Click on the arrow directly below those words. A new sidebar will open.
  • At the very bottom of that sidebar you’ll see three small squares with weird letter A’s inside. Mouse over the far left square and you’ll see the words, “New Style.” Click on it.
  • Name your first style .01 First Graph Indent. Leave the rest of the form alone.
  • At the VERY bottom of that menu, choose “Format,” then “Paragraph.”
  • Under “indentation,” type in 0.01” – the rest should be single spacing, no spacing before or after, etc.

Indented Graph Style: Indented graphs
Each subsequent graph after the first should be slightly indented. I use a .3″ indent, many authors prefer a .5″ indent. You decide. Follow the instructions above to create a new style, and name it 3” Graph Indent. Or whatever.

Centered Line Style: Centered scene delineators
Scene delineators, such as * * *, (if you use them) should be centered. Yes, you need to create a style. Follow the instructions above.

Step 3: Apply headings, styles & page breaks

To apply any style or heading, simply place your cursor to the left of the line or graph you want to “style.” No need to highlight the entire block of text. Yes, you have to go through the entire NEW Word doc with the Style menu open and apply. It goes fast once you begin. Note: You can select the entire mss and apply the style “3” Graph indent,” then change out everything else.

  • Heading 1: Apply Word’s existing Heading 1 to each chapter: ex, “Chapter One.”
  • First Graph Indent: The first graph in each new CHAPTER and SCENE should be styled .01 First Graph Indent.
  • 3” Graph Indent: Every other graph should be indented.
  • CENTERED: Scene delineators, such as * * * (if you use them) should be centered.
  • Add page breaks: Insert a page break at the end of each chapter: Place your cursor below the last line, go to Insert in the Word top left menu, and click on Page Break.

Note: You can modify Word’s Heading 1 if you’d like the chapter headings flush left, or more space between the chapter heading and the first graph. To modify a style, right-click on the style in the formatting menu and choose “modify.”

Step 4: Upload to Amazon as a draft

Last but not least, you’re going to upload your formatted Word doc to your Amazon Bookshelf and let Amazon convert it. You’ll have to go through the “Create a new book” process, upload the mss, make a note of any typos, save it as a DRAFT ONLY, then download the preview file and email it to your Kindle or iPad, and scroll through it, check it out, and adjust as necessary. Here’s how to add a new title on Amazon:

  • Go to your bookshelf
  • Click on “Add new title” button top left
  • Under enter book details – all I add is “book name,” author, cover, book content file
  • Wait for the book to convert – ignore typos for now if you want
  • Under “Preview your book,” > Downloadable previewer > choose “Download Book Preview File”
  • Bottom right, “save as draft”
  • Email the mobi file to your ereader and check it out

In conclusion, there are a million ways to create ebooks, but this process is doable for non-techies and avoids the purchase and/or learning curve required for the use of additional vendors such as Scrivener, Calibre, Vellum, or Mobipocket. Good luck!

Readers, what process do you use to format your ebooks? If you use a professional formatter, what is the cost? Are you happy with the quality?

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38 Responses to Simple eBook Formatting Using MS Word

  1. Stef October 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    The problem with “nuking” the document using Notepad is that it removes bold formatting, and, more importantly italic formatting.

    The way we get around this (rather than inserting a # marker to all italics to find and replace italics later on) is to use “Wordpad”, which is an RTF document and removes html bloat with at least a 99% success rate on our part.

    Of course, if there is any stubborn html bloat that’s messing with the conversion after trying Wordpad, then Notepad will see it off.

    Once the document is pasted into Wordpad it can then be copied and pasted into a virgin Word .docx – for a pre-formatted (and free) Word template with a 5mm hanging indent set, you can download one from the Layout Tips page on our website.

    I recommend (free) Calibre to convert the MS into mobi and epub formats – to create a faithful mobi (that looks great on the Amazon preview) save the .docx as a web page filtered (which removes bloat and then convert via Calibre. For epub use the .docx – this way you only need one master .docx for both versions.

    In Calibre, you can set the Table of Contents to identify the heading tags, e.g. in Word we use the Heading 2 tag for our chapter headings (we try to avoid subheadings because epub tends to hide them in the NCX) so to get Calibre to identify the heading, simply type:


    into the Level One ToC (Xpath expression) and presto! it does all the work for you.

    We set the subheadings (level 2 & 3) to //h:h3 and //h:h4.

    It really is better to upload a mobi to Amazon rather than a .docx – the preview looks great and the NCX is fully functional, which it often isn’t with Word uploads.

    One final point is that you can auto-generate a ToC at the front of the Word docx by using the “insert Table of Contents” command (but Calibre places one at the back of the book anyhow)

    • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      Great tips, Stef – thank you so much! I added a note about your Wordpad comment to the article, and I appreciate it. As for Calibre, the program just doesn’t work for some people – myself included. I created my process after Amazon refused to accept my Calibre-generated files. I also do not create a Table of Contents for my (fiction) novels. So far, no complaints.

      What is the NCX?

      • Stef October 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

        I can understand that, Molly – Amazon *used* to reject some Calibre formats a long while back, but the designer Kovid Goyal has since been recognized as the leading light in MS conversions. Far better than Mobipocket, which was acquired by Amazon donkey’s years ago.

        It’s true that ToCs and NCX navigation are not really needed for novels (readers are directed to the last page they read on Kindle) unless the reader wants to backtrack/forward quickly.

        Keep up the good work, Molly!

        • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

          The last time I tried Calibre-to-Amazon was probably a year ago, summer of 2013. Google Play will also reject Calibre-generated files, as recently as two months ago. It was so frustrating that I gave up and simplified my process. Now I format all my mss docs in Word as I go, avoid leaving comments & tracking in the mss doc itself (at all costs!), and upload directly to Amazon and all the other sales sites. Frustration gone. Thanks again, Stef!

          • Stef October 6, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

            I think you’ll find the Wordpad method most useful, Molly. Post-Track changes, just accept all changes and delete all comments and then nuke via Wordpad, and you’re golden!

          • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

            Perfect. A huge benefit to those who need to do the “strip code” step. As I noted in the article, I no longer use track changes or comments and I format as I go – so for me, my method is a snap. If it gets even one author off the fence and on Amazon, I’ll be thrilled. Thank you again for your help!

      • Stef October 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

        For a lucid definition of NCX (ToC) paste this link into your browser:

  2. Laurie Harper October 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    This is very generous of you, and so helpful to all authors. Thank you.

    • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      Thanks Laurie! As I said above, it’s a SIMPLE ebook. No Table of Contents, no fancy chapter headings, no subheads. But it works!

  3. Dannie Hill October 6, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    I’ve published 4 novels and used Word for them all. You’re right, Molly. It takes a bit of effort but it’s not that hard. There are a few books out there now that cover all the new Word programs. I’ve also used Calibre after I set the interior, but it’s important to go back and check it as there might be some changes. I will usually load it onto my Kindle for computers to see how it turns out and make adjustments if needed.

    Great post– as usual

  4. A.K.Andrew October 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    This is a fantastic how-to post Molly. I use Scrivener, so have hoped I would never have to rely on Word, but this is brilliant to know there is an alternative. Thanks so much.

    • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

      That’s a huge benefit of Scrivener, A.K.! You won’t need to do this. 😉

  5. Anne R. Allen October 6, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    This is so useful! I knew about Notepad, but not the intricacies of “Styles”. Thanks so much!

    • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      Anne, I just tried commenter “Stef’s” Wordpad suggestion – it works so far.
      1) delete all comments & accept all changes in original doc > show final document
      2) copy & paste into Wordpad
      3) copy & paste into a clean Word doc
      4) create & apply styles, etc.

  6. Peter Spenser October 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    I want to respond to your ending questions, one at a time.

    “Readers, what process do you use to format your e-books?”

    I write using Microsoft Word 11 for Mac, then export using the “File > Save as Web Page…” menu, and I then click on the button that says: “Save only display information into HTML.” This is the equivalent of the command in the Windows version of Word to “Save as Web Page, Filtered.” This gives me my book as an .htm file, along with a folder of any images that I may have placed in my .doc or .docx manuscript. (I have used this method with both types of Word files.)

    Next, I open up Calibre and add that .htm file to it. After a few button choices and check marks to set a few settings, I export my book as an EPUB file. That EPUB file, along with a separate cover image, is what I upload to Amazon KDP. I have found that Amazon’s computers convert an EPUB file to a Kindle book with far fewer glitches than if you send KDP a MOBI file. I have also discovered that any uploading failures that KDP reports are not the fault of Calibre’s conversion. Those failures either originate farther back in the process, with your Word file or the .htm file to which you converted it, or you have checked an incorrect choice in Calibre. Some people have gotten e-mails from Amazon technicians who have said that Amazon does not support Calibre files. That merely means that they will not help you fix your problem if you get an upload error message. (They, supposedly, will try to help you if you have trouble with a Word file. I don’t know if that’s true, or if their “help” is very helpful.) Amazon has *always* accepted properly formatted, Calibre-created files. I have been sending them mine for years.

    The Calibre conversion process itself is fast and painless. When I say “fast” I mean that a person who is a moderately quick mouse clicker with an average-sized book can use Calibre to go from an .htm file to a finished EPUB in less than one minute. I’ve timed it. When I say “painless” I mean, once you get the routine down—and there really are only a very few Calibre settings that you have to set—you can do, and re-do, all of your books very easily. The “re-do” part is the best of all of this. If your book does not look they way that you want when you view it on a Kindle device or app, it’s a simple process to tweak it to be the way you want. Change the paragraph indent amount, or make your chapter headings larger? No problem. Try it, re-do the formatting, and see if you like it. You can easily spend more time trying and deciding things like that than you will spend doing the actual formatting and converting.

    The one problem that I have found with Calibre is that it is not very intuitive (not for me, at least). To solve that problem, I wrote myself a set of instructions for it. Later, I turned those into a book, which got good reviews but which I am not advocating that you purchase. The reason is that Calibre has gotten even easier to use since I first wrote my book, so the book needs revising and updating (which I intend to do “real soon now”). An easy-to-use book is definitely needed (and, yes, I will get mine finished) because Calibre is a large and complex program that does much more than perform simple e-book conversions, and it’s easy to miss something useful. For example, Stef, in the comments above, complains that, even if you add your own Table of Contents to your book in Word, “Calibre places one at the back of the book anyhow.” Actually, Calibre can place its Table of Contents at the back or in the front or even not at all, if that’s what you want. I never use Word to generate a Table of Contents; I always use Calibre for that. Stef is obviously an avid Calibre user, yet has still not found where to set that command. So, maybe this post of Molly’s will get me off my butt and spur me into action.

    Next question: “If you use a professional formatter, what is the cost?”

    Nothing but a little time. I already am a professional formatter. However, if I were to advise someone else, I would say to not pay over $200 for formatting. But… I would also advise you to learn how to do it yourself. If you can use a word processor, you can learn to format your own books.

    Last question: “Are you happy with the quality?”

    The process that I explained a little of above—starting with Microsoft Word (or any good word processor), then getting an .htm file, then using Calibre—has given me great results, consistent results, for longer than I can remember. With a little learning, and a little practice, it can for you, too.

    • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      Wow, Peter – thorough, as always. Thanks!

    • Stef October 6, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

      Good post Peter – and for anyone who wants to place the ToC at the front or not at all you’ll find the options in the “Mobi Output” pane. Another useful setting is in “Look and Feel”pane: I set the minimum line height to 140% for Kindle conversions, which kind of equates to a 1.15 line space one uses in interior design (paperback).

  7. Peabea October 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    Thank you so much Molly and this post is very appreciated. Now if I can just make myself do the editing required. I always enjoy your posts. 🙂

    • Molly Greene October 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      Peabea, thank you so much! Best of luck on your editing task 😉

  8. Jeri October 6, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Before I discovered the many cool things Scrivener could do, I formatted my first two e-books by turning the Word document into a filtered HTML document. After I figured out the kinks of what that would and would not allow for formatting, it worked well, but was too limited.

    I think there are about as many ways to format an e-book as there are writers!

    • Molly Greene October 7, 2014 at 7:43 am #

      Okay, that’s it, looks like I need to dive back into Scrivener – if only just for the ebook formatting function! Thanks, Jeri.

  9. Ruth Harris October 7, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    Molly, thanks! I use Scriv to format mss I create there. I use Jutoh which opens epubs to revise already-formatted books that need editing/updating.

    There’s a learning curve but definitely worth it for the reasons you point out.

    I’ve also heard good things about Vellum which formats Word mss but right now is Mac-only.

    Another advantage of DIY is that formatters are really busy & you often have to wait for your formatted books. I’m the impatient type! I still use a formatter for bundles which can be super large files & probably way beyond my kindergarten-level skills.

    • Molly Greene October 7, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      Scrivener’s ebook formatting ability was the reason I bought the program last year – but the time involved in the learning curve to use it stopped me in my tracks! And agreed, I’ve heard raves about Vellum. It’s expensive, but sounds like it’s worth it – hopefully they’ll come out with a PC version someday. Thanks, Ruth!

  10. Stef October 7, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    What a great thread this has turned out to be!

    For those of you who prefer to concentrate on writing, here is an overview of what to expect from a professional formatter.

    We use Word for the revision master .docxs because it is the general medium for writers and editors and proofreaders. Aside from a very rare error where the writer has used the Enter key mid-sentences (like a carriage return on a typewriter) the current formatting does not really matter.

    This is because the whole document should be stripped of formatting and tab-space indents – and spacebar-formed indents all removed before setting the whole doc with a hanging indent.

    Once this is done, all double spaces and hanging spaces are removed.

    Next we check for sentences split into two paragraphs and resolve them and then check that the writer has used consistent quote marks and apostrophes (straight or curly) and resolve any issues.

    We then check that the writer has not used hyphens instead of parenthetical en/em dashes and resolve those. Then we check for sentences that follow a prior sentence but have no space.

    Now comes the formatting part: as we apply styles to headings and work through the chapters, we zero-indent new chapter/scene starts and keep an eye for any redlines (that show typos). If we spot any “pet” typos we search the entire doc to resolve any others.

    We send the writer a nit report so they can address any other formats they have (that we are not working on).

    Writers often have complicated surnames in their doc, so once we know which is the proper one we add them to the dictionary so any other spellings remain redlined and so can be identified and resolved (it’s not foolproof but very effective).

    Once we have set all the chapter headings we check that they are numbered properly (a common fault) and if the writer wishes we add a ToC at the front of the doc after the copyright.

    We check that all hyperlinks are active (with a http suffix as well) and condense them to smart links.

    Finally, we set the font color of the whole document to “automatic” – this makes sense because the blue hyperlink color looks awful in “midnight” mode if the reader is reading white on black. It also looks more professional in the Amazon preview if the ToC is in a black color rather than the glaring blue one usually sees.

    Next comes the conversions: we provide a free epub file with the Kindle mobi file so we convert, check and run it through epubcheck. Then we convert to mobi and perform the same checks on the end result.

    80% of writers find nits after they get to read their novel on a device, so we build in an after-sales to re-convert the new revision master we supply once they make the final edits.

    The cost for all this, for a 100K novel of 35 or so chapters ranges between $45 and $75 – payment upon satisfaction via PayPal.

    An experienced formatter is an exponent of “find and replace” and can work with confident speed when formatting to keep the fees affordable for indie authors.

  11. elainepinkerton October 7, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks, Molly, for edifying us, as always. You are very generous to share! The thread of comments sheds more light on this subject. I used my son, who processed my new e-book Santa Fe Blogger-Life after Adoption Recovery, but I’d like to be able to use KDP on my own. Not that he didn’t do an excellent job. It sounds like a rather daunting but empowering process.

    • Molly Greene October 7, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Lots of methods exist, Elaine – mine is just one of the many, as you can see by the comments. However, mine will work without the middle step of processing via a third-party vendor. Obviously, paying a pro is the simplest and least frustrating route – with no learning curve – but as my regular subscribers know, I’m a low- and no-cost DIYer, and that’s what I blog about. 😉

  12. Barry Knister October 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Step 5: Throw up your hands, accept that it’s just all too much, and hire a good book formatter.

    • Molly Greene October 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      Ha ha haaaa! Exactly! Except it really IS great to format your own and be able to change something and upload a new version in a few minutes. For free. 😉

      • Stef October 7, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

        Very true, Molly – although revised files ought to be re-converted within a day (or an hour) it can be very frustrating when formatters go AWOL for days/weeks in what should be a speedy process.

        And not all indies have the funds to use such services, though for around half of them, finding a thrifty service would be ergonomic (you can guess what diverse formats we get).

        So, a thank you, Molly, for taking the time to help those still on a learning curve. If you ever decide to contrive a tutorial for Smashwords conversions, I can give a few pointers to avoid bugs that, so far, even the founder of the program is unaware of.

        Keep up the fab work!

      • Barry Knister October 8, 2014 at 5:00 am #

        I’m sure you’re right. I would love to have the freedom and control to make my own changes. But if you look at my photo, you will see why the pleasures of learning how to format my books isn’t, well, a practical idea.

        • Molly Greene October 8, 2014 at 7:59 am #

          No worries, Barry – I’m not trying to convert you!

  13. Hobnails October 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Molly you and your subscribers are a life saver!
    I am about to start the process of formatting my first book for publication on a no-budget basis and – since I am a computer bonehead – have managed to get myself bogged down to the point of sinking without trace in WORD intricacies, particularly STYLES .

    I stumbled on this thread quite by accident and it has to be the best stumble I’ve made in years. Thank you all very much indeed. :))

    • Molly Greene October 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

      Yaaaaay! Just keep in mind it’s only a struggle the first time – email me at authormollygreene (at) gmail (dot) com if you get stuck with the Word part and I’ll try to help. BEST of luck!

  14. Richard Alan October 18, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Another great column, Molly. I’ve tried Calibre and Scriviner, but didn’t like either. I prefer just working in a MS doc. My wife does the first editing go-through (before it is sent to professional editors). In the beginning, my use of tabs drove her crazy, so she made a template for me with all of the style guides I need. She set the styles up as 01-title, 02-1st Chap Graph, 03-BodyText, etc. That way they appear as the first items when I go to the style guide. She also sets the font, font size, and line spacing in the guide. It works great. I use the auto generate TOC for my Kindle download. I make a separate copy for Smashwords since they do not accept the generated TOC. I go through that doc and insert the bookmarks and hyperlinks Smashwords wants. It works for all of the formats they generate. My wife also performs the formatting fixes that Stef discusses in her excellent reply above. My manuscripts have been going through both Kindle and Smashwords without any problems.

    In regards to using tracking — I have my beta readers use tracking, but I do not use the accept function. I review all of the corrections and comments from the various beta readers and make my own changes in a clean copy of my manuscript.

    Once again, thank you for all you share. I have learned so much from your columns.

    • Molly Greene October 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

      Richard, thank you SO much! And thank your wife, as well, for the brilliant suggestion re: setting up styles – the easier, the better. I learned something important from you, so I am deeply grateful that you took the time to comment. Best to you on your book sales!

  15. Richard Kendrick October 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi Molly,
    Your site has already saved me a lot of frustration getting around the Google Play “cannot sanitize epub” error. And I can tell I’ll be perusing a number of your posts once I’m ready to tackle promotion.
    I’ve only just this week published my first novel to KDP and Google Play (and CreateSpace is almost ready). I’ve been using MS Word for 20+ years, feel very comfortable there, and I’m glad to see from your post that I arrived at a lot of my layout choices more or less correctly.
    However, my novel layout style manual (a random selection of books on my bookshelf) has been keeping secrets. Is there a guide or style manual you would recommend?
    And as long as I’m requesting guidance, do you or your readers have a recommendation for epub best practices? At the moment, I feel like I’m probably reinventing the wheel (or possibly just making unwise decisions).
    As an example: after selecting a great font for my chapter headings for my print edition, I didn’t want to give it up in the epub version. So I read up on font embedding, and with some trial and error, managed to get it to behave properly. Along the way, I learned that you can define an alternate, generic font for situations in which your embedded font is unused. At that point, some of my chapters had scene delineators in the form of a centered asterisk, defined by its own style settings. I thought it would be cool if instead I used a small graphic. And it seemed to me that the least labor intensive, most easily adjustable way to achieve that would be to create a font that contained my graphic as the asterisk character. Update the style in Word to use the new font, and all of the dividers are now my graphic. And in the epub version, worst case, scorched-earth scenario, the reader sees an unobtrusive asterisk dividing the chapter. I’m really pleased with the results.
    But a quick survey of my professionally published ebook library, and none of them use embedded fonts at all. Many of them use graphics in place of chapter headings. Which makes me worry that what I’ve done is somehow asking for trouble.

    • Molly Greene October 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      Congrats on your new release, Richard, and so happy the GP article helped. I haven’t done a print book and don’t plan to anytime soon – it’s nearly impossible for indies to get into bookstores – so I can’t help you with PB layouts or keeping that layout intact for an ebook.

      As for epub best practices, several pro formatters commented on this post with extensive info about formatting epubs using Calibre. You might find that useful. I upload directly to Amazon, so I can’t help as I don’t use a third-party resource and am now KDP Select, which means I don’t need epubs, only mobi files.

      And since I keep my mss’s super simple, I can’t help with swapping in graphics for asterisks, etc. Sorry! If you hop over to the The Book Designer’s website, Joel might have something on the subject. Hope this helps!