How to format a Word document ready for an ebook conversion house
by Amanda Greenslade

Using an ebook conversion house like Australian eBook Publisher is a good idea if you care about the appeal and professionalism of your final epub and mobi files. Authors who DIY often make the mistake of using a meat-grinder (ebook conversion software) and skip out the vital steps needed before and after using conversion software to ensure good ebook files are the result.

There is a complex procedure used at Australian eBook Publisher, and more than one person is involved in crafting each ebook. We are able to summarise what we do into a three-step process, as follows:

We are happy to convert Microsoft Word, PDF and other file types (see submission guidelines) as they are. For those that could benefit from some improvement, however, we offer Ebook Designer's Touch™ (ebook design). We are also happy to advise our customers how to format a Microsoft Word document so that it is ideal for an ebook conversion house.

Every book is different, so once your job starts up, one of our technicians will look through your files and advise you about the formatting and paramenters of your particluar project or book, and what is needed. Our ebook technicians will discuss with you what is possible in ebooks and sometimes what is not.

For example, single line-spacing is the only type of leading that is possible with ebooks as it is essentially a kind of HTML code (XML to be specific). Another examle is, if you have used two spaces after periods, these will be changed to single spaces.

When it comes to designing and/or formatting a manuscript in Microsoft Word, one of your primary tools is the use of different fonts. Firstly, please note that it's up to you to ensure you have the rights to transfer any assets you want in your ebook to us (fonts, images etc.).

Using Microsoft Word, you can choose particular fonts for your manuscript, but please make sure you supply them to us if they are fonts you have installed on your computer.

We usually let devices set the body font and we only control the headings. It will be unknown until we try whether a particular font will be allowed to be embedded. Not all devices support embedded fonts either, and the reader can—at any time—choose to set their own fonts and ignore "publisher fonts".

Manuscript Formatting Guidelines
The following guidelines are optional, depending on your book and project needs. They represent the ideal formatting for ebook conversion, if—for example—you want to do it yourself and get it all right and control it yourself prior to ebook conversion

  • Have one single document for your book, all in the correct order.
  • Use paragraph spacing not empty lines between paragraphs (for example in headings and after the end of the scene before a significant point of view, time or space change, within the same chapter)
  • Use indentation not tabs
  • Use one or the other out of (a) block paragraphs or (b) indented paragraphs (not both)
  • Use heading 1, heading 2 and heading 3 etc. styles for your headings
  • Choose an interesting font (and colours) for your headings, but also supply the fonts and notify us of any embedded font requirements prior to quoting
  • Generate the Table of Contents from the heading styles
  • Leave body text alone (we prefer to allow devices to set the body font)

We can perform all the above for you if desired.

Please contact us for details about our Ebook Designer's Touch™ and/or Ebook Conversion Services, which are the best in Australia

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"I have really appreciated your support with my book, Amanda. I'm sure your other clients are of the same opinion. Quality professionalism is never in over supply, neither is generosity of spirit. You have both."—Henry Grossek, radio announcer and author of Game On: Building the Education Revolution

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