How to Format and Structure Your Ebook

If you've never had the pleasure (I use that term loosely) of creating an ebook before, you may not know that the book file you create for your print book is vastly different from the book file you need to create prior to generating an ebook. Here's a handy guide of the things to remember.

Note: The following is based on creating a fiction title versus non-fiction.

The Structure of an Ebook

In a print book, your structure runs a little like this:

  • Other Books By page (optional)
  • Title page
  • Title/Author/Publisher page
  • Copyright page
  • Dedication page
  • Map or other background information page (optional)
  • First page of the work
  • About the Author page

An ebook is much more stripped down, however, and runs like this:

  • Title/Author/Publisher page
  • Copyright page
  • Dedication page
  • Map or other background information page (optional)
  • First page of the work
  • About the Author page

The Formatting

The most difficult thing to get right is going to be your formatting. You need to set up specific styles for all of your headings to get the table of contents in the ebook file to generate correctly. You also need to adjust the formatting on your body text (typically, the Normal style), because the ebook file can't resize for each device/screen type if the text is Justified.

Follow these formatting tips:

  • Titles: Always make these Heading 1.
  • Chapter headings: Always make these Heading 2.
  • Sub headings: Always make these Heading 3.
  • Body text/Normal text: This should be set to Left Aligned.
  • Remove all headers and footers, since ebooks don't have page numbers.
  • If you create your own table of contents, make sure it doesn't list page numbers.
  • Inline formatting is fine.

Ebook creation will probably still give you a headache or two, it always does for me, but with the above tips, it should go just a little smoother.

A.M.


The Taming is Coming

Pre-sales for The Taming start next week. Stay tuned for links for where you can get your copy.