Prepare your story for print or eBook conversion

Format paragraphs to make changes easier

WWord Spacehether planning a book, eBook, or just writing for pleasure, why not type your story so you can easily make changes later? Learn to prepare your paragraphs so they can be easily converted to Kindle or Kobo. Here are eight tips to make you look like a pro.

  1. There is only one space after a period and most punctuation marks. And there is no space before, except en-dashes and parentheses.
  2.   Paragraph Space After 4Avoid double-returns or pressing the return key on your keyboard twice at the end of a paragraph. If you want extra space between paragraphs, it is better to format paragraphs to add extra space after a return. The amount of space can be increased or decreased later.
  • In Microsoft Word, choose Paragraph from the Format menu. A dialog box appears. Change Spacing Below to 6 pt. (There are 72 points in 1 inch.)
  • Later, you can highlight your text and increase the Spacing Below to 8 or 10 points, reduce it to 4 points, or remove the extra spacing.
  • When you press the Return key twice, you’re probably getting 14 points of leading between paragraphs, which is a lot.
  1. Paragraph First LineAvoid using tabs to indent new paragraphs. If you wish to have an indent at the beginning of new paragraphs—to show readers it’s a new paragraph—avoid pressing the tab or space key on your keyboard. Instead, set up a First-Line Indent or Paragraph Indent.
  • In Microsoft Word, click on the Format drop-down menu across the top of your screen, and choose Paragraph. A dialog box appears.
  • In the Indentation section, change Special to First Line.
  • Change By to your preferred amount. Kindle recommends .05 in if you want the first line of every paragraph to be indented.
  1. Use style sheets to format your story. Microsoft Word and Pages have style sheets for headlines, body text, and subheads that you can use or alter. Adobe InDesign does not come with style sheets but you have much more control with Paragraph and Character Style Sheets.
  • In Microsoft Word, the Styles are on the Ribbon across the top of your page. If you don’t see it, choose View > Ribbon.
  • To modify or create new Styles in Microsoft Word, choose Format > Style. A dialog box appears.
  • Click on the New or Modify button to create Style Sheets. Click OK after formatting the text or paragraphs.
  1. Insert a page break at the end of a chapter to force new chapters to the next page. You may only have a little text on a page, but you want a new chapter to start on a new page.
  • In Microsoft Word, click on the Insert drop-down menu across the top of your screen, and choose Break > Page Break.
  1. Invisibles ParagraphTurn on Show/Hide so you can see symbols or all nonprinting characters. You can see whenever you pressed the Return key or the Tab key when you’re typing your story. And you’ll know when you’ve accidently pressed the Return key more than once.
  • In Microsoft Word, click on the Invisibles button on the Ribbon at the top of your page.
  1. Avoid pasting-in images, instead insert a JPEG (or .jpg) image with center alignment.
  • In Microsoft Word, click on the Insert drop-down menu and choose Photo > Picture From File. Find your image and click OK.
  • Change the alignment to center alignment so the image will center horizontally on your page.
  1. Do not use headers and footers in Microsoft Word, or any other program. A header is the type across the top of a page; a footer is the type at the bottom of a page. Headers and footers such as title page number will not appear in Kindle, so avoid using them.

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