Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Formatting for Indie Pub

 Below, a photo I shot from my TV, a rocket booster being brought back into Port Canaveral on the barge it landed on way out to sea. 

Port Canaveral, May 2021


Ganesh's mommy went on vacation but is once again posting photos of the world's most photogenic kitty.

Ganesh, evidently losing his interest in reading

 And . . . I am happy to announce that my son and his wife have become the parents of two little girls - girl kittens, that is, from the same litter but far from twins, though they both register off the scale in the cute quotient.

Buffy & Muffin



As mentioned last week, this is a subject Mosaic Moments has covered before, but while formatting Matthew Wolfe - Revelations, it occurred to me that this is such an important topic - and I have added so many new viewers in recent years - that this might be a good time for an update. (FYI, the advice below was written without looking at my previous blog on the subject. Hopefully, I've still managed to cover all the bases.)


I have, over the years, created several instruction sheets on formatting your ebook for upload to Amazon KDP, Smashwords, or other online vendors. (If you write in Word Perfect, as I do, you will find a post in Archives (or in my book Making Magic With Words) detailing how to do transfer your work from Word Perfect to Word. Today’s Formatting Instructions are solely for Microsoft Word*.)

*Although the Menus for doc and docx are very different, the instructions should work for both.

Special Note: You do not - repeat, DO NOT - have to prepare your book in any format except Word unless you plan to upload to each online vendor separately. Which I do not recommend unless you are highly tech savvy and/or have but one book and infinite time to fuss with it. Amazon accepts both docx and doc. Smashwords accepts only doc (an easy “Save As”.) Smashwords will take your manuscript and translate it into just about every format known, a service well worth the small cost. They also provide a free Guide to Smashwords that explains exactly how to do it.

I upload my book to Amazon in docx, save a version to doc, and then upload to Smashwords. Et voilà, I’m done. Easy-peasy. Why suffer if you don’t have to?

~ * ~

Before beginning Final Formatting
- you should have edited your manuscript until it is as close to perfection as you can make it. Yes, you will still find things you want to change, but NO WAY should you begin to format for indie pub until your manuscript is truly ready to become a book. Shed the Amateur mold. Approach your work as a Professional.

The following instructions pre-suppose you’ve written your opus in standard manuscript format: 1" margins all around, double space, 5-space paragraph indent (automatic), Hard Page End at the end of each chapter.

Grace note: If, by any chance, you do not have auto paragraph indents and Hard Page Ends, make those changes before you begin formatting.
      For Automatic Paragraphs, use Ctrl+A to Select All. From the Menu, choose Paragraph - Indent (Manuscript format - .5; Book format - .3)
      For a Hard Page End, use Ctrl+Enter.

Important: At the end of each work session, save a copy of your work to a thumb drive. (Mine is a permanent attachment to my computer - “G” drive, always ready for download.)

Formatting Your Manuscript

1.  If you have written your manuscript in sections, put them all together in one document. (My method: I copy Section One with a new name that covers the entire ms - for example:  Wolfe3.Final. I drop down to the end, enter a Hard Page End, copy Section Two and paste it in place. Repeat for as many sections as necessary.)

2.  Select entire manuscript (Ctrl+A). Change double space to single. Change .5 paragraph indent to .3.

3.  Select entire manuscript (Ctrl+A). Justify the right margin.

4.  Turn on Codes by selecting ¶ in the Menu Bar. Keep them on as you do your final edit(s).

     Note:  "Codes On" allows you to see the places where you have two spaces instead of one between words, places where you accidentally added a manual tab stop, etc.

Edit from the Top

Even though you’re certain your work is perfect, while you are doing all the things listed below, you should also be reading your manuscript for the things that still need fixing, from character descriptions, failure to make your point clear, lack of continuity, and “OMG, what on earth did I mean when I wrote that!”

1.  Chapter Header.  Select chapter & number, increase font size to 14 (or desired size). Center. Go to Paragraph Indent - delete .3 (to ensure centering is not lopsided).  

2.  Date & Location line (if applicable). Be sure these lines are in Italics, flush left margin. (Select line(s); go to Paragraph Indent - delete .3.)

3.  Quotes. Codes On (¶) provides a way to check that your margin changes worked. In case you’ve forgotten, any quote longer than three lines should be indented (.3 from the Left Margin). [The classic rule is to indent both left & right margins, but in the era of reading on small screens, most authors these days indent just the left margin. Otherwise, the words can end up as a really weird-looking column down the middle of the page.]

4.  Unusual problems. Occasionally, something really odd turns up. Example:  an entire paragraph suddenly does a double indent. There is usually only one way out of these problems:  retype the entire paragraph.

Also important:

1.  A final Spell Check

2.  Add Historical Notes, if applicable (at the end)

3.  Add Author Notes, if desired*

4.  Add Author Inventory*

*I copy and paste these from my previous book, making whatever changes are necessary to accommodate the latest book.

After that . . .

I advise one more read-through, just in case—particularly if I made quite a few changes in the Formatting run-through.


Questions?  E-mail me at


Next week:  Final preparations before Upload - Blurbs, Keywords, Subtitles

~ * ~

For Blair's updated Facebook Author Page, click here. 

  For Blair's website, click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace/Blair Bancroft


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