Manuscript Formatting and the Nuclear Option

This post by Melinda Clayton originally appeared on Indies Unlimited on 5/6/14.

This past fall I published a self-publishing book. It looked great on my computer screen. The formatting was perfect; my spacing, indents, page breaks, etc., were all exactly where they needed to be, so I uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing feeling pretty confident my preview in their online previewer would be error-free.

Boy, was I wrong. My paragraph indents were completely off. Some were indented too far, some not enough, and some just plain missing.

I went back to my manuscript and clicked on the pilcrow (the little paragraph symbol on the tool bar that shows all the formatting in your manuscript). Everything looked fine. Telling myself it must have been an issue on KDP’s end, I uploaded again.

I clicked through the various preview screens. On some devices, the formatting was good. On others, it was clearly off. I couldn’t possibly upload a book that was going to have lousy formatting on half the devices that downloaded it.

I knew what needed to be done; I’d even written about it in the book. I needed to go nuclear.

My manuscript was written as a Word .doc, and Word is known for sometimes having hidden code that not even the pilcrow will show you. This is particularly true if you’ve copy/pasted a lot, saved in various places, or emailed the document back and forth.


Click here to read the full post on Indies Unlimited.


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