Important Dos and Don'ts For Formatting Manuscripts for Converting to .ePub
Learn to use the STYLES feature of the software you use to creature your
layouts for your print book designs. Word Processing software such as Microsoft
Word allow you to define different styles for your text. For example, you can
set up a style called BODY TEXT that will be Times Roman 12 pt. justified with
a .25 inch indent for the first line, another called BODY TEXT FIRST which
would not have the first line indented (for the first paragraph in a chapter),
and a third called CHAPTER HEADING that will be 24 pt. Times Bold centered.
Then all you need to do is apply the appropriate style to each paragraph. Your
styles need not have these names or these definitions and you can use as many
as your design requires. Just remember that every paragraph, including the
Table of Contents, the Copyright Page, the Bibliography, etc. need to have
a style definition. Using styles greatly streamlines the process of converting
Word to eBook formats.
Don't use forced hyphens for formatting. They're likely wind up in an eBook in the middle of a line.
Don't use forced line breaks: They're also likely to wind up in the middle of a line.
Don't rely on specialty fonts such as Old English or script, to help communicate. Your readers probably won't see them in an eBook.
Avoid laying type over a background image. These things are coming, but most current and all older eBook reading devices don't support them.
Do use your software's Auto Page Numbering feature. If you manually place page numbers, they will flow into the eBook in unwanted place.
When creating a Word document with converstion to eBook in mind, don't use
tabs. The only exception is in creating a table, keeping in mind that only
small tables with few columns work in an eBook.
Don't use double line spacing to create extra space between paragraphs or sections of type. They'll vanish in an eBook. Instead, use a paragraph style that specifies a space above or below the text.
Above all, don't think you have to sacrifice design in a print book just to make its eBook counterpart easier. By using tips like this you can have both a print and an electronic edition that readers will enjoy and recommend to others