Tags:
  1. J Faceless
    Offline

    J Faceless Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    56
    Location:
    New England

    Formatting Woes

    Discussion in 'Software' started by J Faceless, Feb 2, 2015.

    Hey so I recently finished editing a novel for the beta reading phase of the process. It's not my first time writing a novel but it is the first time I was happy enough with the final version to keep with it. I've also done beta readers before, but it was with scripts and short stories nothing remotely close to this 88,000 word length.

    So yesterday I formatted the whole thing, which took about all day, I was formatting like a boss. Luckily the Pats won to boost my spirits. I copy and pasted, page breaked, got the proper specs online but there are still problems. When you look at it on a kindle (via PDF) the pages look terrible. Sentences are randomly in different fonts, like a sentence will be bold in almost every paragraph for no apparent reason, making it look terrible. It will be different sentences too, some will be in the middle while others the first. Some paragraphs are clear though. The thing is on a computer, this doesn't happen and it looks fine.

    This is stressing me out because I was so happy to have other people read this, but the Kindle font issues ruin the flow. I obviously want to put out the best product for my beta readers but i have no idea how to fix it. Any ideas, or saged advice from you wise scholars?
    Also definitely broke the scroll wheel on my mouse from formatting so much. as Scotty would say, it just couldn't take it.
     
  2. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,015
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    What was the source program for the PDF that you then imported into your Kindle? If it was Word, I'm not going to be much help. I use Scrivener which exports multiple ebook formats as well as .doc, .docx and all the rest. One thing I would suggest since this issue (from what you have said) seems to be showing just in the Kindle display (am I right?) is to give a try to a program called Calibre. Calibre is an ebook storage program that has some great features for converting one ebook format to another and the program is free to download and use. I would suggest that the start format be something other than PDF, though. Calibre should be able to deal with a .doc or .docx as the starting format.
     
    J Faceless likes this.
  3. J Faceless
    Offline

    J Faceless Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    56
    Location:
    New England
    Yeah i originally wrote it in word. Thanks I'll try Calibre.
     
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,015
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    And you most probably already know this, but just in case, Kindle's native format is .mobi. ;)
     
  5. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    My friend simply uses the formatted template from CreateSpace and I think she saves the formatted doc from Word to PDF simply via the "save as" option. But I'm pretty sure there was someone on this forum who didn't like the template. It may have been @peachalulu - I think she wrote an article on the forum on self-publishing. Worth checking out - she gives some good tips.
     
    J Faceless likes this.
  6. Michael Pless
    Offline

    Michael Pless Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2014
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Australia
    Not sure how you formatted in Word, but I know many don't use paragraph styles. They (paragraph styles) speed the formatting process markedly - I can't conceive spending a day to format a novel. If you haven't then the Smashwords formatting guide to get a good, clean manuscript has some excellent explanations and might be worth reading through. I read through the guide as I formatted even though I knew most of what it was telling me so that I didn't miss anything and even then my large novel only took a couple of hours.

    It may also be that when you did your formatting, some code remained embedded in the Word file which has meddled with your final result. The Smashwords document gives good instructions on how to strip these out. Years ago in WordPerfect for Windows, I looked at its reveal codes window and was appalled to see that turning on bold and then turning off bold (for example) saw both commands embedded in the document and fiddling further with bold saw more commands embedded.

    Of course, if you've already gone through all this, please accept my apologies for taking up your time.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,940
    Likes Received:
    5,473
    I too am puzzled as to what would take a day to format a novel. Can you offer any more details on what you did?
     
  8. Void
    Offline

    Void Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2014
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    229
    I'm surprise by this as well. Unless everything used inline formatting, it seems converting a novel to and from manuscript format should be trivial, regardless of length.
     
  9. J Faceless
    Offline

    J Faceless Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    56
    Location:
    New England
    By a day i mean working on it between bouts of shoveling. What I did was restructure the chapters, and renumber them so they were all very similar in length. Changed fonts in different point of view chapter. Basically I moved it from what i have been editing with inserted comments, color changes, aand very basic chapter layouts to the final reader friendly version.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,940
    Likes Received:
    5,473
    Do you have a lot of format changes for small chunks of text, for example italics, block quotes, and so on? Because if I were in this situation, I would convert the whole thing to plain text, stripping absolutely all formatting, and then restore those things.

    What do you mean by "very basic chapter layouts?"

    I'm also concerned about the font change for different points of view, but I suspect that would turn into an unproductive debate.
     
  11. Michael Pless
    Offline

    Michael Pless Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2014
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Australia
    It seems to me - and I'm trying to be helpful here - that your knowledge of how to best use a wordprocessor needs to be increased. It is a tool of the writing trade, after all.

    Guessing that you were in Word leads me to wonder why you inserted comments into the manuscript when Word (and LibreOffice) allows you to add comments that you need not manually remove? Also it seems to me that you need to bone up on paragraph styles because it will save you a lot of work.

    I can't recall ever seeing a novel with a range of typefaces, each different for a particular POV. If I was considering that, I'd want to be absolutely certain that it was essential to the reader's understanding of the story and that it would not harm the reading of it in any way, bearing in mind that some typefaces are easier to read and comprehend than others.

    It's fair enough to have a preferred way of working - I do, and I suppose everyone does, but I always bear in mind that if there's anything I add to my manuscript that is temporary, then I need to find it and winkle it out. Perhaps footnotes are an alternative to different colours in your text?
     
  12. J Faceless
    Offline

    J Faceless Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    56
    Location:
    New England
    The different fonts are miniscule, and because one POV is handwritten notes.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,940
    Likes Received:
    5,473
    Just a note: If you're planning to have this traditionally published, you won't be submitting it that way, right? Deviation from standard manuscript format is, I understand, likely to get you rejected.
     
  14. Kasubi
    Offline

    Kasubi Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rwanda
    Hi J,

    Poor you. Bloody awful when you spend a day of your life doing something and it doesn't turn out how you hoped.

    Viewing PDFs on a Kindle usually turns out terribly. Try converting the .doc into .mobi using Calibre. It's a neat little programme that lets you switch between e-formats. Always best done from the original .doc rather than a PDF, though.

    If you are still experiencing problems, you could try washing the text. It's a last resort, but might work.

    Window's key+R (for run) then type notepad. Copy all of your MS (ctrl+A for all then ctrl+C for copy) and paste (ctrl+V for god knows what) into Notepad.

    This removes all of the formatting from the text. Open a fresh Word document and copy/paste from Notepad back into Word. It's painful, because it strips everything: italics, bold, page indent - everything.

    But it gives you a clean MS.

    Then you'd need to go back through.

    Another tip when formatting ebooks: never indent your paragraphs using tab. Always use the paragraph function and indent first line. 0.7 is usually about right. Tabs lose their formatting with some econverters (notably Smashwords), whereas paragraph indents don't.

    Another top tip for a professionally formatted manuscript is not to use different fonts for different perspectives. Just don't. It doesn't help econversions and it wouldn't wash with a publisher. There's no reason to do it, and it may well be causing some of the problems you've mentioned.

    Hope something in all of that solves the problem. If not, let me know. Perhaps attach a screenshot of what's going on.
     
    J Faceless likes this.

Share This Page