eBook Formatting 101

Formatting frustration!Formatting a book for publication as an eBook can be easy, but it can also be frustrating. eBooks are much simpler than print books, simpler in that they allow fewer frills and so have more rigorous constraints. Here is a nuts-and-bolts review of the basics for eBook formatting.


If you’d previously prepared your book for print publication, you can pretty much undo all that. eBooks do not need headers or footers or page numbers, so get rid of all of those. If you had sized your print book to 6”x9” or 5.5”x8.5” with a ¼” gutter, toss out all of that. Format your book to 8-1/2”x11”, normal margins (as opposed to mirror margins) with a 0 gutter.


Again, if you’d formatted for print and had your text fully justified (lined up on both the left and right side of the paragraph), now make it all left justified with a ragged right edge. eReaders are a completely different animal than print pages, and because your text will flow from one screen to another based on the size of the text chosen by the reader, right justification will only cause you (and your reader) grief. Continue reading “eBook Formatting 101”

Indie News Beat: The Potential Perils of Percentages

IndieNewsBeatwithCJHave you ever wondered about those percentage royalty rates Amazon offers? What is it with Amazon giving 35% for a sale in a certain price range, and then 70% in a higher price range?

The reason I ask is because of our need for predictability. We like certainty; we like the comfort of knowing what we’re going to get and what’s going to happen. But with many of us, the problem is that predictability tends to evolve into a sense of entitlement. If you’re in a position of power, the fastest way to get people to hate you is to deny them something to which they believe they’re entitled. Parents the world over have to walk the tightrope of whether to discipline their children, since the act of punishing them by denying them something is just as likely to exacerbate undesired behaviour as to correct it. At the societal level, over the last few years regimes in many countries have been finding out the best way to turn a localised insurgency into a full-scale revolution is to deny their populations access to the internet, something which didn’t even exist a generation ago. Continue reading “Indie News Beat: The Potential Perils of Percentages”

Ad Copy Writing Techniques

Ad Copy word cloudBooks exist at the intersection of art and commodity. As art, they suffer from the same malady of all art: they often get short shrift in the multiple priorities of daily life. People can and do live their whole lives without reading for pleasure. It is difficult from a marketing perspective to argue for a novel as essential.

People have a multitude of ways to spend their entertainment dollars, too. It might seem as if reading is being squeezed out as a pastime, but according to research by the Pew Center, Americans read about as much as ever. That’s good news, but it’s not great news. While Americans may read as much as ever, they don’t read a ton: Continue reading “Ad Copy Writing Techniques”

How to Use Pingbacks

PINGA Pingback is not merely the sound of elastic being twanged on Cathy Speight’s catapult as she aims her ammunition at Chris James. It is, in fact, a type of comment that’s created whenever you link to another WordPress.com post (provided the blog the post appears on has pingbacks enabled). The best way to think about pingbacks is as remote comments:

  • Person 1 posts something on his blog.
  • Person 2 posts on her own blog, linking to Person A’s post. This automatically sends a pingback to Person A when both have pingback enabled blogs.
  • Person 1’s blog receives the pingback, then automatically goes to Person 2’s post to confirm that the pingback did, in fact, originate there.

How can I activate Pingbacks?
You can find the settings for pingbacks on your WordPress site.  From your Dashboard, go to Settings > Discussion. At the top you’ll see the Default articles settings section, as shown below: Continue reading “How to Use Pingbacks”