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It can be nice to have a bit of space between chapters in a book, or major sections in a shorter publication.

If  you use page breaks in MS word to separate chapters, some formats will strip out these pagebreaks.

To work around this,  put an extra paragraph break before and after the page break so some separations will persist.

But make sure, especially for Smashwords, that you do not put more than 3 paragraph breaks in a row, or you will get an error message. This is because too many breaks can produce blank pages in the final ebook, annoying your readers.

Barnes & Noble’s online bookstore has just opened its Direct ePublishing venue, called the PubIt! program, for individual authors and publishers. Following a fairly straightforward procedure, you can now prepare and upload your ebooks for sale.

Here is the link to the details and instructions page for the PubIt! program.

http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=support

Have you been getting the feedback “Too many paragraph breaks?” from Smashwords or Amazon DTP when you submit a manuscript? Here’s why, and what to do.

Quite often these days, we tend to automatically hit a carriage return or extra space between paragraphs. For email, web pages, and other formats, this looks nice, breaking up the text and providing some white space.

But once you convert such nicely formatted text for an eBook reader, it often goes haywire. adding way too much space, sometimes even a whole page-break.

The first fix is to use the templates we have provided here.

For Amazon DTP
Fiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform
NonFiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform

And for Smashwords
Fiction Template
NonFiction Template

The second fix is the same as that detailed within the templates, but we will spell it out here, how to format your document so the only space after a paragraph is within the formatting section, not as a carriage return.

To set the spacing between paragraphs in a way that will not confuse eBooks in Open Office, open your document, then under Format, Paragraph, set the Below paragraph spacing to 0.8 to 0.14 inch. Follow the same general procedure for documents in Word.

This will give you a bit of space between paragraphs without jamming up the machinery.

For fiction, don’t use any space at all between paragraphs, just follow the indenting suggestion in the template.

These free templates will help you prepare manuscripts for the Amazon Kindle Digital Text Platform.

Fiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform

NonFiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform

These are designed to be used in the free cross-platform word processor Open Office, so you don’t have to buy yet another software to get started in ePublishing. Or in MS word, if you have it.

Download free Open Office word processing software

Paste your text into the template and make any formatting changes needed (as explained within the template text) then save the file as HTML, the format Amazon prefers, although they do accept other formats.

You will want to add your own front matter, such as copyright and reserved rights information.

When you are satisfied with your manuscript, save a copy in the regular Open Office format, then export it to the required HTML format by choosing file, export, xhtml … with automatic file name extension.

This will save it as an HTML file suitable for Amazon DTP. This is what you will upload to Amazon.

If you need to edit the file later, as often happens, you can edit your saved copy of the Open Office  document and again export it to HTML. Or, if you know how, you can edit the html directly.

These templates are just for your text manuscripts.

When you send a manuscript to Amazon, you will also need to send a cover image. You will have to dig through the Amazon help files to find the formatting and tips on how to make one.

You may also want to add embedded inline images. these templates have not been tested for that yet. It may work, or it may be easier to use an html program and add the images there, after you have exported your file to html.

Good luck—ePublishing is an exciting way to go.

Writing and publishing a book of any kind is a long hard slog.

But it does not have to be lonely!

There is a new eBook that will help you write your own eBook, or do whatever you dream.

You can find friendly inspiration, direction, and hope for your endeavors. Check out the nice little eBook called The Lazy Man’s Guide to Success, by teacher, therapist, life coach, and prolific author Bill O’Hanlon.

Bill, who states that he is the mildly lazy and very successful man of the title, provides stories from a wide variety of fields, many about people he knows personally, who overcame sometimes huge obstacles on their way to achieving what they wanted. He talks about his own journey to success, many slips along the road, and how he recovered.

And he talks about how you can find your passion, focus your energy, and clarify your dreams and goals. He includes dozens of focused questions to help you move past obstacles and directly into your own powerful way of working.

O’Hanlon’s book is remarkably non-hucksterish, no pie in the sky, and none of that get-rich-quick stuff. Instead, it’s the friendly voice of someone with a wealth of experience who has helped a lot of people in a lot of tough times move closer to their goals and dreams.

One of the most important parts of being an author, after writing and publishing your masterpiece, of course, is to spread the word.

And a blog is a great way to do this.

People love stories, especially real ones, so write about your book, what you are doing to publicize and market it, where you are reading or speaking, about the process of writing, and then the ordeals and triumphs of writing a new book as you begin your next one.

The easiest way to begin a blog is to go to WordPress.com and follow the instructions. It really is quite easy.

Click here to sign up for your Blog at WordPress

Just sign up at WordPress.com. You will need to think of a good blog name–you might have to try several to get one that is not taken.

Then you can get to the interesting work of writing your blog. WordPress has good instructions and help files. It may take a few tries to become accustomed to the various screens and tasks, but start simple and then you can add features as you learn.

As you become more experienced, you can incorporate some of the large variety of features, tools, and extras available, such as links, pictures, media or polls into your blog.

In the old days, before you received the relatively small royalties for  your traditionally published hardcover or paperback book, you had already paid, as part of the package, for the services of your agent, you editor, your cover designer, your publishing house, your advertising and marketing department, your distributor, your printer, your warehouse, and your bookstore, and probably many others.

If you could get in the system, which was not easy, it was actually a good way to go, and the services of a really good publisher were invaluable.

And still are–that route is still available, if you want it.

But now you have the ePublishing alternative. Which means that several of these tasks, printing, warehousing, and paper book distribution, are no longer necessary. But it also means that you will have to do many of the rest of the tasks yourself, or hire people to do them.

It is also possible to go with a traditional publisher after you have ePublished. That is, if you even want to, after your wonderful ePublishing experience, right?

A really helpful step as you get started in ePublishing is to make a checklist of all the material you will need to publish your eBook.

It is easiest to start by publishing an unformatted ePub or Kindle type book, so your manuscript is primarily text, not pre-formatted pages. We use Smashwords as our example here. Just remember that your publisher will have additional specific instructions you must follow.

To publish an eBook you will need:
*A manuscript, final version saved in MS Word.doc form.
*A color cover image, jpg or png, 600 pixels wide by 900 pixels tall, or more,with the title and author name clearly visible, and the background anything other than white, which fades into the catalog page. Please your readers by making the thumbnail in the catalog look good.
*An account with your publisher, for example, Lulu, Smashwords, or Amazon Kindle. Set up your free account and begin to become familiar with their requirements and routines.
*The formatting instructions from your publisher. The Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker is essential for that publisher, and extremely helpful generally.
*An easy to access text file with  author’s name or pen name, a brief bio, author’s photo, and a one-paragraph description or blurb to put on the information page. List the genre, and sub genres, and keywords for the book.
*Some idea of how you will advertise your book. Because ePublishing happens so fast after you enter in all your information, it’s good to have plans set up ahead of time to take advantage of the initial PR included with publication. The free eBook Smashwords Book Marketing Guide has a lot of useful information and tips, from someone who has a stake in getting eBooks sold.

If you want more details about the whys and hows of ePublishing, check out the inexpensive short book, Fast Fun ePublishing.

This short booklet, available in a variety is formats, is itself a good example of how a basic eBook looks and operates. It gives you an overview and head start, whether you are just wondering about publishing, or are actually ready to dive in and publish right now.

Because formatting for ePublishing can be very finicky, here are a couple of templates for use in Microsoft Word or Open Office, a free cross-platform word processing software, to help you get started in formatting your document for Smashwords publishing.

Open the appropriate template, paste your text after the included text, and follow the formatting instructions in the template and in the Smashwords Style Guide. Make sure you read the latest version of the Style Guide for final requirements.