Step Four: Tidy Your Text

Re-insert Bold and Italic
Selecting the whole document is the best way to set formatting consistently throughout your book. Unfortunately, it also removes instructions to make sections of your text bold or italic. Your first job is to go through your book and reinsert these.

Don’t worry about chapter headings at this stage. We’ll deal with them in the next section. I’m just talking about words emphasised with italic/bold in the main bulk of your text. I would steer clear of using the underline command as this may look like a hyperlink.

Remember the very first section of Prepare Your Manuscript? Before you started any formatting, you protected your work by saving an original, untampered with, copy. Returning to that intact document will help you quickly locate all instances of bold and italic in your book.

You don’t need to manually search it. Instead, with the document in front of you, open the Find and Replace pop-up box. Depending on your version of Word, this is achieved either by simply clicking Find (on the far right of the Home tab) or by selecting Advanced Find from Find’s drop down menu:

advanced-find

Ensure you’re on the Find tab of the pop-up box and click More:

more-button-find-box

Then, click Format and select Font from the drop-down menu:

Untitled.jpg

This will open the Find Font pop-up box. Here, select Bold:

find font.JPG

Press OK to return to the Find and Replace box. You’ll see it states Bold:

bold.JPG

Now, simply place the cursor at the beginning of your book and press Find Next:

find next.JPG

Word will take you to the first instance of bold text. You can then make a note of it or, better still, change it immediately in your eBook document. Don’t copy and paste the text, though as it could well be in a different font, with different formatting instructions.

Use the same process to find instances of italic and bold italic.

Page Breaks
Next, go through the book and insert a Page Break after each chapter, if you don’t already have one. Page Breaks are created by holding down ctrl and pressing enter. Ensure you delete any extra white space – that is superfluous enters (¶) – either side of them.

Remove indent on first paragraphs
This is only applicable if you opted for first line indents rather than block paragraph style. As previously noted, with indent style, the convention is that the first paragraph of a chapter doesn’t have an indent but sits flush with the left margin.

The best way to achieve this is to left click anywhere in the first paragraph of a chapter. Then, locate the Paragraph section of the Home tab and click on the little arrow in the bottom-left hand corner:

01paragraph-section

This opens the Paragraph dialog box. Change First Line to None:

first line to none.JPG

Click OK.

If you read the section on block paragraphs, you may remember me saying that KDP doesn’t respect a none command in this box but will, instead, return to its default, rather large indent. However, in this instance, because you’re actively contradicting the instruction set in Styles, Kindle seems to respect the command and follow it.

You’ll need to go through your book and change the first paragraph of every chapter using this method. It may seem a little arduous but it’s worth it; it’s these little touches which will make your book look professional rather than self-published.

If you have any breaks mid chapter (created by pressing enter twice), the same rule applies. For example, below, The is flush with the left hand margin because it appears after a break in the text:

no indent after break.JPG

Basically, any text after white space shouldn’t carry a first line indent.

Dots of Ellipsis
Dots of ellipses are the name given to three dots in a row (. . .) used to indicate a pause in speech, suspense or a thought left unexpressed. When preparing your manuscript, you changed the standard spaces round these to non-breaking ones in order to fix the gap between each dot at an even length. However, non-breaking spaces, have another function in addition to evening out text. As their name suggests, they don’t break. This means that anything joined by a non-breaking space can’t be split over two lines.

In the following example (where non-breaking spaces are shown by big circles), an eReader, no matter how small the screen, would be unable to make a line break anywhere between the beginning of something and the end of anything:

non-breaking-spaces

This could result in an extremely uneven and ugly-looking couple of lines. It’s a problem that’s easily fixed in the print version because you can control exactly what a page looks like and expand or contract words or lines round the dots of ellipsis to ensure the text doesn’t look peculiar.

However, in a reflowable eBook you have no control over page layout so can’t solve possible hiccups in advance. Instead, I suggest, wherever you have dots of ellipsis joining two words, you replace the non-breaking spaces either side of the dots with standard spaces, like this:

replaced-non-breaking

In my opinion, this is the best compromise. If necessary, it enables a break after something or before anything whilst, at the same time, ensuring the three dots remain both evenly spaced and unseparated.

If you have lots of dots of ellipses, you may choose to use the Replace function, rather than making these changes manually. Open up the Find and Replace pop-up box and click on the Replace tab.

  • In the Find what field, enter: ^s.^s.^s (^s simply means a non-breaking space)
  • Under Replace with, enter: space bar.^s.^s.space bar (I mean, here, press the space bar to create an ordinary space. Do not type the words space bar).
  • Select Replace All

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The main body of your text is now neat and tidy. It’s time to turn to the next page of this instructional: Headings