Formatting and the Indies. Wait, is that a Band?

As I consider the differences between traditional and indie publishing, formatting leaps to mind. This is only an issue for those of us who indie publish, but it can be a significant one.

No romance reader of my acquaintance checks a binding for the publisher’s name before choosing a book. But weird formatting like off center chapter headings or margin justification run awry does make a reader wonder.

And the last thing any author wants is for her reader to stop thinking about the hero’s romantic crisis and start paying attention to uneven spacing. Yeesh!

Traditional publishers will format a manuscript for both print and ebook. That’s one way they protect their investment. An indie publisher who wants to protect her investment of time, effort and money, should aim for the same level of quality.

Luckily, fellow authors are remarkably generous in their advice. When I first began learning about formatting, I found detailed instructions online from dozens of bloggers.

I am in awe of folks who blithely talk about waltzing through their formatting in an hour. It takes me a good deal longer. And I am not waltzing, more like clogging, without the finesse.

Using the binder I filled with detailed formatting instructions, it usually takes me about half a day to format my manuscript for paperback.

And a whole day to format it for ebook devices. Because the only reliable way I can do it is by using HTML. And I’m not exactly proficient in hate mail, I mean, HTML.

I really should think of it as hot meal. Then I would look forward to it.

These indie publishers may just be better at formatting than I am. And no doubt they have more practice. But they may also have Macintosh computers.

Many online formatting guides are specific to Macintosh or to the Macintosh version of Scrivener.

Scrivener, a writing program with a lot of cool features, was initially designed for Macs. I own the PC version which has less of those useful cool features. The company is working on that. In the interim, if you want an easier formatting experience, you’ll need to buy a Macintosh.

But if you want to grow big formatting muscles and develop a large vocabulary of inventive curse words, you’ll use a PC. It’s a lot less expensive than a Macintosh and you get bragging rights.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. Wednesday is generally book review day. Unless it isn’t. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.