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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Formatting First Lines with NO Indents for your Kindle E-Book

One of life's crumpled rose petals has been smoothed out at last! When I formatted my books for e-publishing, they looked perfect on Smashwords and in all other formats but Kindle, and it took me forever to find out why!

The publishing convention for paper books is that the first line of a chapter, or a section after a line-break, is NOT indented, like this.
         Then all the other lines are indented, like this!

It looks unprofessional if you don't format your books that way, as if you didn't know any better. But for some bonkers reason, Kindle insists on adding an indent. I didn't want an indent. I'd set the styles function of Word to remove the indent, an indent looked completely and utterly wrong, but, there it was, every time: a rubbish, extra indent.

I rummaged around the Internet. As usual, I didn't keep proper notes, so I can't credit anyone, but thanks to all those helpful posters, and eventually, I pieced together what I needed to know. Here is my (nontechnical) version in case it helps anyone else.

Those extra indents appear because Kindle is trying to be helpful - seems a lot of folk try to upload manuscripts with no paragraphing, so Kindle has been set to add a paragraph space automatically, but whoever wrote the programme didn't add the publisher's beginning-of-a-chapter-has-no-indent option. You have not gone crazy or formatted wrong. Kindle is overriding your instructions.

The way to fool Kindle is to go into the styles section of Word and alter your first line style. (If this means nothing to you, then I recommend the FREE styles guide over at Smashwords by Mark Coker.) If you right click it allows you to 'modify' then you select paragraph, then, where it gives you the option to set an indent, you set the tiniest possible indent 00.1 cm will do it. It is invisible to the naked eye, but it makes Kindle happy because it reads that line as having a proper indent. Your text looks professional. Everybody is happy. Hurrah!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

How to get your Star Ratings from Book Reviews inside your Kindle Book

I've been reading a book about promoting e-books (I'll blog more later on how to sell a million e-books by John Locke) and one thing he said seemed fairly straightforward: - make sure you have some good reader reviews in the beginning of your e-book. It puts readers in the right mood to enjoy your story.

So, I went and collected some kind words that readers had posted about my books (modest cough!) and cut and pasted them into the front of the book that I was editing. The stars vanished. So, I wrote by hand, 4 stars. It means the same, I know four out of five stars means the same, but words just don't have the same impact as a row of stars - I so wanted to see stars.

Well, I finally worked out how to get the image of stars into your e-book to show off your reader reviews. This is how I did it.

1. Collect your reviews and paste them into a Word document. The stars will show as pretty stars.

2. Format the document until it looks pretty.

3. Press the 'print screen' button on your computer.

4. Open the programme 'Paint' which is loaded free on most computers. It hides in accessories.

5. Save that document as a JPEG.

6. Open the JPEG in Picture Editor - or whatever software you use. Picture Editor is the free default one that comes with Office.

7. Select 'edit picture' and crop away all the edges that contain a photograph of your toolbars etc.

8. Resave the cropped photo.

9. Paste as an image at the beginning of your manuscript.

10. Lock the image in place by clicking on 'In line with text.'

11. Ta da! Reader reviews with pretty stars.

It's probably better not to resize the image - I made mine larger after pasting it into the text, and have since noticed that it looks strange in a couple of readers, so I'll have to enlarge the document, then go through the above steps as well. The text hasn't been updated on Amazon yet (or it hadn't last time I looked) so check it out on Smashwords if you want to see how it looks.

A Change of Heart on Smashwords

Hope this is useful.