Formatting an E Book

Page size does not matter

I have read around this subject a lot. I have concluded it does not really matter because people might read you e-books on all sorts of different e- readers, although you cannot just make a single e- book and assume they will work on all readers.

Forget page numbers

It looks to me like A4 and A5 are going to be fine. More importantly,  while you may not need page numbers (convention says you do not,) you may want to make it so a page appears as just that.

This means there are some issues to think about in terms of what you put on each page.

Set the margins

For years I did not realise you can simply type the size of the page and the margins you want into the word processer formatting option and spent hours scrolling numbers backwards and forwards.  About an inch all round seems about right.

Remember that you need to think in terms of a web page and not a physical book so you do not need to leave extra in for the spine. This is one reason why you cannot simply upload your book written as a paper or hardback as an E Book. You will have left an extra amount on one side for the spine.

Limit the number of words on a page

There is apparently, an industry standard of 250 words per page in an e-book.

It is more important to know how to make the headers.

Use H1 for your title.

Use H2 for your chapter headings.

If you don’t you might get a PDF past somewhere like, but you won’t get your E Book into Barnes and Noble and Amazon as they will throw it right back at you telling you it is not correctly formatted.

Keeping these things in mind, you can begin to write.


I Learn By Doing-Let’s start with PDF


About this blog

The trouble with me is I am a perfectionist. I also have a learning style that is hands on. While I have made and published a few e-books on Lulu lately, I want to learn to do so perfectly. It occured to me that if I made a blog, you could either learn with me, or if you are a dab hand at e-book creation, add your comments.

Starting with making a pdf

Just to start us off I will tell you I am using Libre Office and Calibre. I really do not mind where my e-books end up as long as they will earn in some way.  Actually, I am going to use material from an e-book I am making about making an e-book.

A PDF is easiest

For a long time, I did not understand the mechanics of an e-book so if I put anything into print I used a PDF. A PDF is easy enough to do as you just convert your written and formatted hardback or paperback.

PDF Makers are easy to use

On Libre Office I have this handy function that allows me to make a PDF of my books quite easily.  I suppose it is always worth doing that and I actually find that doing so highlights mistakes I made when self editing. I usually upload the pdf to calibre to see how the book will look in other formats.

With a PDF the main advantages I find is that the book can appear pretty much as you formatted it for offline use. You keep the page numbers and also the photos you use generally look nicer than when they are in hard print. Using colour for an offline book is far too expensive even if you use a do it yourself publisher.

So, let;s begin a discussion about PDF’s.Probably most of us are familiar with making them, but there still might be something to learn. How useful are they these days?   Where are you selling yours?  I am sure there are more experienced people who can chip in. Look on this blog as a self-help group and a way to help others, including me.

Let’s get really good at this together.