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Permlink Replies: 21 - Pages: 2 [ 1 2 | Next ] - Last Post: Feb 3, 2018 6:09 PM Last Post By: William Thompson
Jarrod Gott

Posts: 11
Registered: 07/10/17
Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 19, 2017 10:00 PM
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Hello. I have searched this long and hard before posting, so please bear with me on this :)

I'm formatting my manuscript for Kindle, with an aim to release within the next few months...

One of the issues I'm facing is using both indents to mark new paragraphs, as well as lines between them in some contexts.
In case you want to say "this can't be done"... several of my favorite novels do exactly this (Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Neuromancer, Cloud Atlas) and it works extremely well for what they are going with in all three cases.

And yes, I've check the kindle versions of these books. All retain their hybrid indent + line space format for the paragraphs that require it.

So what I am interested in is, any help about how this is best done.
So far, setting the "stand alone" mini paragraph to 18point spacing on before and after in MSWord gets the look I need across most devices.

Is there a better way of doing it than this?

Currently I am thinking of converting MSWord to Scrivener then compiling through that program.
But I'm also open to suggestions on whether there's a better way than doing this too.

Much appreciated.

J
Ward Rogers

Posts: 1,308
Registered: 12/02/16
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 19, 2017 10:18 PM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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If you're going to do more than basic formatting, it would be a good idea to hire a professional. That's exactly how the books you seem to admire so much were produced. Bear in mind that one of the goals of converting a Word document for Kindle is to strip out fonts and formatting that won't work across all Kindle devices unless properly coded.
Jarrod Gott

Posts: 11
Registered: 07/10/17
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 19, 2017 11:53 PM   in response to: Ward Rogers in response to: Ward Rogers
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Thanks, but do you really think it will require a professional? I've done a lot of difficult things in my life, and I've always taught myself as I went.

I assume the best way is to go Scriv > Sigil. Learn a bunch of CSS and XHTML, and make the changes in Sigil?
Notjohn

Posts: 24,143
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 3:00 AM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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What I would do is run that Word doc through Word2CleanHtml dot com online, open the resulting html file in Sigil, and tweak it there as needed. Takes some learning, but easiest in the long term. You can get the latest version at https://github.com/Sigil-Ebook/Sigil/releases.

What you are proposing (an irritating feature of this forum is that now I'm replying to your second post, I can't see the first!) does not sound to me like handsome bookmaking. Block paragraphs are seldom used outside of kids' books and very technical stuff, and if you do use a block paragraph, it normally doesn't take an indent.

The line spacing in Kindle books is very generous, 1.20.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Jarrod Gott

Posts: 11
Registered: 07/10/17
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 7:02 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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I recognise block paragraphs is no good. This is not what I am doing however!!
I was more refering to hybrid indent and paragraph spaces, ala Terry Pratchett , William Gibson and Phillip K Dick.

For reference, my original post :)

I'm formatting my manuscript for Kindle, with an aim to release within the next few months...

One of the issues I'm facing is using both indents to mark new paragraphs, as well as lines between them in some contexts.
In case you want to say "this can't be done"... several of my favorite novels do exactly this (Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Neuromancer, Cloud Atlas) and it works extremely well for what they are going with in all three cases.

And yes, I've check the kindle versions of these books. All retain their hybrid indent + line space format for the paragraphs that require it.

So what I am interested in is, any help about how this is best done.+
So far, setting the "stand alone" mini paragraph to 18point spacing on before and after in MSWord gets the look I need across most devices.

Is there a better way of doing it than this?

Cheers

J

Edited by: Jarrod Gott on Jul 20, 2017 7:02 AM

Edited by: Jarrod Gott on Jul 20, 2017 7:04 AM

Edited by: Jarrod Gott on Jul 20, 2017 7:04 AM
Melinda Clayton

Posts: 501
Registered: 06/11/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 7:44 AM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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Jarrod Gott wrote:

So what I am interested in is, any help about how this is best done.+
So far, setting the "stand alone" mini paragraph to 18point spacing on before and after in MSWord gets the look I need across most devices.

Is there a better way of doing it than this?

Cheers

J

Edited by: Jarrod Gott on Jul 20, 2017 7:02 AM

Edited by: Jarrod Gott on Jul 20, 2017 7:04 AM

Edited by: Jarrod Gott on Jul 20, 2017 7:04 AM


That's the best way I know to do it in Word.
Notjohn

Posts: 24,143
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 8:44 AM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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One of the issues I'm facing is using both indents to mark new paragraphs, as well as lines between them in some contexts.
In case you want to say "this can't be done"... several of my favorite novels do exactly this (Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Neuromancer, Cloud Atlas) and it works extremely well for what they are going with in all three cases.

When I look at two of the Discworld ebooks, I don't see that at all. Except that they are ragged right, at least on the Look Inside, they are well and conventionally formatted, with indented paragraphs and no extra space between paras. As I've said before, that is how books should be formatted. And that is Amazon's default for Kindle.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Jarrod Gott

Posts: 11
Registered: 07/10/17
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 9:13 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Ok.... I've been checking using the "Look inside" feature as I don't have a kindle on me (arrives tomorrow, fingers crossed)
I didn't expect that would deviate the formatting from the way the ebook displays it however...

I'll have to get back to you once I've had a chance to research this matter further.
Thanks for all the help though. I've now resolved to build the whole thing in HTML. Keep it simple ;)
William Thompson

Posts: 1,193
Registered: 07/06/14
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 4:15 PM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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First I would highly recommend Scrivener for producing an epub because it usually converts your scriv doc to epub flawlessly. Another major tip for using Scrivener -- Never use the pre-compiler Formattng options in Scrivener -- you should switch it off. Just format your doc As Is -- as you see it in the Scrivener editor -- so what you see in the scriv editor is exactly what you will get in the epub. Please do not fall into the painful trap of believing all those fancy videos on Scrivener usage. The precompiler Formatting options are really not needed.

Your requirement to both indent and set spacing between paragraphs of 18pt is very easily done in both Word and Scrivener.

To do this properly in Word you would have to create and use a single paragraph style for all story text paragraphs in your doc. Here it is -- how to format all your story text by creating just one paragraph style -- step by step in Word 2007(more recent Word versions will be similar):

*Click on the Home menu tab and then, on the right, click on the tiny x-button at bottom right in the Change Styles panel.

*In the new Styles dialog window, click on the New Style button at the bottom of the window.

*In the new dialog, fill in the all necessary details -- and name your new style -- in this first section then click on Format > Paragraph > Indents and Spacing.

*In the Indentation section you can set your own paragraph indent in the Special and By section.

*To appropriately set the spacing between paragraphs that you require, go to the Spacing section and just set Space After to 18pt.

*Save everything

You now have one paragraph style in Word that you can apply and use for all your story text.

Why not try my free Sigil plugin now available on MobileRead?

CustomCleanerPlus

A custom cleaning utility for both epubs and imported html docs

Ward Rogers

Posts: 1,308
Registered: 12/02/16
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 6:09 PM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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Jarrod Gott wrote:
Thanks, but do you really think it will require a professional? I've done a lot of difficult things in my life, and I've always taught myself as I went.

I assume the best way is to go Scriv > Sigil. Learn a bunch of CSS and XHTML, and make the changes in Sigil?

One of our frequent posters (and a professional formatter) often remarks, to the effect: "You think paying a professional to do something is expensive? Wait till you hire an amateur."

No, it's not impossible, and you've received some good suggestions. Proper formatting is neither as easy not as hard as most people claim, but it does have a learning curve.

Jarrod Gott

Posts: 11
Registered: 07/10/17
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 1:33 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Ok, just confirmed it. Kindle retains the special line breaks for Terry Pratchett's books. See pics..
This is exactly how it appears in the printed work too.

http://imgur.com/NfotcKt
http://imgur.com/WQKkbFN

He does not use it for every single paragraph. Just special dialogue, like songs, voices from the gods etc.
Notjohn

Posts: 24,143
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 2:44 AM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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I still don't see it. I go to the print edition of The Color of Magic. The paras are indented, and there is no space between them. https://www.amazon.com/Color-Magic-Discworld-Terry-Pratchett/dp/0062225677

What's more, the print edition Look Inside is justified, not ragged right like the ebook sample.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Emily Veinglory

Posts: 3,588
Registered: 04/25/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 7:41 AM   in response to: Jarrod Gott in response to: Jarrod Gott
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I looked at you links and the showed standard formatting with a few lines that were centred. You can use paragraph style to center and leave a space under any line where this might be appropriate.
George Garrigues

Posts: 263
Registered: 08/13/15
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 8:17 AM   in response to: Ward Rogers in response to: Ward Rogers
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A bit off topic, but it seems to me that for many "amateurs" who play around with formatting, that's part of the experience of doing an ebook. I have spent hours in that very frustrating endeavor, and I have learned a lot. One thing I have learned is that Scrivener is just too complicated for normal mortals, so, yes, I DO call upon professional help to make my e-books. Cheers.
Notjohn

Posts: 24,143
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Formatting for Kindle: Indents *and* lines between paragraphs...
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 11:19 AM   in response to: George Garrigues in response to: George Garrigues
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Not off topic at all! A hallmark of the amateur is that he thinks his notice of book design is superior to that of Alfred A. Knopf. Poets are the worst in this respect, as any professional formatter will tell you. (Many simply refuse to format poetry.) It is not at all difficult to make a professional-looking ebook, but it does mandate that you actually know what a professional-looking ebook looks like!

(The same goes in spades for print. Do a search for books published through KDP Print ("independently published") and you will see how awful a book can look. I do this regularly, and so far I have seen exactly one that I would ever consider buying, on the basis of its appearance alone. We don't know what we don't know. )

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
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