This post is intended as a resource for people trying to format an E-Book. If there are any criticisms or comments, feel free. This is just how I am doing it right now.
Start with Mark Coker’s free 88 page style guide. (Link). The guy who wrote this runs Smashwords, a book vending site.
In the guide are examples of well formatted e-books. If you have already written your book, read the guide. You might want to choose the nuclear option.
If you have not written your book yet, congratulations for having the presence of mind to look into this first. I believe I can save you some grief.
First, take one of his “good examples”. I chose the unfortunately titled “Jigglers.” Save it as a word TEMPLATE. Change the title, leave all else the same, delete the body of the book, and then write your book. All settings are automatically saved, and you have a correctly formatted book. “Voirra!” as the guy from American Psycho said.
When you’re done, go to page 87 of Coker’s guide and make sure you never used the tab key or space bar to indent by accident. I usually do.
Then, go through and make sure you never hit more than 4 paragraph returns in a row. Done.
Now, this must seem like an incredible oversimplification, but by using his example as a template, it would be mainly formatted correctly. You must add your own touches and preferences, but empirically, your e-book will “look like” other e-books which are supposedly formatted correctly without a lot of the grief associated with the process.
Amongst my techy friends, I have been considered an “idiot savant” with computers. I am open to the idea that my approach is too simple, and would actually appreciate any critiques of this method.