Book Review Observations

I read most books on my Kindle Fire. Lately, I’ve been surprised at the quality of ebooks. As an author myself, I discovered that when I use Word, or Scrivener for a manuscript, there are a few things to check before uploading to the Kindle Creator, or whatever you use to upload your ebook to Amazon. Let me share a few of my observations.

I read my Kindle set with a black background. In numerous books, I’ve discovered sections of text that were copied and pasted into the manuscript with a white background around the text. There is nothing wrong with adding and changing text, except in Word, you must do a cut and paste special, and select unformatted text. That gets rid of the background settings you brought forward from your other document.

I double-check my manuscript by going into Word settings to set the entire document with a black background. This is a quick and easy way to find all of the ghosted text. I learned this one the hard way! If you leave the background on your manuscript white, you will never notice the cut and paste issues until someone like me points it out.

Another issue I see are text changes. For no reason, I can discern, the text will suddenly change to another font, often much smaller in size than the original text. It actually overrides the text settings on the Kindle. The only thing I could think of was that the text was copied from another document and pasted correctly, but the font and size were never aligned to the rest of the document. If you do a cut and paste, always check your font as compared to the rest of your document.

Before I upload my manuscript, I always do a command A (I’m on a MAC) to select all the text. Then, I select the correct font for the entire manuscript. I don’t change the size of the text because that will affect your titles and headings. It’s my last effort to make sure all of the text is uniform.

These issues affect your book’s quality and make it seem like you were in such a hurry to publish your book that you didn’t make it the best presentation of your writing. It breaks up the rhythm of your writing, which makes it harder to read. Plus, these formatting issues make it harder to review.

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I hope these tips help other authors. Have you discovered something similar when reading a book on your Kindle? Share it here so we can figure out how to correct the issue.

Published by Colleen M. Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

62 thoughts on “Book Review Observations

    1. It did for the font differences but not for the copied text. It was only after I uploaded it to my Kindle with the black background that I found the text ghosting from the copied text. If you download a PDF from the kindle creator, upload it to your Kindle before you hit publish. Set your kindle with a colored backgroud for reading. You will see the issues pop at you. I usually play the manuscript upload for a week before I get it uploaded into Kindle, just right. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  1. My last full-time job was formatting editor- “template specialist” I gave myself an upgraded title but I can’t remember—it became a position until I quit. ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have, Colleen. It’s increasingly common and I’ve experienced all of these problems when reading things on my Kindle. It does take you out of the story – even something as simple as a change of font can spoil the mood!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome! I learned this copying/pasting issue the hard way. You fix it by doing a cut and paste special of the text. You have to get rid of the formatting you brought over from the other document. I backspaced to the word before where my text began. Then, I could do the cut and paste special, Unformatted text. No ghosting around the added data. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve run across some of that. I use a formatter these days. It still shows up in the little graphics I include in The Hat Series. When I read in sepia tone, they remain black and white.

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      1. Yes. There are some things I’d rather pay for. She does amazing drop caps and makes a great table of contents. It’s a luxury, but worth it to me. She’s always available if Amazon’s machine doesn’t like it.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The e-book of one of my books has serious formatting problems. I was able to do a new version that caught some typos and updated a few facts, but the formatting problems remain — inconsistent paragraph indents, etc. This has affected some reviews. How this happened, I don’t know. I fuss over my manuscripts, don’t rush to publish. The print version of the same book is fine; no formatting problems.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would clear all the formatting and redo it. The Kindle Creator app comes with it’s own issues. It’s still easier to deal with than CreateSpace. If Amazon brought over your manuscript from CreateSpace that could be the issue. I would definitely take the book down and redo it. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I occasionally find odd formatting problems… like no paragraph breaks. It makes the reading so much harder. I use Jutoh, a formatting program, that hopefully is catching the glitches. Thanks for the tips. Colleen.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great article Colleen. Needs to be more of it, I think.

    I do all of mine in MS Word and have learned or been shown a couple of tricks that are now my norm. The two primary learnings are:
    1. Every line, including header and footer is in a designated ‘style’. That takes care of most of the inconsistencies – all headings are the same and occur in the same place. All major headings have a page break before, and so on. They go where I want them to be without too much thinking about it.

    The second is to search out Words Hidden Bookmarks, which seem to be fragments of MS garbage thrown in along the way. These can mess with Tables of Contents very badly. Easy to get rid of, though, and I’ve modified my practice to avoid creating new ones, so it ends up reasonably smooth.

    These are such big learnings – not just for authors, but also for anyone needing to prepare a document for any reason.

    Great stuff. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t know about the MS Word Bookmarks. Yikes!! And formatting poetry books is even harder. The Kindle Creator shows you how you think it will look and when you upload it to Amazon, it is always off! I can get about 3 haiku or senryu per page on Kindle. Longer forms inevitably get separated by stanza and there is not much you can do about that in the print version. Diana Peach shared the program she uses for formatting called Jutoh. You can download it for free and try it. I’m sold. It found all the craziness! I’ve never downgraded an author on my review because of the kindle issues. Let me know if that program helps you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll stick with MS Word, I think Colleen. I’ve mostly worked it out now and can turn a document into a book or a digital copy without too many dramas now.

        Still much to learn, of course. Especially taken with mastering images in documents at present.

        Good luck with yours!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I haven’t tried using any templates, Colleen. I tend to stick to my own approach and replicate it, more or less, in each book I do.

            I’ll be interested in your thoughts if you use it.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Jutoh fixed all the issues and was very easy to learn. This program comes out of the UK. I’m finding the Kindle Creator to be useless for poetry books. What it shows on the screen is not how it looks in the viewer. It’s a nightmare. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I use the word button that aligns the formatting of the text when I copy and paste. The button pops up automatically so all I have to do is click. I don’t do my own book typesetting as my publisher does it. I am going to change the setting to black and see what happens. Thanks for the tip, Colleen.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this very interesting posting, Colleen! I am sure it will be helpful for a lot of authors/ writers.Wait on, if i will publish my book about the Pope and his friends, KDP will be unavailable for weeks. Lol Have a nice week! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

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