Tips and Tricks of eBook Design

Written by Kayla Swedberg in collaboration with Becky Bayne

So you’ve created a beautiful print book in InDesign. You utilized those master pages, became a paragraph style expert along the way, and probably asked the Internet how to do a million different things.

Now, your client says, “Hey, can’t we make this into an eBook, too? That’s, like, super easy, right?”

And you responded with “Sure! Yeah, shouldn’t take too long,” all the while thinking, Okay, I’ll just research this as I go. Never done it before, but it can’t be THAT bad.

And for the most part, you’ve done well. You downloaded an eBook Previewer (like Kindle Previewer 3) and exported your InDesign Book file to an .epub about a hundred times while you were troubleshooting it. However, there are probably a few things that still bother you about the way your book appears on devices.

So, here’s a graphic designer’s guide to fine-tuning eBooks in Adobe InDesign.

Why Do My Pictures/Photos Appear SO SMALL in the eBook?

I had given up all hope on this question for a few months, but I finally learned a simple fix. By default, ebooks export as version 2.1. Change this to 3.0. Voila! Big pictures!

(Also, double-check that you have the JPEG image quality at “high.”)

Why Aren’t My Pictures/Photos Centered in the eBook?

This happens because the picture takes on the style of the text it is anchored to. So, if you anchor a picture to the end of an indented bullet list, the picture will also become indented. To prevent this, place a return beneath the indented text and give that line a centered style. Attach the image to that blank line.

If this doesn’t work, make sure that “Align Center” is selected in the ePub Export Options (this is found on the “Object” page.)

Why Do Some Images Display the Caption BEFORE the Picture?

This error occurs because the grouping order of the image/caption is backwards. When grouping images and captions, always select the photo FIRST. So, select the photo, THEN the caption. Group them, and then anchor them into the text.

How Do I Keep Text Separated Between Chapters?

If you have trouble with all your text cramming together into a huge run-on book, there’s a simple fix to “breaking” chapters up. Edit the style you’re using for CHAPTER ONE (or create a style for it, if you haven’t.) Then, choose the “Export Tagging” tab and check “Split Document.”

Then, when you are exporting the .epub, check the “Split Document” box on the “General” page. Now, the eBook is splitting the document at the beginning of each chapter.

Boom. Done.

 

How to Input the Metadata Date for My eBook

An eBook must have a publishing date, but it is very specific about how you do it. The only format it will accept is YYYY-MM-DD.

You can also input YYYY-MM or just YYYY. However, year is required FIRST in all instances.

What is the Metadata Subject for My Ebook?

The “subject” section in the metadata form is for keywords. For this book Homeschool Happily, Yes You Can, by Laura Kronen, you might input tags in this fashion:

Homeschool, school, teach, teaching at home, children, education, home classroom, how to teach my child, etc

Tags are separated with commas. These are key search words that help people find your book better online. For more information on discovering your keywords visit this post on Kindlepreneur.

Who is the Publisher?

If you are self-publishing and bought your own ISBN from Bowker (which is highly recommended) YOU are the publisher! As the author and publisher you will be asked for tax and banking information when you set up your account on KDP, IngramSpark or wherever you choose to use as your print-on-demand and distributor of your books. THEREFORE you have just become a business entity – speak to your CPA about setting up this new business to keep your records straight and name it appropriately as that will now be the NAME OF THE PUBLISHER. This will also be what is on the back cover, copyright page and on the bottom of the spine of your book. You have now become an AUTHORPRENEUR!

EXAMPLE OF CORRECT METADATA