Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 85--A Silent But Deadly Book Formatting Mistake

I have another blunder to add to my growing list. This one is so simple, I kicked myself for not catching it.

I didn't justify the right alignment my text.

My book look likes this:
  • A door opened releasing a sliver of light and a small girl onto a darkened street. The girl, bundled in a thick jacket, stepped onto the sidewalk. She shut the door behind her, blackening the street once more. Cianna shivered. Spring mornings were cold in the port town of Flores and she was up and out before the sun today. The salty breeze off the Borgan Sea ruffled her long, red hair.

It should look like this:

  • A door opened releasing a sliver of light and a small girl onto a darkened street. The girl, bundled in a thick jacket, stepped onto the sidewalk. She shut the door behind her, blackening the street once more. Cianna shivered. Spring mornings were cold in the port town of Flores and she was up and out before the sun today. The salty breeze off the Borgan Sea ruffled her long, red hair.

Look at the right margins, do you see the difference? Text must be right and left justified. Doubt me? Pick up the fiction book closest to you (not your own and not an indie book) and look at it.

I first read about text alignment at LL Book Review. I checked my book and saw my mistake. Then I raced to my daughter's bookshelf and opened ten of her books from classics to modern fiction. The right alignment on all of them is justified. Then I logged onto Amazon and started checking indie books. Some of you justified the right side and some of you didn't.

No reader has pointed this out to me. I'm not sure how much it bothers them. However, it's not professional and it's simple to fix in the document's file with one click of the mouse. Also, LL Book Review suggests they reject books that are not right justified. I plan to fix mine everywhere it's published: KDP, Smashwords and Createspace.

I know my book needs a makeover from the formatting to the cover (all my fault, not my artist's), but I'm happy with the story. I want to give my book every chance to compete so I'm going to fix my alignment, re-do my cover and hire a proofreader in the coming months.(It's already been edited but I think a few typos slipped through as I applied her changes.)

Right alignment, important or not, what do you think?
(please see comments below, ebooks may be different)

To Do: Check your book's text alignment. If you need to fix it, it's a good time to go over any other issues you might have. Here is a link to LL Book Review's top-ten list of book boo boo's.


Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Author of The Pet Washer
a novel for children aged 8 and up