Learning how to format ebook chapters is easy once you know how to do it correctly.
For a print book, you don’t need to take much care. What you see in your Word document will stay the same when you convert it to pdf.
But for an ebook, you can’t use your return key to add extra space. In most cases, these spaces will be stripped out when converting your Word file to an ebook file for Amazon or to epub.
To make sure your styling and formatting stay the same for an ebook, you need to use styles.
How do you format a chapter in an ebook?
Chapters generally begin one-third to halfway down a page in a published print book.
Formatting your novel to get the same result and having chapter headings starting mid-page in an ebook is best done using Styles.
You can use Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or any similar word processor to do this.
If you are technically inclined, yes, you can edit epub or HTML files, but this is usually beyond new authors.
So let’s look at the simple steps you can use in your word processor.
How to format ebook chapters in Word
The first thing to do is make sure that all your chapter headings are the same style.
Usually, you would use Heading 2.
Check each one and change to Heading 2 if necessary.
At the same time, remove any paragraph breaks before after it. These are line spaces you added with your return key.
You can see these by clicking the button to view all non-printing characters. These will appear in blue.
The next step is to begin each chapter on a new page.
To do this, insert a page break after the last sentence of each chapter.
Once you do this for all your chapters, you can start to style and format your ebook chapters.
The first step is to select the down arrow next to Heading 2 in your Styles Drawer.
Then click Select All, and then Modify Style.
When the style box opens, select Paragraph from the Format button at the bottom of the box.
A new Paragraph Style box will open.
In the Spacing section, add space before and after your heading to suit the style you want.
Now all of your chapters will start halfway down the page when you publish your ebook.
Depending on which version of Word you are using, the images above may not be quite the same. But you can usually find all of the functions quite easily.
Formatting chapters in Pages
The process is almost exactly the same in Apple Pages.
Follow the steps I mentioned for Word to check your headings are the same and remove any additional spaces. You can see these by clicking view all Invisibles from the main view menu.
Insert a page break after all of your chapters.
To start your chapters mid-page, select your heading and use the before and after paragraph space settings to suit the look your want for your book.
Formatting with Kindle Create
If you are only going to self-publish on Amazon, you can also use Kindle Create to style your chapters.
After you import your docx file, check how your chapters look.
Very often, it will automatically insert page breaks before your chapter headings.
But then to move your chapter titles and add extra space before the text is quite easy.
At the very bottom right, use the two spacing options to add the necessary space above and below your chapter titles.
Using D2D templates to format chapters
If you use Draft2Digital to self-publish your ebooks, there is one last option you can use.
You can find a variety of D2D templates you can use when you click the preview button on your book listing.
You can experiment to see which template style suits your ebook and even add drop caps for the first word in a chapter.
The big mistake to avoid when formatting ebooks is using return spaces and tabs.
These will be lost when you convert your document to an ebook file and will negatively affect your formatting.
Always use styles to format all parts of your manuscript in your word processor document.
Then your ebook will look perfect when it converts for publishing.
If you want to make sure, you can use Calibre to convert and check how your ebook will look in AZW3, epub, and mobi formats.
It is the best way to check an ebook before you publish it.
It’s worth taking the time to format ebook chapters to give your ebook readers a much better reading experience.
Once you know how to do it, it will take you less than half an hour to make your ebook look more like a print book.