Publishing and Media

eBook Style Guide

Lantern now publishes ebook versions of our books, formatted for all ebook readers. eBooks are now an important part of the publishing industry, and we’ll ask you to submit special information (videos, audio, links) for the digital version of your book. Regardless of whether or not you personally enjoy reading digital books, we’ll expect you to prepare a version of your manuscript to facilitate the creation of an ebook.

eBooks are different from printed books in that you cannot control the format. (Users control their own formatting, which is a good thing!) You should add hyperlinks, anchor links in the Table of Contents, and provide other tidbits that are helpful to the reader and enhance their reading experience. If you have audio or video available, we’ll soon be able to add that, too.

This is a formatting guide for the document you’ll prepare in order for us to create your ebook. It is helpful to read through the “do’s” and “don’ts” completely, then begin to format the ebook-friendly version of your manuscript. This process will likely take you about an hour: a small price to pay for the huge leap in accessibility!

Please format in Microsoft Word, and save as a .doc


  • Use all caps for anything except acronyms.
  • Use tabs. (To delete them all, do a find & replace. Find ^t (=tab) and replace all with nothing.)
  • Use paragraph returns, unless you are writing poetry. You are not using a typewriter anymore, so hard returns are unnecessary and will cause (awful) errors. You can see hard returns when you use “show/hide” to see your formatting marks. The only appropriate place for a paragraph return is at the end of a paragraph, and there should only be one.
  • Create “space” using paragraph returns.
  • Include headers and footers.
  • Use automatic footnotes.
  • Use field codes (for indexes). The field codes become visible when you activate Word’s “show/hide” command (as we mention below, you need to activate “show/hide” to expose your hidden formatting). Although you could strip them out manually, it would take hours and will introduce errors. Here’s a quick tip that takes only seconds: use Word’s “Find and Replace” feature (type CTRL-H), enter “^d xe ^?” in the “Find” field, and leave the “replace with” field empty. Then click “replace all.”
  • Use tables (create an image instead).
  • IMPORTANT: Indent first lines of paragraphs or double space between paragraphs. Instead, define paragraph styles to have a 6-pt or 10-pt separation after each paragraph. Be consistent by using one, not both (Modify->Format->Paragraph).


  • Create a second copy of your manuscript to format for ebooks.
  • Use Times New Roman 12 pt for all text, and 14 pt for headings & titles.
  • Activate “Show/Hide” so that you can see your formatting.
  • Turn off AutoCorrect and AutoFormat.
  • Name chapters with the word “chapter” and the number, both in the Table of Contents and at the chapter starts (i.e. “Chapter 2: The Joys of Ebook Formatting”).
  • Remove page numbers from the Table of Contents.
  • As you go through the text, bookmark the Table of Contents elements throughout the text using Insert:Bookmark. (First, tag chapter titles in your body as bookmarks, then return to the TOC later and add the hyperlinks->Document->Anchor->Locate->Bookmarks locations to the text elements in the TOC.) When bookmarking your chapter heads, name them with the full title to avoid confusion later, but don’t use spaces or semicolons, since Word will not accept it. For example “\Chapter2TheJoysofEbookFormatting\”. Test your links once done! (Do not use the auto-TOC generation feature in Word.)
  • Eliminate text boxes.
  • Change everything to normal paragraph style.
  • IMPORTANT: Define paragraph styles to have a 6-pt or 10-pt separation after each paragraph. Be consistent; use one, not both. This replaces indents or double spacing between paragraphs (Modify->Format->Paragraph).
  • Double check that your bolds and italics are showing properly after you’ve normalized your text.
  • If you need an extra “pause,” add a line with three centered asterisks (***). No extra hard paragraph breaks!
  • Add hyperlinks. Copy urls to which you’d like to link (including the http:// bit). Highlight the text you’d like to link (Insert->Hyperlink).
  • Remove chapter breaks, page breaks, and section breaks.
  • Add pictures (Insert->Picture->File). Images should be a max of 500 pixels wide. Always choose plain text over an image, if you can.
  • When you come to the end of the book, provide your author bio, (hyperlinked) website, Facebook page, and/or Twitter account.
  • At the very end, add a centered “\###\” to indicate the end.
  • Create a final document that is less than 5MB. If larger, you’ll need to compress your images.