Self-published eBooks shouldn't look any less professional than traditionally published eBooks. It's important to at least learn the basics of eBook formatting to make sure that the digital book you publish comes out on the other end of the eBook conversion process looking like something you cared about, labored over, and handled like a professional.
In order to turn your book into a functional eBook, your manuscript document (.doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf, .html, etc.) must be converted to another file format (ePUB for most eReading devices, and .mobi for Kindle). Whether you're handling the technical aspects of this process yourself or having a service like BookBaby take care of it for you, there's a few things you need to do in advance to make sure your manuscript is optimally formatted for eBook file-conversion.
For years, as a book designer and a blogger at The Book Designer blog, I’ve looked at hundreds of self-published books, and let me tell you, it’s not a pretty picture. Sure, there are lots of authors who have taken the time to learn the details of how books are put together, and made a good job of their books... it’s the other ones, the books put together by well-meaning authors who really want to succeed but, for one reason or another, are unclear on how exactly to go about it. Those are the ones that have big problems.
Can you guess the common eBook formatting mistake authors make when preparing for ePUB conversion? You should NOT use the tab key to indent paragraphs.