Exploding Book – No, it’s The Nuclear Method!

My new blogging schedule which is now in full swing also includes providing you with a YouTube video on eBook formatting tips once per month. I had planned to create it in the middle of the month, but seem to have got ahead of myself.

Last week I created a very short video on how to clean your eBook ready to format. It’s called The Nuclear Method because it strips everything out of the document, that includes italics, bold, underlines, any styles, headers/footers etc…

Here is the video (you can also view it on YouTube directly):

There are a few tips I can provide which go along with this video, the main one being, ensure you clearly mark your styling (italic/bold etc…) before you blow up your document. If you take a look at another of my posts 5 Little-Known Tips to Improve your eBook Formatting I explain how you can do that.

The Nuclear Method isn’t necessarily an important step if you are good at writing plainly and simple to begin with in a nice clean Word document. For example if you use my template you can just type straight into that without having to perform any blowing up. Although if you want to copy and paste into the template you would have to use paste special>unformatted text which is a similar process to The Nuclear Method which I explain in the video.

Here is a step by step process from the Smashwords Style Guide, this is slightly different to my video but both work in the same way:

  1. Make a backup of your manuscript (VERY IMPORTANT!) and set it aside in case the Nuclear Method fails you.
  2. Copy and paste your entire manuscript into Windows Notepad (usually found in Programs: Accessories) or any other text editor. This will strip out all your formatting. Here’s how: “Select all” by typing CTRL+A (press the CTRL key, hold it down, then press the A key at the same time) then CTRL+C for “copy,” then paste into an empty Notepad document using the key combination CTRL+V.
  3. Close Microsoft Word, but do not shut down your computer.
  4. Reopen Microsoft Word so it’s showing a fresh empty document.
  5. In Notepad, type CTRL+A to select all, then CTRL+C to copy (or, use the Notepad menu options under “Edit”) and the paste into the empty Word document using either CTRL+V (for paste) or Edit: Paste (in Word 2000 and 2003) or Home: Paste (Word 2007).
  6. If it looks like an ugly unformatted blob of text, success!!! If not, repeat from Step 1.

If you have any suggestions for next month’s video just leave me a comment with your ideas.

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