Here's a question from the Ebooks/Epub Technologies group on LinkedIn.
I think the answer depends on how you plan to make your e-book available. The general rule is: the simpler your design is, the more likely it will be to display correctly on any ereader that uses it.
If you plan to use Smashwords.com, I would suggest you pick up their style guide at:
From what I understand,if you can get the format right you can publish on a number of different devices. However, I haven't used Smashwords, so I can't say that with any certainty. (I'm concerned about the lack of digital rights management capabilities.) I will be happy to yield the floor to anyone who has used Smashwords.
I have published a book for the Amazon Kindle. The formatting wasn't too tricky. The best information is on the Kindle Direct Publishing Website. Here's a brief overview:
- Start using Microsoft Word. Save your document as a .doc or .docx file.
- Do not use bullet points, weird fonts, headers or footers.
- Put page breaks between chapters. Other than that, page breaks may not matter because they will be dependent on the font size the reader is using.
- Use JPEG images that are high contrast. Insert them as pictures.
- Each body paragraph will be justified.
- The first line of each paragraph will be indented automatically. Do not use the tab key.
- Use Word's table of contents feature to create a table of contents where the reader can click and be taken to a particular area of the book.
- Save your .docx file. This way you can make changes to the text later.
- Save your .docx file as "Filtered HTML". This is what you'll upload to Amazon.
(The page I'm working from has several additional steps, but I don't think I did them -- but then I don't have any pictures in my ebook.)
Best of luck to you!