This page covers common issues when converting a Word document to ebook files on Pronoun. If you uploaded your own epub and mobi files, please see this article for information about errors.
After reviewing our manuscript guidelines, we suggest following these steps to double-check your formatting:
When all else fails, deleting and re-typing content can help clear unwanted formatting. You can also try opening the manuscript in Google Docs and then saving/downloading it as a .docx file.
Some formatting issues might not be immediately obvious. For example, if you override Word’s default styling for headings, the heading won’t look like a heading in Word but will still convert as such in your book. Similarly, copied and pasted text can retain hidden formatting.
Reflowable ebooks need to be properly formatted to meet industry standards, and as a result, they don’t look exactly like their original manuscripts. Instead, Pronoun formats and designs your ebook to look beautiful on every screen, for every reader.
Think of your manuscript as a recipe for our conversion tool to create and format your ebook. To give an example, underlined text in your manuscript won’t appear underlined in your ebook. Instead, that’s how our conversion tool recognizes block quotes.
Our conversion tool also designs your book’s interior. Pronoun offers a variety of professionally designed layouts for authors to choose from, each with a unique look and feel.
No matter which one you choose for your book, our conversion tool will style your chapter titles, subtitles, scene breaks, fonts, spacing, and more. As a result, there’s no need to “style” your manuscript yourself (such as change font styles and sizes, include headers or footers, etc.).
The first step is to edit your manuscript in Microsoft Word. Then, follow these steps to convert your revised docx to ebook files:
Our conversion tool will create your new ebook files, which you can immediately download and open. Please feel free to upload and convert as many manuscripts as you like.
Type a line of nothing but two asterisks (**) in your docx, and it’ll convert as a blank line in your book. See our manuscript formatting guidelines for details.
Reflowable books don’t have “pages” in the traditional sense. They adapt to different screens, meaning they vary in length from retailer to retailer and device to device—they lack fixed page counts altogether.
As a result, we create a hyperlinked Table of Contents from the headings in your book so readers can tap a chapter title and instantly jump to that spot in your book.
Pronoun automatically creates your book’s cover page, title page, copyright page (optional), and Table of Contents. We suggest deleting this front matter from your manuscript before creating your book to avoid duplicates.
If you would prefer to use your own copyright page, de-select “Include a copyright page” after uploading your docx.
Our layouts feature a first-paragraph design: the paragraph is un-indented and the first four or five words are capitalized. We don’t apply this design if the first paragraph of the chapter is shorter than 15 words.
Here are two examples of first paragraphs using the layout Shelley:
Retailers require books to contain a complete Table of Contents linking to every chapter or section. To ensure that our conversion technology recognizes your chapter titles and includes them in your TOC, please do the following:
For picture books, short stories, articles, and other works without chapters, we suggest adding a heading of your book title before your first paragraph and an “About the Author” page at the end. Then your TOC will have two chapters: “Your Book Title” and “About the Author.” (Sections like “Dedication,” “Acknowledgments,” “Note to Reader,” and “Other Books By” work too.)
For poetry and cookbooks, we suggest styling your poem/recipe titles as Heading 1. For plays, you can style the act and scene titles as headings.
Make sure your chapter titles aren’t formatted as a list. This sometimes happens automatically in Microsoft Word, or when you export your manuscript as a .docx file using another word processor.
Make sure your chapter titles are really formatted as Heading 1. In Microsoft Word, check your text styling by turning on Styles Guide/Inspector. If you use Pages, which has different default text styles than Word, you may need to rename the “Heading” style to “Heading 1.” (Select the style and click the arrow to rename it.)
Make sure you’re pressing ENTER (not SHIFT + ENTER) to insert a hard line break after your chapter title. To check that you used hard line breaks, turn on non-printing characters in Microsoft Word. Hard line breaks are represented by little pilcrows, and soft line breaks are represented by little arrows.
Most likely, there’s a page break missing before one of your Heading 1 chapter or section titles. We suggest turning on non-printing characters and Style Guides/Inspector in Microsoft Word to more easily see your page breaks and Heading 1 titles.
The issue might also be that you pressed ENTER to break a chapter title into two separate lines of Heading 1 text. (For example, “Chapter One” on one line and “The Adventure Begins” on the next line.) Our conversion tool thinks your chapter starts with two titles instead of one.
To fix this, we suggest putting your entire chapter title on the same line (e.g., “Chapter One: The Adventure Begins”). Or, you can format the first title as Heading 1 (“Chapter One”) and the second line as Heading 2, 3, or 4 (“The Adventure Begins”).
Chapter titles won’t convert properly in your book if they’re formatted as a numbered or bulleted list, even when preceded by a page break and formatted as Heading 1 text.
How to remove list formatting using Microsoft Word:
How to remove list formatting using Google Docs:
Microsoft Word sometimes applies this list formatting automatically. The easiest way to see it is to highlight the chapter titles in your document. You should see the bulleted or numbered list icon selected in the toolbar.
If you’re using a program other than Word, the list formatting might be automatically applied when you export the file as a docx. You might need to use another word processor, such as Google Docs, to remove the list formatting.
Some retailers won’t sell books that mention or link to their competitors. Please make sure your book doesn’t contain:
Note that your book can contain retailer links if it’s only being distributed to that retailer. For example, a book only going to Kobo can include Kobo links.
This error means we couldn’t open (and thus convert) your manuscript. Here are some common reasons why:
Generally, manuscripts with millions of words or dozens of large images are too big for us to process.
If your manuscript is too long to convert, consider dividing it into multiple shorter volumes. You might publish a series of shorter books instead of a single long one. Or, try including smaller or fewer images in your book.
If you think you received this error by mistake, hidden formatting could be causing the issue. Turn on non-printing characters in Word and look for unnecessary page breaks and section breaks.
Your manuscript contains at least one corrupt image whose bad data caused conversion to fail. To find and remove the corrupt images, follow a process of elimination:
If you know the file names of your images, skip the above steps and just remove the images mentioned in our error message.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.