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Physical Book Publishing > Should I use automatic hyphenation?

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message 1: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Buehrer I'm formatting my novel using CreateSpace's formatted template. I read somewhere that you should use automatic hyphenation to eleminate those gaps at the ends of lines.
It's really distracting to read, in my opinion. And I see very little hyphenation in traditionally-published novels. What should I do about it?


message 2: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments Go with your feelings. Automatic hyphenation can sometimes look awkward and interrupt the reading flow.


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments A.L. wrote: "And I see very little hyphenation in traditionally-published novels. What should I do about it? ..."
There is an art, as well as a science, to "typesetting". Good software (like Adobe InDesign) can help with hyphenation, but a human eye is even better.

I prefer seeing justified text in an e-book or paperback, which means hyphenation is necessary; ragged-right text, which is the alternative, looks amateurish. But that's just my preference.


message 4: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments A.L. wrote: "And I see very little hyphenation in traditionally-published novels. What should I do about it? ..."

Two things.

First, check that you have justified your text in your source document before turning it into a PDF for upload. There should be no space at the end of a line if you have justified the text.

Second, I disagree that traditionally published book do not have hyphenation. They do. I checked bestsellers I have on my Kindle and print books when I prepared my MS for print. You'll find that some pages have none then all of a sudden, a page has a bunch. We're actually used to reading with hyphens, we just don't realize it.

When justification is done (which is the norm), hyphenation prevents a row from having huge spaces between the words which looks weird before/after a row that doesn't have much space between the words.

Word has options for automatic hyphenation to prevent more than one consecutive row from having a hyphen at the end (you can set it to 1, 2 or 3 consecutive rows max).

If you use automatic hyphenation, check them. Sometimes the hyphen isn't where it's should be. I've had Word hyphen the word anything as "an-ything" and elsewhere as "any-thing".

It's best to use the automatic hyphenation because if you make any adjustment to margins, add text, a word, a space, a comma, it may impact whether a word should be hyphened or not. If you physically add hyphens and the text is modified, you could end up with a hyphenated word in the middle of a line rather than at the end.


message 5: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments For print books hyphenation makes a nice looking page but you do have to check it line by line as it has its own quirks.

Since owners can choose font type and size on their eReaders, hyphenation gets mangled up. Hyphens will appear in the middle of a word and large spaces between words will also appear. I'd say that for ebooks there should be no hyphenation. So you need to have two formatted manuscripts: one for print, one for ebook.


message 6: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments When an eBook is uploaded to KDP, agreed, no "end of line" hyphens, automatic hyphenation (with checking) is only for the print version.

The Kindle adds hyphens to prevent very spaced out lines. It's essentially done as the reader reads based on their chosen font/size and language the text is in. The text for the eBook needs to be explicitly right-left justified or else, sometimes, there will be space at the end of the line (it will look like sometimes, the text is left justified).


message 7: by Lila (new)

Lila Diller Thanks for this thread. It was seeing this that made me remember this is the first time I've used automatic hyphenation, so I checked my Kindle book about to release. It didn't hypenate anything weird, and not often. I checked it on all three devices, Kindle reader, tablet, and phone. Maybe this worked because it was all on automatic, and I didn't change any of the hyphens manually. ?


message 8: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments It's the Kindle itself that controls the hyphenation for an eBook. I'm not aware that we can do anything during the upload o9f a book to turn on/off automatic hyphenation.

For the print version, when uploading a PDF, it's whatever word processor used to create the PDF version that will control hyphenation. It's recommended to turn on automatic hyphenation but to check how Word (in my case) hyphenated. If you have made up words, the software may arbitrarily pick where to hyphen and that may or may not be where it should be hyphenated. Word's automatic hyphenation can be temperamental when trying to override where it thinks the hyphen should go.

It's simply important not to add manual hyphens for the electronic version except for words that are normally hyphenated.


message 9: by Tree (new)

Tree District (treedistbooks) | 1 comments For print copies, I would give your work a quick look to ensure that no odd hyphenations have occurred. I also recommend using Adobe InDesign and exporting to an epub file, though it is not required. Good luck!


message 10: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments Adobe InDesign is by subscription only and frightfully expensive. Unfortunately, the old version - if you had one - has no more support. However, after intensive research, I bought Viva Designers. It has all the best features of InDesign and much more. If you do a lot of layouts for print books, it's worth the price, expensive of course but a one time investment and great support.


message 11: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Gamble (wendygamblesf) | 12 comments Thanks, Genevieve, I'm going to look into that.


message 12: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Johnston (katherinejohnstonbooks) | 9 comments Indesign formatting without hyphenation gave the cleanest looking copy for my paperback project. For ebooks, hyphenation is moot as the text is flowable.

As for Createspace formatting,...try the hyphenation and see how you like it,...plenty of print books have tons of hyphenation. I know, I checked while researching which formatting system would be best for my budget and computer specs.

Hope you find the answers you need!


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