Writing Tip for Novels: To Indent or Not to Indent, that is the Question
In my current NANO book that I’m writing, I decided to try and go with indenting the paragraphs, although the back of my mind kept saying no. When I did, almost immediately I started encountering finicky problems working with the indents. This prompted me to confirm whether I really need them or not in my novel. Since I need to make sure that my completed NANO book is “Kindle Scout eligible”, I decided to turn to the experts for the answer about when to use paragraph indents.
Chicago Manual of Style
Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is suggested for Kindle Scout entries. According to Amazon, adhering to the CMOS can help increase your chances of being accepted. In case you’re not familiar with the Kindle Scout opportunity for emerging self-published authors, here’s how they describe it:
“Kindle Scout gives authors an opportunity to kick-start their books and potentially earn a Kindle Press publishing contract – in 45 days or less.”
According to the CMOS, for online reading (aka Kindle and other devices), the white spaces between the paragraphs suffice to break up the monotonous reading experience. Therefore NO paragraph indents are necessary. Hmm! That’s good to know. I actually never used them in my previous books, and though I wasn’t sure if that was proper, it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Now I know for sure what the protocol is.
As for the print versions of your book, it’s a different story. Here’s what the experts say about that: “In a typed document, each new paragraph should begin with a first-line indent, applied either with the Tab key or with your word processor’s indentation feature rather than the Space bar. One-half inch is the traditional measure for an indent. ”
Hopefully, this information can help you decide on this issue, and correct your formatting before you get too far along with your manuscript.
HAPPY NANO and KEEP WRITING!