What's The Best Way to Show Scene-Breaks?

In ebooks, even more than print, it’s important to give your reader visual cues when things change.  For this reason, we encourage authors to use vertical whitespace to provide cues for changes in the narrative like scenebreaks.  While vertical whitespace is created differently by file conversion companies than by most writers, you can achieve the same impact by marking your manuscript with something as simple as 3 asterisks in a row. e.g., * * * .  That cues your reader—or your conversion house—that your book has moved forward in time; that a POV has changed, or that the reader has entered a new scene. 

In Stephanie Fine's terrific YA novel, "The Howling of the Wind," Stephanie alerts her readers to a scene change by using both a graphic (in the trades, called "a fleuron,") as well as a flush-left paragraph to show the start of a new scene.  In the comedic romp, "Jan of Cleveland," shown here on a Nook device, author Liz Kingsbury McKeown uses both a Blackletter font to set the medieval time-travel mood, and vertical whitespace to indicate a scenebreak almost immediately after her first chapter opens.  

Examples (click to enlarge in a lightbox):

 
 

A fleuron used to create a scenebreak in The Howling of the Wind.
A fleuron used to create a scenebreak in The Howling of the Wind.
 

In Stephanie Fine's terrific YA novel, "The Howling of the Wind," Stephanie alerts her readers to a scene change by using both a graphic (in the trades, called "a fleuron,") as well as a flush-left paragraph to show the start of a new scene.  In the comedic romp, "Jan of Cleveland," shown here on a Nook device, author Liz Kingsbury McKeown uses both a Blackletter font to set the medieval time-travel mood, and vertical whitespace to indicate a scenebreak almost immediately after her first chapter opens.  

Both Blackletter and whitespace used effectively in the comedic romp, Jan of Cleveland
Both Blackletter and whitespace used effectively in the comedic romp, Jan of Cleveland

 

As you can see, fleurons, vertical whitespace, and flush-left paragraphs, used alone or in combination, can be very effective. 

 

 

 

Phone Call Alert! 

(Please read, thanks.) 

Old Timey Switchboard Operator Cartoon

 

Due to the COVID-19 onslaught, we currently cannot take incoming phone calls.  

 

A notification about phone calls:  due to the COVID-19 plague, we've significantly increased our incoming inquiries--nearly double our usual volume--and the number of incoming inquiries by phone has been literally overwhelming.  Although most writers will say that their call "will only take 15 minutes," the truth is, that after 10 years of doing this, most author inquiry calls take an hour.  45 minutes at best. I'm currently receiving 7-10 calls/day, and due to that, I've had to stop accepting incoming phone calls, which my voicemail will tell you. You can leave a message--I can't call you back without one--and if a call is needed, I will of course call you.  But we have very complete and extensive email replies, handouts and our website is very informative. Almost all the questions that I receive during a call are actually already answered on our site, or are, in fact, publishing questions, not questions about our services, what we do, what we offer, or the like.  I already handle between 90-130 emails/day, as it is. I can't handle that many emails and take 7-10 hours of calls each day. I can't. So, in order to be able to answer this huge email volume, to help the greatest number of people, with my time, I've had to stop accepting calls.  I'm sorry, but that's just how it is. I'm in the process of setting up a call-appointment function, for free 15-minute calls to answer questions from new prospective customers and longer paid sessions for folks who generally want consulting on "publishing," generally (and for prospective kids' book publishers, as a special category of paid consulting).  But that functionality isn't yet set up. I hope to get that working the 3rd week of July, sometime.  

Thank you for your understanding.