Below is an example of straight vs. curled quotes:
It's easy to spot the difference, and readers will take note if you're not using fancy quotes in your eBooks and think that you're some yahoo. Many of us are self-publishing on our laptops while not wearing any pants, but we want to give the reader the impression that we are professionals. Now it would be an incredibly painful task to go through your manuscript line-by-line to turn each straight quote into a curled quote. Fortunately, there are two options at your disposal."Hey, knock that off!" said Gamera's illegitimate offspring.“Hey, knock that off!” said Gamera’s illegitimate offspring.
Getting Microsoft Word to Automatically Format Curled Quotes
Microsoft Word has autoformatting features that convert all straight quotes into curled quotes. Apostrophes are also converted from a straight up and down mark to a closing single quote. The first thing to do is enable this autoformatting feature, which is usually on by default. More information on how to do this is available at my eBook formatting tutorial or in my book How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else.
Perform the following steps:
- Click the Windows Icon in the upper left
- Click Word Options
- Click Proofing
- Click AutoCorrect Options
- Under the Autoformat tab, deselect all boxes except for Straight Quotes for “Smart Quotes” and Hyphens (--) with Dash (—)
- Under the Autoformat as you Type tab, deselect all boxes except for Straight Quotes for “Smart Quotes” and Hyphens (--) with Dash (—)
Online App for Converting Boring Quotes to Curled Quotes
For Tom's app you basically just slap in some text into the window and click "fix". The formatted text will appear in the same window. The app is free, so there is no excuse to use antiquated straight up-and-down quotes ever again.
Nerd Note: When you format your eBook in HTML, don't forget to convert all the fancy quotes to HTML entities, because some eReaders will display junk when rendering the curled quotes since they are outside the ASCII character set.