Number 2 on things that affect me as an indie reader: formatting.
Obviously I've never formatted anything to be indie-published, but I know people who have. I know there are people who will do it for a modest fee (or an exorbitant one), and there are programs that will do it. If you can't figure it out yourself, get help somewhere.When I read a book, I want great characters and a great story, sure. I want writing that entertains me and keeps me hitting the page button. But I also have certain expectations of professionalism. I've read tens of thousands of print books, single spaced with consistent margins, paragraphs indented, quotation marks and em dashes where they belong, chapter headings consistent. To me, that is the standard of publishing, so I expect it from all books.
Most of all, I want consistency. If you choose not to indent your paragraphs but to put an extra blank line between them, okay but do it that way on every page. Don't indent here, skip it there, then indent it over on that page. And don't fail to indent without that blank line between paragraphs. It makes each chapter read like one great big paragraph and it's hard to follow. Don't give your reader even one small reason to put your book down and never come back to it. Make it as easy for them to read as possible.With italics, again I want consistency. Some authors use them, some underline, some will bold and some will use all capitals for emphasis. While I hate seeing all caps, I can live with them. I can live with anything as long as it's consistent.
A table of contents is necessary in digital books. When I sit down to read, I want to concentrate on the story, not try to figure out how to get from here to there and back again. Confession time: I'm an end-of-the-book reader. I'll read a chapter or two, then flip to the end and read the last chapter or two. Make it easy for me to get back to where I was.I'm also a bio reader. After I read a few pages of Chapter 1, I get curious about the author and jump to the bio. Again, make it easy for me to return to where I left off.
One thing that drives me crazy mad: when the book's flowing along just fine, then suddenly the left margin jumps over a couple inches so that you've got basically one half-width column running down the right-hand side of the screen. I'm sure it's some coding mistake, which we all get. Just don't live with it, or expect your reader to. Fix it.There are so many things out there demanding a reader's time. Don't give her an excuse to turn to something else because you didn't get your book formatted properly.