If you've been working on a manuscript since, well, forever, you might have invisible characters that even Word's 'Show' command won't reveal. Stuff like Courier fonts between Times New Roman fonts. This can really eff up your formatting when you go to convert your file.
Rick Daley gave me this easy tip a couple of years ago--copy the file to MS Notepad. Save as a TXT file. Open the TXT, and save as a DOC file again. This strips out all formatting. Honestly, sometimes it's just easier to start from scratch rather than beat your head against the wall. Lot less Band-aids too.
[Edit to add: I wrote this post last night before I started working on my SmashWords formatting. In his instructions, Mark Coker also refers to this method. His nickname for using Notepad? The nuclear method.]
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