The first time I formatted a book for Kindle it took hours of research and hours of formatting. Thankfully I now have a template to use and all those hours of knowledge and experience. I just wanted to share, as simply as possible, some of the information I have accumulated. Some of this was from research, some from trial and error, and some of this was gifted to me by my sixteen year-old computer genius son. I hope this saves you some time and frustration.
The best thing to do if you plan to publish a book on Amazon Kindle is to format before you begin writing. That being said, most of us get the idea to put our work on Kindle AFTER we have something written. My book was formatted as a manuscript to send to publishers and agents for print. With that in mind, I will take you through the steps to get your work Kindle ready.
MICROSOFT WORD is the program I use to create my books. If you use PDF files you will need to find different instructions. I am using WORD 2007, but you can still find the same commands in other versions.
Margins – set them to 0 (zero). I tried to keep the default margins but, when I viewed my book on Kindle, the words kept getting divided in the wrong places for hyphenation. Kindle devices set their own margins so it works fine to remove them.
Removing Margins: First Select All – (for older Word programs you can find that under edit). 2007 version requires you to click the Home tab, and then on the far right you will see Select. Click the Arrow and Select All. Next, go to the Page Layout tab and click the arrow for Margins. Click Custom setting and set all to zero.
Page Numbers – OFF
Headers and Footers – OFF
Fonts – Kindle uses their own fonts. They have one new version that will allow publishers font’s to be displayed but we are keeping this simple so it will work on all Kindle devices. So, your font will not show up on the book for your readers, BUT choosing the right font will help with formatting. Some fonts do NOT work well with the HTML and conversion process.
Choose one of the following fonts:
Rockwell, Garamond, Times New Roman, or Courier New
Styles – This part is very important
You cannot use font size to differentiate titles, chapters, and text when formatting for Kindle. It is important to use the Style selections to accomplish this. First, the body text should be in the Normal style. Make sure it is the same font as you have chosen above. It should be the default font.
To change a style, right click on the style and then click modify. You can change the style by clicking on format button, bottom left. Check to see that the font is correct.
Modifying the Styles – Paragraph Settings – So again – Right click the Normal Style, Modify, Format, and now choose Paragraph.
You want it to say Alignment Left, Body Text, and 0 in the left and right indentation. Click on the Special box and click first line. This will bring up 0.5 which works well with Kindle. Last make sure the line spacing is single.
Do not use spaces or tabs to indent your paragraphs. You need to use the setting Special, first line, .5.
The last setting in Paragraph is spacing before and after. There are different instructions out there for this. I see many professional books with no extra spacing between paragraphs. I like a little extra so I choose 6pt after paragraph. If I need extra space before an example, or e-mail within the book, I will set this to 18 or 20. Don’t forget to click OK to save your settings.
Great! Off to a good start. Normal Style is set up for the body of the book. Now make sure to apply that style to all paragraphs in the book.
New Chapters – You must insert page breaks when you start a new chapter in order to see it on a new page. You cannot use enter (return) to provide space between chapters because this will not work on Kindle. Actually, you can have no more than 4 returns in a row or the file will be rejected.
For Chapter headings, use a different style such as Heading 1 so you can create a Table of Contents. Kindle wants a table of contents in your file.
Modify the Heading 1 style so that it is the correct font, take out the special indent and click none, and then set the first field (alignment) to center. You can make the font bigger and it will stay because it is a Style setting. You can also use bold. Here is an example of what you should see written for settings:
Font: 14 pt, Bold, Kern at 16 pt, Indent: First line: 0″, Space After: 10 pt, Keep with next, Level 1, Style: Linked, Quick Style, Priority: 10, Based on: Normal, Following style: Normal
You can do the same thing for the Book Title and other headings.
Finding errors in formatting – You will get very familiar with Find and Replace if you aren’t already using it. First hold the CTRL and SHIFT buttons and tap the number 8. You will now see the formatting information on your page. You hold and tap the same buttons to remove it. See all those paragraph symbols? You need to be sure you don’t have extras and that you used page break correctly.
You can click the Replace button on your tool bar or use CTRL F. Make sure you have the replace tab open. At the bottom left are two buttons. Click special and then click on Paragraph Mark. That will go in the Find What box. You may want to start with 3 or 4 of the paragraph marks and then replace with one paragraph. While you are checking this, make sure there is one paragraph mark after the last paragraph in a chapter and then you should see the words page break. Now, remove all the extra paragraph marks. If you want extra space between paragraphs, edit the paragraph properties by changes pts after as explained above under Modifying Styles.
Let’s do more find/replace actions. You can search for 2 paragraphs, tabs, and even spaces. You should try a search for (space)(space)(period) and replace with (period). You can do that for one extra space before a period also. You can search after the period for extra spaces. I do not recommend hitting replace all because you may change something that shouldn’t be changed. If you see something you don’t want changed, just hit Find Next. Now, get creative and check your formatting.
Now it’s time to see how it looks on Kindle. You’re not done formatting yet but let’s check it for now. There are a few ways to do this. The easiest is to download the Kindle Previewer. Here is link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000765261
You will eventually need a Kindle Direct Publishing account, so now is a good time to do that. https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin
How does the preview look? You can continue to make changes and check it on the previewer.
Now there are a few more things you need to do. Kindle wants a Table of Contents, and a bookmark to the beginning of the book.
CJs Easy as Pie site has the best instructions for the bookmarks that I could find. The link is below. You will want to roam around this site once you do the Table of Contents. The site is very comprehensive, but a little complicated when you first get started. Hopefully you are now ready to read more about the finishing touches and will benefit from other articles on this site.
I hope this helps you get a start on the formatting needed to publish to Kindle. Once the formatting is done you will need to convert the Word file to HTML. Just go to SAVE AS and select Web Page filtered. That is the file you want to upload to Kindle. Make sure you create an eye catching cover to upload with your book.
Good luck and happy writing!
Check out my new book on Kindle!
Whitney Bentley, a gifted psychic, is tracking a serial killer targeting young boys in Phoenix. The side effects of absorbing so many violent images begin to take their toll on her body and she is forced to rely on a local detective to keep her safe.
Nick is not only unwilling to work with the psychic, he’s furious that her phony tricks will waste time and inevitably cause more deaths. Falling fast into a world he never believed could exist, he soon finds he needs Whitney, and not just for the case.