How to Format Your Kindle Ebook
Ask anyone who has wondered about how to format an ebook for Kindle, and they will let you know that it’s not as simple as the way one gets it done in a word processor.
If you look online, then you might come across numerous programs that allow you to convert your book into a Kindle version automatically. However, you might find out that the result might look like an amateur wrote the book; awkward spacing issues, entire paragraphs or sections simply italicized or bolded, texts flowing around pictures, and other wacky formatting issues.
Your first action is to start working on the original file and not the one that has been run through an online Kindle book converter. Once you have the original file in front of you, then follow these steps.
When using Microsoft Word – or any other word processor — people tend to use the ‘justified’ option. While the option does provide a clean result, it might not work well with a Kindle format because it eventually becomes junk code that gets added to your Kindle file. Similarly, don’t hit Enter twice after a paragraph and use the default spacing settings provided by Word. Never – and I mean ever – hit Enter repeatedly until you get to a new page, especially when you want to start a new chapter. Avoid using tabs when you are starting a paragraph. While it adds a nice visual effect to the overall presentation of your book, at the same time, it can sneak in a junk code that could bungle your Kindle format.
Once you have followed Step 1 and used the recommendations to correct any wrong or awkward formatting, then your next step is to use page breaks. Your first is probably going to be the title of the book. If so, move on to the next section and place your cursor at the beginning of that section. Use the Page Break setting to automatically transfer that section to a new page. Keep following this process until all your sections begin on a new page.
Usually, you might find that your book might consist of the following sections:
- Title page where you usually add in your name (author’s name) and the name of the publishing house
- A copyright page
- Table of Contents
- Body or Chapters
- About Author
There are other sections that you could add in, such as an Epilogue and Afterword that comes after the conclusion of the book. To get the Table of Contents right, leave a blank page for it as you work on the other sections. Once you have completed the arrangement, return back to the Table of Contents and add it to the book.
Once you have arranged all the sections, you can then apply styles to help readers understand the different parts of a chapter or block of text. You can use the Heading 1 style for chapter titles of section headings (such as the Introduction, Chapter 1, and so on). You can apply Heading 2 styles for any subheadings that appear within each chapter or section.
An important point to note here: the Kindle software does not have all the font type options you are going to find in Microsoft Word or any other word processor. You cannot assume the Kindle can use any additional typefaces. Kindle Fire, for example, has 11 typefaces. These are:
- Times New Roman
- Lucida Sans Unicode
You should ideally use the above typefaces to format your book in your preferred word processor. You can add bold or italic styles to your font (to identify the difference between Heading 1 and Heading 2), but if you are, then make sure that the rest of the book does not have styles (for example, paragraphs or sentences that are bolded or italicized or both). Make sure that you are not adding font colors, as this could add unnecessary code to your book.
If you are using images, then make sure that it is centralized and fits the writing area of the doc. It should start from the leftmost indent and end at the rightmost one. In some cases, your image might end up occupying the entire book. You have two solutions when that happens.
You can use the crop feature on the image to remove any unwanted regions. Or, you can lower the width of the image so that they are not touching either of the indents. However, make sure that the rest of the images have the same width, as it will make them look presentable in the final version of the book.
If you are adding tables, then make sure that they aligned in the center.
Most Word processors automatically allow you to add in Table of Contents, or TOC for short. When you add the TOC, most word processors automatically link the sections of the TOC with the font style you have used for those sections. For example, if you have used both bold and italic format options for Heading 1s, then the Heading 1s in the TOC will also appear bolded and italicized.
Go back to the page that you had reserved for Table of Contents. Insert the TOC here and then hyperlink the various sections within the TOC to their location in the book. That way, if you were to click on Chapter 1, then you are instantly taken to the first chapter in the book. Once you have hyperlinked all the sections in the TOC, check them to see if they are working properly. If you find any errors, correct them now before you move on to the next step.
If you have followed Steps 1 to 4 for your kindle ebook formatting, then you should not have any formatting problems with bullet points, page breaks, tables, images, etc. Quickly browse through the book one more time to check for any errors that you might have missed. Once you are confident about the presentation of your book, use any online tool or program to convert your file into the .MOBI format. A .MOBI file is recognized by the Kindle and many other eBook readers and apps.
There are many programs you can use to convert your docs to .MOBI format. Here is a list of software that you can use:
Most or all of the software that is listed above has simple instructions to convert your file, where you simply have to upload the Word doc and can convert it instantly. You can also download the Kindle Previewer for free directly from Amazon to preview your book, as it will eventually appear on the Kindle. If you are satisfied with the results, then you can move on to the next step. If you feel that you still need to work on the format, then go ahead and perform your edits.
Finally, you are ready to add your Kindle book to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. Create an account by visiting this link and filling out all the important information about your book. Once done, you can publish your book. Amazon goes through a review process that usually lasts no more than 48 hours. If your book has been approved, it will then appear on Amazon.com!
Of course, getting Amazon’s approval is another matter entirely. Why not let us take care of the process and make your job easier? In fact, we can even write a killer book for you! All you need to do is reach out to us right here, let us know the topic or theme of your book, and we’ll take care of the rest. Sounds pretty convenient doesn’t it?
Remember that the above steps do not guarantee that your Kindle eBook is going to be free of errors. If you want a book that looks polished, has high levels of engagement, hooks in the reader until the last word, and is more easily accepted by Amazon’s software, then all you have to do is reach out to us.
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Do you want to know how to generate pen names for your kindle books? Then check out this article.