Formatting your book for Kindle does not have to be a complicated tortuous experience. There are some very basic requirements necessary for Kindle but it’s not rocket science! Follow these simple easy steps to quickly publish a great looking book to Kindle in less than 30 minutes… if you want it done easier…click here!
For simplicity I always work with a Word doc… not Open Office or PDF… not even docx. If your book is in any other format first convert it to a Word doc.
The first thing I do when formatting books for clients is to change everything in the document to some basic settings which Amazon recommends for all books uploaded to Kindle.
Preferred font: Times New Roman
Normal font size: 12 pt
Line spacing: single
“Select All” text in the entire document by pressing the CTRL key and A – Now select the font type in Word as Times New Roman. With all text still highlighted in blue, right click anywhere in the text and select Paragraph from the menu. In the Paragraph menu box select “Single” for spacing for the entire document. Click OK a couple time to get back to your document and click anywhere in the text to get rid of the highlighting.
Next I setup the pages, title and copyright page, Table of Contents, Chapter titles, etc. If you’re good with Word and know how to setup styles it will save you a lot of time formatting the rest of your book. If not then simply do each section one at a time.
Book Title and title page:
I almost always set the book title to 28pts unless it just looks to big for the page. You need to use a paragraph style to set spacing before and after the title because Kindle ignores blank lines. Remember that point! You have to remove all blank lines from your document prior to uploading…otherwise the layout will look nothing like what you wanted.
Copyright Page… believe it or not is optional with Kindle. Most authors have one but not all and Amazon doesn’t seem to really care. 😛 — I however always use a copyright page in my books.
Table of Contents — We’ll come back to this as it is the last step of the formatting.
Chapter headings — This is the only somewhat complicated part of formatting where you will want to use styles built into Word. At the top of your screen you should see a row of boxes with text like Normal, Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. These are preset or default styles. I always use Heading 2 for main chapter headings and if I have sub-chapters and sub-sub-chapters then I use Heading 3, Heading 4, etc. for subsequent styles. Lets look at the main chapter headings however all styles are modified the same way. Right click on Heading 2 and select “Modify”. In the box that opens select Times New Roman for the font; font size is 16pt; select ‘B’ for bold. Next on the bottom left hand side of the box click on ‘Format’ and then click Paragraph. Under ‘Spacing’ set Before at 12pt and After at 18pt. Make sure Line Spacing is Single then click OK and then OK again to exit the window. Now you have a paragraph style for your chapter headings. Scroll down to your Chapter 1 (or whatever your first chapter heading is called) and then click Heading 2. The style in your document will change to match the settings you created. Do this for all chapter headings.
Paragraph Style: First line indent or block paragraph. Amazon as well as most other digital platforms prefer if you do not use both of these styles. Smashwords will not allow both and it’s good practice to use one or the other. I always follow a simple rule… non-fiction books I use block paragraph and fiction books I use first line indent. Simple! You can define the style you choose for your book by modifying the Normal style the same way I described above for modifying the Heading 2 style. Use a font size of 12 and set spacing or first line indent in the Format section.
Once the above steps are completed throughout your entire manuscript and you have removed all blank lines, the only thing left to do is the Table of Contents. Here you will see why I use Words styles for chapter headings. Microsoft Word has a table of contents function built into it under the References menu. First, make sure you are back to where you want the Table of Contents to be in your book. You should have a heading “Table of Contents’ and underneath that a blank line where your cursor now sits. Click References and then Table of Contents. At the bottom click Insert Table of Contents. Choose the headings used in your document under options and deselect all others. Deselect page numbers and click OK. If all the setting were correct then you will now see a TOC with all your chapters listed. Easy!
To date, I have formatted and published well over 1000 books to Kindle, Smashwords, Createspace and a number of other platforms for clients. In the beginning I found it all very confusing but if you stick with it… it’ll get easier. If instead you’d rather get me to professionally prepare your book for you then please contact me here: