Kindle Publishing: How to format MS Word

The problem with publishing to Kindle… formatting in MS Word!! Here is a list of simple tips to help you overcome a few niggling problems.

NB. These fixes and tips are for all modern versions of MS WORD.

Font.
Write in your preferred font. I personally use Calabri 12pt. But it makes no real difference. Do not use a font size over 22pt.

Unwanted indents
I always start a new chapter with no indent on my first paragraph. Something like this on the first chapter of Flesh Golem, part one of my IronScythe Sagas:

Flesh-Golem-1
But when I upload to Kindle, this is what my first paragraph looks like:

Flesh-Golem-2

Ack! It took me ages to work out a solution to this problem, but it is fixable by a using a little cheat. All I do is add a single, pixel sized indent that Kindle recognizes.

Take a look at the first example again. There is a single pixel indent before the leading ‘W‘ of ‘WITH‘. But it’s so small it’s practically undetectable.

How it’s done

1. Highlight your leading/first chapter paragraph.

2. Open ‘Paragraph settings’ and the ‘Indents and Spacing’ tab.

3. locate ‘First line‘ under the ‘Special’ heading.

4. In the ‘By’ field, enter: 0.01″ – this will add a single pixel indent to your lead paragraph.

indent1

Line Spacing
Choose Single line for all text.

Justification
Do not justify your text. Kindle will do this for you.

Centred text
Create normally.
For floating text blocks, use the Left and Right indent toggle in Paragraph Settings (see above).

Headings
Do Not use any formatting other than ‘Normal’ for headings (for ‘Normal’ I mean regular paragraph text). Avoid ‘Heading 1‘, ‘Heading 2’, ‘Title’, etc.

To create headings, increase font size up to 22pt or use graphics (like I’ve done in the example above).

Creating a clickable Table of Contents
Position the cursor on your chosen chapter title/or section heading located at various points within your manuscript e.g. an individual chapter heading. Go to the Insert menu and use ‘Insert bookmark’. Give it a catchy name like ‘CH1’ or ‘About’ etc. Do this for all items you want to add to your table.

Return to the beginning of your work and under the title ‘Table of Contents’ (or whatever you want to call it), create the table manually.

e.g. type in something like below

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 26

Epilogue

About The Author

Acknowledgements

Also by

Then manually add hyperlinks by highlighting the text, right clicking and choosing ‘Hyperlink’ > ‘Link to: Place in this document’. The bookmarks you added in the previous step will appear in a pop-up. Choose the correct bookmark and repeat.

Start of the novel
Kindle starts all over the place. Damn annoying. A way round this is to force it to start on the cover image.

Add a ‘Start’ bookmark at the front of the document using the Insert menu on the very first line of your document. This will force Kindle to start on the cover.

Table of Contents
Highlight the the title of your contents. In the above example I used ‘TABLE OF CONTENTS’ and add a bookmark called ‘TOC‘ It has to be called this for Kindle to recognise this is where your Content list lives.

Simplicity
Keep everything simple. Do not use drop capitals. When formatting in Word this way, you can pretty much control what the converted Mobi/Kindle file will look like. Take time to get all your formatting right.

Uploading to Kindle
Upload as normal and use the online previewer. Check across all the different kindle formats. Note any horrible formatting. Check all ‘Table of Contents’ link work correctly.

Download the mobi file and send to your Kindle. Check all is okay and the way you want it. Often Word adds strange formatting and font changes that are only apparent when converted to Kindle. So check every page.

Fix any errors and repeat the process until you’re happy.

And we’re done.

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