Author - Nina Cordoba
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3/30/2011 9:02:15 AM

Formatting for Kindle

Update: When I wrote the blog below, these steps were necessary to load to the Kindle Direct Publishing and Pub It (Now Nook Press) sites. Since then, they have changed their process so that they accept Microsoft Word and other formats. However, I still use the process below to make a Kindle version of my book before publication, plug my Kindle into my computer and transfer the book file directly onto my Kindle so I can see what it will look like. Not only is this good for checking formatting, but, when read this way, typos and other problems jump out at me. I typically do this about 7 or 8 times after I think my book is ready to publish and before and after my editor looks at it. I'm pretty sick of the story by the end of this process, but it does make for a pretty clean book.

Many authors have started putting their out-of-print backlists as well as there new stories up for sale on Kindle, B&N, and Smashwords. I will be sharing formatting and uploading instructions (written the way they make sense to me) as I get them typed into files on my computer.

This entry includes step-by-step instructions on what you need to do to format your manuscript BEFORE uploading to Kindle. (Uploading, I'll add later.) I wrote these down while watching my husband do it the first time, but since then, I've done it myself using these instructions. It's not difficult if you just go through them step-by-step.

Formatting for Kindle:

What you need to have in advance: Title page, dedication and/or acknowledgements, table of contents (optional), end page inviting readers to your website and/or Facebook, listing other books you've written and/or upcoming books, etc. (In other words, if they liked your book enough to read the whole thing, you want to give them the opportunity to read your future stories. An example of this is at the end of Not Dreaming of You.) You will also need to have a cover stored on your computer to upload and a sales blurb (description).

-Select all and single space manuscript.

-Remove all extra line spaces, including those after chapter headings

-Remove all extra spaces within document and at ends of lines. (For a simple way to do this, see bottom of page.)

-To have line spaces after chapter headings or anywhere else, go to “paragraph” on home ribbon, click “line & paragraph spacing,” choose “add space after paragraph”

-Create copyright page at the beginning (or end) of document. If at beginning, remember to hit enter once, then go to "Insert" and hit "Page break."

-Create title page with title and author, hit “enter” once after author and go to “Insert” then “page break”

-Create dedication and/or acknowledgement page after title page or at end of manuscript. (Some now have this at end so readers are more likely to read it.) Again, hit "enter" then "instert" then "page break."

-Create table of contents if you want one. (Not necessary for fiction, but up to you.)

-Create page at end of manuscript inviting readers to visit your website, friend you on FB, follow you on Twitter or whatever (optional). Also add any other books you’re selling. “Other stories by this author:”

-Make sure there are page breaks at end of each chapter. Place cursor at end of last line of chapter. Hit enter. Choose “Insert” then “page break.”

-Remove any extra line spaces at the end of document.

-Do a “Find” on the manuscript. Type in the word “Chapter” and make sure all your chapters are styled the same way, i.e. 14pt Bold or 18 Bold italic or whatever.

-Hit save. Your document is saved as word file. Now click “Save As.” In the bottom field, click the arrow (save type) and choose “web page, filtered.” This should create a file ending in “.htm”  When next box pops up, click “Yes.”

-Close document

-Click on Mobi Pocket Creator (if you don’t have, you must download from:

-In Mobi Pocket Creator, under “Import from existing file,” click “html document.”

-Click Browse, choose the .htm version of your manuscript.

-Click the Import button

-Click “cover image” at left, click “Add cover image”

-Click Browse button. Go to your cover in your files and double click.

-Must click “update” after image appears

-Click “metadata.” Fill in. (Author, etc.)

-Click “Update”

-Click “Build” on top blue ribbon

-Choose standard compression, no encryption

-Click “Build” again

This creates a file in “My documents” called “My publications” Inside there will be a “.prc” file of your manuscript

-Double click the .prc file to pull up on Kindle Reader and check it.

Note: This is a great way to do final proofing. Typos that escaped notice by you and your editors/pre-readers may suddenly jump out at you. You can even increase the size of the type so they are even more obvious. Remember to look for unsatisfactory formatting. Normally, this is because you left extra spaces in the document, didn't put in page breaks or line spaces the correct way or left extra spaces at the ends of lines or within the document. You need to go back to your original Word document and fix the problems.

Instructions for removing extra spaces from your manuscript:

Go to find/replace.

1)Type a space then ^p into the "find" field. Type ^p (without a space before it) in the "replace" field. This should find and replace extra spaces at the end of your paragraphs.

2) Type two spaces into the "find" field. Type one space into the "replace" field. This will replace any double spaces in your manuscript with single spaces.

Once you have fixed anything that looked wrong, delete the .prc and .htm files and create a new book (following instructions above) and scan through it to see that your formatting problems are corrected.

At this point, your hard part is done for both Kindle and Nook formatting and uploading should be a breeze.

posted by Nina 32 Comments