April 13, 2016 | Posted in: April 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge, Author Resources, XterraWeb Book Blog

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K is for Kindle Formatting Tips

Authors can learn how to format their books themselves, or they can hire freelancers. Whether you choose to format your own book or hire someone, these tips will help with the formatting process.

10 Kindle Formatting Tips. Kindle e-book formatting.

1. Research or Hire a Freelancer
If you choose to format your own book, there are many guides, tutorials, and videos available to help with e-book formatting.

Recommended Guides

If you choose to hire someone, thoroughly vet that individual or company. Consider pricing, turnaround time, testimonials from previous clients, experience, work samples, and files you’ll receive.

Recommended Formatters

2. Use Page Breaks
Use a page break for each new chapter/heading. Kindle doesn’t use actual page numbers as pages change based on e-reader settings (e.g., font, text size, line spacing).

Using page breaks after each chapter will ensure the chapters are clearly sectioned for readers and the next chapter begins on a new “page.”

In Microsoft Word, create a page break by simultaneously pressing the CTRL and Enter keys or by going to the Insert tab in the ribbon menu and then clicking the Page break button.

3. Layout Options—Kindle Conversion Likes/Dislikes
The Kindle conversion process can be “picky.” There are layout (or formatting) options Kindle likes and doesn’t like. The options that aren’t liked should be avoided.

Kindle Conversion Likes

  • Indentations
  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Underline
  • Headings styles
  • Paragraph Format Styles

Kindle Conversion Dislikes

  • Two spaces after periods
  • Tab spacing
  • Bullet points
  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Text boxes
  • Auto numbering
  • Tables
  • Special fonts
  • Special Word styles

4. Use One Space After Periods (full stops)
The Kindle conversion process doesn’t like two spaces after periods. Only one space should be used.

In Microsoft Word, you can check for and remove the extra space by doing the following:

  1. On the Home tab in the ribbon menu, click the Replace button at the far right or use the shortcut key combo of CTRL + R.
  2. In the Find and Replace window, click in the Find what: text box, and enter a period with two spaces after it. Next, click in the Replace with: text box, and enter a period with one space after it.
  3. To make all changes automatically, click the Replace All button. Continue clicking the Replace All button until it returns “0 Results.”

5. Remove Tab Spacing
The Kindle conversion process doesn’t like tab spacing. Some people use tab spacing instead of the paragraph styles indent options.

In Microsoft Word, you can remove tab spacing by doing the following:

  1. On the Home tab in the ribbon menu, click the Replace button at the far right or use the shortcut key combo of CTRL + R.
  2. In the Find and Replace window, click in the Find what: text box, and enter ^t. Leave the Replace with: text box blank.
  3. To make all changes automatically, click the Replace All button. Continue clicking the Replace All button until it returns “0 Results.”

6. Centered Text
Don’t use the space bar or tab key to center text. This may give text the appearance of being centered in your document; however, Kindle e-reader settings will not interpret this text as centered. If you must center text, use the align format option and select center alignment.

7. Footnotes Or Endnotes
For citations, footnotes don’t work with e-books, primarily because you cannot determine where the end of a page will fall in an e-reader. The best option is to use endnotes instead. Endnotes can be included at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book.

8. Using Images
Images can be included in e-books. For your images to be displayed properly, certain guidelines must be followed.

The preferred file format is JPEG (.jpeg or .jpg). JPEG files can be re-sized easily in Kindle-sized format. A resolution of 300dpi will provide the highest quality images. Check image height and width requirements through Amazon as these will be different depending on the purpose of the image (e.g., chapter heading, scene break, image within text).

Images should be kept on their own line and centered. Don’t “float” images to the left or right of text or “wrap” images with text.

If you are using Microsoft Word to insert images into your e-book file, use the ribbon menu Insert tab and then click Picture. DO NOT Copy and Paste images from another program into Microsoft Word.

9. Pages/Content Order
Your e-book file should contain certain pages/content in a specific order. Depending on the author and the book, some of these will be optional. Some authors choose to include “extras” in their front matter such as excerpts from reviews of their book or a call to action. The order of back matter pages is not set in stone and will vary depending on the author and what he/she chooses to include. It should be noted that some authors choose to include the Acknowledgments with Back Matter to ensure as much of the first chapter is available for Amazon Look Inside and Download Sample features.

  1. Book Cover
  2. Clickable Table of Contents (ToC)
  3. Front Matter Pages: Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Acknowledgments, Preface or Prologue
  4. Book Content
  5. Back Matter: Author Bio, Call to Action (e.g., website and social media links, newsletter signup link, review link, other book links), List of Author’s Other Books, Note from the Author, Glossary, Appendices, Index, and Preview/Sneak Peek to the first chapter or two for one of the author’s other books.

10. Preview Kindle e-book File
Preview your Kindle e-book file to check if it will display correctly in all Kindle e-readers. This can be done easily by using the Kindle Previewer and Kindle Gen tools which are available for download under Prepare Your Book > Tools and Resources.

Please comment with your experiences and tips for ebook formatting. If you hired someone and would like to recommend them, please share their link in the comments.

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6 Comments

  1. Joely Smith
    January 25, 2017

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    Great tips! I did not know about the page breaks! I am pretty sure I would hire a freelancer though. I am far better at the creative process than the details.

  2. emmaeatsandexplores
    January 25, 2017

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    Thanks for this – I currently have a downloadable e-book on my site and was thinking of making it a kindle product. Your instructions are really easy to follow!

  3. Hrakaridi
    January 26, 2017

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    What a great tips!! your instructions are so easy 🙂

  4. Renee Franklin
    January 26, 2017

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    I never knew there were certain formatting settings that kindle doesn’t like. These are amazing tips that will help any author or aspiring author.

  5. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
    January 26, 2017

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    Thank goodness! Finally a list of instructions that are easy for me to follow! Thanks for all of the tips!

  6. Kayelle Allen
    June 16, 2017

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    Ctrl + R right justifies in the two version of Word I use (2003 and Office 365). But Ctrl + H does bring up Replace. I’ve always thought of it as the H in cHange. 🙂

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