Last week we discussed the importance of editing your book in “Writing Kindle Ebooks Part 5.” Once you’ve thoroughly edited and proofread your book, the next step is format it correctly so it displays in a professional manner on Kindle reading devices. If you hire an eBook writer to write Kindle books for you, formatting may be included. However, if you end up formatting it on your own, you need to keep a few important tips in mind.
Start Out By Downloading the Correct Tools
When you write Kindle books, writing the content in Microsoft Word or Open Office can make the formatting process much easier. While these word processing tools are helpful, you need several other tools when you are ready to start formatting your book. Amazon is a helpful place to look for the essential tools and here are several of the tools you can find on the KDP Tools and Resource Page:
- KindleGen V2.4 – This tool is an excellent choice for those who are familiar with HTML. This command line tool allows you to convert other sources like XML, ePub and HTML into Kindle books. Options are available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
- Kindle Previewer v2.4 – This previewing tool is another essential tool that can help as you move on from writing Kindle eBooks to actually formatting the book. It allows you to preview how your book will appear on various Kindle applications and devices. Keep in mind that you must convert the book into a format that is Kindle-compatible before trying to use the previewer.
- Kindle Plugin for Adobe InDesign – If you or your hired Kindle book writers are using Adobe InDesign to create your eBook, this tool can help you convert that book into a format that will be compatible with the Kindle platform.
Tips for Formatting Your Kindle Book with Microsoft Word
Many people choose to use Microsoft Word when they write Kindle books because it makes formatting easy. It’s an excellent choice for those who are not well versed in HTML. If you decide to use Microsoft Word to write and format the eBook, the following are several formatting tips to keep in mind.
- Use the Proper Layout – As you work on the layout for your book, ensure you have used the proper layout throughout the entire document. Italics, indentations and bold characters will not be a problem. However, keep in mind that bullet points, headers, footers and special fonts are not going to translate into the Kindle format, so it’s best to just avoid using them.
- Make Use of Proper Page Breaks – Throughout your book, you also need to make use of proper page breaks. Every chapter should have a page break entered at the end so text doesn’t run together. To easily insert a page break in a Word document, go to the “Insert” tab and choose the “Page Break” option.
- Formatting Front Matter – The front matter of your Kindle eBook includes the book’s beginning pages. This may include pages like the copyright page, title page, dedication or preface. The order of pages should be as follows:
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- Creating Your Table of Contents – When formatting your eBook, it’s important to create a table of contents. Not only should you create a table of contents, but it should be an active table of contents that helps with easy navigation throughout the book. Certain versions of MS Word include a built-in table of contents creator, although it can be done manually as well using the bookmark and hyperlink options.
- Formatting Back Matter – The back matter of the book is the last pages that go beyond the content. This can include glossaries, notes, appendices and bibliographies. While there is no specific order you must follow, you should ensure that page breaks are inserted after every section to avoid having them run together unattractively.
- Saving Your Document in the Right Format – After you are done writing Kindle eBooks and your formatting is complete, it’s essential to save your document in the right format. For PC users, you should choose to save as a “Webpage, Filtered (*HTM & *HTML) format. Mac users should save in the “Web Page (.htm)” format.
For more in-depth information on formatting your Kindle eBook, you can visit Amazon’s helpful “Simplified Formatting Guide,” which provides more tips and information.
Formatting your book may seem tedious, but it is essential for proper and professional presentation. Take the time to format your book correctly or consider hiring someone to do it for you. If you are unsure about formatting your own book, you may want to consider hiring Kindle book ghost writers that are able to write Kindle books and take care of the formatting for you.
Make sure to check back next week for Part 7 in this series, which will offer helpful information on important considerations to address before uploading your eBook.