How to Prepare a Book for Publication on Kindle
If you have written a book and want to prepare it for publication on Kindle, doing so can be difficult and time consuming.
It's important to note that while many articles and videos provide instructions, a good number forget to tell you that the directions are specific to certain programs.
The directions I'm giving here are to be used with Word 2003 if you want to have the best results.
Also, you should know that your Ebook may or may not sell, so the efforts you make may be fruitless.
There will be times when you will become frustrated and want to drop the project, but if you see it through, the satisfaction you will feel will make your efforts worthwhile, even if you don't sell the first copy!
Below you will find guidelines that will help you understand what you need to do. Hopefully they will make this task easier to do than it might otherwise be.
Find Good Information
Before doing anything, you need to research online publishers to find out which one will best suit your needs.
If you ask other writers about this, each one will give you different advice because each will be sold on his or her own publishing house.
To avoid confusion, do your own research. Your results may turn out to be different from what others have told you, but go with what you feel comfortable with.
The bottom line no matter your situation will be to choose a publisher that has parameters you can meet.
Otherwise, there will be no sense in continuing on with your project.
Choose a Publisher
There are numerous companies to choose from, and each has its own requirements. The problem is that the more you research them, the more confused you will be.
Which E-Book Publisher Is Right for You, provides a very clear summary of the main publishing houses and the pros and cons of each. Reading it will save you a great deal of time if you are wanting to do some comparison shopping.
For those like me who have limited tech skills, Amazon is probably the best choice because it
- is the easiest of the lot to use,
- has worldwide distribution and
- also has several marketing options in place.
Since these are the reasons I chose Amazon as a publisher for my own eBook, I am providing this tutorial to help you, in case you make the same decision.
Required Publishing Program Software
Amazon, along with most online publishing houses, require you to use Microsoft Office Word for the document you wish to submit.
However, if doing this is difficult for you, know that EBook publishers will also accept work written with a program called Open Office, which is free to use and may be easier to work with than Word.
- If you are not familiar with either of these programs, I do suggest that you find someone to help you.
- If this isn't an option, you can pay a professional to format your book for you for a few hundred dollars who will convert it to a Word document if necessary.
Conversions Can Be Tedious
There are two problems areas when it comes to converting documents for Kindle formatting:
Converting a Hard Copy Book
If you want to publish a book you have already written that exists only in hard copy, you will have a special problem when converting it for Kindle.
In this situation, you will have to
- scan each page,
- save it in PDF form and then
- cut and paste each chapter into a Word or Open Office document
before you can start the formatting process.
Converting a Book That Was Written Using MS Works
If you have a book that was written using an Ms Works program, will have to install Word onto your computer.
Then you can use the conversion program that is build into the Works program and convert and save it to Word 2003-2007.
You can then also install Open Office onto your computer. This will allow you to copy and paste each section of your book from Word into the Open Office format.
However, be forewarned that this will create much more work for you than if you just leave the content in the Word format.
Since most people already use Word, none of this should be necessary, but I thought it was important for readers who still use Works to know how to do this type of conversion.
This is because when Microsoft converts to Windows 10 in 2020, MS Works programs will no longer be readable unless you use a program like Libre Office that will open Works documents and allow you to save them using different formats.
Initial Formatting Directions
The next step is to format your book for Kindle as per Amazon's requirements. You need to read this information on their website before you start so that you know what they want you to do.
To make this easier for you, here are some guidelines that can help:
- Write or copy and paste all of your content on one continuous document.
- Copy and paste it into a notepad document and then copy and paste that content back into your Word document. This cleans up any flaws that might exist or extra things that can mess up your formatting.
- Once you have saved the clean copy, to make things easier, write all content, headings and subheadings included, in Arial 12 font.
- Don't use page numbers.
- Don't Use Drop Caps or symbols.
- Only use your space bar to click one time between paragraphs, and don't indent your paragraphs.
- To space between chapters, click on "insert" at the top of the page, then "page break".
- Separate Title, and other initial headings by hitting enter 1 time. If you want more spacing, change the "Paragraph" setting higher, but be sure to change It back for the rest of the text.
- Click on the backwards "P" at the top of your page" so that you can see all of the non-printing characters while you work. You will want to remove those that appear between paragraphs or in odd places that are not normal paragraph separations.
- Justify your sections as you format them so that your lines are crisp and clear.
However, if you do not want to do all of this, there are companies that sell "templates" that will eliminate all of the work for you.
Also, different people have different ways of setting up their formatting. The attached videos give you other options to the one I've presented here. Just make sure that the ones you decide to use are for Word 2003.
How to Create an Interactive Table Of Contents
Amazon requires all of its online books to have an interactive Table of Contents. Doing this can be the most difficult part of formatting your book, because it has to be so exact.
You should use the directions that I am providing here because they show you the easiest way of doing this.
Use this basic format:
- Title and author
- Copyright on same page as title and author
- Table of Contents
- Final note
Check your manuscript for correctness, and then create your table of contents. Be sure to word the chapter headings in the manuscript exactly the same as the items you list in your table of contents.
To create Table of Contents, do the following:
Type "Table of Contents" at the top
Create contents list as noted above.
Highlight the words Table of Contents, then
- Click on insert at the top of the page,
- Scroll down and select “bookmark”,
- Type ref_TOC on the popup screen and
- Click “add”
Do the same for each chapter head within the manuscript. Use shortened terms that indicate something in the chapter title. For example, instead of "Mary Lou's Birthday Party, you might write "Party". However, anything you write must not have any spaces between the letters.
- Go through the titles in the table of contents.
- Highlight each one.
- Right click each one and choose hyperlink
- Select the window on the left side marked “place in this document”. This will bring up the list of bookmarks you created.
- Select the bookmark that corresponds to the highlighted chapter head.
- Click OK.
Link Chapter Titles Back to the Table Of Contents
- Go into the manuscript and highlight each chapter head.
- Right click on it.
- Choose “edit hyperlink”
- Hyperlink the chapter head back to the TOC by clicking on “ref_TOC”
The Final Formatting Step
The final step, is to convert the Word document to HTML.
This is easily done simply by doing a "Save As" and choosing the Web HTML option. Amazon insists that you do this in order to make your book look good.
Create a Cover
Some people will advise you that it is be best to pay someone to design the cover for for book, but doing this is not necessary.
All you need to do is check the Amazon image sizing guidelines, search Morguefile and Pixabay for a good match to your topic, chose one and then upload it to Picmonkey.com where you can edit in your name and the title of your book or any other words you wish to place on the cover.
If you do this correctly, you can create a beautiful cover that will cost you nothing and will help to sell your book.
Below is the cover for my own Kindle book that shows what I created using this method. Pixabay, Morguefile and PicMonkey are all free programs, so creating a beautiful and professional looking cover using them will cost you nothing.
Publishing an EBook takes time and skill. Most people who create one find that they earn very little from doing so.
However, if you learn some marketing skills, yours may do well.
It's all up to you.
One tends to think that just having a book online will be enough, but it isn't. Companies publish, but they do not market for you.
Therefore, before you go through all of the work I described here to prepare a book for publication in Kindle and after doing so may find that you got nothing but meaningful experience from your efforts.
Do you think the information in this article would make it easier for you to write your own EBook?
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Sondra Rochelle