Congratulations! You’ve finished your book. If you’ve polished your manuscript and had it edited, you’re ready to publish on Kindle. Not much in life is free anymore, but publishing a Kindle book is. You can format a Kindle book yourself and upload it to Amazon for no charge. Here’s how.
By the way, the less manuscript formatting you do, the better it will look. Graphic images sometimes do not survive uploading. Use a tildy (~) or three stars (* * *) to break up text instead of a Wingding.
•First, SAVE your manuscript as a new doc so you’ll have a copy of the original. You won’t be able to use the Kindle version for anything else once you’re done.
•Margins should be around .5 top and bottom, .8 for left and right margins.
•Don’t use more than three or four line spaces to separate text—more than that can cause text to break to a new page on smaller readers such as i-Phones.
•Use font sizes of 16pt or smaller—a title with a lot of text can easily run over to a second line.
•Be sure to include a title page and brief copyright notice.
•Marketing tip: If you’ve written other books, you can include them on an “Also by [your name]” page, with clickable links (just make them hyperlinks in your manuscript). Also, put your author bio at the end.
•Option: you can make the chapter titles in the Table of Contents into clickable links by making each chapter title a “Heading 1” (select the title and click on “Heading 1” on the toolbar—modify the style if needed) and then creating the Table of Contents after that (under the “Reference” tab).
•Don’t include page numbers or page breaks—just let the text run on. Otherwise, the finished product will be a mess! You can, however, insert page breaks at the end of chapters.
•Don’t add headers or footers.
•Amazon usually indents paragraphs during formatting, so I suggest not adding any. But they sometimes change their process. If your final uploaded version doesn’t show indents, .3 is a good indent for paragraphs.
•Include a line space between each paragraph for a little more “white space.” Also, shorter paragraphs are more visually appealing on a Kindle reader or i-Phone than longer ones.
When you’ve finished formatting (and spellchecking!), save the file so you have a final copy for Kindle, then save it again TO A DIFFERENT FOLDER as “Web Page, filtered.” If you don’t save it to a different folder, Word will automatically transform the doc you just worked on into the html file, and then you won’t have the original (which you might like to use to create an EPUB version or PDF later).
Then page through the html file to make sure it looks okay (use the Paragraph tool on the toolbar to check the number of line breaks between paragraphs). Go to Amazon’s Bookshelf (https://kdp.amazon.com), click on “Create a New Title,” and follow the instructions to upload the book. You can also use the Cover Creator tool to create a cover at that point.
After you upload the interior of the book, BE SURE TO PREVIEW IT using the Amazon previewer. There will probably be errors, and readers who write book reviews on Amazon are not always kind about typos or formatting errors in the books they read (this is why editing is so important). You can fix and re-upload it as many times as you need to in order to make it perfect. Remember, you’re creating your reputation as a writer with every book you publish.
Best of luck! And Happy Writing!
Katherine Mayfield is the author of the award-winning memoir, The Box of Daughter, and a number of books on coping with emotional trauma and bullying in the family, at school, and at work (www.katherine-mayfield.com). She teaches memoir writing online, is a book editor and formatter, and helps bloggers create books from their blogs. She blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com.