Building Your Book For Kindle

This free guide will walk you through the necessary steps in creating a professional digital file of your book for kindle using Microsoft Word 2010 for quick upload to Kindle Direct Publishing.

Grant book for kindle


Building Your Book for Kindle

These are the topics we’ll discuss:

• Before You Write

Building the Front Matter of Your Book

• Building Your Table of Contents

• Preparing a Cover

You book for kindle

• Finishing Your Book

• Uploading and Checking the Quality of Your Book

• Just Before Publishing Your Book

• Making Changes After Publishing Your Book

The book for kindle

We’ve written this guide with you in mind.We’ll walk you through the key steps for every part of the process, and while it may seem repetitive at times, we want to make sure you have exactly the information you need, when you need it.

And don’t forget this is a process! Publishing on Kindle is easy and takes only 5 minutes of your time  but correctly preparing your book for success on Kindle takes time and effort. Don’t worry; if you follow the steps we outline here, you should feel confident you’ll end up with a successfully designed and formatted book and one you will be book for kindle proud to see for sale on Amazon.

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10 thoughts on “Building Your Book For Kindle”

  1. When I decided I wanted to publish on the Kindle, I went to their very extensive information pages on self-publishing. So much information! I combed through a lot of it but still hadn’t found everything I needed when this e-book popped up in my recommendations.

    This is a short and precise explanation of all a writer needs to know to publish onto the Kindle. It is all for Microsoft Word users – I don’t know if they have another version for other word processing programs or if you could extrapolate from the Word instructions. I haven’t actually published my book yet, so I can’t say for sure how correct all the instructions are, but they are extremely exact: “Click ‘Insert’ at the top of the screen in Word….” etc.

    The book starts with a “Before You Write” chapter that tells you exactly what not to do while you’re actually writing your book – things like, “Avoid using tabs and spaces to indent paragraphs and icons.” It then proceeds to tell you what exactly how to form your paragraphs (using Word’s Page Layout feature).

    There’s also a very good synopsis of how to form your cover art. It took me a long time to even find references to this issue on the Amazon website, but this book very clearly and succinctly tells you everything you need to know. (The picture needs to be a jpg or tif file, at least 1000 pixels on the longest side, and the height-to-width ratio should be about 1.6.)

    Also included are info on how to create your table of contents, how to insert illustrations into the main book, etc. Then on to how to convert your Word file into html and how to upload it onto Amazon.

    The whole thing is very well written. Very clear and doesn’t waste your time. Excellent technical writing.

    Downloading this “book” (really the length of a magazine article) is a no-brainer since it’s free. But don’t just download it for future reference — read it before you look at the Amazon Self-Publishing page information and indeed before you start typing out your book.

    Update: I am now uploading various short stories, with and without pictures, to see how everything works. The only part of “Building Your Book” I didn’t understand was the “Books with Images: Creating a zipped file of your book contents.” The writer said, “1) Go to the folder where you saved your book…” I thought, how in the world does he know whether or not I put my book in a folder? It turns out, though, that, when you convert the file to “Web Page, Filtered” (which he explains very clearly beforehand), and then make a zip file (which he also explains), Word will automatically form two files, just as he describes them. He just doesn’t tell you that Word will do this. Also, if your book has pictures (other than the cover art), I would highly recommend “Pictures on Kindle” by Aaron Shepard. It’s technical, but if you want to insert pictures into Kindle properly, this book is a great help.

  2. If you are looking for a short, quick guide to how to publish on the Kindle, this tiny booklet will readily fill the bill. And, if your book is less than a megabyte in size, and is essentially straight text, and you do not care too much about the formatting details, this should be the only book you need. I am guessing that the previous description would apply to 70-85% of those publishing on Kindle.

    But, what if you find yourself in a different group? What if your book is larger than a megabyte? What if your book is not just straight text, but uses graphics and tables intensively? What if you want to give your book a little spice by having certain footnotes point directly to text, and others pointing to a webpage?

    Well, I guess if you are in this last group, this is not going to be the book for you! That is why my review is 4 stars, not 5. So, if you find yourself in the first group, no need to read any more, but if you find yourself in the second group, read on.

    Yes, if, like me, you publish nonfiction books that are loaded with tables and pictures and graphs and footnotes, a book that could easily exceed a megabyte in size, you’re going to have to pursue a different route. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, take a look at my most recent book, Impossible: The Case Against Lee Harvey Oswald (Volume Three). Go ahead and download the sample, and better yet, download this volume, which will be free on the 22nd of every month. I’ve tried to make that book as professionally formatted as a Kindle book can be, with extensive control over all the parameters, including the amount of points a paragraph is indented, what quotes should look like, optimized graphs and images, and so forth.

    If you want to pursue the route I have taken, you’re going to be starting with Microsoft Word, as this book suggests, but you are only going to use Word as a starting point. Once your basic book has been written in Word, you’re then going to have to copy and paste your HTML into a program like Dreamweaver. Once you get into Dreamweaver, you’re going to have to modify the HTML “class” tags, and ultimately move the entire thing kit and kaboodle into a program called Mobipocket Creator. Fun, fun, fun!! If you want to optimize your images, which is what you are going to want to do to reduce your file size (remember, as an author you have to pay .15 per megabyte, so if your book is 10 megabytes, and you want the 70% royalty, you’re going to have to pay $1.50 every time someone downloads your book! How is that for motivation to optimize your images?). To optimize your images, you will be using a program like Photoshop.

    And, of course, if you want to do some fancy tricks like turning footnotes into hyperlinks that take your reader to source material that you have quoted, you’re obviously going to be in the HTML world.

    I hope I haven’t scared you as to what the realities of the situation are, and if you fall in the first class, you don’t have to worry about any of this. But if you’re doing a complex, large book, with heavy formatting, you need to understand why the method described in this book is probably not going to work for you, and you should understand that there are other ways to do the book, which will give you the results you desire.

  3. Building Your Kindle Book is only part of the story and doesn’t explain the entire process adequately. After uploading more than 7 books to KDP, I had to do a lot more research about formatting, tips on how to avoid problems with creating a TOC and pricing. Building does a poor job of explaining the TOC conversion and also fails to mention one persistent problem. Once you’ve checked your book format in the Kindle Previewer and it meets all the requirements, that is no guarantee that KDP will convert your book in that same format. In my experience, each book had to be uploaded, edited, uploaded again at least 4 times (for each of the 7 books) until KDP did the conversion I saw on the Previewer. It wasn’t me making the mistakes, it was the KDP software.
    This book for obvious reasons does not include the issues around pricing books in the context of this format – knowledge about this important issue can only be gained by conducting extensive research including tracking down the experiences of other digital book authors. Even with research, it often takes 6 months of actual sales to start to understand the pricing issues and other topics around pricing and competition with other digital ebook formats.
    It will help if you read this book at the start of your research and several times again before you begin to understand what’s good about it and what’s missing and a lot of info is missing!

  4. I published my first book for Kindle in 2008.

    In those days, there was a “start-up” feeling, an exciting new idea, with new technology we were all learning. Many people had basic questions, like “How big should my pictures be? and Amazon had few detailed, technical answers.

    Four years later, this latest effort continues that tradition.

    This thin “manual” lacks useful detail.

    — It does not deal with specifications for different models of Kindle.

    — It does not provide useful technical information about images and graphics.

    — It is not specific enough about HTML coding and the process for producing valid files.

    Kindle technology has matured; training for KDP authors has not.

    Brian Dean
    Kindle Author

  5. If you are writing a basic book such as a novel that comprises of text then this is useful guide. But I have to agree with what Barry Krusch says above. If you use Microsoft Word for a more complex book such as a non-fiction one that includes picture you are going to face an uphill struggle and this book(let) does not help you with this. In fact it might even mislead you into a false sense of security, down which you may find yourself in a nightmare world of a formatting quagmire.

    You see, once your book has been written in Word, you are then going to have to save the book as a HTML file, copy and paste your HTML into an HTML editor program, with which you are going to have to modify the HTML “class” tags, headers, and footers etc. Ultimately you will need to move your book to another program such as Kindle Writer that will create your final Amazon book. Actually Kindle Writer enables you to create your book from start to finish without using Microsoft Word at all with full control of what the book looks like regardless how complex it will be.

    Then you will want to optimize your images, which is what you are going to want to do to reduce your file size and will need to use a program like Paintshop Pro or a freebie such as Gimp, the latter having quite a hefty learning curve.

    And, of course, if you want to do some fancy tricks like turning footnotes into hyperlinks that take your reader to source material that you have quoted, you’re obviously going to be in the HTML world and that of OPF. Kindle Writer puts you in HTML world gently, and does most of the HTML formatting for you, using a special template that covers all eventualities. Proofing is done through the official Kindle Previewer program.

    The book that I am reviewing is therefore somewhat misleading and quite useless if you want to do more that write a simple text based book, but if this what you are writing then it is quite helpful. But even here Kindle Writer is a much better option that Microsoft Word.

  6. It’s interesting that this book, which has a table of contents, that table of contents does not show up on the Kindle Go to menu. One would think that people who presume to tell us how to build a Kindle book would know how to build one themselves. I’m just saying…

  7. The ability to print out this ebook would be helpful, as it contains information you need to reference at your elbow. Being able to access it only onscreen is inconvenient when you’re trying to format a book. Other than that, the information’s succinct and simple to follow. Thanks for making it so easy. (And if I’ve missed something and there is a way to print this thing or save it in its entirety as a PDF, please let me know?)

  8. As a first-time book writer, I find that the format required by CreateSpace for a print book does not easily convert to the format required by Kindle. So when I came across, “Building your Book for Kindle,” I was relieved, thinking that my difficulties were over. I was wrong; they were just beginning. This book is written like an auto repair manual, telling the reader what it assumes is necessary, but leaving out basic, yet important information.

    For example, I wanted to know if any specific size page or type font was required; neither was even mentioned. Ouch.

    I wanted to know about any special instructions for converting from a CreareSpace format to a Kindle format; never mentioned. Ouch.

    I wanted to know if the pages needed to follow a specific formatting formula. Again, no mention. Ouch.

    I wanted to see what a well-formatted Kindle book could look like, assuming this would be it. Not even close. This book used a font with each letter about the size of a gnat’s eyelash. I literally needed to read it with a magnifying glass. And every few paragraphs, there would a note in gray that said, “42 [or some other number] highlighters.” I have no idea what that is all about, but I suspect it is not supposed to be there. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

    That said, and most importantly, I cannot take seriously a book about formatting that is itself formatted poorly. Doctor, heal thyself.

    Some sections were unclear, and I ended with more questions than I had before reading this. I was looking for a book about Kindle formatting written by someone with practical experience, and written in such a way as to clearly address the kinds of questions and issues a newbie faces. Unfortunately, this is not it.

    I gave it two stars because nothing is all bad, and I will be the first to admit that there are some good pointers in here… I just got tired of looking for them with a magnifier.

  9. After following the instructions on this book, I ended up with a poorly formatted ebook with no table of contents. So I dug about online, and found a freeware EPUB WYSIWYG editor called Sygil. It forced me into some HTML/ CSS, which I am fluent in. From there, I used Amazon’s “Kindle Previewer” to translate the EPUB into a MOBI file.

  10. It is really not fair to actually rate any sort of manual-type book or booklet. There are so many writers who will use this information, each with varying degrees of expertise on a computer. I gave this three stars because I had several problems with it; however, I am not advanced in using the computer. What I found difficult might be quite simple to others. My saving grace is that there are surely others who know less than I.

    In the section “Tips On Formatting,” it states: “Insert indents at the beginning of paragraphs.”

    Does this mean that each time you begin a new paragraph it will be necessary to use the Word-default Paragraph Formatting? Or does it mean that once you set the indentation correctly, each paragraph throughout your book will be automatically indented according to your original settings?

    Under this same heading, is there a recommended value for spacing between paragraphs? When spacing between paragraphs, it states, “Word will allow a 10 point space —” I have Word 2003 and it allows a spacing of “6” and the next value shown is “12.” The “6” looks a little crowded but the “10” seems too wide. I used the “6” setting, judging by the visual shown. Does this matter?

    As a help to writers, I would like to see instructions for deleting a page break. It is so easy to get an unwanted page break and wind up with blank pages and I cannot find out how to get rid of the unwanted pages. Since there is a requirement to use this function frequently both in creating Front Matter and Back Matter, it would be helpful to know how to get rid of those extra pages.

    Also “Heading One”. There was just not enough information on that. Will the use of Heading 1 allow you to center your “Chapter 1” and each succeeding chapter? Is it necessary to include a brief description of what the chapter is about?

    Also, do writers add the Table of Contents on a new page, at the end of the Front Material or on the same page with the first chapter. This was very confusing.

    Would it be acceptable to use the Ctrl E to center Chapter 1, etc?

    I am starting my third book. The formatting is not good on my other two books that are now published, so I do want to make certain that this book looks much better.

    Again, I must say that while I have used a computer for many years, it was always for business letters, legal documents, etc. Formatting a complete manuscript seems very hard.

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