The Ultimate Kindle Formatting Guide

The Ultimate Kindle Formatting GuideSo you are finished with writing your new eBook and want to publish it on Amazon… Sounds easy huh ? You read the Amazon publishing guide and you format your Word document into an htm file, compress it in a zip file and upload it to Amazon. And you verify your eBook. Surprise… You’ll see all kind of strange things. Where did my headers and footers go ? Where are my page numbers ? Where are all these weird indents come from ? And on , and on , and on.

So you start looking for information on the internet how to do this. And you find some bits and pieces, left and right. And finally, 3 days later, you have finished your formatting (more or less) and got it onto Amazon. Ouff !!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a complete guide that would have explained to you how this all works ? Well, don’t look further. It’s available now !

The Ultimate Kindle Formatting Guide.

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Don’t forget that formatting mistakes will give your readers a poor reading experience. Or even worse : Can end up in a bad review which can kill your book immediately. Here are some excerpts from my book :

Paragraphs and indents

A book consists for the major part of paragraphs. So it is worthwhile to spend a couple of words on paragraphs.

From Wikipedia about a paragraph :

“A paragraph consists of one or more sentences. Though not required by the syntax of any language, paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.”

In short, paragraphs are used to organize your text. The function is to mark a pause, setting the paragraph apart from what precedes it.

Without going into stratospheric levels about paragraphs, there are basically two types of paragraphs.

Block paragraphs. These are paragraph with no indent on the first line. This paragraph style is often used in non-fiction books. I also use the block paragraph style in this book.

First Line Indent paragraphs. In this case, the paragraph is indented on the first line, by some space. Normally something around 0,3” to 0,5”. This type of paragraph is often used in novels, biographies, history books etc.

Don’t use both types of paragraphs in the same document!!

When you use first line indent paragraphs, don’t separate the paragraphs with a space also. This doesn’t look professional. So either use block paragraphs with a space between paragraphs (like in this book) OR use first line indent paragraphs with no space between paragraphs.

Tip : If you use block paragraphs and you specify a first line indent of 0, Amazon will say “hmm, no indent. Well, we’ll put one in”. Don’t ask me why, but on certain devices that happens. To circumvent this you can use an indent of 0,01” . It is not perceptible by the reader and Amazon will not bother your text. Did you notice that I have used this trick in my block paragraphs? No? Fine.

Notice that when professional writers use indented paragraphs, for example in a novel, they do NOT indent the first paragraph after a heading or chapter


Non breaking spaces

I hope you have understood by now that you have no control over line breaking on a Kindle. However, there might be situations where you do NOT want a line break to appear. The normal location where a Kindle will wrap to the next line is on a space. So if you write for example the name John D. Harvest, on a Kindle you could end up with John on one line and D. Harvest on the next line. To prevent that from happening use a non breaking space. On Windows you insert such a character by pressing simultaneously Control-Shift-Space.  So, this “John D. Harvest” will never be split over 2 lines, because it contains two non-breaking spaces.

Try resizing your text and you will see that the last name will always stay together on the same line.

Wildcard searches

This chapter is a bit for advanced users, but if you want even more perfection in your book, it might be worthwhile to dive into the advanced features of the Find & replace utility of Word. But if you’re not interested in those, you may skip immediately to the next chapter.

Using the “Find & replace” function from Word, gives you a very powerful way to quickly make very complicated Find & Replace operations throughout your complete book. Sure, if you have typed 3 times throughout your book “Alison Jones” and you want to replace it with “Alistair Kenly” , no need to dive into the advanced options. But consider the following operation:

By purists, it is considered bad practice to start a new sentence with a short word and the line then breaks, after this first word to the next line. As in this example:

wildcart replacement 3(I have included the piece of text above as an image to make sure that it shows as intended).

Notice the “ I “ at the end? It would have been better if that one would start on the next line. Like this :wildcard replacement 2See how the “ I “ moved to the next line? The same holds for short 2 or 3 letter words like “at”, “it”, “we”, “why”, “but” etc.etc.

So what I would like to do is the following : Find all occurrences where a line ends, with a dot or question mark, followed by a space, followed by 1 to 3 alphanumeric characters, followed by a space, followed by any other character (the first one of the second word). And replace that with : the dot or question mark, a space, the 1 to 3 letter word, a non-breaking space, and whatever last character was found (the first character of the second word in the sentence).

Ouff. That’s a mouth full. Imagine that you had to do this manually throughout a 300 page book. That would keep you busy for a couple of hours. With the wildcard option in the Word “Find & Replace” option, this is done in seconds.

Here is how to do it :

Press CTRL+H to open the Find & Replace box click on “More” and check of the box “use wildcards”.

 wildcard replacement 1

In the Find box type “([.\?]) ([a-zA-Z0-9]{1;3}) (?)“ Exactly as is shown in the screenshot above (without the curly quotes).

In the replace with box type “\1 \2^s\3” (without the curly quotes).

Hit “Replace all” or step through your document one by one to see what is going to be replaced and hit “Replace” where you want to have the replacements occur. Notice that the line break that you see on your PC do not correspond with the line breaks on a Kindle. So you might as well select “Replace All”.

What does the above algebra exactly mean:

In the Find box:

([.\?]) : Find any dot or question mark. I’ve put a \ in front of the ? because the ? itself is also a wildcard. So if I want to find the character “?” I have to proceed it with a \. Include everything between () . That will define whatever it will find as the first expression, which we can later on refer to by using \1.

([a-zA-Z0-9]{1;3}) : Find a string consisting of 1,2 or 3 characters in the range a-z, A-Z or 0,9 and define this as the second expression by including it all between ().

(?) : Find ANY character and define this as the third expression by including it between ().

In the “Replace with” box.

\1 \2^s\3 : Take the first expression found (a dot or a question mark), put a space behind it, put the second expression behind it , put a non-breaking space behind it, and put the third expression behind it.

To get the complete list of everything that is possible with wildcard find & replace look into the help of Word and type in “wildcard search”. It may take you an hour or two to understand everything, but if you’re going to spend the next few years of your life on writing in Word, it may be worth to invest these couple of hours.

So far the excerpts.

My book is 77 pages (104 according to Amazon, go figure) and is packed with valuable information how to format everything correctly : bullet lists, numbered lists, TOC, indents, negative margins, page breaks, headings, bookmarks, hyperlinks, images etc.etc.

If you want to get a perfectly formatted eBook, this is a must have. Note that it is part of the KDP select program, which means that it is free on certain days ! Check out if it is your lucky day and get it for free !

 

The Ultimate Kindle Formatting Guide

 

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How to Find Golden Keywords with Google Keyword Planner?

Find Golden Keywords 270x409About 2 weeks ago I was investigating the creation of a new website in the fitness category.

This, because I’ve worked for a couple of years in that domain, so I thought : let’s investigate if there is an opportunity somewhere. And I started out with some keyword research.

First I sat down for 2 hours with Market Samurai. a wonderful piece of software. And when I was done with that, I asked myself : How much time would it take if I did NOT had market samurai?

Could I have done the same thing just with the free Google Keyword Planner (GKP) tool? Instead of keeping mumbling in my head I decided to give it a try. Knowing in advance that it would take me much more time. But I just wanted to make sure that , yes, this is possible by using only a free tool.

I mean not everybody has the financial possibilities to buy a piece of software for around $100.

So I sat down for a day and started to fiddle around with GKP. And I registered everything. All manipulations, all downloads, all sorting in spreadsheets and after a long session, I came to the conclusion : YES, you can do all this just by using GKP and a basic spreadsheet.

And you will find the same golden nuggets !

I then decided to make a nice blog post about this, because the information was really useful. And I started creating my blog post. At the end of the day I had 5000 words and 20 pages. And that was just the introduction ! Hmm, this is a bit too much to publish as a blog post.

This whole thing was getting  a bit out of hand and was turning into a complete e-book. But maybe there existed already ebooks on that subject?  And of course, there were dozens of them. So I ordered a couple of these and read them.

But I was disappointed with the results. Why? For various reasons:

-Some of them promised to show how to find good keywords with free keyword tools. But when I installed this software, either it didn’t work, or it came in a limited version which only gave me keywords from A to G. Big help.

-Or it gave me 5 search results and then blocked with something like “you have used your daily quota of search results”.

-Or the software in the book was outdated.

-Or I got the complete version on trial … for 2 days… : (

And when I did fall onto some interesting piece of software, the explanation of how to use it and how to go straight to a golden nugget, was confusing at best.

In short, I didn’t find what I was looking for. And I decided to write my own book on the subject. With 4 objectives in mind:

-Explain people how to find keywords with the FREE Google Keyword Planner.

-Show them a methodology to find the shortest path to find golden nuggets. And there are tens of thousands of them!

-Show the readers, how to do this even faster with a piece of software that you install on your computer.

-And explain all this in easy to understand terminology.

I mean, when I start reading a book on the subject, and in the first chapter I read :

“You should be looking for a keyword with high CR , combined with an excellent CTR and low SEOTC, preferably with an EMD available” .

then I want to do only one thing : Close the book..

Did I read ALL the books on keyword research? No, of course not.

Is this book MUCH better than the others? That’s up to you, the reader, to decide. I’ve spend several weeks researching this field and I can say that this book contains a solid method to find GOOD keywords. If not excellent.

But you should judge for yourself.

In this book I describe, in detail, how I use the free Google Keyword Planner (GKP) for my research. But, as you will see, GKP is not the most convenient tool to do this kind of work. And there are great tools out there that can do the same, but much faster. And for me, time is money.

Therefore,  to be as complete as possible, I have also included a complete walk-through for a paid tool . Market Samurai. And although it has a paid version, the complete free trial version is valid for 40 days (at the time of writing). That should be enough to go through all of the options of this extremely useful tool.

So if you want to know the whole story (sorry, it turned out at 144 pages), have a look at my latest ebook “Find GOLDEN keywords with FREE software” .

Have a look at it now and discover how YOU can also start digging up those golden nuggets with Google Keyword Planner.

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