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.

The Ultimate Kindle Formatting Guide T1 5x

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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