Part 1: How to Create a Kindle eBook

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By Kathy Biggs

How to Create a Kindle eBook: Part I

Flow Chart for How to BEGIN the Writing of your Kindle eBook

1. You create your Kindle eBook as a Microsoft Word.doc (Word 2003 works well; with newer versions be certain not to save as docx).

2. Open and start a new, from blank, document: Under “View” in the heading menu, select “normal”, not “print layout”, as this will not be a print book.

a. Note: if you are converting a previously existing book, you may want to still follow the next steps, and enter the data without any formatting, unless you are using InDesign or some other advanced (and costly) publishing software. The Kindle conversion process does not support PageMaker and other older publishing formats.

3. Just start typing with the font set to be “Times New Roman,” with the font size set at “12″, and with the paragraph alignment set at “justify”, not left alignment.

a. Note: creating a Kindle is different not only from creating a printed book, but also from creating a webpage. Be sure to read about what is acceptable at https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help

b. Bold, itialics, underlining and text color, etc. WILL convert, so you may use those as you go. However, bullet points, special fonts, headers, and footers will not be transferred, so be sure to avoid those.

c. When you are ready to do a “save”, be certain to save the file as a Word.doc (Word Document), NOT a Word.docx, although this may change in the future.

4. Do NOT enter page breaks EXCEPT at chapter breaks. These “hard” breaks are entered from “Insert” on the toolbar. After clicking on “Insert” choose “break” and then “page break.”

a. Note: Ignore the little dotted lines that appear as you type and just keep typing beyond these “soft” page breaks, these will not be used in the conversion. The “hard” page breaks that you insert will have the words “Page Break” centered on the dotted line.

5. Continue entering data in this fashion until the text of your eBook is written. Store your book in a folder labeled “Kindle Book” to make it easy to find when you go back to it.

6. You”™ll find the “Spell check” tool under the “Tools” on the toolbar. It should always be turned on to ensure a professional presentation that is free of typos. Remember that it will not correct homonyms however. Use this tool, but also manually proofread your file to ensure no errors are missed by the automated checker AND, since we are often “blind” to our own errors, have a copy editor look over your manuscript.

7. Once all the text is written, then you must be certain to use style sheets for every square inch!

a. Steps 8-11 below cover the formatting of text, images, etc”¦.deviate from it at your own risk.

8.  First, click on “Format” in Word”™s menu bar and then click “Styles and Formatting.”  A Styles and Formatting side bar will open. In your word.doc highlight the text you want to be your first Chapter Heading and then choose “Chapter Heading” which has 24 pt text. Apply this setting to ALL your chapter headings. If you don”™t want your chapter headings centered, then you can just choose left justify while the text is highlighted.

a. You MUST chose a LARGE size font for your chapter headings as the Kindle does not recognize small amounts of text change. e.g. size 16 font may not appear any larger than your size 12 font in the Kindle app.

Next, highlight your first paragraph of text and choose “normal” from the side bar and then from the “Format” top menu, choose “Paragraph” and then in the opening formatting box, choose “Indents and Spacing” and then in the “Spacing” section, click on the up arrow in the “Before” section and select “6 pt”. Remember that all text must be in justified alignment for the Kindle (or centered). This is because both font type and size can be changed by the reader, as can whether the page is viewed in portrait or landscape mode.

9. If you need to use numbered or other styles, use them as above while highlighting the text and choosing the formatting from the side bar. You can also highlight text and format it as you like and then choose “New Style” from the side bar; just make certain that the new style is based on “Normal” when the drop down menu appears.

10. If your book requires tables you can insert tables by selecting “Insert Table.”

11. Images (photos, diagrams, etc.) must be formatted before insertion.

a.  All images should be saved in jpg (JPG) or gif format, with 72 dpi. They must be cropped and adjusted as you want them to appear (do not use the cropping or other photo editing ability within Word). I recommend using PhotoShop or a similar program which allows you to adjust these settings.

b. Because images can be double-tapped and expanded when using the Kindle, they should be sized at approximately 500 by 800 pixels. This will allow them to fill the full Kindle screen when double-tapped. Images smaller than that will expand when double-tapped, but not to full Kindle screen size. The ideal height/width ratio of images is 1.6. It is convenient to store all images that are ready to insert in a folder labeled “Kindle images” within your Kindle folder.

Exception: For the Cover image, a maximum of 2000 pixels on the longest side is best.

c. If most people will not be reading your books in color, make certain that all images, and especially the cover, look good in grayscale (see item “f” below). All readers except those reading the book on a non-Kindle Fire, will be able to see your book in color.

d. All books must be under 50 Mb to convert to Kindle. But, not to worry, before you publish it, you will be saving the file as filtered html (more on this later), and that automatically reduces the file size; e.g. it reduced my ~70Mb file to ~6.5Mb.

e. To insert your images into your Word.doc (NEVER cut and paste them in!) chose “Insert” from the menu bar, and then chose “Picture” and then locate your “Kindle images” within your “Kindle Book” folder and select the file you want to insert.  All images will be displayed as centered on the Kindle, so format your images as centered and perhaps with 6 pt. spacing above them. Centered text describing the image may be used directly below any image.

f. Your book can be viewed in color by readers using the Kindle Fire or the FREE Kindle apps for PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android and others. Otherwise, images on other Kindles will be displayed in 16 shades of gray, so you should check them for contrast and clarity.g. I found that images did not display accurately when I previewed an uploaded file, more on this later in Part IV.

Next week, Part II: Flow Chart for How to FINISH the Writing of your Kindle eBook.

 

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12 Responses to Part 1: How to Create a Kindle eBook

  1. Christopher Singleton says:

    A great article Kathy . . . keep up the good work.

    I can’t wait for the next installment!

  2. Kathy Biggs says:

    Yikes, but something happened in the conversion…..several steps are missing or misnumbered. I hope this can be corrected quickly. 4-19-2012 3:50 pm PDT.

  3. Pingback: Sharing our Knowledge through eBooks | Citizen Scientists League

  4. lilyshan says:

    you can convert books to mobi format, kindle reads mobi.
    you can try a best ebooks converter, it’s a all in one ebooks converter, convert epub , pdf mobi to kindle books in a folder with easy.
    http://www.epubor.com/ebook-converter.html

  5. Pingback: How to Create a Kindle eBook: Part III | Citizen Scientists League

  6. Pingback: How to Create a Kindle eBook: Part II | Citizen Scientists League

  7. David says:

    This is a great tutorial, thank you, but it is littered with gobbledegook numerals, ie:
    4. Do NOT enter page breaks EXCEPT at chapter breaks. These “hard” breaks are entered from “Insert” on the toolbar. After clicking on “Insert” choose “break” and then “page break.”

    • Sheldon says:

      We just migrated to a new server and it looks like some garbage characters slipped in. Cleaned up most of them but there are doubtless other places that need purging. Thanks for pointing this out.

  8. Katrina10 says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Thank you for sharing this tutorial.  It is both detailed and helpful.  The Kindle has taken up the reading world by storm since its advent and Amazon has been constantly trying to add more new features.  A popular feature seems to be the ability to make annotations and highlight certain passages.  While these notes can be saved and accessed in Amazon’s site, it can be difficult for some.
    There is an iOS app called Snippefy (www.snippefy.com) that will make it easier for Kindle users to read and share their notes and highlights all in one place.  These can also be exported to Evernote, Dropbox and emails.
    I hope all of you will find this quite useful.
    Thank you

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