Formatting for Kindle using Word – part two


Okay, so you’ve got everything into a single file and you’re now ready to put it into a format that will be acceptable to Amazon for upload into their Kindle publishing platform. This is not a difficult process, but one that must be done correctly, according to Amazon’s rules. So long as you take each step in turn, you shouldn’t have a problem. It might seem complicated at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, it will be easy. So let’s get started shall we?

The first step is to change the paragraph layout. First, do a global highlight by clicking ctrl + A to highlight the entire document. This will make sure that the changes you’re about to make will be made to the entire file.  To do this, you will be making use of the Paragraph Layout box. In my version of Word, it is located along the top of the page, but yours could be different and you might have to look around to find it. It will be called, Paragraph.

Click on that and another box will open.

Enter the details into the various boxes as in my example above, then click OK. Your file will now have equal margins down either side, with the first line of each paragraph indented, and the lines spaced nicely apart from each other.

The next part only applies to those people who have put a blank line in between two paragraphs, to signify a change of character or scene etc.  If you never do this, skip to the next bit. If, like me, you like the breathing space offered by such a line space, read on.

You will find that your original blank lines have now disappeared, thanks to the global justification you just did, so you will need to refer to your original file when placing the spaces back in again. What you will be doing is putting in a slightly bigger space between two paragraphs to represent the blank line you originally put in. You have two options:

Put the extra space below the paragraph before the space, or above the one after. The choice is yours but it pays to always do it the same way to avoid confusion. I do it below the paragraph before the space, so my screenshots will indicate this. The process is called, Hanging Paragraphs and is a much neater way of putting in the blank lines than simply by hitting enter again.

Highlight the paragraph immediately before where you want the blank space to be, then click on the Paragraph box again.

You will notice that a value of 6 has now been placed in the ‘After’ box, under Spacing. If you are working with the paragraph after the space, put the 6 in the ‘Before’ box. Click OK. You will notice that the two paragraphs move slightly further apart. It looks professional, far more so than simply entering another carriage return.

Now work through the entire file, doing the same thing wherever you want a blank line between two paragraphs. Only use the blank line to indicate a change of scene, a new character’s point of view, a jump in time etc. Less is more.


Now we move onto to your chapter headings. It is time to move them to the centre.

Highlight your chapter heading and click the Paragraph box. In the very first box, under ‘General,’  change ‘Justified’ to ‘Centred.’

Underneath that, under ‘Indentation, Special,’ change the setting to ‘None’ as in my example above. If you do not remove the ‘first line’ indent setting, your centring will be slightly off to the right.

Work through all your chapter headings the same way. If you end your book with The End, you can do the same there too. You can also do your front matter and end papers, if you want them centred. At least have your title page and dedication centred, if nothing else. What you don’t want centred, leave justified.


Go back to the beginning of your file. Remember I told you that a kindle book doesn’t have pages like a physical book does? Well now we have to tell it that our file has some parts that we wish to be treated as separate units, a bit like pages. What you will do is insert a page break at any appropriate point where you wish the Kindle device to treat it as a separate piece of work, aka a page.

Directly beneath your title page, on a new line, go to your Insert option. As in the first pic at the top, mine is along the top of my Word page, but yours may be part of a clickable menu list. When you find Insert, click Page Break. You will see a dotted line appear across the page, beneath your title page, in the centre of which, it should say, ‘page break.’

Do the same after each page of your front matter, your copyright page, dedication, acknowledgements etc. Then do the same at the end of each chapter, before the new chapter heading. Finally, do the same after each page of your end papers, if you have any. You don’t need to put one right at the very end of the file, as it’s the end anyway.


This is not strictly necessary, but it does give a more professional look and feel to your Kindle book, and readers will like it. I feel it’s worth the effort of putting it in, but it’s up to you. If you don’t want to, skip this bit.

The Table of Contents, or TOC for short, is placed immediately before your first chapter, and is a list of every chapter and page of interest in your book. Here you will list your chapter headings, your About the Author, your Coming Soon, etc. It enables the reader to go anywhere within the Kindle book by way of a simple click, rather than by scrolling through. I have been led to believe that some E-readers put a version of a TOC in automatically, but as with everything connected with my writing, I like to be in control.

The TOC consists of two parts; the list of contents, and the ‘back to top,’ at the end of each separate section. It is relatively straightforward, but there is a lot of highlighting and clicking involved. Before you start, make sure you will not be disturbed for half an hour as to get something wrong here will infuriate your readers. If they want to go to chapter seven, they don’t want to find themselves at chapter ten because you weren’t paying attention.

Place your TOC immediately before your first chapter heading, your Chapter One, after the preceding page break. Title it, Table of Contents, or simply, Contents. Then list your chapters by name, Chapter One, Chapter Two etc. If you have named your chapters, keep them as Chapter One, Two, Three etc in the TOC. After your chapters, list your About the Author and Coming Soon, and any Acknowledgements etc you may have as end papers. Put another page break after it.

Now comes the tedious bit. What you have to do is make each of the entries within your TOC into a clickable link. Those links will then take the readers to the right places within your file. This is achieved by using Bookmarks and Hyperlinks. You start by highlighting your chapter heading. Then click ‘Insert’ and navigate to ‘Bookmark.’

A box will appear, like this:

Before you begin, click ‘Hidden Bookmarks’ and see if anything appears within the box. If so, highlight and delete everything. If not, great. Highlight your chapter heading, then enter the name of the bookmark, in this case, something along the lines of ‘chap1’ will do fine. There should be no spaces within the name. Click ‘Add.’

Navigate to Chapter Two and scroll back to just above the page break and enter, ‘back to top.’

Move to Chapter Two and highlight it. Enter a bookmark, ‘chap2’ or something similar.

Go through the whole file, making sure to enter your ‘back to top’ at the end of each chapter, just above the page breaks. Put them also at the bottom of each of your endpapers. Your endpapers can have bookmarks that tell you what they are, as in my example above. ‘Soon,’ About,’ etc.

At the very end of the file, put another ‘back to top.’

Go back to your TOC.

Highlight the title of your TOC and enter a bookmark ‘refTOC’ or simply ‘TOC’ will do.

Now you will link those bookmarks to your TOC, creating clickable links. Highlight the first entry of your TOC, Chapter One. Navigate to ‘Insert,’ then click ‘Link.’

Clicking Link will produce a further box.

You should see all of your carefully entered bookmarks listed. First, make sure to click ‘Place in this document’ down the left hand side. Scroll to your ‘chap1’ bookmark and click it. Then click OK. You should notice the first entry in your TOC has now turned blue, indicating that it is now a clickable link.

Now work through your TOC, highlighting each entry in turn and linking it with the correct bookmark. When you’ve finished, each entry in your TOC should be blue, indicating they’re all clickable links.

You now need to make the links that allow readers to go back to the beginning of the document. This is where you will make all of those ‘back to top’ entries into links.

Go the end of Chapter One and highlight ‘back to top.’ Open the ‘Link’ box and link it with the bookmark titled, ‘TOC’ or ‘refTOC’ or whatever you called it. When you click ‘OK’ you should see the ‘back to top’ go blue.

Work through the entire file, making all the ‘back to top’ entries into links in the same way.

All that’s left for you to do now is to check each TOC link works properly and takes you to the right place. Once you’re satisfied, you’re done.


Congratulations, you’ve just formatted your own Kindle book. Now go to Amazon, upload it, and crow to your friends about how clever you are.



Formatting for e-book – Amazon Kindle

Many people find the process of formatting their manuscript, a little daunting.  A lot of people pay someone to do it for them but that is not necessary at all.  Once you get everything into a routine, you can format a full length novel in a couple of hours.

There are many different sites that allow you to upload your e-book file, and most have their own formatting rules. For this reason, this blog will focus entirely on Amazon Kindle.

The first thing to do, is not to panic.  It seems daunting but it isn’t really that hard.  You just need to go through the steps in order and make sure you don’t miss any out.

Formatting for e-books is way easier than formatting for paperbacks, believe me.  I fought with one particular aspect of paperback formatting every single time I released a new novel and it wasn’t until I released my sixth novel that I finally found out how to avoid this problem.

The most important thing to remember, is that an e-book is not a paperback.  Sounds obvious I know but as you format your e-book, you may think everything looks weird and you will have to avoid the temptation to try and make it look like a paperback.  Kindles, and all e-reading devices, display your e-book as one long continuous file, without separate pages like paperbacks have.

Once your manuscript has been edited to your satisfaction, you will need to typeset it.  This is where you choose whether to indent your paragraphs, or do the block style, whether to bold your chapter headings or not and other such stylistic things.  I won’t go into detail about how to set out paragraphs/chapter headings etc, as that would make this blog prohibitively long.

Amazon Kindle likes your e-book file to be set out as justified text.  Justified is where both right and left margins are straight. The photo below shows what I mean.

justified text


Set out all of your chapters in this way, and centre your chapter headings.

Next, get your front matter together.  Front matter is the title page, copyright page, dedication etc.  Set it out as you wish it to look, I usually centre the front matter but it’s a personal preference thing.  Do the same with any end papers (coming soon, about the author etc).

Amazon Kindle requires your sections to be separated by page breaks.  You need to insert a page break at the end of each page of your front matter, at the end of each chapter, and between any end papers.

Amazon Kindle also requires your e-book file to have a linked table of contents, TOC for short.  A TOC is the bit at the front that says Chapter 1, Chapter 2 etc.  Remember not to put page numbers in your TOC, just the chapter headings.  This is done so that readers can click and go straight to whatever chapter they want without having to scroll through the previous chapters.

Type your TOC as you wish it to look.  Title it, Table of Contents and then type your chapter headings underneath.

Next, go to the start of your first chapter.  I call my chapters by number but no matter whether you’ve called it Chapter 1 or anything else, go there and highlight the chapter heading.

Click ‘insert’ and then click ‘bookmark’ (I always use Word but whatever word processing system you use, find the ‘insert’ option and click it, then click ‘bookmark.’

A box will pop up, asking you to name the new bookmark.  Name it the same as your chapter heading, making sure you avoid putting spaces in the name.  Click ‘add’ and the box will disappear.

insert bookmark

Do the same for every chapter heading, naming each new bookmark the same as the chapter it bookmarks.

Also bookmark any end papers.

Next, go to your TOC and highlight its heading and bookmark it, naming it – refTOC.

Then, go through and put ‘back to top’ at the very end of each chapter, underneath the last line of text and above the page break.  This will allow readers to go straight back to the start of your book, without having to scroll back up through the whole document.

Now you have to link those chapter headings, to your TOC so that when readers click on the contents list, they will go to the right place.  For this, you will work entirely with your TOC.

In your TOC, highlight your first chapter heading, ‘chapter 1’ or whatever.

Right click and choose ‘hyperlink’


Choose ‘place in this document’

You will then see your list of bookmarks that you just made.  Choose the one for chapter 1 and click ‘okay’

place in doc

Hightlight your second chapter heading, chapter 2 or whatever and do the same.

Do this for each of the chapter headings within your contents list.

Next, scroll through to where you’ve typed ‘back to top’ at the end of each chapter.

Highlight ‘back to top’

right click and choose ‘hyperlink’

Choose, ‘place in this document’

Again, your list of bookmarks will be there.  Choose the one you named refTOC and click ‘okay’

Go through and do this for every ‘back to top’

Check your TOC works by clicking on the links and make sure you go to the right places.

That’s basically it.  You should now be able to upload your e-book file straight to Amazon Kindle.  It’s a really simple procedure and once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll see how straight forward it is.  Good luck with that manuscript.

First of my brand new space opera series to be out soon

I’ve been away from blogging for a while (yeah I know you didn’t even notice I was gone) due to the demands of editing and formatting.

Now that The Lilean Chronicles series is complete, I have the first volume in a brand new space opera series coming out very shortly.  I’ve recently completed the final edits and spent several hours yesterday formatting for smashwords, KDP and then battled with the paperback formatting.  Formatting for paperback always gives me grey hairs but as I do more and more, I get to win the battle more quickly each time.

It’s those damn headers and footers; I  hate them and they hate me.

I’ve found out through trial and error that it’s all down to where you have section breaks and where you have page breaks.  I put all the front matter (title page, copyright notice, dedication) as one complete section with page breaks between the pages and a section break at the end.  Then I put all the chapters as a second complete section, with page breaks at the end of each chapter and a section break after THE END.  Any endpapers (coming soon etc) goes as a third seperate section.

Headers and footers are only required in the actual chapters.  You don’t have page numbers or the book title at the top of the page for instance, on the front matter or the end papers.  I’ve always found that Word keeps putting headers and footers on my front matter when I put it on the chapter section, but then when I remove them from the front matter, they also disappear from the chapters, ARGH..!

Then I happened to find out that the headers and footers have ‘same as previous’ on them by default, which means Word automatically makes them the same as the previous section.  So, if you want them in the chapters, Word will also put them in the previous section (the front matter) because it defaults to ‘same as previous’ all the time.

With me so far?

What you have to do is turn off the ‘same as previous’ thing and then it will just put the headers and footers in the current section.

You must also make sure that the page numbering is also set to start at number 1 (it defaults to 2 sometimes) and that you unclick ‘continue from last section’ and then click ‘number first page’.

It all sounds very complicated and it is, far too bloody complicated but I am determined to get this.  It only took me a couple of hours battling this time.  Hopefully when I release my NaNoWriMo novel in July, I’ll get it right first try.

Now that the formatting is done I just have to wait for my cover art guy to do his bit, although I just found out he has the flu so he may not be well enough to do this one.  I plan to publish within the next two weeks so if he isn’t well enough I’ll be doing it myself.  Thankfully he’s taught me so much over the last four books that I feel pretty confident I can do a front cover without a problem.  I’ve been doing digital fan art for ages and this particular cover is a simple design; just one complete photo with text for the title and author name.

I hope he’s recovered by July as my NaNoWriMo novel cover is quite a complicated one..!

Headers and Footers have a mind of their own

I’m not the most technically minded person in the universe and all things internet and pc based really try my patience.  Since I’ve had access to the internet, which is a few years now, I’ve learned so much and all of it by trial and error and google. I’ve not had any lessons in using computers or the internet so although I’m still a bit of a bonehead, I’m proud of my level of ability.

Since I started writing my novels I’ve had to learn all about self publishing and it’s been an uphill task all the way.  Thankfully, lulu and smashwords make it very easy to understand what to do to get your book published and out there.  I’m  now finding the amazon publishing platform much easier to understand and use now that I’ve gained a little experience.

Actually uploading the finished document is child’s play; it’s the formatting of the bloody thing that is so awkward.  Word is easy enough to use but it’s a bit lacking in explanations and instructions.  The problem I’ve battled with today is headers and footers.

Jeez I hate those things; they always give me trouble.  I always have problems with getting my page numbers to start at Chapter 1.  It always seems to insist on giving page numbers to the front matter too and I always end up tearing my hair out.  Today I finally worked out how to do it.

It’s all about breaks.  Page breaks and section breaks are the way you divide up your manuscript and it is essential you use them in a certain way to make sure your headers and footers do as they’re told.

For the front matter – title page, copyright page, dedication and so on, use a section break (next page) at the end of each page.  This will make each page of the front matter be treated as a separate section and any headers and footers will be only for that page.   For the chapters, use ordinary page breaks at the end of each chapter.  This will enable you to make sure that your headers and footers don’t continue from the previous section.

Then it’s just a case of doing each header and footer and making sure you delete any automatically  inputted text and making sure the ‘same as previous’ is switched off so that your front matter is clear of any headers and footers.

You can then input the headers and footers for the chapters and since you used page breaks, the whole body of the manuscript will be treated like one giant section and the whole thing will heave headers and footers in one go.

I know you probably all know this already, and really this blog is as much for a reminder for me when volume 4 of The Lilean Chronicles comes out, as it is for anyone else’s gain, but if it helps someone else then all to the good.