Building Your Book for Kindle

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

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

• Finishing Your Book

• Uploading and Checking the Quality of Your Book

• Just Before Publishing Your Book

• Making Changes After Publishing Your Book

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 proud to see for sale on Amazon.

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3 Responses to Building Your Book for Kindle

  1. C. Sahu "Cathy Sahu"

    Great for Non-Techies Who Write with Word 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.

  2. A very good intro to Kindle publishing, but . . . 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, . Go ahead and download the sample, and better yet, download the entire book, 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. N. Schwab "outdoorworker"

    Not all inclusive 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!

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