It seems like it should be easy to write a kindle book and publish it given that’s basically what Kindle is set up for, but when we first published Quirni on Kindle, it was a lot more complicated than just some quick steps.
The trickiest part of making sure your manuscript is ready for Kindle is making sure that everything is formatted right. The Marillian was not 100% formatted right the first time we published it on Kindle. We’ve done updates since, but those updates don’t translate to people who already downloaded it unless we send Amazon/Kindle a request to update their copies to the new manuscript with explanations of why the changes are so important it needs to be updated.
One of the mistakes we made was ignoring spaces at the end of paragraphs. Those little spaces sometimes make an extra line in the kindle editions where you don’t want them, so you have to get rid of all of the spaces after periods at the end of paragraphs if you have any.
Another mistake was using tab rather than the ruler, or a combination. Tab on its own works fine, but the two combine to make a really indented tab when you use tab and ruler sliders on word. Not good.
Lastly, we had to make sure we were using a Word stylized header in the styles ribbon for our chapter titles in order to make a hyperlinking table of contents. Yowza, talk about jargon. Let me explain.
First off, if you already know how to add an automatic table of contents using the styles on word, then I’m not really writing this for you. You might have an easier way of doing it, you might not, but basically I’m just showing my process for those who are curious. So, for those of you who aren’t interested, tell us about your troubles publishing! We’d love to hear if they’re similar to our own. For those of you who are, check it out:
Making a Header Style
The first thing I had to do in order to make the table of contents was create a header style we would use throughout all of the books so it was the same for every book.
First, have a chapter title and stylize it how you want with the font, size, spacing, everything. I right-clicked the Header 1 style after doing that and clicked “Update Heading 1 to Match Selection” in order to quick-update my header and make sure all of my titles were the same header, and that header was recognized as the dominant header in the word document.
After you have it updated, you can just highlight your chapter titles and click it whenever you write or start a new chapter.
Add Table of Contents
With that working, you can go to References, click on “Table of Contents” and select whichever one you like and the table of contents will appear wherever your cursor is in the document.
For the print book, I had to mess around with the Table of Contents quite a bit in order to get it exactly as we wanted it for the print edition, but for the kindle edition, it was a pretty quick grab and go system. You can even update the table with that little “Update Table” button and it will fix all the headers you’ve changed since you last made it.
Another nice thing about seeing the Table of Contents is that it lets you see if all of your hyphens/dashes are the same if you use those like we do with Quirni. We had a lot of hyphens (-) when we wanted dashes (–) so I had to update all of those in the headers themselves then update the table.
With the chapter titles as headers, you can also use the Navigation Pane if you click “Find” in the home ribbon to jump between chapter titles which is a quick way to look through a document for where you were last editing.
Have you had similar experiences struggling through a Kindle Book? Let us know! We’d love to hear your stories in a comment.