Preparing Your Book for Kindle and Print

Some authors need to get through the whole publishing process on their own. A major challenge is getting your book ready for Kindle and for print.

Usually, though, that challenge is ignorance and fear: not knowing what to do.

hand with type http://www.sxc.hu/photo/914280 by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/JoanaCroft | set type http://www.sxc.hu/photo/403734 by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Daino_16

While this is far from a definitive walk-through, I wanted to share an overview. If you’re comfortable with computers and fairly determined, you can do this without any help. Of course, if you get stuck on a specific step or have a question, don’t hesitate to ask. I want you to be able to do this.

You can do this on any computer of any kind with nothing special except Microsoft Word or another word processor which can emulate it (Open Office, for example.)

If your book’s formatting is simple, formatting for Kindle is easy.

  1. Remove headers and footers.
  2. From MS Word, save as “Filtered HTML” (Oops; I do not know how other word processing tools address this so I’ll have to check.)
  3. Upload to Kindle.

That’s it. If your book has fancy sidebars, paragraphs indented with spaces instead of true indents, or other formatting complexities or downright errors, you’ll struggle with those. If you think your book has complex or incorrect formatting, submit it to Smashwords first. Read their style guide. Clean up your formatting. Submit it. Fix any errors you get from their automatic check tool, Autovetter, then submit to their Premium catalog.

The Premium catalog is checked by real humans who’ll give you clear descriptions of what’s wrong and exactly how to fix it.

Once it’s in Smashwords’ Premium catalog, (they only accept Word for uploads) take the Word doc and submit to Kindle.

So far, everything we’re talking about is free.

For CreateSpace, meaning paperback, you need to understand interior design of a book, or you need to be severely obsessive about copying another book you love perfectly: margins, page size, gutter, font, paragraph spacing, indentation, headers, footers, publisher’s page: it’s a huge task.

I’ve done it for all my own books, but it’s so tedious that when I have a paying client, I outsource the paperback layout to a specialist. She’s way inexpensive and incredibly good. Here’s her contact info:

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