Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lessons Learned Part 1 - Formatting

Currently reading - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordin

The following is my experience, and my experience only.  Your mileage may vary.

When formatting for the Kindle I followed the instructions on the KDP formatting checklist.  I also followed the instructions from Nina Cordoba.  Now, please understand that I highly recommend Nina's tips for preparing the Word file. But I ran into a few quirks.

I won't list all the weirdness, but suffice it to say, my book didn't look good. Not good at all.  I wasn't sure, but I suspected that the instructions may have been geared toward the Windows 7 version of Word.  And of course, I'm still on Windows XP.

So I experimented a little.  Despite KDP's recommendation to save the HTML in filtered mode, I tried saving my Word file in unfiltered mode.  Better but still not quite right.

Time for more experimentation.  Instead of using MobiPocket (another recommendation from KDP), I used Calibre.  Calibre is freeware, but I highly recommend donating to the folks who created it.  It is so worth it!

Now my book looked damn-near perfect, except. . .

Yeah, there's always an 'except,' isn't there?

The last quirk I ran into?  For some reason, mutilpe-word proper place names got squished together.  'Greenwich Village' became 'GreenwichVillage.' 'Golden Gate Park' became 'GoldenGatePark.'

It didn't happen all the time, and it was only proper places that it happened to.  The only way I could fix it was to go back into the original Word document and place an extra space between the words that got crammed before converting.  But hey, it worked, and the result was beautiful!

Another tip I highly recommend?  If you don't have a Kindle or Nook, download the free Kindle app for the device of your choice or the free Nook apps for the device of your choice.  Now you can review your converted file before you upload it to the respective retailer.

By reviewing my formatting before hand, it took me less than a minute to upload my book.

The last thing I'd add is format your Word document before you even start writing if you know you will be indie publishing.  Except for single spacing your lines.  Save your eyesight!


  1. Wait until you format for a print book and it has to be a pdf (because the pdf converter I have is different from the one dh has and his is so much better)!!! Yamma. And the bookcovers (I used Createspace)...mine was sent back 5've got to give them a .05 border all the way least now I know!

    I also used Nina's site (the instructions are awesome for kindle and nook), but had already formatted for Smashwords, so everything fell into place for me very only issue was I couldn't get the copyright page to left justify, so I just centered it...Some things aren't worth fighting for!

  2. Tess, what version of Word are you on?

    I haven't started working on the print versions yet. As I've told a couple of friends, I'd need about 100 guaranteed print sales to make it worthwhile in time and expense. I may do it down the line just because I want a print copy, but not yet.

  3. I wasn't going to do print either, but I had friends and family start asking for books and none of them are ebook readers. Dh suggested I go ahead with print books.

    With Createspace, they're print on demand only. I decided to go with the Pro version, so I paid $39 (it makes your copies and the print copies cost less), but you don't have to. My proof copy is on the way and it cost me less than $4--without shipping (I think close to $7 with shipping).

    I plan to release my next two books at the same time and to have the print versions up on Amazon when I release (that's the plan...hopefully I'll get it all done!) That way friends and family can order them from Amazon instead of me...but I will still order copies for me to hand out, because they're so inexpensive...I pay less than $4 a book...I was figuring on charging $9 with tax.

    I'm on Word 2003 (is that XP?) Dh has wanted to get me a new computer and I've been fighting him, but he said he could put the same version of word on my new computer, so I may let him do it.