July 3, 2013

How to Prepare a Word File for Kindle

By Rachel Neal, Southern Writers Magazine 2013 Contest Winner

It isn’t difficult to convert simple, text only, Word documents into a format accepted by Amazon for Kindle. And you don’t even have to know what HTML is, does, or stands for. I published a novel using these steps for the interior:

Note:  I use Word 2003 – the sub-steps may be different in newer versions.

STEP 1. Create a New Document.
Copy your document and make a new file, 8.5 x11” pages with one inch margins.

STEP 2. Adjust Font.
Times New Roman seems to be the most widely accepted and least problematic. Use Size 10, 12, 14, or 18. These are the sizes Kindle recognizes.

STEP 3. Eliminate Tabs.
Turn on the pilcrow by clicking the backward ‘P’ thing in your tool bar. The tab mark is an arrow on the left side of your page. You can delete them individually or delete them all at once using the Find and Replace feature. (Open Find and Replace, type in ^t in the Find box. [The ^ is found above the number six]. Leave the Replace box empty. Click ‘Replace All’). Eliminating tabs can make paragraphs run together and is corrected by inserting a hard return. (‘Enter’ button, not Tabs).

STEP 4. Format Pages.
These tasks are found under ‘Format’, then ‘Paragraph’:
A. Align text to the Left. Kindle aligns Right for you.
B. Indent First Line. Kindle will do this automatically at about a quarter of an inch if you don’t specify a setting. You can do it yourself under  ‘Special’, ‘First Line’ and add .2 or .3, or, if no indent is desired, use 0.01 to override the auto indent feature.
C. Line Spacing. I use 1.5 but single spaced is fine.
D. Uncheck ‘Widow/Orphan Control’ under the ‘Line and Page Break’ Tab.

STEP 5. Delete Unreadable/Undesirable Content.
A. Blank pages.
B. Hyphens that split a single word between syllables.
C. Wingdings and other odd fonts/graphics
D. Headers and Footers, including page numbers.

STEP 6.  Add Spaces:
A. Insert Page Breaks after the last line of each chapter.
B. Insert two or three spaces between separate scenes within a chapter. Use the Enter key, not tabs.

STEP 7.  Format Chapter Headings
If you did a ‘change all’ font, your chapter headings also changed. You may want to up their font size and be sure there is a space or two before the text begins.

STEP 8. Format Front Matter.
Your book title page, copyright info, etc. may need to be re-sized and re-aligned to your liking.

STEP 9. Save File.
Save as a filtered html or html file (‘Web Page Filtered” in Word 2003).

That’s it! After you download on the Kindle site, you can preview the document before it is published.


Rachel S. Neal lives under the Big Sky of Montana. She picks up the pen when her head is full of words, and prays she can bring a smile to someone’s day. When not writing, her hands are busy in the garden, the kitchen or with any I-can-make-it-myself project. Her two novels are Blood of Adam: (Generations of Noah) Volume One and Bones of Rebellion: (Generations of Noah) Volume Two.
She is the 2013 winner of Southern Writers Magazine's short story fiction contest.  

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