kindle formatting

For those who really don’t want to, or find the task too daunting, I am now offering a formatting service for Kindle eBooks and POD print books, using Word to a publishing standard.  All formats produced to include zip ready kindle file for upload, .Mobi, ePub and pdf. For a quote, email me at

FREE. How to format your book for Kindle. This guide also works for smashwords. The only difference with smashwords is you upload as a word 2003 doc and have to include “smashwords edition” on your copyright page. Also you need to word license notes as follows to get in to the premium catalogue and use their free ISBN.Note: I have used a (-) instead of the copyright symbol. This is because some platforms will alter the symbol to say a question mark.


 Be Careful What You Wish

 Declan Conner

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2011- Declan Conner

All rights reserved.

 Edited by Steve Ward.

 Smashwords Edition, License notes

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold, or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and you did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

© Declan Conner and, 2011.

Adding pictures to your file is now included at the end of this guide.

There are many reasons to upload your book to kindle direct, not least because they are the leading platform for sales in the world. It is also easier and quicker to make changes to both your book, prices and your cover should the need arise.

The first thing you are going to need is Kindle. Don’t worry you can download it for Free to your PC. You will then be able to sample for free, read and buy books. If you have an Amazon account, then you have a kindle account. If not, it is simple to sign up.
If you follow the links below, scroll down and on your left hand side there is the Download for Kindle to PC or other devices (free.)

If you then go to Amazon .com for US Customers , or Amazon,co .uk, for UK customers, or for Germany, through the links below, you will then be able to sample my book to look at how it turned out (free). Of course if you decided to buy it, then I would be delighted. The full copy would enable you to see how I’ve used the end of the book to talk to the reader and put links to the paper book and forthcoming publications. It will also enable you to test out fully the navigation of the hyperlinks to work your way around the book. Survival Instinct (The dark side of dating) thriller book. You will also see the copyright page.

US Survival Instinct

UK Survival Instinct

Germany Survival Instinct.

I’ve produced this guide as someone who is not computer literate. My guide will hopefully assist those like me that are baffled by computer speak. It may not be the only way to format, but it worked for me. Ignore what is in bold below and you book will be rejected. This formatting got me in the premium catalogue through Smashwords and Kindle at the first attempt.

I am assuming your MS is not already formatted as a book with headings, numbers and contents pages and it has no text boxes.

The first thing I would ask you to do is to forget completely how a book should look on the page. When formatting for kindle, there is no need for page numbers, headers, justified text, or text boxes to line up chapter numbers and blank pages to ensure chapters start on the right hand side. If you take the steps in this guide, Kindle’s system will convert it to how it should look as an eBook. Their system automatically justifies the text.

The second thing I would do before starting is to send a copy of your original MS to your email address as a back-up copy, or save a copy to a pen drive. If ever your computer crashes or is stolen, at least you will have access to your original MS.

Open your MS in word 2007.

Open a new page in Word 2007.

Click on the top left hand ‘office symbol button’. Go to the bottom of the pull down and click ‘options’. In this drop down, click on ‘Proofing’. This will open a new box and you should click on ‘Auto correct options’ which will bring a new box into view. Click the mouse on the ‘auto correct’, tab and uncheck all the ticks and press ok. Do the same with ‘auto format as you type’, and click ok.

If images are not clear. Click to enlarge. Note: If you need to type curly punctuation quotes  after you have unchecked everything as below. Go back to “Autoformat as you type” and re-check the ”Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” box. You can uncheck it before you save the document.

Normalising your document

Settings exactly as above, although I no longer use 1.5 line spacing and set it at single space.  Don’t forget to press save on your document.

Go to your manuscript. Now you can select Ctrl A on your keyboard to highlight the text. Copy and paste this to your new document.

Do not change the size or font at this stage. or try to re-centre anything.In the paragraph section there is what looks like a reverse ’P’.

Click on that and it will show dots for spaces between letters, and paragraph symbols on your document and also where indicated, arrows, if you have used the tab key in error.

You now need to go through your entire document to check you have no double spaces between letters. Also that there are no dots at the beginning of a paragraph before the first letter. If there are any Tab arrows, you need to back space to the previous sentence and use the return key to create your paragraph. (Be careful not to back space too far and delete you punctuation or text.) You also need to double-check all previously italicised sentences or anything you had in Bold are not lost. If they are simply put them back in.

At the beginning or top of the page of your MS you are going to add a title page….Press the return key to give you two spaces from the beginning of the document and type your book title ie Survival Instinct (you can use all capitals for Kindle but not for Smashwords.) Press the return key twice to give two more para spaces and type under that, ‘By, Author Name’. There must not be more than 4 paragraph spaces snywhere in your doc. 

Press the return key and go to page layout tab at the top of the page and select. page break and insert after’Author’.

Left click and hold down the mouse and run over the title page text to highlight. On the Home page click on the arrow in the corner of where it says paragraph. In the drop down box change the alignment to centre and set your 1st line paragraph space to Zero  and press ok. (Whatever you do, do not use the symbols for left right centre.) Then go to the font and change to 14 pt. and save. (Do not go bigger than 16 point.)

Go to the top of the next page and click you cursor and put two paragraph spaces and then type Copyright. Then another paragraph and type the title. Another paragraph and type, ‘Copyright 2011 – Author name’. (It is not recommended you put in the copyright symbol as on some devices it shows up differently.) Another paragraph and type All rights reserved. Repeat with paragraphs if you want to put anything else (I have some additionasl wording). The idea is to keep it short and sweet, so the reader can quickly get to reading the first chapter. If you want dedications, put them at the end. At the end of your text click on ‘Page Layout’ at the top of the page select page break as before. (Note if you have any page breaks or section breaks on your MS, other than the ones you are putting in, then back space them and delete them.) When the copyright page is complete. you can centre the text as per how you did the title page.

You are now ready to do your contents page. But first,  don’t forget that if you don’t want a first line paragraph at the beginning of your 1st chapter, place your cursor before the first line. Go to the paragraph box, change first line to 0,01 (Note: where you don’t want a first line indent, and you use the return key for a para, the  you must give it a value of 0.01. If not, then when converted to a .mobi, it will auto insert a half inch para as it does not recognise “0″ as a value.) Don’t be fooled, it will look okay on your word doc and on the filtered file and on Amazons look inside, but it will not look okay on the eBook device.  ‘OK’. You can then either type a list of chapter titles or simply number them in a line (using letters. ie, Chapter one ) Whatever you do, do not use text boxes, you will be using hyperlinks so there is no need to have both names and numbers.

Again two paras from top of page type, ‘Contents’ and then your list of chapters. When you have finished insert a page break as shown above.

Now you can start with your chapters. (Make sure there are no more than two para spaces between the page break and the title of all chapters.) Again start 2 paras down for your first chapter title and one para for the start of the chapter text. You now need to adjust your first line of text for your chapter title and your first line of text. Click your cursor in front of the chapter title. Go to the para drop down box and under special, change ‘first line’, ‘to o.01. Then press save. Do the same for your opening para text. At the end of your chapter (and every chapter) do one para and type Contents. Then insert a page break

Repeat this through all your chapters. If you want the Chapter headings larger, change to 14 point and make them bold, but do not change the font. Remember, if there was any centering anywhere in your text, only use the drop down para box to re – centre.

After your last chapter, it is a good opportunity to thank the customer for reading your book and tell them of any forth coming publications, dedications etc.

Now all you need to do is to add the hyperlinks for the reader to navigate your chapters. Open th insert page with the tag at the top and click on Bookmarks to reveal the box below.

What you are going to do is to bookmark each of your chapters’ in the body of your book ‘uniquely,’ so that you can find them.

Highlight the1ist chapter title (not in the contents). Click on bookmark icon next to hyperlink (Insert page) In the click down box type the title. You can type it in full, but for speed you can pick out a unique word. eg        dark…. or use numbers ie one, two, three, and then click ‘add’.

Repeat this on every chapter title in the body of your text.

When you have finished go back to your contents page. Highlight the first chapter under contents. This time click on Hyperlink. In the box that appears at the right hand side you will see ‘Bookmarks.’ Click this and your list of bookmarks will appear. Select the correct bookmark and click ok. You then have to click ok on the hyperlinks box and click OK. Repeat this for all your contents.
When finished Go to the end of the first chapter where you typed Contents. Highlight this. drop down the ’BOOKMARK’ box and add the word contents as a book mark. Do this at the end of every chapter.

When finished go to your contents page. Highlight the title Contents. Select links and then select hyperlink as before.
Your document is now formatted.

Select the round Microsoft button at the top left, go to ‘save as’, and save as a word 2003 doc. (For smashwords submit this 2003 doc. smashwords automatically add your cover to be included in downloads.)

On the word 2003 doc go to ‘save as’ and then to ‘other options’. Select “Web Page filter” and save.

You now have a html of your formatted document. Close your html document and re open from your document page. If you open this you can test all the content links.

It is this you submit to kindle. (html) once you have zipped it and added your cover/ pictures. (see adding a cover below) Note. When it is transferred to kindle or smashwords their software justifies it all. If you use their simple preview, it may not show indents for dialogue etc at the top of a page. Don’t worry it will show up okay on kindle.

Note to submit to smashwords to get you on Apple, Nook Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc. You only need to upload as a word 2003 doc to smashwords. Just be careful to change your copyright to say ” Smashwords Edition ‘ or you will not get it distributed. With smashwords you will need an ISBN but they provide one free. Amazon kindle do not need an ISBN.

I trust you will appreciate the work that has gone in to producing this guide which has saved many from the weeks of headscratching that I had to endure. As a token towards the upkeep of my site, I would appreciate if you could purchase one of my books which will make all the effort worthwhile of producing this and the free POD guide, in addition to the many insights into self publishing I have and will continue to produce. My next stage will be all the marketing advice I have accumulated.

Kind regards


Adding pictures and logos to your doc. Click to enlarge.

Note: Update on Kindle.

There is now a provision on the upload page to upload a jpg for your cover, which kindle will add to your MS. Note: As of 16th April 2012., Kindle recommend the minimum height of your book cover at 1,000. Check their site for the latest recommendations.

I use a logo and pics of my other books in the body of my MS so I continue to use the method below.

Note: There is no need to add your cover to your smashwords , or your Word 2003 document as they add the cover automatically. It is not a problem if you do add it, but be aware it will create two covers at the beginning of your book.

For those who really don’t want to, or find the task too daunting, I am now offering a formatting service for Kindle eBooks and POD print books, using Word to a publishing standard. For a quote, email me at


© Declan Conner and, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of all or any material, or articles and guides published on this site without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts only with links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Declan Conner and with appropriate and specific link direction to the original content.


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  4. Thanks, Declan, for all of this. I just wanted to ask you a few questions. You said not to have double spaces between letters (shows up as a dot or dots if there are more). What about after a fullstop? I usually have two spaces before the next sentence starts. Do I have to make it only one space for e-books? Also, I’m not having a contents page, so I guess I will just hit enter then do the page break. Lastly, in relation to having the text justified. I already have this in my word document. Should I revert it back to aligning the text to the left? Kind regards, Marita.


  5. declanconner says:

    I would only have one space after a full stop. I would also left justify as shown above in your normal setting. The devices for eBooks auto justify and they recommend you do not justify. It may appear okay on a kindle, but if they download to say an iPhone it may not work as I found out with my first attempt.

    The problem is that if the device viewing you book auto self justifies, then having two spaces can cause your text to be thrown all over the place.

    Not sure why you would not have a contents page? If you are talking about “Behind the Hood”, as I remember you had chapters and the reader will be expecting to be able to navigate your book. That in itself could have you book turned down for inclusion in the smashwords premium catalogue, by not having a (TOC) Table of contents.


  6. Thanks, Declan. I’ll put in a table of contents then, and do those other things you’ve said. Much appreciated 🙂


  7. Hi Declan. I was following a thread on Facebook where a lady was talking about her book coming out with some paragraphs having all the lines indented. Here is someone’s answer to how to fix the problem:

    “Definitely save the doc as a web page before you upload it to kindle. It solves the problem every time. Just open it in word, click on “save as” and then choose “web page, filtered” It will usually give you a warning that everything might not transfer but that’s ok. Just click “yes” and it will save. That will save it is an html document. Then upload the html document to kdp and the formatting problem is solved.”

    Would you recommend saving it as a web page or do you think this could cause other problems?


    • declanconner says:

      What the lady may be missing is that while it will look okay on your word doc and on the web filtered file and the look inside feature on Kindle, what happens on both smashwords and for kindle when converted to say for use on other devices, is doesn’t recognize the first line value of ‘none’ or ‘0’ and it will automatically indent any first para lines to half an inch if you have not set them at a greater value than ‘0’. The trick around this is to set at 0.01 where you don’t want a para indent. ( say at the begining of a chapter. Or for you title etc) Trust me this value will not show. I made this mistake as I set my para indent in mm at 0.5 mm which is around quarter of an inch. This made the formatting look odd when they auto added their half inch indent.

      Also .mobi etc don’t like white space and though your samples may look fine, the devices will close up your spacing. Always use two para spaces.

      You can get around the spacing issue by looking for say a B/W tattoo symbol on Google images. Copy one you like into your imaging software and make it small, then save as a jpg. It can look quite smart when you insert it where you need a decent space, say between your title and your opening text.

      I always save as a filtered web page for kindle. I take it a stage further as you can see from my guide to ensure the cover is available to view in your eBook by creating a zip file for this and adding the cover and any other pics.

      If you don’t include you cover in your word doc, it will not show in the kindle version. The cover that you upload on kindle is for the purposes of promoting as a thumbnail around Amazons site and not for inclusion in your eBook. Do not copy and paste your cover picture nor any other jpg. You simply click on the first page … go to insert at the top of Word and click. Find and click insert picture. It is best not to upload a small picture for your cover. I use a minumum jpg size of 600 x 900

      Once you have saved your Word 2007 doc, save it as a Word 2003 doc. Then as per the guide click on the cover picture and you can go to the top bar to compress to 96dpi. Word will auto create a separate file for your cover when you compress which you will then find on your document page. Do exactly the same with any other pictures in your Word 2003 doc to include logos etc. All these pictures will be saved in one file in you documents. Now you can save as a web filtered page. Close everything. Go to your documents and the saved html file it has created by saving as a filtered web page. If you right click the html file, you can then create a zip file. Once you have the zip, go to your picture file. click and hold it down to drag over you zip file to add it. Now when you open your zip you will have both the html and your pictures separate. Upload this Zip to kindle and everything will be as it should.

      It is different with smashwords. You don’t include your cover in your word doc as they use the one you upload to add to your eBook as well as to create promotional thumbnails. So be careful, or your eBook with smashwords will have two covers. You only upload the Word 2003 doc to smashwords. Smashwords will not accept html files created by saving as a web filtered page.

      Hope that explains it.

      PS. Whatever you do ,before uploading to kindle, open your html, check all you links work. check all your first line indents etc are where they should be. If not, go back to your Word 2003 doc and put it right. Just to remind you, you will need to create a new Word doc for smashwords and follow the instructions above for the wording of their copyright page.


      • Thanks 🙂 Almost finished doing the formatting. Looking forward to putting my book up next week. I really appreciated all your advice.


      • Lisa Grace says:

        Hi Declan,
        Thank you for printing such a clear and concise tip sheet. Maybe Kindle has fixed this problem because I only uploaded my cover as a .jpeg where they tell you to, and it shows up just fine as a cover on the Kindle and all other devices.

        Also, my books don’t have a TOC and Kindle accepts them. Right now my books are on two of the bestsellers lists including #2 in Teen Horror, so I have to assume it is only a problem with Smashwords.


      • declanconner says:

        Hi, Lisa, pleased to hear they have fixed the problem. They have just tweeked their software to accept word 2007 docs if you choosE not to upload as a HTML, or zip, so maybe they have ironed out some of the glitches. If your book doesn’t need a TOC, for example … in a short story, then yes, they will accept it.


  8. Bev Robitai says:

    That’s a very user-friendly guide – thanks! Is there a maximum size for illlustration files for Kindle and Smashwords? I’ve seen Smashwords ask for tables to be inserted as jpg files but these don’t always make it through the conversion process, it seems.


    • declanconner says:

      Any jpg should make it through the conversion. Try compressing the jpg.

      Just remember although standard kindles will show pictures in greyscale, many devices have colour images. Images also lose some of their sharpness. I am not an expert of picture eBooks and it is best to look for Amazon kindle guides for maximum sizes if you wish to upload a picture book.


  9. Should we also put in that the work is a work of fiction, etc, like below:
    This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.

    All rights reserved, including the right to produce this, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text should be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded… etc.


    • declanconner says:

      Marita, you can put what you like. Just remember that with an eBook, people want to get to the story quickly and less is more. What you don’t want them doing is to have to scroll down an extra page to start reading your sample. Kindle use Digital Rights Management which prevents copying. The word “Copyright” is clearly understood and implied. One of the best selling authors on kindle even suggests putting the copyright notice at the end of the ebook.

      With kindle you could put “copyright details” on your title page at the bottom and hyperlink it internally to the end of the ebook with a “return to contents” hypelink back to the chapters.

      The choice is yours. You could download a few samples of books to see what others do.

      For kindle, I use the smashwords sample at the beginning of the guide, but miss the part out about copying etc and change it to Kindle Edition.

      On smashwords they are specific (example at the begining of the guide) as to what they require for you to get in to the premium catalogue and it has to go upfront. Smashwords don’t use Digital Rights Management so their wording covers copying. By all means add the part about it being a work of fiction etc. But remenber your work is tagged as fiction so some of those are excess words.

      Don’t use the copyright symbol or it will turn out on some devices as say a question mark.

      Copyright 2011- Declan Conner


  10. Thanks, Declan. I’ll make it brief.


  11. Thanks, will do. I’m aiming for next week.


  12. Last question (well, I hope so): I’ve finished formatting my book. I just wanted to know if the word “contents” is supposed to be showing at the end of each chapter (for the hyperlinks). I assumed that this would disappear when the reverse “P” was taken out, because of its connection to the page-breaks. Because it hasn’t, I want to double-check that all I need to do is to delete the word at the end of each chapter (and nothing will be lost, other than the word). Thanks, Marita.


  13. declanconner says:

    No leave it in. I makes it easier to navigate on computer.


  14. Sorry, one more question. Since I put a picture in my Smashwords’ download (of me for the author’s info page) do I have to zip the 2003 document like with Kindle? I only wondered because of the picture, otherwise I would’ve left it as a normal Windows 1997-2003 file. I’m uploading it tomorrow.


  15. declanconner says:

    With Smashwords, don’t include your cover in your word 2003 doc, or you end up with 2 covers in your eBook. You upload your cover separately and they add it to your eBook. You don’t need to zip it, just send it as the 2003 doc including your picture. After you have uploaded to smashwords, you can download it in any format free of charge so you can check how it looks.


  16. Does the advice and direction you give in this document at: apply to Word 2010 as well?
    Thank you Jim


    • declanconner says:

      Hi Jim

      I don’t have Word 2010, so I can’t look at the layout to see if the screen shots are the same as Word 2010. I would think that the same principles apply for Word 2010 inso far as your formatted doc has to be initially saved as a Word 2003 doc to upload to smashwords and with the Word 2007 you also have to save your doc as a 2003 doc to upload to kindle in its base form, (Note, Kindle have ammended their software to accept 2010 Word files) although I do not recommend this and feel it is better to go that step further to produce the html zip file and to add your cover and any other pictures to it.

      Neither kindle or smashwords accept the uploading of Word 2007 or 2010 and in the case of smashwords they don’t allow a HTML file. The smashwords software will only work with a Word 2003 doc, which it meatgrinds into approx’ 7 different eBook platforms (eBpub PDF ETC) for distribution to different distributors such as Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple iphone and Ipad, Kobo etc.

      For Kindle, you have to save you formatted 2007 doc and I assume your 2010 doc as a Word 2003 doc to be able to save as a filtered web page, which converts your document to HTML file, from which you can create a zip and add your cover.

      The problem with Word 2007 and 2010 as a word processor, is that the automatic features that are working in the background to say autocorrect spelling etc can throw a wrench in the works when converting to an eBook and show up all sorts of errors. Hence the reason for switching off the auto features before formatting.

      The only difference I can think of between 2007 and 2010 would possibly be locating the features I show in the screen shot if they have changed things around. It may also be possible that you can save as a HTML in word 2010 without first saving as a Word 2003 doc. But as I say I don’t have it so I can’t say for definate.

      Good luck with your endevours. If you have problems let me know and I can put questions to a number of forums I am a member of if I don’t have the answers.


  17. Charlie Wade says:

    Just followed your instructions and got mine formatted. Thanks for sharing these, they’re very well laid out and easy to understand.

    Just got one little question. Is it possible to view what it will look like on the kindle for PC before pressing the publish button? I’ve seen the preview page when you upload, but I’m interested in seeing what it will exactly look like?


  18. declanconner says:

    Pleased the guide was of help.

    I had the same problem. It is easier if you also publish to smashwords as you can download in many formats free. I downloaded from smashwords to some free software I downloaded from Amazon to check how it looked on different devices.


  19. Martin Johnson says:

    Hi Declan

    Your Kindle formatting guide looks wonderfully clear and helpful. I’ve just uploaded my book to Kindle, but despite doing everything right – or so I thought – the book is still not appearing as I’d like it. It seems that Kindle is a little too new and that there are still ‘teething problems’ with it. I’m going to follow your instructions, because they seem the clearest I’ve seen so far. I notice you don’t mention using Mobi on your Authonomy update; just uploading the HTML file; is this what you’d recommend?

    Kind regards

    Martin Johnson


    • declanconner says:

      There are many different types of software you can use to upload to kindle. My tutorial is what works for me. .mobi completely baffles me and other than using mobipocket to look for errors, I stay well away, although if you are prepared to spend the hours learning how to use it and to build all the meta data etc, it is a good way to go.

      I use a lot of pictures in the body of my file and zipping the html file and compressing the pictures is required in those circumstances to keep the file size down. It also cleans up the Word doc if there are any lurking automatic features that will skew the formatting.

      If you have a simple cover and text, the you can simply upload your Word document to Kindle.

      As for mobi. I upload as a Word 2003 doc to smashwords and leave it to their meatgrinder to convert it to .mobi, ePub, pdf etc etc. I can then download free of charge the .mobi and test it on the free kindle previewer that shows what it looks like on other devices, as well as the kindle. I can also download an ePub and using the smashwords recommended free software, I can check the ePub for errors.


  20. Ryan Holmes says:

    This is a great tutorial guide for new authors struggling with Kindle publishing. We could use posts like this at GQ allows authors, agents, publishers to post their work for the betterment of fiction. If your interested in contributing, check out what we do on the Talon to Tail page. Thanks for the hard work and for sharing your lessons learned.


  21. Lindy Truss says:

    Hi Declan
    Thanks for these instructions for preparing a manuscript for Kindle and how the process is different for Smashwords.

    I have a couple of additional questions, because I don’t know anyone else who’s published e-books online to either Amazon or Smashwords (I live in a small community).

    I’ve been sniffing around online – on another site you gave the advise “upload to Smashwords, but check the box that says not to distribute to Amazon and then upload to Amazon direct” so I’m thinking of following this advise first time ’round at least.

    The questions your advice raises for me however are – can you use the same book cover if you publish through both Smashwords and upload to Amazon direct or will I need a unique cover?

    My second question relates to ISBN’s. Smashwords issue a free ISBN number, but I don’t think they would take too kindly to me using their free ISBN to get my book in some formats which they distribute, but then me uploading to Amazon direct using the same ISBN. So what do I do about ISBN’s in this case? (Note: I live in Australia not the U.S).

    Final question – out of curiosity, why did you say it is much better to upload directly to Amazon than go through Smashwords? I was wondering this BEFORE I commit myself to formatting my document for Kindle (in stead of letting Smashwords do it through their meatgrinder)

    I hope my questions aren’t too naive. I’m very new to the world of e-books – we still don’t even own a kindle reader and we’ve only had a reliable internet connection for a short time.

    I haven’t uploaded anything yet.- to either Amazon or Smashwords – I’ve just got two finished e-manuscripts which have been formatted Smashwords style, two e-bookcovers and two blurbs ready to go and I’m now thinking of formatting them Kindle style..


    • declanconner says:

      Hi Lindy

      Yes you can use the same cover for Kindle and smashwords.

      You don’t need an ISBN at all for your Amazon kindle update. With smashwords I use the free ISBN. All it is used for with smashwords is to get you into the premium catalogue.

      The first thing is that you earn more royalty from Amazon. The second is that it is likely 99% of your sales will come from Amazon. Thirdly, when you make changes to price, format, cover, updates etc. With Amazon it is fairly immediate, with smashwords it can take weeks to work its way through to apple, B&N, Sony etc. Fourthly, you may at some stage wish to unpublish from smashwords to join KDP select via Amazon for a ninety day period. (I did this for two of my books) to take advantage of their 5 free days in 90 promotion.

      One word before I close. I haven’t added this yet to my guide. But where you have no requirement for a first line indent, say at the begining of the first chapter, or in a list of chapter titles, it is best to set your line at 0.01 first line just for those instances. It is so small it will be not noticable. The reason is that when it goes through the meatgrinder at smashwords and is converted by Amazon to a .m


      • declanconner says:

        .mobi, it does not recognize (no first line, or “0”) and will automatically insert an half inch indent. I am in the process of going through some of my books addressing this.

        (Note this only relates to the first lines of paragraphs where you use your return key to create an indent)

        Note if you don’t use 0.01 it will look okay on the web filtered page, but when Amazon or smashwords convert it, it will show an half inch indent on the readers device.

        I have set my messages to alert me if you reply. Good luck.


  22. Lindy Truss says:

    Thanks for the troubleshooting tips – not just the ones you gave me personally but all of the above comments to others. It makes it so much easier to tackle ebook formatting in general first time round.

    One last question about covers – other people reading your blog might also want to know this…

    In the advise for “formatting your book” Smashwords tells you to make your covers 700 x 500 pixels, but in a different section of their site under “rules for inclusion in premium catalogue” , they say to make your covers a ratio of 1.6:1 (golden proportions) and they tell you to make the dimensions ~925 x 600 pixels (from memory).

    I used their query form to ask them which size they preferred – (about two weeks ago) but they must be too snowed under to reply. I tried downloading a few people’s covers from the section I’ll be publishing in but the covers I downloaded were all different dimensions!

    Do you recall what pixels you made your Smashwords covers? And did you use the same resolution for your Kindle jpg image.


    • declanconner says:

      For covers, I recall working to the size for the premium catalogue, which is acceptable on smashwords and the premium catalogue. I used the same dimensions for the Amazon catalogue,


  23. Rene says:

    First and formost… thank you for helping all us first timer’s, navigate the process of formatting for kindle. I, myself sincerely appreciate your step by step rendition, bravo! I went thru step by step and thought I had it made … until you wrote, “if you open this you can test all the content links.” When I opened it, and clicked on the highlighted links in each chapter name… it didn’t go to the chapters… is it suppose too? I did the bookmarks, and then the hyperlinks. I started in word 2007, saved as word 2003, and then saved as Web Page filtered… when I did that it stated that ‘web page filtered’ could distort some of the doc and to use just ‘web page.’ Sheeeesh, what am I to do? Writing my MS’s was a lot easier than formatting,… : )


    • declanconner says:

      Hi Rene
      Do not use a “web page.” Save as web filtered. Word docs have many automatic features that can screw up your presentation running in the background, even if you have followed my instructions and turned some of them off. The “FILTERED” web page does what it says. It filters out the nonsense code that could cause presentation problems.


      Hmm, I hope you get to read my reply. I assume you made the hyperlinks and bookmarks in Word 2007. First make sure that your links work on the 2007 doc. You do this by clicking with the mouse on the link to reveal your flashing curser. Then press “Ctrl” on your keyboard and holding this down left click with your mouse and it should take you to the bookmarked chapter. If not something is wrong.

      Here is what could have gone wrong. When you set up the hyperlinks, a box appears for either an internal document link,( see illustration above) or external hyperlink to a web site. Be sure you have linked to an internal link by clicking the correct box. If you haven’t, then go through all the external links and delete them, and re enter the links with internal links. If it works in the 2007 doc, then it should work in the 2003 doc and in the html web filtered page.

      Go back and check

      1, (Not your table of chapter contents,) but go to your actual chapter headings in the body of your MS. It is those that you bookmark. When complete, go to your chapter listings in your Table of contents (TOC) Now hyperlink these (not bookmark) to the correct chapter bookmark. When you have finished check all the links as per my instructions (CTRL + LEFT CLICK) they should all work. Then do the reverse with the word contents typed at the end of every chapter which you will hiperlinking. But first, bookmark the word contents as a title to your list of chapters TOC. Then go to the end of every chapter and add an internal hyperlink to the word contents. You can now navigate between chapters and the contents page.

      Once satisfied, convert to a 2003 doc then to a web filtered page. The links should work perfectly on the web filtered page. If not email me and I will try to set up a template that may explain better.

      Try and imagine a book with physical bookmarks slipped between the pages at each chapter. These are fixed. The hyperlinks are your mind working out that you need to open the book at the third bookmark to get to where you want to be.

      Hope this helps

      Note check out my reply to Lindy about first line indents on the 2/3rd APRIL. It is very important for when you don’t want a first line indent to show.


      • Rene says:

        Thank you, Thank you, Thank you… Declan !
        Bingo… I worked on it all day and after reading your reply I started over with my fine tooth comb! 🙂 What I found was that in the Hyperlink box to the left, there are four small boxes. The one marked was “existing file or web page” -instead of> “place in this document.” It was a silly error on my behalf, but a crucial one to making the links work. So, after finishing the steps… it worked wonderfully… click’ and I’m at Table, click’ and I’m back to chapter. Same with the ‘contents.’

        Another quick question: Some of my chapter titles are two or three words. I picked one word and used that as my bookmarks/hyper. Can I go back and do the rest of the words or should I just leave it with the one word in each title?

        Again, you did a wonderful job at describing step by step the process of formatting. Plus you share a lot of information about publishing on Kindle and Smashbook which is helpful to us newbies.


  24. declanconner says:

    Hi Rene, really pleased you worked your way through.

    Using one unique word from the title is fine.

    Good luck with your venture. If you have any more problems on your journey into self publishing, feel free to ask.

    Kind regards Declan.


  25. Harry Housley says:

    Thank you Declan for making this process understandable to writers who don’t want to be computer programmers! I’ve ended up spending more of my time with formatting than writing and have become quite frustrated.

    Having read to the bottom of this comments thread just now, my heart has dropped! I’ve spent the past six months writing and perfecting my book on Word 2000 and now see that this version doesn’t seem to have the “save as web-filtered” option.

    When I save as “web page” and then convert file to Mobipocket, the results are visually perfect with the exception of a “image not found” warning (my one jpeg image inside the book.)

    I hate to ask but do I need to upgrade to another version of Word? And is my entire document now unusable?
    Sitting on pins and needles now…
    Kind regards, Harry


  26. declanconner says:

    Hi Harry, sorry to hear about your distress. One problem you have is that smashwords will only accept uploads as a 2003 doc. Obviously, the best way is to upgrade to the latest version of Word which will convert to .doc and .docx and to a web filtered, or to a PDF used for uploading after print formatting to print on demand POD, but that costs money. I have never used Word 2000, so I am not sure of all the formats that you can ‘save as.’

    The reason I use a web filtered page is purely as a safety measure and because I include quite a number of pictures. Kindle accept .doc and .doc x. As I understand it Word 2000 produces a .doc. If your picture is simply your cover, then you may not have a problem. I am sorry but I am not computer literate and .mobi baffles me, so I cant advise you on that with any degree of certainty. .

    What I can say is that if it produces a .mobi without error, then you are almost there. If your one picture is your cover, then here is what to do. Remove your cover from your Word 2000. doc and upload your.doc to Kindle. Before that there is now a provision on kindle publishing to upload your cover and they will add it to your .doc when they convert it to .mobi. From your .doc, they with convert to a html web filtered and zip file and then to a .mobi. Once you have uploaded, at the top of their simple previewer, you can download the zip to open it and have a look.

    If your picture is in the body of your document and is not your main cover, then leave it in.

    As for .mobi, I am sure there is a provision to add your picture after you have uploaded your file.

    There is a box after you have opened your file on mobipocket. Click on your file and a box will appear. the first option is ‘publication files’ the second option is ‘cover image’ Click on cover image and to the left hand side near the top it will say ‘browse’ Locate the jpg for you cover and add it to the file. Hey presto. you now have a complete .mobi. Having said that, other than testing what it looks like on devices I’m afraid I don’t use it.

    Good luck, please let me know if this works

    Note, ther are many different software types that you can upload to kindle, all I have done is to advise what has worked for me without resorting to learn html computer code.

    If you really get stuck, you could send your format to a friends computer, or take it on a disc if they have Word 2003/07/10 you can complete your formatting that way.

    As a last, last resort you can email it to me and I’ll covert it and return it to you zipped and ready to go. Together with a Word 2003 for smashwords.

    Kind regards Declan.


  27. Harry Housley says:

    Thank you so much for your detailed response to my questions. It is greatly appreciated!
    Best Regards, Harry


  28. […] >>Kindle Formatting Guide with Pictures! […]


  29. […] a buzzkindle formattingMein deutscher BücherMy booksPOD formattingShort story writingtradução […]


  30. […] is also a really good and clear guide on Declan Conner’s blog here.  I know that this is for fiction specifically but I imagine that the rules are pretty similar for […]


  31. Mauona says:

    Wow, an awesome guide to format an ebook to kindle format. Is it the same way to work in PDF document too?


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