How to prepare a manuscript for Kindle Format

Thumbnail On Becoming a Lemonade MakerOnce you have finished writing your book, you’ll want to publish it!

I personally chose Kindle since Amazon has a huge distribution network. For my first E-book I published it  up to Kindle and then a few months later discovered Create Space, a print on demand company, which doesn’t charge a penny up front for the author, and pays a royalty when a book is sold. Nice!

Create Space offers to transfer the manuscript to a Kindle format for you, and if you uploaded a PDF this looks like a great idea to keep the formatting intact!

Even if you have less than advanced skills, I believe it’s possible to do it yourself, but just take the time to follow the steps, and double check your work.

The format for digital (E-book) is a little different than preparing your manuscript for print format, so do a Save-as, and name them xxx Final Kindle and xxx Final CreateSpace. XXX of course stands for the title of your book, and not x-rated!

In an E-book, we need to create a Table of Contents with live links to each section. A print book only needs a static table of contents, yet the create table of contents feature in Microsoft Word isn’t the correct format for CreateSpace, since their Table of Contents is in a Table setup. I’ll cover formatting a manuscript for CreateSpace in a different blog.

Setting up your manuscript for Kindle format,
after all the writing and edits have been completed:

The first thing to do is to select all the text. Click just before the first word to insert the insertion point, then scroll down to the end of your book, then while pressing on the shift key, click just after the final period. All of the text should show up as highlighted now.

You need to go to the Format menu now and select paragraph. The window in the picture below will pop up. Using the up arrow, select .5” for left Indentation. This will give a .5” indent for all the paragraphs in the entire manuscript. Save.

Now is the time to do a final look over edit. This is for picking up small details that may have been missed from previous edits. At the same time you need to make decisions for Chapter names. You need to have your formatting palette open for this, so go to the view menu, select Formatting palette. Click on the triangle beside the word Styles to open the drop down menu.

As you do your final read through, when you reach an appropriate spot for a chapter break, you need to insert an extra line and type in the chapter name, if you haven’t done so already.

Highlight the entire line, and Click on the Heading 1 button on the format menu. For manuscripts that are divided up into sections, as I did with On Becoming a Lemonade Maker, I used Heading 1 for the name of each section. I then used Heading 2 for each Chapter name, and Heading 3 for the sub-chapters. If I had a further breakdown in each sub-chapter, I simply bolded the name of that portion, but those didn’t show up in my table of contents.

In the book the Princess and The Moustache, I made smaller chapters, since it’s intended for pre-teen girls, and simply used Heading 1.

Please note: DON’T select the choice “Header” (if it shows up as a choice on your list) as this hasn’t been formatted to build a Table of Contents! (Yes, we’ll be using the build Table of contents feature, but in a modified way, later on.)

Once you have changed the style for that line, click just before the first letter, and go to the Insert menu, and select Break, then on the pop out menu, select Page break. Save. This puts the beginning of each chapter onto a new page.

Continue with these steps until you have gone through the entire manuscript. Save.

You will want to insert the following pages after your Title page and before the Table of contents:

Copyright page. Do a page break…

Dedication page, centered. Do a page break…

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be distributed or reproduced in any format or by any electronic or mechanical means without the written permission from the author. Do a page break…

Blurb page, where you give a brief description of the story, or of the thought behind it. Centered. Do a page break…

To do the Table of Contents: I’m going to copy/paste the information from a source I used when I worked On Becoming a Lemonade Maker. Depending on what version of Word you are using, you may be able to follow these instructions to the letter, or you may need to play around a little to make it work. I’ve used them without problems, so I’m hoping you’ll be able to as well! I’ve added my little tips in between some paragraphs to help out too.


iBook Lessons: Creating Amazon KDP tables of contents on MS Word for Macintosh

by Erica Sadun May 5th 2012 at 3:00PM

“For whatever reason, many Amazon authors seem to be under the impression that you can only create a proper table of contents for Kindle Direct Publishing on Windows, not the Mac.

“Having just uploaded our newest book (Getting Ready for Mountain Lion) to Amazon, Steve Sande and I have invested a lot of time learning the quirks of KDP and its tools, as well as those for iBooks (but more about that in another post). For any of our readers who are also budding authors or publishers, we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned in a TUAW series called “iBook Lessons.”

“We thought we’d share our KDP Table of Contents strategy with you to help reduce the hair-pulling and frustration associated with document preparation. Here are the steps we use in Microsoft Word 2008 and 2011 to create our TOC.

  1. “Create a fresh page and add Table of Contents text line, formatted with your favorite header style.
  2. “Move your cursor just to the left of “Table”. Choose Insert > Bookmark. Call the bookmark toc and click Add. This creates a bookmark before the title, named in such a way that KDP’s automatic conversion tools will recognize it as the start of your Table of Contents. All the Kindle hardware and apps will be able to use it as well.
  1. “Generate a temporary TOC, so you have an outline to start working with. Move to under your Table of Contents header to a new line. Choose Insert > Index and Tables > Table of Contents. Uncheck “Show Page Numbers”.
  2. “Click Options. Choose which heading styles you wish to include. If you use custom styles (e.g. H1 instead of Header 1) make sure to add a level for those as well. Typically, most ebook TOCs use either just H1 or H1 and H2. Your call. Click OK to finish options. Click OK again to generate the contents.
  3. “Select the entire TOC, cut it, and paste it into TextEdit to be your guide to the next step.”

Note: I don’t normally use TextEdit, so I had to use the Find feature on my computer! (If you type in text editor, like I did the first time, you’ll see something completely different! Copy/paste the word, and your computer will find where it’s located on your drive!)

  1. “For each entry in the TOC, locate the start of that section in your manuscript. Set your cursor to the left of each section title. Again, use Insert > Bookmark to create a bookmark at that position. Name each item with a meaningful (and easy-to-recognize) tag.”

I copy/pasted the name of each chapter, since some of them were similar, and I didn’t want to have to remember what I had done for each one! Just remove the spaces between the words and any special symbols! Save after each bookmark you do – by pressing “Control” + “Save”!

  1. “After bookmarking your entire document, return to the initial Table of Contents section. Paste the text from TextEdit back into your document as simple, unlinked text.
  2. “For each item on your list, select the entire line: i.e. every word, not just clicking to the left of the name as you did to set bookmarks. Then choose Insert > Hyperlink (Command-K). Choose the Document tab, and click the Locate button to the right of the Anchor text field. Choose the bookmark you wish to link to, and click OK.
  1. “Repeat for the remaining TOC entries.

“Once you’ve finished adding bookmarks and hyperlinks, save your work. Go to KDP and upload the file (you may want to create a testbed skeleton book entry just for this purpose). Download the .mobi file it generates and try it out on the Kindle Mac app and/or any Kindles or iPads/iPhones you have on-hand. Amazon’s Kindle Previewer app is also available for download from KDP, and provides simulated views of your ebook on iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Kindle DX, and Kindle Fire.

“Always make sure you test each link to ensure that the bookmarks are placed properly. Also test the Table of Contents button in-app and check that it jumps you to the TOC correctly.

“Best of luck in your ebook / iBook publishing efforts, and look forward to more tips about publishing here on TUAW.”

Uploading to KindleDirect

So now the manuscript has been prepared, the next step is to upload it to Kindle Direct!

If you haven’t already set up an account, you’ll need to do so! Go to Kindle Direct Publishing at to do so.

I found the process easy to follow, so I think that this is where I’ll leave off!

Wishing you all the best with your book! Peace!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Get my JUICY book now! Amazon

Follow me, and get more JUICINESS on WordPress, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Fine Art America, Twitter, and Goodreads!

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One thought on “How to prepare a manuscript for Kindle Format

  1. Pingback: Paperback book is now live… and here’s a recap of how to do it! | OnBecoming a Lemonade Maker

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