Today I got a newsletter from KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). I noticed that the left side bar had a list of clickable items and one of them was a Formatting Guide. Well, I have read that before and found it very unhelpful, but I thought maybe (like Smashwords) it had been updated. So I clicked.
Not very updated, and on about every paragraph I let out a “What?” So still not too helpful. The Guide actually wants you to do a bunch of things while you’re still in Word that should be left for MobiPocket. I don’t really see how it would work. But obviously some people are following it because books are going up that I haven’t formatted.
I was most surprised that the instructions didn’t mention Word Styles…the absolutely easiest way to get a good-looking ebook. For instance, the instructions want you to manually insert a page-break at the end of every chapter. Why? Why not just modify your Chapter heading to add a page break before every Chapter…one modification…not 10 or 20 or 30.
The instructions did steer away from fancy fonts, but you can do quite a few fancy things to just the simple fonts that are universal…Times New Roman, Garamond and a few others. Such as first letter of first paragraph in each Chapter, Bold-Italic-16 pts, TNR, followed by TNR 12 pt normal. This looks particularly good in Historicals I think. Or the first three words in the first paragraph of each chapter, Bold, All Caps. Or justify flush left of the entire first paragraph, although I have found that this requires a Style other than Normal to make it easy on yourself. I use Flush (instead of MsoNormal) and then to MAKE SURE that it will actually be Flush Left (because Amazon does so love indents) in the html document I edit this Flush Left Style with this text right after the list of margin instructions….text-indent:0in;… This small edit will insure that anything you want Flush Left will actually BE Flush Left. AND you only have to do this once, not every time you want a paragraph to be Flush Left. Choose it and forget it!
But if the KDP Formatting Guide works for you, good. It makes me nervous though…I’m going to keep using my method.