Amazon Self-publishing 2: Kindle eBook Formatting Using Microsoft Word | Brian Jackson | Skillshare

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Amazon Self-publishing 2: Kindle eBook Formatting Using Microsoft Word

teacher avatar Brian Jackson, Author/Publisher/Educator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction to Amazon Self-publishing

    • 2. Enabling Show Formatting Symbols

    • 3. Converting Special Characters

    • 4. Adding a Title Page

    • 5. Configuring the Page Layout

    • 6. Defining Normal and Header Styles

    • 7. The Last Resort: Reset All Reformatting

    • 8. Formatting Chapter and Subchapter Headings

    • 9. Including Images

    • 10. Formatting Hyperlinks

    • 11. Inserting a Table of Contents

    • 12. Amazon Self-publishing 2: Kindle eBook: Microsoft Word: Self-publish and Formatting

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About This Class

This is the class in which the rubber hits the road...

In this, the second class in the Amazon Self-publishing (ASP) series, you'll learn how to format your manuscript using Microsoft Word for publication on Amazon Kindle.  This is the first of a pair of courses to dealing with publishing on Amazon Kindle, the second being how to actually publish your book through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) web based interface.

I'd recommend that you pause the class after each lesson in order to perform the task just described using your own manuscript.  By the time you finish the class you'll have a formatted manuscript.

Ask questions in the Community if you get stuck.

Best of luck and I'll see you in the classroom,


Meet Your Teacher

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Brian Jackson



Born in Los Angeles in the middle of the last century, I have always wanted to be a writer. After twenty-five some odd years spent working in the computer industry in the heart of the Silicon Valley, first for Lockheed as a Systems Programmer and later for Cisco Systems as a test tool developer, I managed to retire early and begin my next career as a self-published author.

Along with writing and publishing my own novels I also publish the works of my wife, Melanie Jackson. During the past four years I've published well over 100 books in paperback and eBook formats. Oddly enough this includes eBooks on how to self-publish books and how to create professional looking book covers using the GIMP. I've also recorded and distributed a pair of audiobooks available for purchase on Amazon... See full profile

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1. Introduction to Amazon Self-publishing: Hello and welcome to my course on formatting your manuscript using Microsoft Word for publication on Amazon Kindle. This is the second course in a series of courses, the first being why you should self published exclusively on Amazon and the next being the Kindle e book publishing process. This in the next course, are more or less a pair that describe how to publish your manuscript on Amazon Kindle. In this course, you'll learn how to format your manuscript for e book publication on Amazon Kindle, and you'll see me doing so using Microsoft Word 2016 running on Windows 10. If you have any questions during the course, be sure and leave them in the community. Enroll if you haven't yet, otherwise we've got to get going. 2. Enabling Show Formatting Symbols: in this lesson, we're going to begin formatting your manuscript for publication. So let's begin by starting word. And when it comes up, we're gonna go ahead and open up your manuscript. It should be listed as one of your recent documents. You've probably been working on it. Just double click on it and it comes up and let's go into the documents that we can have some text to look at. The first thing that you need to dio is to enable show formatting symbols. What that will do is it will show you all of the hidden characters in the document. Now it's very difficult to format a document for publication without seeing this. Go to home and then click on this paragraph, he symbol. Here it is the paragraph symbol, which is basically looks like a backward P. You go ahead and click on it, and all of the hidden symbols in your document appear spaces between words are dots. They're a distinguished from periods because they're higher squares, mark chapter headings and then new paragraphs are these backward peas. Now what you're going to be looking at as you go through your document is extra spaces especially when you get to the end of a chapter here. You don't want a lot of white space that could end up creating a blank page on a Kindle. Make sure that you delete all of this extra space that will end up looking like this and don't have a lot of white space. Just grab it and delete those symbols so that you have a nice, clean looking document as faras spaces. Other nasty characters like Tabs will also show up, although we're about to remove those, so I'll see in the next lesson where we remove nasty characters. 3. Converting Special Characters: in this lesson, we're going to remove characters that we don't want in the document and translate other characters. Let's begin by looking at tabs. You don't want any tabs in your document. If you try to line things up by tabs, it won't work right. The Kindle and the word processor and all the other possible reading devices will all interpret your tab differently. So the basic rule is don't use tabs in a document that you're going to publish for any book . Now the way to get rid of all tabs is to go to home and go over to replace. Now that will come up with a dialog box that asks you what you want to find and what you want to replace it with. Let's click on more here, and one of the buttons that will appear is special. So if we want to search for a special character like a tab character, just go to the special list and click on it. Now notice that it put in a carrot T. That's the short cut cut for tab so you could have just typed. And Keira T. Is a shortcut. What do you want to replace it with is nothing. So leave that open and then just say Replace all word found one occurrence of a tab and replaced it. So it's been removed from your document. Now why we're here. There's some other replacements that we won't want to dio. My wife uses em, dashes a lot to separate parenthetical expressions and so on. Now em dashes to get them. You type in a word, a dash dash and it translates it to an em dash or a long dash. Now, the problem is that sometimes word while you're typing it in translate your dash dash to an em dash Sometimes it doesn't. So what we're gonna do is make sure all dash dash is are translated to em dashes once again to get an em dash, We go down to the special characters and we select em Dash carrot plus sign is the short code for em Dash and let's go ahead and replace all. There were zero occurrences. This may be the case with you and you won't even have to do the replacement of you. Don't use em dashes at all in your document. The final thing we're gonna look at his spaces. My wife likes toe put one space after a pair period, and before the start of a second sentence, I liked it to put two spaces when he emerged. Are writing together. You end up with a weird hybrid that has double spaces and sometimes single spaces between sentences. Here's how you can get to just having one of the other first. You can translate all your double spaces between sentences by looking for period space space and what do you translate that to period space? Let's go ahead and will replace all, and there should be a lot of replacements. There are only two that now. So now we only have single spaces between sentences. If we now, at this point, I want to make sure that everything is double spaced. All we do is search for period space and replace that with period space space, and all of your sentences will have double spaces between them. These this is an optional step, but it's a good idea to make your spaces between sentences consistent. Notice how we're cleaning up the document so that we have a very pretty Kendall display. So I'll see you in the next lesson where we're going to look at adding a title page 4. Adding a Title Page: at this point in the process, you ready to add your title page to your book? This document displays a template for your title page. Basically, you have your entire title page centered, and you keep it simple on kindles. You want everything to be displayed simple. Don't get into a fancy formatting or it'll end up looking messed up on some device. So here I just have all the lines centered. Okay, To use this template, all you do is replace everything that's within square brackets. So here you'd replace this with your title and notice that it's bold by author name. This is an interesting line that I just use myself. I put a version number on my documents and the month and year that they come out this way I could track version 123 are major version changes, while the 1230.123 are editing versions so I can keep track of how many times a document has been edited and what major version it's on. Published by author. The copyright date should be 2016 by author and Discover other titles by author at and Put Your Home Page here and then the last line is all rights reserved, including the rights of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Now, if you write fiction, the other thing that you want to add is this sentence here. This book is a work of fiction name, characters, places and incidents. Either are products of the author's imagination or used fictitious Lee. Any resemblance to actual events or low cows or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. And that's your title page. Let's take a look at one that's been filled out for this document, and here you can seize the title in bold by me with the version number and so on. And this was last year's document. Here is a link to my home page, and because this is not a work of fiction, it doesn't have those words. Now look for the attached document to this lesson, and you'll find a copy of the template that you fill out. Just download it and cut and paste it into the head of your document and replace everything in the square brackets and you have yourself a title page 5. Configuring the Page Layout: in this lesson, we're going to configure a page layout and just like everything else when it comes to configuring for the Kindle, we're going to keep it simple. We're going to begin by going up to the layout menu now. One of the things I want to point out as we're going along is that whenever you poke at a menu item up here, a thing called the ribbon pops up. Now sometimes you're working on in the same area over and over again, and you don't want to keep hitting the menu tab to make the ribbon pop down. Because once I pick something, the ribbons gonna go away. I can go over here to the far right and pin this ribbon down so that it stays open Now. I don't prefer working this way because it takes up screen real estate, which I like for writing. So I usually unp in or close the ribbon. But now that we're going to be working in page layout for a while, maybe I'll try pinning its that I don't have to keep reopening this ribbon and we're gonna be in with margins. We want one inch margins all around so could figure yourself for that. There's actually a default setting for it. If there wasn't one than you'd come down to custom margins and enter your one inch or whatever the dimension is all the way around the edge. The next thing that will configure is the orientation. We want this book to be portrait. Most books are portrait unless their Children's books. Sometimes they go landscape or actual photo, photographic books and so on. But most books aren't portrait. Next the size we wanted to be. Standard letter size 8.5 by 11 and the number of columns. One. Don't try and go for multi column output, and that is configuring the layout of the page. 6. Defining Normal and Header Styles: in this lesson, we're going to configure styles for your document. When it comes to configuring your document, you should pretty much use bold for some bold words italics for some time, I talic words. But for the rest of the formatting, especially when it comes to formatting your chapter headers and your sub chapter headers, you should use styles. So we're going to show you how styles work. You go to the home menu and if you ever noticed these over here, these air your styles What I can do is I can take a paragraph such as this one here, which is a normal paragraph, noticed that it highlights what the paragraph is and I could change it to a heading one, and I can change it back to normal again. Now, one of the benefits to using styles is that you can apply styles to all of the paragraphs in your document and then go and change the style and all the corresponding paragraphs change. So we just need to set up the styles to make them look the way that we want them to. And then everything else turns out fine. Now how do you configure a style first. Everything begins with normal. Normal is the base head ones. Titles subtitles. All these things are based off normal, so we're going to go to normal and right click. This brings up the context menu for this style, and one of the options is modify. Now here we get to see what this style is based on and notice the style is based on no style. This is the basis style, and the style type is a paragraph type style. So we come down and we format. It's configuration, and this is what we want Times New Roman 12 Not bold italics or underscore. We wanted to be left justified to be single spaced and toe have no special line indentation or any of that going on. This is normal. This is what every paragraph in our document is going to look like now. One other thing that we're going to do with normal before we leave is notice that we use it for all paragraphs, which is what most of this document is is just standard paragraphs, but it's indented five spaces. How did we do that? Well, you go down to format in the lower left and up comes paragraph. We conform at the pair. How the paragraph is going to be laid out. It's a line left. It has zero indentation. But look, we've configured first line here. Typically, first special is configured to none, but we're configuring it to on the first line in Dent. Things point. We actually want to go point three inches now when I like to Dio is since I in debt, I put zero space before or after the paragraph so that paragraphs butt up against each other. If you do really use a blank line between paragraphs than indentation, then just set the special to none and configure the after the paragraph two B 12. This would change everything to putting a blank line between left indented text. Let's see what this would look like here. You can see that all of our paragraphs are changed to that style, their left justified and have white blank spaces between them. I prefer, however, to use indentation because it takes up less space in a connick on a Kindle screen, which is valuable real estate. So let's bring this back down to zero. So zero space between parent paragraphs and on the first line, I want my 0.3 in debt and I go ahead and I say OK, and save that and all my paragraphs and reformatted. Now the next thing that we need to format is the heading ones. These the major headings most most fiction manuscript on Lee have heading ones. They have them for their chapter headings. This happens to be a nonfiction book, so it actually has subheadings, but we're going to begin with heading one the top level headache. This is what you use for your chapters and chapter titles. So here we can see that heading one is based on the style normal that we just got done configuring. And this is what we want to get Figure times New Roman 14 instead of 12 and make it bold. It's once again still left justified and single spaced. Now we want to go over to format paragraph and see how we change that notice that the special has been set to none. There is no in debt for the chapter title. If we wanted, we could take the alignment of the chapter title and make it centered. This is very common in fiction books, but for now, we're going to keep it left justified. Now. Another thing that I like to do is go over the line and page breaks and click page Break before this will actually put your chapter title on a brand new Kindle screen. If you check this and I like that it wastes a little screen state real estate. But I think it's a nice effect to really break a chapter. Let's go ahead and head and click, OK, and OK now we would continue on to our subheading 23 and four that we use in this document , and that would be pretty much all the formatting that we do. We'll take a word and will make it bold. We may take another word or a sentence or a phrase and make that italics, and then the rest of the formatting we do as headers and normal. That's it. That's all the formatting for the document. I'll see you in the next lesson where we talk about severe formatting problems 7. The Last Resort: Reset All Reformatting: imagine that this document is formatted already and the formatting is awful and we have no idea how to fix it and get everything back. As far as styles, there are weird styles all over the place. There are in dense and stuff that you just don't understand. The document looks horrible. This is the ultimate last resort for beginning your formatting. And it has to do with setting Everything do normal and I'm gonna do it's let my chapter headings are no longer heading so I can show you how to apply that. So here we go on Lee do This is a last resort. In most cases, save yourself from some effort by using the existing formatting That's in the document. If it's OK, so we go up to home and on the right is select. We click the pull down arrow and we say Select all now this selects everything in our document. The next thing that we're going to dio is we're going to click on Normal as this style notice what happened? Our chapter headers and everything just went away. Let's go up and see what it did or title page. Yep, that's been reformatted too. So I would have to go through and for reform at this entire document. That isn't fun to Dio. So this is a last resort for documents that are poorly formatted. 8. Formatting Chapter and Subchapter Headings: the next step in formatting. Our document is to find our chapter headers and to format them as chapter headers. Here's a forward that's a chapter header. So I'll make that ahead one heading notice that it follows my formatting for that style puts a page break in, makes it bold and left Justifies it. Now I can control is continue to scroll forward Notice that your chapters air very easy toe locate if they contain a word like chapter like you've number your chapters Chapter one, Chapter two, Chapter three. In that case, just go up to fine and click Advanced Find. This is the one that I prefer that give you a screen that looks an awful lot like find and replace that we used previously to replace special characters. In fact, look, it has our period space in it. What we're going to dio is look for the word chapter. There we go and we say find next and here it actually has found chapter. But I don't use chapter for my chapter headings, so I can't use this technique. Use it. If you're a fiction writer, though, to make sure you find all your chapters. What I'm gonna have to just do is page through my document, find all my chapters that here was forward. I thought I already configured forward. There we go and this is a heading to No, this is another heading one. Here's a heading to So I just go down and I keep configuring my headings And normal is already configured for me cause I used the ultimate solution and configure the headings. Here's another heading to Here's another heading to And then here's a heading one, so configure your headings. 9. Including Images: The final thing that I want to talk with you about is including images, and generally what I've found is that when including images, you could should keep it simple. Word gives you the ability to left, justify to, right, justify and have taxed flow around your images while I find that none of that works when you go to any book, okay, so center your images and put them alone on a line and just break your text. And don't expect it to flow around in any fancy way. Let me go ahead and insert an image here to show you how it works. Make a little bit of space by hitting Enter and then I'll go to insert pictures and I'll go to where I have a picture that I'd like to insert. And here's the picture. Now this is a good size. What you want to do is not get the image too big. The images will typically be re scanned to the screen size at what I do is I go to home and I say, Go ahead and center this image and now it's centered on the page. It's a reasonably sized image, and the text breaks and then starts again after it. So that's the way to insert images so they look decent on the Kindle. 10. Formatting Hyperlinks: okay, I've gone through and reconfigured my document to add all my headings back again. Now one of the things I want to point out to you is another reason to use styles and headings is that if I go to view and click the navigation pane, this little pain that I've had on the left pops up and this shows me all of my head, one head, two levels and I just click on it and I automatically go to that place in my document. So it's a great way to see your documents structure and then to jump around it. So that's another reason to use headings. Now. What I want to talk about is hyperlinks and how to format them. This you can actually do while you're writing inward. But we can also do it now to make sure all of our hyperlinks air covered. If you're not going to insert the hyperlink when you're writing, just put the HTML put the U. R L in here, and then you can search for all https and find your girls to create a hyperlink. You select the text that's going to be the link, and you go to insert a hyperlink, and it gives you options for where the hyperlink should go. In this case, it's going to my gimp for beginners E book. So go ahead and put on in all your hyperlinks by using Insert a hyperlink because remember that the Kindle supports links and people can actually poke at them. And then there's a crude browser that will actually take them two pages, so advertise your stuff through links. 11. Inserting a Table of Contents: in this lesson, I'm going to show you how to insert a table of contents similar to this one. Now a table of contents is not necessary and is often excluded, especially in fiction. Works in nonfiction works you're usually required have a table of contents, And that's usually because you have a lot of chapter headings and a complex hierarchy of chapter headings. So fiction writers your call. I usually leave him out. Oh, I do put them in anthologies of I have multiple stories in my fiction book, Otherwise of I'm writing nonfiction. I always include them. Let me show you how to insert this by deleting the current table of contents. And to do that, I just triple click to select the entire table of contents and hit the delete key. And it's gone. The first step in creating a table contents is decreed a top level heading for a section and call it contents or table of contents whatever you'd like, and you usually have it up forward in the book. Now I'm going to show you one section. You might want to have even more forward than the table of contents, but that I'm going to defer to my marketing class Once you have your section, uh, put a couple spaces, go down a space and then go up to references table of contents. And the one that I always insert is that I goto custom table of contents. And then here I can control things. For instance, we don't want to show page numbers because this is going to be used on a Kindle that doesn't have page numbers and on the Web preview, sure use hyperlinks. That all looks great. Ah, there are no dash lines. And there we just go ahead and we say, Add it And here's our table of contents inserted for us. Now people will be able to click on this on their kindle and jump to that chapter. Also notice here it tells me that I could hit control and click to follow the link to go to a section. Now I also have my table of contents that I use more often over here in my narration pain, which I showed you how to bring in. But that's how to create a table of contents 12. Amazon Self-publishing 2: Kindle eBook: Microsoft Word: Self-publish and Formatting: I want to thank you for taking the course, and I encourage you to enroll in the associated Course, which describes how toe publish your properly formatted document via the Kindle direct publishing Web based interface. After performing that step, your book will be live for sale on Amazon, so I'll see you in the next glass.