Kindle Help

I've been planning on making a comeback with my web serial, and in the meantime I've done a tie-in novel that I'm going to e-publish on Amazon kindle. I've never done anything like this before and only have a vague idea about it, though. I've looked online for help, but the information I find is often contradictory. As some of the people here have done this before, I was hoping someone could give me some pointers?

Specifically, how should I format my novel? Margins, fonts, etc? I've heard that I should save it as a html before I upload it to KDP, is that correct? Also, what size should I make the cover art/image? I can't find a definite answer anywhere, but I've heard that Amazon's suggestion is outright wrong and doesn't show up very well.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Margins: normal with the default page size setting, as it is converted electronically using only text/images.

Font: 12-point, times new roman

Indentations: If you are using Word (which I assume you are), use the arrows on the ruler that do automatic indentations. I don't remember what they're called, but that's the only way to indent, excluding centering the text.

Cover size: If you are doing it on your computer or hiring someone, 6x9. If you are artistic and want to do it yourself by hand, make the paper 12x18, and in Photoshop/gimp, after you've scanned it in, scale it to half it's size.

HTML Thing: I honestly don't know, I've used PDF and Word docs before, and they both came out well, except the PDF didn't have indentations, but I hadn't done those on that one anyway.

Other tips: Make sure not to have four spaces in a row or four blank lines in a row, as this makes for unwanted blank spaces/pages on the larger text settings. Also, make sure that you indent only one eighth of an inch, for the same reason as the four space thing.

The best help I've seen for formatting your novel for ebook publishing is Smashwords' Style Guide: (it's free, and not exclusively for those publishing through Smashwords). Lots of great advice in here for how to format your ebook so it will look good in any format, including Kindle.

Be very careful with formatting and Word styles - they can have unexpected outputs! Word is awful for doing unexpected (and invisible) things with its formatting. I highly recommend the 'nuclear' method to clear out the formatting, so you have a clean set of text to work with. (See the guide linked above for instructions, but basically you convert your manuscript to plain text and then copy it into a fresh Word doc and apply styles.)

You can upload your book to KDP as a Word doc, no HTML required (their instructions say HTML, but I've never had a problem putting a Word doc up there). KDP converts it into the appropriate format for you.

They changed their cover image requirements recently (well, within the last few months). The advice on the help site doesn't seem up-to-date with the info I got the last time I tried to update cover images. The height/width ratio needs to be about 1.6, and the longest side should be at least 2500 pixels (which makes the width about 1563 pixels). They'll verify that your image is the appropriate resolution when you upload it (and tell you what it should be if it's not).

Hope that helps!

That's great, thanks for the help!

Seconding the recommendation on using the Smashwords guide to format a Word document. I basically took my Smashwords version and changed out the license page and reuploaded it to Kindle. It was live I think by the next day!

SgL - that's exactly what I do. :D

I made an epub for the serial anthology Dreamer of Dreams :sigh. I failed on that project so utterly: and then had to convert THAT to word to let smashwords make an epub. My epub was better, and took less time than making the word doc.

Smashwords accept epub files now, Alexander! :)

Just an update - thanks to the help you guys gave me, I was finally able to get my book published. It's available on amazon - and amazon uk -

Thanks everyone!

That's great, Alice! Good luck with it. :)

Love the cover, by the way. :D