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Self-Publishing for the Kindle

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Step 5: Format the document for Kindle

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In the course of reformatting your document keep a couple of things in mind:
  • The Kindle device isn't really fond of CSS
  • Don’t worry about margins or losing your page numbers, as the Kindle automatically regenerates digital page numbers and re-formats the layout according to user preferences each time it loads a file.
More about CSS:

You can use a stylesheet to format your book, and I do suggest that you use CSS as much as possible. There are some CSS rules, however, that are not supported at all or only supported minimally in the Kindle: margins, different fonts, font sizes, and colors are a few. The best control over font sizes can be achieved using heading tags.

The {left-brack}big{right=bracket} and {left-brack}small{right=bracket} tags are not as robust as they are in HTML, but you will find that they allow you to adjust the size up or down a couple of sizes.
The font-size property in CSS is essentially useless

Also it's actually a good idea to use color images in your eBook. While the  Kindle device can’t display color, reader apps that run on other (color) devices do, and it’s highly likely a future Kindles will have a color display. Your color images will display properly, though  only in grayscale, on the current Kindles, but will be shown in all their full-color glory in the apps that do show colors. And when a color Kindle comes out you can just sit back and relax.

With that out of the way we're ready to edit our document.

Now using your HTML editor we've got to clean up the content:
  • Delete any blank pages that were inserted into the original manuscript for purposes of ‘facing pages’ formatting.
  • Delete your headers and footers
  • Insert a Title Page at the front of your manuscript with your book’s title, your name and any copyright information
  • Just in front of that, insert a 4x6” 300 dpi color image of your book’s front cover, in color and at a resolution of 300dpi, as the very first page of your file. Put the Amazon start bookmark immediately before it:
    {left bracket}a name="start"{right bracket}
    and a page break immediately after it:
    {left bracket}mbp:pagebreak/{right bracket}
  • Delete the table of contents if you have one. In the same location put a hypertext bookmark to indicate where the TOC should go:
    {left bracket}a name="toc"{right bracket}

This one is tough, make sure all the text has the same style.Often in the course of cut and paste it is commonly to manually adjust paragraph formats by means of the buttons and tools provided. It is very important that all paragraphs which are similar ( headers, body text, captions ) have the same style. This means going through the document, selecting the paragraph and setting the style using the stand menu and removing any custom options.

Edit any internal graphics to conform to Kindle requirements. Verify that each graphic file used within the body of your book is no larger than 450 x 550 pixels at 300 DPI and  its file size is no larger than 64kb. If you have no idea what any of this means, you lack the skills and knowledge needed to include graphics in your Kindle book; you can omit them from your manuscript, brush up your graphics editing skills, or get a more knowledgeable person to edit the images for you.

Next surround any full-page size images with Amazon custom page break tag:

to force each one onto its own page. Surround any other images with carriage returns, to prevent text from wrapping or flowing around the images. Note that while inserting the carriage returns may result in large areas of white space around your images, the white space is far preferable to unpredictable text wrapping around the image when the user decides to re-size the font displayed on his ereader device.

Now we're going to mark our table of content entries. Make sure that all table of content entries are marked with appropriate header tags (This should also be preceded by the AMAZON page break custom markup as this will cause each section/subsection/chapter to start at the top of the page.

Each tag needs to be assigned a class attribute for the Table of Contents Wizard. The TOC wizard in MobiPocketCreator provides up to 3 tiers for the TOC entries. I normally assign Heading1 to class section, Heading2 to class subsection and Heading3 to class chapter. The final markup looks something like this:

{left bracket}mbp:pagebreak/{right bracket}
{left bracket}h1 class="subsection"{right bracket}

Okay now we can save our document and create our ebook using MobiPocketCreator

 
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