Monday, October 3, 2011

The twelve steps I followed to format “My Cheeky Angel” for Kindle Direct Publishing

Because it took me hours of 'How-to' video watching, bombarding my friends who helped me get started with questions and more questions, and then multiple times to finally get my work uploaded cleanly, I decided to write these steps for myself in case I ever decide to self-pub again. Then I wondered if these steps wouldn't save others the frustration and desk pounding that I suffered when I tried to do it without the proper knowledge. Now, having said that, I have no idea if a professional would agree with this guide as I've written it. Maybe there's a better way to describe the procedure, or I might have missed something that didn't affect my work, and if so I apologize. But I wanted to write it in such a way that, if months go by and my memory dims, (more than likely) these 12 steps will remind me clearly and concisely.

1 - Take a copy of your manuscript and clearly rename it so you know which copy you're working on.

2 - If you've gotten the word doc from your Editor, and there are red edits showing, once you have finished making all the changes, go to 'Tools/Track Changes/Highlight Changes' and unclick the box at the top that says 'Track Changes While Editing'. This should clear your document of editing suggestions and changes.

3 - Check for spelling errors…even if you've done this before, it's best to go over it one last time.

4 - Go to 'View’ and click off the 'Ruler'.

5 - Go to 'Edit/Select all' so that your document is highlighted, and then go to the toolbar above and make sure that you are using the 'Normal/Times New Roman/ 12 Font’.

6 - Now you will put on the 'Show/Hide' paragraph option that's on your toolbar and looks like a backwards-P. Once you do this, your spaces, new paragraphs, line breaks and all the inner workings of your document will be visible.

7 - In case you tab the 5 spaces in to begin a new paragraph, (as I do) these must all be cleared. Go to 'Edit/Find/Replace' and on the top line that says 'Find What' hit the space bar five times (nothing will be visible). Then leave the ‘Replace With' line empty and go to 'Replace All'. Then do the same thing again for 4 spaces, 3 spaces and 2 spaces. DO NOT do this for 1 space.

8 - Now clear any spaces before the paragraph mark by going to 'Edit/Find/Replace/More/Special/Paragraph Mark' and then hit the space bar once. Then click on the next line 'Replace With' and go to 'Special/Paragraph Mark'. This will clear away the extra spaces once you click on 'replace all'. I would do this same routine again in case there were two spaces.

If you tab in for new paragraphs, do this same manoeuvre for 'tab characters' and clear them.
And once again for 'manual line breaks' only clear each one of these manually instead of using the 'replace all' feature.

9 - Formatting paragraphs – you will go to the toolbar and click on ‘Format/Paragraph/Alignment' and click on left. Then on the same page go to 'Special' and click on First line, and then go to 'By' and set in 0.5" and last go to 'Line spacing' and click on Double.

10 - Now go to 'Edit/Find' and type in the word Chapter. Starting at the top of your document, make sure that each of the chapter headings are either centered by clicking on the center function on your toolbar, or if you prefer the chapter headings to be on the left, reposition them now so they are no longer indented.
At the same time check to be sure there is a page break before each new chapter. To do this, position your cursor just before the 'C' of the word Chapter and go to 'Insert/Break/Page Break.

11 - Fix any scene breaks (***) by centering them.

12 - Next, go to 'File' and then to 'Properties/Summary' where you should fill in the information—especially the line that asks for the key words for your manuscript such as Romance, Paranormal, etc.

At this point add your cover and centre it, then the copywrite page, and if you want, a dedication page it can be put here at the beginning of your document. Make sure to keep the lines spaced so the writing will fit on one page. Put in page breaks where you wish to have a new page. Remember, if you leave too many empty lines (more than 5) Kindle will automatically leave an empty page.

Now it’s time to go to Kindle Direct Publishing and get started!

***If you feel that this information will assist you or a friend, and you want to show your appreciation, just buy my book for a buck, read and enjoy and that’ll make me really happy!~~

“My Cheeky Angel” is available at both Smashwords and Amazon


  1. Thanks for the instructions. I've done it a completely different way on a short story I'll be posting soon. Your way is simpler, though. I may try it next time.

  2. This is terrific. Thanks! I'll retweet!

  3. Wow. This is great info. I've been having some issues with this and just asked someone today for help.

    Thanks. :)

  4. Thanks for posting these instructions, Mimi. It's saved in my bookmarks. :-)

    Best of luck for your release!

  5. You're awesome, Mimi!

    I've been working on a story I intend to self-publish. This will certainly help if I ever get it finished! Does the same formatting work for Smashwords?

  6. Jannine - these steps do not work for Smashwords. They have a style guide that you would follow. If you run into any difficulties, let me know and I'll try to help.

  7. Excellent tips, Mimi. thanks. Rolynn

  8. Mimi, thanks for the help. I have a manuscript that's more of a Woman's Fiction catagory that I might do myself. I'm such a computer challenged person!

  9. This is so helpful, Mimi. Thank you for sharing it!

  10. I wondered if you have to remove all the paragraph marks from the document, and what do you have to save the document as?

  11. I wrote everything in Word 2ooo but with the Campatibility to 2007. Therefore my manuscript was saved as a word document and I uploaded it to Kindle in the same format. As fara as the paragraph marks, steps 8 & 9 deal with those if you follow them correctly. If you still have difficulties, e-mail me at and I'll try to help.

  12. Great info, Mimi!

    Thanks for posting the simple breakdown.

    Someone mentioned that it is best to convert Word manuscripts to HTML using one of the conversion software programs like Mobipocket or Calibre before uploading them to Kindle because Word docs don't convert well.

    Did you have to do this? Or did you simply upload the Word doc after formatting it the way you describe above?

  13. Monique, I tried to convert my manuscript to HTML because I watched a video that told me I should. It didn't work! Then I went back and re-read all the information I could get my hands on and started right from the beginning with my word document, followings these steps and it turned out perfect. Good luck, and contact me if you need more help at I know how frustrating it can be when nothing goes right and there seems to be no-one to turn to.

  14. I saw that too and worried because I couldn't get my document to convert to HTML. I'll let you know how it all works out.

  15. Thank you so much for clearing that up, Mimi!! You're a blessing.

    Hugs x

  16. PS I love your cover! Off to check out the book. :)

  17. Madison, Please do let me know how it works out for you!

    I'll be leaving this post up for another week because I believe that it can help so many - if they find it that is. So if you know of any groups or friends who you think might benefit, please let them know.

  18. I got my book on Smashwords, but Amazon is impossible.

  19. I finally was able to publish on Amazon. Thanks for all your tips they will really help us all out.

  20. Hi, Mimi - I just went through this and found a couple tips that might help. (1) I had to use "section/new page" breaks rather than "page" breaks to get the doc to paginate correctly. (2) For Smashwords, I kept getting an error that the document contained text boxes. Well, I went through every blasted page and couldn't find anything like that, until I read that headers/footers sometimes cause errors. So I removed/deleted the headers and footers and, voila!, it worked! (3) For Kindle, I kept getting those awful block indents. I had to save the file as "web page/filtered" (html) which removed whatever goofy hidden code was causing it. It seemed to work!

    Figured I'd pass these on in case they might help anyone else!