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formatting question for draft on Amazon


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#1 anne

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:14 PM

I wonder about HTML tags. I previewed my novel as a draft on Amazon and it is in block format with no spacing or indents for dialogue. Should I use HTML so that the formatting is preserved? If not, then don't I need to set it up for the Kindle in a block style?

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#2 Darke

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 07:00 AM

I find all ms look that way. I don't know why. Even when I applied the Smashwords guide it didn't do anything.

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#3 Robin Breyer

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:31 AM

I recently had a big fight with Amazon's converter. Using a .doc file, it seemed to come up with some different error each time I uploaded it. I have text that is single spaced and not indented that came through fine. But it would lose my body paragraph indenting or it was doing uneven indenting, and it was adding space after my chapter headings. It was a nightmare. But when I'd tried uploading an html file, I was having different issues. A few days ago I finally found the information I was looking for and have a good system for creating a nice html file that will give a good kindle format.

Step 1: Follow the Smashwords style guide, including the creation of the table of contents using bookmarks and links.
Step 2: Export as html. I use TextMaker so there is only one option. From Word proper, save as filtered html.
Step 3: Open the html file in a text editor (such as notepad). Insert the following codes where needed.
a) Place this code at the top of your title page:<a name="start"/>
b) Place this code at the top of your Table of Contents page:<a name="TOC"/>
c) Place this code where you want a page break:<mbp:pagebreak />
Step 4: Save and upload to Amazon

I got that information form this site: http://kindleformatt.../formatting.php

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#4 RC Lewis

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:02 AM

Are you saying that most paragraphs are indented, just not the ones containing dialogue? That's odd, and definitely a problem. Perhaps a stray bit of code sneaking in when you start a paragraph with a quotation mark?

For Spring Fevers, I created a .mobi file. When Matt uploaded it to Amazon, I'm pretty sure it preserved everything just as I set it. (If someone comes across something that looks odd, let me know.) Whether you're comfortable enough with tech to go that route would be the main question.

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#5 Gwen Ellery

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:27 PM

I haven't formatted mine yet, but I'll second what RC said. According to reports from various Yahoo loops I follow, mobi files work quite well.

I also know of a reputable guy who'll do all of your formatting for you for around fifty dollars, giving you a file for each major distributor.

I'm so overwhelmed by the prospect of formatting, I may well go that route the first time.

#6 Robin Breyer

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:49 AM

I would say it is really simple, but sometimes I forget how long I've been doing document layout.

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#7 Cammy May

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:09 PM

Most hacks of Kindle work on CSS in the html document that is uploaded to become the Kindle file.
i'm not an expert on this, but there is great information on it is a couple of Linked In ebook groups.
So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#8 Gwen Ellery

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:37 AM

Good to know. So these Kindle hacks... what do the hackers end up doing? Do they change the content of the book? Or maybe I misunderstood?

#9 Cammy May

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:23 AM

One example of something that was driving my publisher nuts, Kindle indents every paragraph. Even if it's lines in the intro or dedication.
Turns out you can turn that off with a line of css code in the stylesheet, in the <head> portion of the html version of the MS.

Hmmm, I read that sentence and can't believe it makes any sense.
So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#10 Paul Dillon

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:53 AM

I came across the indent issue too. It wasn't that big of a deal in the book I submitted to KDP but I'd be interested to know the solution.

#11 Robin Breyer

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:27 PM

I was having indent issues submitting a .doc file. I had none with an html file doing exactly what I outlined above.

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Writing as Scott Seldon:
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Writing as Robert Courtland:
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#12 anne

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

I found a solution and it was by reading the Smashwords Style Guide and perusing community forum on KDP. Simply put, (I can say that after the fact) I created document in word, then saved document in html, changed line spacing to 3, got rid of double spacing--but that was it. I got stuck on the TOC (UGH frustrating) but, eureka, that too was easier than I thought. I simply created it in word; initially, I used the auto table of contents and it didn't come out right when I uploaded. So I returned and deleted automatic table of contents and did it manually on my ms (in word). I then bookmarked each title (six stories) and clicked on "place in this document" something like that. Next, I returned to table of contents and created hyperlinks to bookmarked titles of stories. Last but not least, I highlighted the table of contents and inserted a tag "ref _toc" WITHOUT QUOTATION MARKS (finally figured this one out) and linked each title back to the ref_toc name.

My next struggle was with the book cover. I found the perfect photograph in Bigstock photo's, paid $5.00 and downloaded, opened with Paint where I resized added some effects (color) and title with my name. It has to be a minimum of 1000 pixels for the height according to Amazon's specs.

A couple discoveries after visiting the community forum on KDP were that the hyperlinks do not work in toc for the upload preview and the also the book cover image that displays has no color and is a thumbnail version. But, not to worry: when published, the links will work (test on a Kindle reader or Mobi Reader etc) and book cover will be twice that size with color. Phew! Okay, now, I'm waiting for final editing from favorite person, my sis (Eng professor, published author, proof reader extraodinaire) and then I will get er up.

For anyone interested, the title is Autism Denied: A Collection of Stories by Elizabeth, ME! I have also decided to go with my REAL name. Why not? I put my heart and soul (sorry for the cliche) into these stories. And even if they aren't genius, so what. They are certainly not horrible. I'm sure of that. If someone believes differently, well, they are just plain dumb. My second ebook (novella entitled My Creature (tentatively) will follow soon after. Hopefully, by the end of the summer. Once this one is up, I can commence work on the other, half-way done! Meanwhile, I have a completed YA novel which is in the hands of an agent (full) but I have not thought about it lately because it consumed me for too long. So I consider it done done done (for now at least).
And now I'm really done.
I hope my instructions are helpful!
eb

#13 Cammy May

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    They can reject me, blacklist me, ignore me... but they can't take Tara away from me.

Posted 21 May 2012 - 02:31 AM

There is way the cover can display in color on Kindles that don't have color screens. If it really looks awful, some people include a second version of the cover optimized for black and white.

The stock TOC sucks.

Actually 800 high jpgs work.
So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#14 Mastro RJ

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 04:52 PM

It's easy to manipulate the "kindle indent." Just go to format paragraph in Word and under "Special" just put "First Line" and something like .25" and that's what the Kindle reads to indent all lines. If you want no indention for any paragraph, then you just put 0.01" under the "By" heading.

I use MobiPocket Creator to convert my word files into .PRC files (which can be used to upload to KDP). What's great about this is that you can preview exactly what the ebook is going to look like using the Kindle Previewer that you can download onto the PC.

This guide here is great to go by: http://www.agentquer...ndle_ebook.aspx

Best way to do it is make a .doc file, then save it as Web Filtered HTML, then use MobiPocket to convert it and then upload to KDP.
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#15 Cammy May

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    They can reject me, blacklist me, ignore me... but they can't take Tara away from me.

Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:18 PM

My understanding is that Kindle re interprets indents. For instance, notice that if you have a second cover, it has a margin around it, but the "original" one fills the screen.
So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#16 Robin Breyer

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:56 AM

I found that if you upload from a .doc file directly to Amazon, which they let you do, it can really screw things up. It is also very inconsistent. I uploaded a file twice and it ended up looking completely different. I found that if you start with a .doc file, and use paragraph styles to set all your indents, then export to .html, it preserves your indents. Ebook converters don't like tabs.

As for the cover, the external cover has different coding from an internal copy of the cover, which is why they look different.

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#17 Cammy May

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    I would prefer to be sole proprietor of a series of novels.

    They can reject me, blacklist me, ignore me... but they can't take Tara away from me.

Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:58 AM

Well, yes, of course.
My point was that you don't have control over a lot of margins, set-backs and indents on Kindle. That's why people tweak CSS.
So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#18 Robin Breyer

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:46 PM

Hmm. I haven't looked under the hood of the .mobi files I downloaded from Amazon like I have with the .epub, so I can't really comment on that. All I know is that it turned out like I wanted it to. And with only one cover. That two cover thing annoys the heck out of me.

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Writing as Robert Courtland:
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#19 Mastro RJ

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 04:07 PM

Same thing here. I've never had two covers. And all my margins come out like I want them. The simple formula for KDP is this. Create it in word. Set the margins and indents on the "format paragraph" box. Save it as HTML. Convert it to a .prc file in MobiPocket Creator. Then upload to Amazon. Comes out perfect.
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#20 AQCrew

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 04:56 PM

The simple formula for KDP is this. Create it in word. Set the margins and indents on the "format paragraph" box. Save it as HTML. Convert it to a .prc file in MobiPocket Creator. Then upload to Amazon. Comes out perfect.


We agree with this method...

However, if you need a more specific "step-by-step" on how to accomplish this, you can use our detailed guidelines:

http://agentquery.co...ndle_ebook.aspx




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