A Quick Kindle Formatting Tip

The formatting of Poor Percival Stories for the Kindle is going well.  Surprisingly well.  Because I had already written the book, my Word document didn’t have the advantages of having been already configured to the formatting suggestions called out in the Kindle publishing guide.  But it really hasn’t made much of a difference – mostly just adding in page breaks where I had originally hit the Enter key a dozen times to start a new page.

The biggest challenge will be making sure the formatting of the book is consistent across all the various Kindle platforms.  For example, I’ve noticed that the original Kindle device will automatically display the first line of each paragraph with an indent. I’m sure there was a good reason for enforcing that when the Kindle first came out, but I don’t know what it is.  Kindle Fire, on the other hand, preserves the formatting exactly as I have it in my Word doc.

The problem is, I don’t want the indents at the start of my paragraphs since I’m doing them block style with an extra space between each one separating them – at least for now.

I thought I’d post the workaround I found for the problem, just in case anyone else runs into the same dilemma.  The trick is to go to the Page Layout tab in Word, open the Paragraph settings window, and under Indentation set the Special: drop-down menu to First Line, then set the By: to whatever indent amount you want.  By default the lowest value is 0.1” (if you set it to 0” it won’t work for some reason), but you can manually type in an extra 0 to make it even smaller: 0.01”.  So technically there’s still an indent being applied, but it’s so negligible that nobody will notice, and Kindle will respect the setting.

How to kill indents

So there you go, the first little trick I’ve learned!  I’ll post about any other tidbits I pick up on for anyone else going through the same process.   Hopefully they aren’t too painfully obvious.

Now I’m off to create a Table of Contents and develop the front-matter of my book!

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