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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please join the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Learning More About Formatting for Kindle and New Features

I’ve been busy this week updating the Kindle edition of my Frugal Book Promoter. What I learned from this effort is that their automatic Kindle formatter shouldn’t be trusted. It’s not that I don’t appreciate how easy they’ve made it to upload a Kindle book (to say nothing of the great 70% in royalties they pay!), but it just doesn’t work quite as smoothly as it should. So, advice from this corner is “Use that preview feature!”

  • And don’t just skim. Turn the pages one by one. It’s a lot to go through when you have a 416 page book, but you gotta do it!
  • Check to see the links are all alive (this is an e-book, not a paper book so links are important).
  • Notice the cool feature that lets them include your book cover.
  • Kindle doesn’t support indexes ‘cause it doesn’t use page numbers so remove your index or do what I did—make a Keyword Index of it. Why not download it at www.budurl.com/FrugalBkProKindle and see how I worked that. You know you wanted the digitally searchable iteration of this book anyway and Kindle books work on your regular computer.
  • Check to be sure the links in your table of contents are live—and please call it just “Contents!” “Table of Contents” is redundant.
  • Forget indented paragraphs (unless you write fiction and just have to use them!). It’s so much easier to leave lines between paragraphs.
  • Be sure anything you have in the front matter that’s important to you is there. If not, you may have to remove it to the backmatter. I understand it’s all about putting actual pages up front where they can be searched by would-be readers, but it may also be a Kindle preference for launching their readers right into their books. (With that in mind, you may want to reconsider some of the niceties like a dedication page.)
  • You can get frugal help with your formatting! If you have a mag, go for iBookAuthor at Apple's Mac App Store. If you have a PC, my fellow UCLA Extension Writers' Program instructor suggests www.Liberwriter.com. He says their $25 fee is reasonable compared to $100 quote he received from a freelance consultant.    

Oh, and an important reason I’m writing this. If you already have the Kindle edition of The Frugal Book Promoter, it should be updated for you automatically. But if it isn’t, nudge them a bit. You deserve your new copy.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second ediction of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:


  1. Loads of great information. Thanks Carolyn

  2. Very useful information, Carolyn. I'll be using it when I finally put my ebooks on Kindle.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  3. Mary Jo and Karen, it isn't exactly an A to Z guideline but the site is very user friendly and I think these nudges will help. Thanks for dropping by.

  4. A useful post, thanks for the info, Carolyn.

    Glynis Smy -writer

  5. Good information. We've found that, for non fiction especially, hand coding in html then running it through Kindlegen8 works best. If your book has images, this is the way to be sure the layout is what you expected.
    Sounds like a ton of work, but with a program like Dreamweaver or Coffee Cup, it's not that bad. Your book will end up looking like a book, not a white paper.

  6. Thanks for the shout out for LiberWriter!


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