Ebook: How To?


It's the long-awaited how-to-format-your-ebook post! First, I've got some explaining to do. I just received my ISBN numbers in the post; so my first set of shorts will be available on Amazon any day from now! Exciting 

So, you ask, as an aspiring author who's feeling entrepreneurial and adventurous enough to set out on their own - how do I make an ebook??
Or, more likely, I have tried to make an ebook and it looks horrible on whatever-ebook-reader-I-have, please help??

For reference, I have a kindle paperwhite. My ebook looks fine here, and from the looks of it on amazon's own emulators, it will be fine on other models too. I don't know how it will look on other devices.


The first thing you must do is formatting. It's boring to the max, but suck it up. You already (hopefully) went over your story a ton of times, so what's one more? One thing that I have learned from my gap year is that writers spend a hell of a lot of time going over their work to make sure it's perfect.
Here is what you have to do, if you want to do this how I did. Tried and tested, works a charm!

First, your story must be in a Microsoft Word .doc file format. If you have saved it in any other format - .txt, .odf - change it.
Then, open in Microsoft Word.

Remember, an ebook is different to a regular book. It has no pagebreaks, not even for new chapters. Because every ebook reader model displays things differently, even if you think a pagebreak looks good on your reader it won't be the same on others. You should get doing pagebreaks out of your head right away - it should all be one document, single spaced, though you can get away with a double linebreak between chapters or titles/subheadings. No more than that. Really. So, if you've been merrily starting each chapter on a different page to the one before, go and take that out. Yes, I had to do this.

The first thing you should do, perhaps, is write the title section. You know how a book always has a little bit at the front that contains the copyright and makes sure everyone knows you didn't make fun of real people with your book? You get to write that!
This is mine. You can write something similar, if you like. It's also the only part of my book that is centered. Don't bother centering chapter titles, it doesn't look so great on the ebook reader.

Click on the picture to see a larger version. ♡ I also added a table of contents.

Now you've got the important part sorted, it's time to get onto the actual formatting. Note, my subheadings here are already formatted. Before you format, all your document should look like regular text.
To help you, if you have the latest edition of Word, you should click this button here:

You'll see a variety of symbols pop up on your page. It'll look somewhat like this:

¶ means a paragraph, or single linebreak. You may also see a character that looks like an arrow pointing to the right too, similar to this: →. This shows an indent.  You want to remove all of these. Every single one. Yes, it looks nice in the word document to have indents for paragraphs, but it looks ugly on the ebook reader because the linebreaks themselves are slightly indented on there - just like a real book. This part's the boring bit, and it may sound weird. But it needs to be done. The final thing that needs to be done is formatting your headings, and/or subheadings. You don't just change the sizes for these - you have to change the styling.

This is done by paying attention to the styles bar in word.

You can edit these styles as much as you like by right-clicking and choosing modify. But the trick is, to be consistent! I only used three styles when making my ebook. The first was only for the title. Then, I had another for chapter titles/other headers. The third one was for the quotes that I have beneath each chapter title.

Why can't I just change the font size? I hear you ask. Because without styles, ebooks aren't happy with double spacing. I tried SO HARD to get double spaces below my chapter titles, my quotes, just to separate them from the main block of text a little. It wouldn't work. Styling was the only way to beat this. So, on the modify panel, I made my header styles have extra space above and below. The circled buttons edit this space.

Once you have accomplished all this, save your document. You're mostly done!

The next thing you will need is to download mobipocket, to get your ebook converted to the .prc file Amazon requires.

You can download mobipocket from here. ♡ Follow the installation instructions, and it's fairly self explanatory from there. Choose 'Import from Existing File' and then 'MS Word Document'. You can then upload your cover, add author and publishing information, and once you're satisfied you should click 'Build'. The resulting .prc file can then be dragged straight into your kindle's 'documents' folder, and is ready to read!

Congratulations - you're done! ♥‿♥ Hopefully without stress like me.


My dad is currently destroying our house in order to fix it, and the noise is drilling through my head wtf. Cannot hear myself think any more. I'll work on a post about actually publishing an ebook next, because now you've got one you probably want to publish it. I also want to write about my gap year itself - why I chose the self-publishing and ebook routes, and why I think it's been worth it. Screw £9000 uni fees, at least for one year.

But, seeing as my first ebook is being published imminently, expect one about that first! I'll now have to think of creative ways to get people to download, whoops. I am terrible at this.