The formatting monster rears its ugly head

Recently a couple of reviews of I Zombie I pointed out formatting issues. These issues only seem to appear in the Amazon version of the book — which happens to be a prime seller. So naturally I wanted to get rid of those formatting issues. After a number of tries (and even more hours of sweating, screaming, and weeping (I exaggerate a teeny bit) I believe I have finally mastered the formatting for Amazon. And of course I want to share how I managed to do it.

Before I go on, I want to say this isn’t exactly the easiest method and since everyone’s skills vary, you may prefer to just cheat and pay someone else to do this for you. šŸ˜‰ You should also be forewarned that, upon successfully formatting your book, you WILL be prone to rejoicing with a mighty “SQUEE”. So if you are around anyone that might beĀ embarrassedĀ for you, hide yourself away before attempting this feat.

What you’ll need

  1. Your book (you know, that thing you’ve spent years and years on.)
  2. A Word processor (I use LibreOffice Writer, but you can use whatever…just make sure it can be saved in .rtf format).
  3. Calibre.
  4. Some time (and possibly a drink or two.)
  5. A hat (to keep you from pulling out your hair.)

Okay, now that you have everything you need…get ready to rock. Here are the steps I took to get mine where I needed it to be:

  1. Format the book file exactly the way you want it to look. Save this file as a rich text file (.rtf). Make sure you use Heading 3 for chapter titles.
  2. Open up Calibre and import the book in.
  3. Edit the metadata of the book (right click the book title and select Edit Metadata) to reflect the correct information (including adding a book cover if you like.)
  4. Covert the book to MOBI format (right click the book title and select Convert Books > Convert Individually.)

Figure 1

Part of the trick here is to make sure you go through the Look and Feel section and check the box for Remove Spacing Between Paragraphs. If you do not, there will be a space between every paragraph…which is not generally acceptable formatting on an ereader. This will cause another problem — your chapter titles and first paragraphs will be smooshed together (no space). Fortunately, you followed my advice above and formatted all chapter titles as Heading 3…that way the chapter titles stand out.

Once the book is converted, you will have a .MOBI file that can then be uploaded to Amazon’s KDP. Before you do, make sure you examine the book in Calibre. Figure 1 shows how I Zombie I now looks in one of the chapters that was giving me the biggest problems. Now…it looks just right (and the Heading 3 makes the chapter titles really look good.)

If you have any questions about how I managed this, ask in the comments and I will reply.