NOTE: PLEASE VISIT AARON'S PUBLISHING PAGE FOR ANY UPDATES TO THIS BOOK.
It's not hard to find instructions for converting from Word to Kindle -- but these instructions are usually less helpful than they could be. Many, for example, proclaim that Word's HTML output requires extensive alteration and cleanup before submission.
This advice is misguided. Some who offer it have drawn their conclusions after simply choosing the wrong export option. Others fuss about a moderate amount of excess code, not realizing that it doesn't increase file size enough to matter or that the Kindle ignores it anyway.
Other instructions will imply the opposite: that conversion is straightforward and just what you would expect. Supposedly, as long as you start with a properly formatted Word document, you'll wind up with a well-formatted ebook. Well, it doesn't really work that way -- not without a few techniques for tricking or bullying the Kindle into doing what you want.
In this book, Aaron Shepard offers his own tips for moving your document from Word to Kindle, with a focus on desktop Word versions from 2003/2004 to 2010/2011.
Aaron Shepard is a foremost proponent of the new business of profitable self publishing, which he has practiced and helped develop since 1998. He is the author of "Aiming at Amazon," "POD for Profit," and "Perfect Pages," as well as two other books on Kindle formatting.
1 ~ FIRST STEPS
Working with Word | Document Setup | Text Cleanup
2 ~ KINDLE FORMATTING
Special Characters | Font Formatting | Paragraph Styles | Paragraph Spacing | Paragraph Justification | Line Breaking | Page Layout
3 ~ SPECIAL ELEMENTS
Other Paragraphs | Lists | Tables | Text Boxes and Sidebars | Footnotes and Endnotes | Pictures
4 ~ NAVIGATION
Web Links | Internal Links | Tables of Contents | Menu Items
5 ~ FINAL STEPS
HTML Export | Book Covers | Book Data | Submitting and Previewing
By default, Word will apply the Normal style to your paragraphs. Amazon knows this, so for some Kindles, it hijacks that style, changing its formatting to what Amazon prefers. This can lead, for example, to unwanted space above or below a paragraph.
If you want control of your own formatting, then, you'll have to avoid the Normal style and apply something different. There's no problem, though, with applying styles based on Normal, or even with applying a duplicate of Normal under a completely different name.
In regard to this, watch out for manual page breaks in recent versions of Word. Unless you're in Compatibility Mode, each break is now placed in a paragraph of its own, and the Normal style is assigned automatically. That in itself isn't a problem -- but if you then hit Return and start typing, your new paragraph will be in Normal as well. (This is another reason to stick to the paragraph format setting "Page break before" to start a new page.)
You can change all paragraphs already in Normal style to a different one by using the Format menu in the Find and Replace dialog. Don't enter any text, but place your cursor in first the Find box and then the Replace while choosing a style for each.