To publish on Kindle you need: a book, a cover, and a blurb. And all of these can be created at no cost at all.
Right now, we are looking at the book -- the manuscript, which might be original, or might be a revision of a published novel. Whatever the origin of the word document, it has to be cleaned up of manual formatting.
I mentioned getting rid of tabs, but didn't describe the easy way of doing it on word. This tip comes from writer Rachel Abbott, who wrote two very useful posts, introducing formatting for eBooks, on her blog.
So, to get rid of tabs throughout your manuscript, go to find/replace. In the "find" line, type ^t (You will find ^ above the number 6). In the "replace" line make sure there is absolutely nothing. Then hit "replace all." Lo, your tabs have all gone.
She also gives a method for getting rid of unnecessary spaces, for people who habitually hit the return key at the end of every sentence. It's complicated: the best advice is avoid doing it. The return key should only be hit at the end of a paragraph.
Indentation. This should be done automatically, via the paragraph formatting screen in your "normal" style sheet. Let's look at that screen again: right-click the "normal" style sheet, go to "modify" and click "paragraph" to bring it up.
The alignment should be left. DON'T JUSTIFY. There is a big temptation to do this, because on eReaders, as in print books, the right margin is justified. On Kindle, however, the reader is in charge of font size, and every time the font size is changed the righthand margin changes, too. So Kindle won't be able to cope if you justify your document.
First line should be by 0.5 cm -- or 0.4 cm if you prefer. Not more than 0.5 cm, though.
Spacing should have zero in both boxes. Nothing before, and nothing after. This is contrary to the advice given by the Kindle builder (which you can download for free as a Kindle book from Amazon). The builder tells you to put something like 10 pts. in one of the boxes. Don't do it. I followed instructions, and had to fix it fast. Believe me, it looked awful. So, I repeat, have 0 in both the before and after boxes. Also, the spacing should be single. Kindle automatically puts a good space between lines, for easy reading, so you don't have to worry about it.
Hit OK and close that screen, hit OK again, and go back to your manuscript.
Now, get rid of all manual page breaks. I did this by running quickly through the document and deleting them. This will make your document look messy, with all the chapters running together, but another style sheet will fix that.
Go back to your style sheet ribbon. Choose "Heading 1" and right-click to get the drop-down menu. Hit "modify"
Keep the font as Times New Roman, but change the font size to 16.
Then go to "format" in the bottom lefthand corner, bring up the menu, and hit "paragraph."
Change the alignment to "centered."
Change the special to "none"
Spacing -- put 42 pt in the "before" line and 18pt in the "after" line. But keep the line spacing single.
Now, go to the top and hit "line and page breaks," bringing up this screen:
In the screen that comes up, click the box by the fourth option "page break before."
(You don't have to click the widow and orphan box or the keep with next boxes; I prefer to do it as it saves having the last line of a paragraph leaking onto the next page.)
Hit OK and then OK on the modify screen to close it.
This makes "heading 1" your style sheet for your chapter headings. Now, go to each chapter head -- easy to do if you have prefaced each one with the word "chapter" by using your "find" facility; if not, you will just have to hunt. Highlight your chapter head -- even if it is just your chapter number -- and click "heading 1" in your style sheet ribbon. And lo, you will find that chapter heading set off from the rest.
Now then, if you write as I do, there are sub-sections within your chapters, which you might have separated with a double hit of the return key, to make a line space. This can be done very neatly by using symbols such as ### or ()()() or <><><> I used the last one, by hitting return three times, and inserting <><><> after the second return. Then I formatted it with yet another style sheet -- the "subtitle" one this time.
Again, go to "modify" and then hit "paragraph."
Make alignment "centered"
Make special "(none)"
Put 3 pt in the "After" box at "spacing."
Hit OK and the OK again to close the style sheet. Now, go to all those triple returns (easily found with the find facility, if you have used a symbol), highlight all three and click "subtitle."
I had an extra problem, because I quoted from a lot of sea chanties in the book, and I wanted these quotes to be set off from the rest of the book. So I adapted the "quote" style sheet:
Right-click that style sheet in your ribbon, bringing up the "modify" screen. Click "format" in the lower lefthand corner, and click "paragraph" in the menu.
A LOVE OF ADVENTURE text © 2012 Joan Druett
Adapt it for your own book, and then create a style sheet for it by going up to "Heading 2" in your stylesheet ribbon. Right-click for "modify." Bring up "paragraph" in the format menu