Just got a question about formatting for a Kindle ebook.

The person asked me if formatting for the Kindle using a Word .doc file was a good idea. It’s a legitimate question but one I’ve heard too many times so I’m only going to answer this once.

If you format your Kindle ebook using Word, you won’t like the results you get when you self publish using Amazon’s Kindle Digital Text Platform.

You spent a hundred, possibly a thousand hours writing your book. Why in hell would you take the EZ (read that as crappy) route when you format your ebook for the Kindle? I don’t give a “rat’s patootie” what Amazon says you can use to upload into their Digital Text Platform. The best format for your Kindle ebook is a .prc file.

Why?

Because Amazon DTP program can’t mess with the way you want your Kindle ebook to look.

And yes, I’ve seen the you tube videos telling you how it doesn’t matter what format you use for your Kindle ebook and it makes me want to slap these people upside their heads with a two by four.

Formatting does matter. When you pick up a paperback book, you expect it to look a certain way. If you bought a print book from Amazon, opened up your package, and the book’s Table of Content was in the back, or Chapters were out of order or worse, had no paragraph formatting, you’d be pretty pissed.

Do you think it’s any different for your Kindle ebook?

If you do, then you need a wake up call. Go look at the Kindle ebook reviews on Amazon. You’ll find many incidences of people commenting that the ebook’s formatting “sucks.” Frankly, you just need one person to comment on how hard it is to read your book and your sales will go down the tube.

Let’s face facts — as an independent Author, you’re competing with the big boy publishing houses. And, you’ll be on even ground with them if you’ve written a great story or non-fiction ebook — provided, it looks the same as their ebooks. Your readers expect your Kindle ebook to look the same as a paperback.

Take this and burn this into your brain — “Good Kindle ebook formatting sits in the background and goes unnoticed.” That’s what it’s supposed to do in order for your reader to enjoy your words.

A correctly formatted .prc file, will have your cover first, table of content page, your copyright page, dedication page (optional), your chapters and an index (optional). Besides all that, the big boy publishing houses also put navigation at the bottom of their ebooks and if you’re sincere about giving your reader a great reading experience, so should you.

So what is navigation at the bottom of your Kindle ebook? It’s the points you put at the bottom which allows your reader to use their five way controller to individual chapters in a fiction book and to chapters and sub-heading sections in your non-fiction ebook.

You can’t do all this in a Word.doc or any other format except for the .prc file.

So to end my rant — quit looking for the fastest way to publish your Kindle ebook. You spent hours “getting the words right” so spend a couple of extra hours to format your Kindle ebook correctly.

graphic of Judith Tramayne's signature for her rant on Kindle eBook

P.S. And if you don’t know how to format correctly, my “Kindle eBook Course” with 18 videos and 7 image filled step by step PDFs will show you how.