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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Formatting First Lines with NO Indents for your Kindle E-Book

One of life's crumpled rose petals has been smoothed out at last! When I formatted my books for e-publishing, they looked perfect on Smashwords and in all other formats but Kindle, and it took me forever to find out why!

The publishing convention for paper books is that the first line of a chapter, or a section after a line-break, is NOT indented, like this.
         Then all the other lines are indented, like this!

It looks unprofessional if you don't format your books that way, as if you didn't know any better. But for some bonkers reason, Kindle insists on adding an indent. I didn't want an indent. I'd set the styles function of Word to remove the indent, an indent looked completely and utterly wrong, but, there it was, every time: a rubbish, extra indent.

I rummaged around the Internet. As usual, I didn't keep proper notes, so I can't credit anyone, but thanks to all those helpful posters, and eventually, I pieced together what I needed to know. Here is my (nontechnical) version in case it helps anyone else.

Those extra indents appear because Kindle is trying to be helpful - seems a lot of folk try to upload manuscripts with no paragraphing, so Kindle has been set to add a paragraph space automatically, but whoever wrote the programme didn't add the publisher's beginning-of-a-chapter-has-no-indent option. You have not gone crazy or formatted wrong. Kindle is overriding your instructions.

The way to fool Kindle is to go into the styles section of Word and alter your first line style. (If this means nothing to you, then I recommend the FREE styles guide over at Smashwords by Mark Coker.) If you right click it allows you to 'modify' then you select paragraph, then, where it gives you the option to set an indent, you set the tiniest possible indent 00.1 cm will do it. It is invisible to the naked eye, but it makes Kindle happy because it reads that line as having a proper indent. Your text looks professional. Everybody is happy. Hurrah!


Hawthorn said...

My Dad had the same formatting problems with his kindle publication. My mom had to reformat every paragraph through gritted teeth! They are still speaking to each other :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks so much. Yours was the only tip on getting rid of indents that I could understand and which actually worked ! Unfortunately now the entire content of my book appears to be underlined. Hey ho !

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Anonymous said...

Excellent tip re getting rid of the first line indent - thanks very much!

Aimery Thomas said...

Thank you, Louise. Your explanation and solution were far more insightful than the others I found on the Internet.

Aimery Thomas

Unknown said...

OMG ... I have been knocking my brains out trying to solve this problem! I've gone round and round with Kindle technical support (alas, useless, at least so far), and like some others commenting here, the ether fixes I've found on the Net are hopelessly complicated for me. This is the epitome of elegant simplicity -- and it worked!

This is what was holding me back from my pub date. Fixed! Thank you thank you!

John David Mann

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