Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I got an email yesterday which will perhaps interest others:
I read your book Notjohn's Guide to .. 2016. Which is very good but I could not find an answer to my basic question. I'm finishing my hopefully sixth and final edit of my non-fiction book which is typed on a current version of Word.

Q: I've typed my book in word in the style in which I would expect to see the final book, namely indented paragraphs at 0.3, justified margins, bold chapter numbers and titles, oversized headings of H1, H2 , etc. If the html style tags ultimately give these same commands to the epub, should I have typed the manuscript with no indentation, no bold or oversized chapter headings, etc? Will html result in excessive paragraph indentation, oversized headings, etc? 
A good question, to which I replied:
Are you going to use and Sigil with the style sheet from my blog? If so, it doesn't really matter. Word2Clean will probably show all paragraphs as [p] but if it gets fancy with sometime like [p class="normal"] you can just do a search and replace in Sigil to change them instantly. (I'm using square brackets because Gmail software doesn't permit angled brackets. Of course you would substitute < for [ and so on.)
I use Word to build the basic book, especially if there's going to be a print edition. So all my paragraphs are indented except for the first para in a chapter or major section. Word2Clean doesn't seem to care -- they all come back as plan [p] tags, so all I have to do is go find the ones I don't wanted indented and change that to [p class="first"].
Good luck! -- NJ


  1. Hello: I found you through googling what the ideal line spacing one should have with kindle books. I've been told that 1.3 to 1.7 allows for comfortable reading. But in a thread you said you shouldn't manually select the line spacing. You wrote this in 2014. Do you still agree with this? Sorry for asking this here. I couldn't find your email address. Best regards.

    1. Absolutely. Amazon's default line spacing is 1.2, and IMHO that's more than sufficient. In my most recent print edition, I use 1.15 with 11 point Georgia, and it's perfectly legible even to my not-too-great eyesight. To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure what would happen if you specified a different line spacing in a Kindle upload. I have seen e-books that are double-spaced, at least in the Look Inside sample, and IMHO they look awful.

  2. Just bought your guide on Amazon. Awesome! I still use HTML and the Kindle Preview app to build a .mobi. Everything works but the hard TOC (not the page with hyperlinks) doesn't show on newer Kindle devices and apps. If I post the contents of my toc.ncx file here, would you be willing to take a look?

    1. I wouldn't know what to look for! I let Sigil do all that heavy lifting, the NCX and the OPF files especially. In Sigil, you just go Tools > Table of Contents > Generate Table of Contents. You can pick and choose what headings to include, but generally all that's required is to glance them over and click on OK. I then upload the Sigil-built epub to the KDP and have never had a problem with one.


English only. No links. Keep it clean.