eBook Formatting Tips


This short post features in my Self-Publishing Wiz eBook.

* * *

* Based on an email to an indie author asking for help with a linked “table of contents.”

A poorly formatted eBook is agonizing for both the author and the reader/customer.

It’s important for an eBook to be well-formatted and “flexible” so that the text loads correctly across various ereader platforms (unless you enroll your books in KDP Select, in which case the eBooks have to be exclusively on Amazon only).

I like having a linked TOC for Kindle files too. I do it through a relatively painless process without any HTML coding. I don’t hate HTML coding, but if there’s an easier alternative…

I’ve provided a few links below for you to learn how to format your document so that (a) it’s ready for publication, and (b) the TOC loads properly (for Kindle files).


(1) Smashwords Style Guide

Mark Coker is the founder of Smashwords (I actually joined Smashwords before Amazon Kindle, back in mid-2009). Smashwords Style Guide is a comprehensive yet concise guide full of tips on how to create simple and effective formatting. It’s an excellent and free guide available for download at the following link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52

(2) Creating a linked TOC for Smashwords

Go to “Creating Hyperlinked TOC” in the Smashwords Style Guide (it is Step 20b in the PDF or ePub file).

(3) Converting .doc file for Kindle (using MobiPocket)

I use MobiPocket Creator to create/upload Kindle files, but you have to download the “Publisher’s Edition” in order to do a TOC that works properly.

If you already have the “Home Edition” installed, you have to uninstall the home edition, then download again and install “Publisher’s Edition” (select “Publisher’s Edition” when you receive the prompt during installation).

As of May 2012, MobiPocket Creator can be downloaded at the following link:

(4) Creating a linked TOC for Kindle

Once you have MobiPocket Publisher’s Edition, follow “How To Create A Kindle Table Of Contents,” an excellent post written by Dark Neon / Huw Collingbourne.

The post can be found here:


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