Step 3: Creating Styles

Before we dive right in, it would be a good idea for you to know which fonts you’d like to use. As I mentioned in the first segment, Amazon will strip all of your formatting when you upload your file to KDP.

That’s because their devices let readers customize the font styles and sizes to their liking, creating a more enjoyable reading experience for your fans. As frustrating as this obstacle may be, we want our readers to be happy.

Kindle Friendly Fonts

Here’s the list I was able to track down online:

  • Arial
  • Baskerville
  • Bookerly
  • Caecilia
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Lucida Sans Unicode
  • Palatino
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet
  • Verdana

By choosing from the fonts listed above, there’s a better chance Amazon won’t change anything when you upload your eBook to the KDP dashboard. (Not a guarantee, just the best hope).

I’m all for creative freedom and think you should pick the fonts you like best. However, I’ve read advice claiming it’s best to use different font types for the headings and main body of text. In other words, if you choose a Sans font for your chapter titles, you should use a Serif font for your default text.

Now, that you’ve chosen your fonts you can start putting them to use.

Creating & Modifying Paragraph Styles

The most efficient way to format the interior layout of your eBook is to create and modify all the styles you plan to use first. Your manuscript is already using the ‘Default Paragraph Style,’ so we’ll make some new styles from that before modifying it. That will eliminate the hassle of fixing indents, alignments, and line spacing later on.

Many of these steps are repetitive but that will make it easier for you to bust them out faster as you go along. You might not even need the images I’ve included after the first one, but I’ll have them there just in case.

First, you need to access the Styles Menu. You can do that by clicking on the three bars in the top corner of your right-hand toolbar and selecting ‘Styles.’

Or you can click on ‘Styles’ on the main toolbar at the top of your screen, then select ‘Manage Styles.’ Either way will open the same menu that you need.

New Styles

To create our first new style:

  1. Right-click on ‘Default Paragraph Style’ in the styles menu and select ‘New.’

  1. Rename the style ‘Chapter Title,’ then hit your Tab key to auto-populate it to the next box.
  2. Click on the ‘Indents & Spacing’ tab.

  1. Make sure all spacing is 0.00,” and the Line Spacing is ‘Single.’
  2. Click on the ‘Alignment’ tab.

  1. Choose ‘Center.’
  2. Click on the ‘Font’ tab.

  1. Choose the font, style, and point size you’d like to use.
  2. Click on the ‘Font Effects’ tab.

  1. Select any additional effects you’d like applied to your chapter title.
  2. Click ‘Apply,’ and ‘Ok.’

Feel free to skip the next step if your chapters don’t have subtitles.

  1. Right-click on ‘Default Paragraph Style’ and choose ‘New.’

  1. Rename the style ‘Chapter Subtitle’ and hit the tab key.
  2. Click on the ‘Indents & Spacing’ tab.

  1. Change ‘Below Paragraph’ to 0.10.”
  2. Click on the ‘Alignment’ tab.

  1. Select ‘Center.’
  2. Click on the ‘Font’ tab.

  1. Choose which font you like, style, and size. Whatever looks best to you.
  2. Click on the ‘Font Effects’ tab if you want to use one, if not you can skip.
  3. Click ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok.’

Now you’ll need to modify some existing styles.

Modified Styles

Your front and back matter titles will differ from your chapter titles. They’re smaller, for one, and can also be a different font.

  1. In the Styles Menu, right-click on ‘Heading’ and choose ‘Modify.’

Since this isn’t a new style, it won’t prompt you for a name. It should open on the ‘Indents & Spacing’ tab. But if not, click on that tab first.

  1. Change ‘Above Paragraph’ to 0.00.”
  2. Change ‘Below Paragraph’ to 0.10.”
  3. Click on the ‘Alignment’ tab.

  1. Choose ‘Center.’
  2. Click on the ‘Font’ tab.

  1. Select which font, style, and size you like.

  1. Click on the ‘Font Effects’ tab if you want one of those.
  2. Click ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok.’

I’m not going to include images for the ‘Title’ and ‘Subtitle’ styles you’ll need to modify next because Title Pages are unique to each book and author.

To create those styles, right-click on their existing style in the Styles Menu and choose ‘Modify.’ Then, make all the changes you prefer. For example, you can add space to the ‘Above Paragraph’ on the ‘Indents & Spacing’ tab if you want your title to appear further down the page.

Keep in mind, this is for an eBook. Your document’s page size is much larger than a Kindle screen, so if you start your title down too far, it might push the rest of the words onto the next page when you upload it onto Amazon or the KDP Previewer.

For other titles used on the Title Page, such as your author name, or the name of a series, I recommend creating ‘New’ styles from the existing ‘Heading’ style we already modified. You can name those whatever is easiest for you.

The last style you’ll need to modify is for the main body of text.

  1. Right-click on ‘Default Paragraph Style’ and select ‘Modify.’

  1. Under ‘Indents & Spacing,’ change the ‘First Line’ indent to 0.30.”
  2. Use the drop-down menu to select your ‘Line Spacing.’ If you used the faux drop cap trick, 1.5 lines looks the best.

*Note: Do not set your line spacing as ‘Double.’ Past complaints of authors ‘stuffing’ their books with double spacing to force a higher page count have led Amazon to block all eBooks with double spacing.

  1. Click on the ‘Font’ tab and select the font you want to use for your main body of text.
  2. Click ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok.’

Your default text should remain at the ‘Regular’ style and ’12pt’ size without any ‘Font Effects.’ Italics, bold, and underlining is used sparingly and for particular reasons within the story, not as the default setting. 12pt size is standard, and since readers can adjust the size on their devices, you don’t need to worry about it being different here.

With eBooks, your alignment will automatically become ‘Justified’ once it’s published by Amazon, so you won’t need to change that here, either—unless you want to see how it looks. Since the text is reflowable, I don’t think it’s as important to have Justified text in an eBook as it is in a paperback.

As soon as you hit ‘Apply,’ all the changes you just made will show up in your document because ‘Default Paragraph Style’ is already in use. The other styles you’ve created or modified won’t appear until you apply them.

Don’t panic if some things look off or are now taking up more pages than before. You can make adjustments in the next segment.

The final style is another ‘New’ creation. I saved it for last because you want it to reflect the changes you just made to the main body of text.

  1. Right-click on ‘Default Paragraph Style’ and choose ‘New.’

  1. Rename it as ‘First Paragraph’ and hit the tab key.
  2. Click the ‘Indents & Spacing’ tab.

  1. Change the ‘First Line’ indent back to 0.00.”
  2. Click ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok.’

That’s it. Everything else about the style will remain the same as the default. The only purpose for this style is to ensure that the first paragraph of every chapter does NOT have an indent.

Whew, I know that was a lot. But now that you’ve created and modified all the styles you want to use in your eBook, it’s time to apply them.

%d bloggers like this: