How to Format Your Google Doc for Kindle Book

Updated: May 12

If you’ve ever wanted to publish your own Kindle book, you might be wondering how to format your Google Doc for Kindle book.

Kindle manuscripts do require the right formatting in order for them to display correctly on Kindle eReaders. It’s important to pay attention to how your document is formatted so you’re not wasting time making constant adjustments to get the layout to look right.

Kindle has their own Manuscript Formatting Guide using Microsoft Word. However, I’m excited to show you how you can use Google Docs!

Let’s dive in!

Basic Formatting for Kindle Books in Google Docs Overview

There are a few basic formatting elements that you need to make a great Kindle Book using Google Docs. Here is an overview of all the basic elements that you’ll need:

  1. Add front and back content

  2. Format Chapter Titles

  3. Create a Table of Contents

  4. Set paragraph indentations and line spacing

  5. Insert and format Images

  6. Add page Breaks

  7. Insert hyperlinks

  8. Add footnotes

The important thing to remember about Kindle ebooks is Kindle is not great for a lot of fancy graphics and designs. Because it’s transferring your content into what they need to be viewable on their Kindle e-reader, the more simple your book is as far as the layout and formatting, the better.

In the following sections, I’ll explain how to format each part in Google Docs so that by the end you’ll be able to easily.

If you want to see a live example of a Google Doc with all this formatting in place, scroll down to the bottom of this post!

Add Front & Back Content

When formatting the very first page of your Kindle ebook on Google Docs, just keep in mind what the first pages of content look like.

You can use the text formats (examples in the screenshot) for the different elements like this:

  1. Book Title (Title format)

  2. Book Subtitle (Subtitle format)

  3. Dedication Heading (Heading 2)

  4. Dedication (Normal text)

  5. Copyright (Normal text)

You can see the example below for how this should look all put together.

For the back content, you’ll want to add a Bibliography page and an About the Author page. For each heading you can use the Heading 1. The rest of the content should be Normal text.

Make sure to include links to any sources that are cited in the book on the bibliography page. You can use a bullet point list to accomplish this.

On the Author page, you can give your own bio and links to your website, social media, and contact information.

Format Chapter Titles

This portion is important because when you create your Table of Contents in the next section, you need to have your Chapter Title formatted correctly. We will talk about this more in-depth in the next section.

There are different ways that you can format your Chapter titles but they all have the basic necessities. You should be using the Heading 1 text format.

You can see these formats in the example screenshot in the Front & Back Content sections above.

You could also add a subtitle under the Chapter number as seen in Option 3 of the example.

The recommended alignment for chapter titles is center-aligned. However, you could left or right align and should be just fine as well.

Create a Clickable Table of Contents

This is one of the coolest parts about your Kindle manuscript. Using Google Docs you can create a clickable table of contents that links to each heading (chapter title) of your book.

Create your table of contents on it’s own page before the first chapter of the book.

To add this to your Google Doc, click on Insert and then scroll all the way to the bottom and click on Table of Contents. From here you have the option to simply display the links or display the links with page number.

In the screenshot below you can see how the Heading 1 and Heading 2 are formatted on the table of contents. This is why it’s important to format your Chapter titles correctly and identically. This way they will display correcting in the Table of Contents.

If you decide that there are certain headings that you do not want included in the Table of Contents (the Dedication for example), all you need to do is highlight that text on the table and delete it.

Set Paragraph Indentations and Line Spacing

You don’t have to indent your paragraphs, but if you like the way that looks, you can set this up in Google Docs.

First, highlight the paragraphs you want to indent. Then go to Format and then click on Align & indent and then click on Indentation options. You have a pop-up box where you should click the dropdown under Special indent and select First line.

This will make the first line of every paragraph intended by a half-inch. If you would like the indentation to be a different size, you can change it in the field next to the dropdown.

Changing the line spacing is helpful for people who are reading on digital devices like Kindle. Increasing the line spacing will provide more space in between each line of your paragraphs.

First, highlight the text that you want to change the spacing on. Click the line spacing icon in the tool bar. This is the icon that has a up/down arrow with three lines. From here, the recommended line spacing is 1.5 for the best view.

If you would like to ad space before and after paragraphs, you can choose those options here as well. I like to click Custom spacing and make the before paragraph value 20.

Insert and Format Images

Images can be a little tricky when trying to make sure that they display correctly in Kindle.

To add an image, click on Insert and then Image. You can upload images from your computer, Google Drive, Google Phones, URL, or camera. But my favorite option is the Search the web feature. This is a great way to find pictures right from Google images that you can add to your manuscript.

Once your image is added, you can begin to format it. Start by clicking on the image and then click on Image options. This will pop open a box on the right. You can first change the image size by adjusting the parameters. Be sure that Lock aspect ratio is checked.

Under Text Wrapping, select Wrap Text so that the text will go around the image and the image won’t get in the way.

Next, you can scroll down on the right hand side to Position and select Fix position on page. Then select the right hand position. This will evenly place you photo on the right hand side with out needing to move it.

If you would like to manually place the image, you can select Move with text.

Also, if you would like to add some spacing around your image, you can adjust the margin using the controls that pop up below the image.

Add Page Breaks

Every time you start a new chapter, you’ll want to insert a page break so that the new chapter starts on a new page.

Place your cursor at the end of the last sentence. Click Insert in the toolbar, then click Break and click on Page break in the pop out.

The page breaks that you set on your Google Doc with also display on the Kindle version of your book.

Insert Hyperlinks

The benefit of publishing kindle books versus physical books is you can add hyperlinks that actually work.

This is great for drawing traffic to your website, affiliate links, social media pages, and more!

Add links in Google Docs by clicking the chain link icon in the tool bar. Paste the link in the pop up box.

Insert Footnotes

Inserting footnotes is a great way to cite the sources that are references.

To insert a footnote, click Insert in the toolbar. Then click on Footnote in the dropdown menu.

This is a great feature to ad to your Kindle book that will look great and add a nice feature to your text.

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