Author Service Skills.

Speaking to a friend this morning I saw she’s having a major struggle to format one of her books for Kindle. After a few days, changing computers to get a different version of word, and tearing her hair out by the roots she’d almost there. The remaining problem is to do with headers.

I confess that much of what she told me was gibberish to my ears and obviously I can’t help her. But, I’m pretty sure that some of you either can or know someone who can. It occurred  to me that there are plenty of people like my friend , especially newcomers or those like me who are technologically challenged. I’m thinking of creating a page on the blog to help those people by inviting those of you with skills to list your services, your contact details and perhaps your fees for specific jobs ( if set).

If you think there’s merit in the idea and would like to be included on the page please email me at with your Name, your skill(s), your contact details and information you think relevant. I’m happy to take those who edit, format, Design Book Covers, Graphic Designers or have any skills to help an author even beta reading.


Thank you


This is the actual story from the friend in question.

This isn’t my first book I’m working on.  It’s my third.  The first two are completed with Kindle formatting and paperback headers.  All is well.  This third book has been on Kindle for a year.  I’m trying to convert it to paperback.

The problem is that I tackle this stuff about once a year, so I don’t do it often enough to remember from one time to the next.  Even my tons of pages of instructions are Greek.  Add in one new computer (upgrading from Word 2003 to 2010), and it’s a mess.

At this point the paperback formatting is mostly okay.  I dragged out the old computer (Word 2003) and managed to get it done by carefully following the formatting in a previous book.  I have page numbers in the right places, with the title/my name alternating back and forth between odd/even pages.  I’m tempted to let it go as is.  What I cannot manage to do is get the header info off the chapter pages, to get it to skip a page, without creating a new section for every chapter start and getting the numbers to begin with page 2.  That’s an area where I tinker endlessly until it miraculously sections itself correctly, though I don’t really know how/why.  For the first books I just blithely cruised right through and didn’t bother taking out those headers on the chapter pages.  Now, for this current book, I’d like it to look better than the others.

I will say this:  All this drama with simple formatting is keeping me from finishing the next book.  It’s in Word 2003 files, regular .doc files.  I dread the Kindle process, and I dread the header process of yet another book.  This is kind of where the rubber meets the road, and I’ve just slammed on the brakes.

If anyone can post a link to a site with some idiot-proof Kindle and header format instructions, I will be grateful.




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48 responses to “Author Service Skills.

  1. That’s an excellent idea David – please let me know when you do it so I can link to it on my blog Author Resources Central 😀

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    If anyone can help David’s friend, please contact him (click the View Original bottom left of re-blogged article).
    ALSO – why not consider setting up Author Service Skills sections on YOUR blog, if you haven’t already done so – and please let me know about them so I can link to them from my blog Author Resources Central and spread the word about them 😀

  3. Best of luck to your friend David. It was wonderful of Chris to reblog. I’ll share to LinkedIn.
    I get the feeling that there is more to her problem than meets the eye. I used a format i looked up on — and i know Kindle had their own template… That’s why i say there is more than meets the eye — because i’m sure she’s already followed any advice that’s available.
    Past time for me to get ready for the office. Tallyho!
    And Huge Hugs!

    • She followed all instructions to the letter on the Kindle board but they were for Word 2010 and she has word 2003 I think. She resolved most of it by taking our her old computer which had the appropriate word and using that.
      I hope it’s a Good Day today. Hugs xxxxxxxx

  4. I avoid Word and MS if I possibly can. Didn’t Chris McMullen have a recent blog post about how to upload Word to Kindle/Amazon?

    One author I know uses a paid-for formatter, and recommends him/her, so if your friend wants to go down that road, I can find the details.

    As for a service page, I’m happy to add my details. Book reviews are usually free, I charge for editing and proofreading but I will look at a few chapters for free. If you look on my about page, there is more info there, so I’d just send you the relevant parts. If you decide to start it up I’ll send you a mail.

    • If you can find the formatter it would be great but I’d be happy to start the page with you and your skills and Chris says he’ll link it to his Author Resources Central which is good. Editing and Proofreading will be probably the most important skills needed.
      Hugs xxxx

  5. I also advise avoiding MS Word when doing ebook conversions. Writing in Open Office and using Caliber to convert to .mobi and .epub files is the easist and most direct way of formatting ebooks, and both programs are free.

    I’m happy to answer specific questions.

  6. I’m one of those thick-headed, technologically-challenged people. I finally bit the bullet and learned how to use Word 2013. It works great with the Kindle submission program. My greatest challenge was sitting down and learning the Kindle requirements. You have to read ALL the rules.

    • The problem only seems to be with the word 2010 Linda. 2003 is fine- except for headings at the mo’. She’s not even a novice at this which makes it more annoying for her.
      xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  7. It wonderful to see a community pull together to help one of their own. I’m no help as I’m technically challenged.

  8. It can be a tedious task formatting for the various platforms – if you do not publish with Kindle or Smashwords they require you to reformat and add with smashwords a new ISBN – we have just done eight books and I sympathise with anyone have a crack at the first one. I will send you are details via the email we are a business but David is very happy to talk through all issues without charge to ensure the author can be given what they need.

  9. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A great idea from David – In the olden days!! You wrote a book, handed it over to an editor who enhanced your words and then handed it off to be formatted for print. Today we have E-books and whilst they have many advantages they actually require exactly the same attention as books did before to ensure they look and read well, but they also require different formatting skills that vary according to the platform you are going to be uploading your book to. Not something I have the skills to tackle. Thanks David for moving this forward and I will now reblog the list. XXXXhugehugsXXX

  10. What a great idea, David, for your blog, I’m sure there are plenty of those around who could do with help when it comes to technology – as much I would want to dump the Kindle etc into the bin because I prefer paper the new generation is all about digital reads. I’v just discovered the iPad 😀 😀 😀 man, am I slow – I took it to a conference which lasted two days and I had never before written so many notes at a conference, so I guess, conferences can be boring but not if you got an iPad or a Kindle handy 😀 Cheers

    • I’m another one who prefers paper but I have to admit that you can get tablets in places you can’t carry books.The trouble is converting books to ebooks is obviously very difficult. Let’s hope this makes it easier for some people to get expert help.
      xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  11. I saw your ‘help’ message about Kindle. I post a link here. My publisher said the information contained was ‘spot on’

  12. I can manage e-books sort of OK but paper… I had somebody do the conversion for me, but must admit with my sales it makes no financial sense. Then I discovered Draft2Digital that also offer the option of converting to e-book (there is only one specific size, but I didn’t mind that that much). You still need the cover but they seem to take care of the formatting. Of course they do take a percentage depending on the price. They don’t have any formatting requirements at all…(not as complicated as Smashwords.
    She’s probably better off with one of the people above, but just in case:

  13. Some of the options are bound to work for her Olga. Thanks so much for sharing the information.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  14. If I read this right, she wants to publish it as a paperback. The Table of Contents is a different animal, and she should publish it on CreateSpace. Publishing is free and the cost of the paperback is quite reasonable.

    Maybe my posts will help her out.

  15. I’m glad you posted this, David because there’s so much great information here. It’s been a few years since I’ve published so I think I’m probably going to be very rusty as well when I get around to it. I’m bookmarking this page just in case 😉

  16. These different editions of Word are a the backside, but I think all the help could be found in Google.

  17. It’s a great idea, having a link to get help. 🙂
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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