I have researched this and even followed the Smashwords guide, but my Kindle books always forced indents on my paragraphs, and removed the paragraph breaks I had set in my Word doc. But I just discovered a new trick to force Kindle books to show a block paragraph instead.
Remember Kindle is basic HTML: HTML is tag coding, and in its most basic form, it has very few formatting options:
1. Flush left or centered text.
2. No font choices (these are determined by device or user).
3. Font size (please don’t go crazy with this. I use only 2 font sizes: 12 point for body, 14 point for headings, anything else is taken care of by using BOLD).
4. Bold, italic, regular font styles.
5. Some “special characters,” but no lists or bullet points.
6. Tables (they don’t really work, I prefer to use a picture of a table).
7. Paragraph breaks and line breaks.
Point #7 is what I use for making Kindle show me true block paragraphs. Mark Coker recommends using a .01 indent to make a “nearly invisible” indent, but Kindle ignores this and gives you paragraph indents anyway. Besides, I am a designer, and this tiny indent bothers me (designers can make themselves and everyone around them crazy).
So, I place a paragraph break (shown as a “p” in the picture below) at the end of every paragraph and then follow it up with a line break (shown as a bent arrow below).
My last book, The Tarot Key is a really large manuscript, and I was facing a massive editing job to do this by hand, but there is a quick shortcut which I outline next.
STEP #1: Clean up your document to remove multiple paragraph breaks!
STEP #2: Duplicate your document and work off the dupe in case something happens.
STEP #3: Go to the advanced “Find/Replace” in Word.
STEP #4: Click on the “Gear” icon in the middle and choose “Advanced Find & Replace.”
STEP #5: Duplicate what I have in the above window:
Find what: ^p
Replace with: ^p^l
(That’s a lower-case “L” with a “carrot” character preceding it to make a line break.) The first window is looking for paragraph breaks. The second window replaces the paragraph breaks with a paragraph break and a line break.
STEP #6: Click “Replace All”
STEP #7: Review your manuscript. If you need to put in a manual line break, it can be done by hitting the RETURN key while holding down the SHIFT key.
Here is what happens. You can see the line breaks follow the paragraph breaks in the document. The paragraph may indent the first line, but as this is blank, the indent is “white” and doesn’t show. The line break “fools” the Kindle mashup machine to think that the paragraph begins at the empty first line, and forces the paragraph with the line break to really start at the line below it: officially the “second line.” (Double paragraph returns won’t work because Kindle will indent each one. Only a line break will work.)
You can then scan your document and see that before each new paragraph you have a line break indicated by the bent arrow. Turn on the “reversed P” button on the top bar to “show all non-printing characters” on your page.
And here is the final result: a perfectly formatted Kindle book with the block paragraphs that I designed.
I hope that this trick helps my fellow Kindle book publishers. I now have to get busy and fix all my books!
About me: I am a designer and author. I have published eight books of my own using CreateSpace, Kindle, and LightningSource, and I have helped numerous other authors with their work.
Copyright 2015, Aliyah Marr, All rights reserved.
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