Self Publish to KDP Questions


I have completed my book and am preparing to upload to KDP.

a) Does it matter what font and sizes Scrivener compiles into an ePub ? Ariel 12 seems to be what I have in my Compile Settings for body text.

b) Is the TOC generated by Scrivener when compiling to ePub compatible with the specific TOC requirements stated in Kindle’s guidelines ?

c) Is there anything about the ePub Compile output that has any incompatibility with KDP or needs to be tweaked elsewhere ?

Usually you can just make use of the Mobi selection in Scrivener and go straight to something Amazon wants. The main reason to use ePub instead is if you want to use something like Calibre or Sigil to edit the e-book, just to put in final touches that weren’t done by the automated compiler. If that’s what you’re going for, then carry on. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother with compiling to ePub first.

The only thing that matters is that the body text is all the same size. You won’t be setting the base font yourself, you’ll be setting what is the default size. Scrivener will take the formatting that is used most often and consider that to be “body text”, calculating all relative sizes based off of that, using percentages. Basically everything is factored off of the base font size in a Kindle, not fixed size settings—but that is not something you set, that is up to the reader’s settings. Likewise the specific font family doesn’t matter; that will also be a reader choice.

Yes, when you use ePub to compile instead of Mobi, the final step you’ll take is to convert the .epub file using Kindle Previewer or KindleGen. The former is easier as you can just load the .epub and it will convert it for you, placing the .mobi file in a folder beside the ePub. Either way, Amazon’s software will be taking care of the technical details of converting the ToC and everything else it needs.

To my knowledge there aren’t any settings that would cause a problem. I’ve even tried ones that would make no sense, and potentially cause errors, such as the Adobe page templates setting for Nook/Kobo/Sony/etc., but KindleGen had no issues stripping that out.


The reason I chose to compile to ePub consistently while writing my book is because I was able to get a few friends who have iBooks to read it. Now that I have ‘mastered’ the ePub compile I am nervous about tacking the mobi :laughing: although I actually have testing the ePub using ‘Kindle Previewer’.

Please confirm what you say above for me ? I did set the compile to use Ariel 12. Confirm that everything you said above still applies ?


Okay, it’s fine either way, you could just save yourself a step by using the Kindle format when compiling (you probably wouldn’t even need to change a single setting other than that).

Yeah, that information is discarded completely. The only thing that matters is relative sizes between body text and elements that are meant to be larger or smaller (fine print, chapter headings, etc.). Just remember:

  • Body text is always 100% on a Kindle—tied directly to the individual reader’s text size settings. It’s not 12pt, or 13pt, it’s 100%.
  • Anything larger or smaller than body text will be expressed relatively from the base body text size. Thus a chapter heading is not actually specified as “24pt” in the e-book’s formatting, it’s “200%” (assuming an original body text size of 12pt).
  • Scrivener determines what is “body text” by checking to see which font/paragraph settings are used most often. The most used settings (12pt Ariel in your case) are considered the baseline for calculating percentages from.

That’s probably more info than you need to know, the short summary is: don’t think about font and size as being specific values with e-books. You are just establishing what content is to be considered default text, so that everything that doesn’t look like default text can be relatively sized from it.

Thanks for all of that. I’ll save this thread now as a PDF because I hope to get the opportunity to write another book and I don’t want to have forgotten all of this when the publishing stage comes around :mrgreen:

Remember also that you can open the compiled .mobi file in Kindle, Kindle Previewer, and even any Kindle devices you happen to have, to make a final read-through and check to see that all looks the way you like.

  • asotir

Thanks asotir.