LibreOffice is a free and open-source office productivity software suite which includes programs for word processing, creating and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, working with databases, and composing mathematical formulae. It is a project of The Document Foundation (TDF) which was forked in 2010 from OpenOffice.org, which was an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice. The LibreOffice suite
Here I've written any tips for LibreOffice, as an alternative to paid office suite's like those by Microsoft.
Pros and Cons
- No automatic online saving option (or collaborative editing), which is why I recommend Google Docs when you first start writing your book. Otherwise you can lose your whole book!
- A few less feature than Microsoft Word, and hard to do certain things like a Table of Contents.
How To: Publish on Kindle Direct Publishing from LibreOffice Word Processor
I used LibreOffice in 2021 to publish my black-and-white paperback book "Funny Team Names" to Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). If you are doing a color/picture book I would recommend Adobe InDesign, but LibreOffice seems acceptable for KDP paperbacks.
Sadly Google Docs is not a good option for pushing to KDP paperbacks, because you can't specify a different margin for left and right pages. It's sad! Instead I exported my Google Doc to a .doc file, and then imported that in to LibreOffice. Here's the process I used for the rest:
- Page Layout: Set your Format > Page Style to be 6x9 inches... and most importantly, set "page layout" to Mirrored and set the inner margin a little more than the outer. For me this worked pretty well: Inner = 1.0, Outer = 0.7, Top = 0.9, Bottom = 0.7. I probably will reduce the top and bottom next time, but whitespace around the edge is fine - it depends if you think you can save a few pages or not.
- View: Make sure you click the "Book View" icon (next to the zoom at the bottom right) so you can see left and right side.
- Font Size and Style: Arial 11pt is a good size for publishing. I made my headings 16 points. There are other good fonts, but it's hard to go past Arial if you don't want fancy.
- Other Tips:
- Grey Text: For a black and white book you can have grey text, but you probably don't want to go lighter than #666666 ("Dark Grey 1"), else it gets hard to read the printed version.
- Touching Up Pages: The start of chapters usually go onto an odd-numbered right page (sometimes you even have blank page on the left), and if you have subheadings, you'll want to play around with you text just a bit to insert page breaks where they make sense (you don't want any heading at the bottom of a page). Just be aware that this chews up time, and then you might need to regenerate your Table of Contents.
- Table of Contents: See of Table of Contents section below - I had so much trouble I actually imported from Google Docs & kept that Table of Contents, and manually updated the numbers before publishing.
When it comes time to publish, simply export it to a PDF. What you see is what you get. Now log into https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ and follow the rest of the Kindle Direct Publishing steps to publish your book.
Uploading a Kindle Version
This is where it can get tricky. A kindle version is fun, and you can probably get okay results by exporting directly to an .epub format (for adjustable layout) or .pdf (no adjustable layout). If you want to get the best results however, you might try hitting "Save As" to save a .doc then import it into Kindle Create and follow my Kindle Create instructions.
How To: Add a Table of Contents
I found adding a table of contents surprisingly difficult! By default, you'll click into Insert > Table of Contents and Indexes, select what you want and see nothing appear. This is because you actually have to set up what headings you want by clicking: Additional Styles > Assign Styles in the Type tab. It's not that intuitive!
Updating the table of contents isn't that obvious either: right click on top of the table of contents and click Update Index.