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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Publishing to Kindle

When I published Night Watcher to Kindle I had to do a fair bit of research on the procedure. I read loads of blogs giving instructions, and watched oodles of You Tube videos. Some of the advice was conflicting but I managed to work out a procedure that worked for me. So now I want to share it with you.

Okay, there are a couple of things you need to do before getting down to the nitty gritty of formatting your document for Kindle.

First of all you need to download two software programmes. Don’t worry, they’re free:-



I’ve provided the links but won’t insult you by giving instructions on how to download software, although I do that in the illustrated guide I prepared specially for my technologically challenged friends.

Next you need to ready your file for conversion by formatting it. (Please note these instructions are for an indented paragraph prose style document.) The first thing to be done is to turn on your formatting so you can see all the paragraph ends, returns and tabs etc. If you don’t know how to turn your formatting on, Word’s Help section should instruct you. The reason for this is to ensure your document is free of things like tabs and space bar returns, these can really screw up a conversion. Then delete headers, footers and page numbers. I will now take you through the conversion in steps.

Step 1

This is optional, but I always do it to ensure my document is clean. Click on the option <Select All> from the <Edit> menu. This will highlight your document. Then select <Styles and Formatting> from the <Format> menu and click on <Clear Formatting>. This strips all formatting from your document. You can miss Step 1 if you are sure you do not have any fancy formatting in your document, no tabs and no space bar spacing to make tabs etc.

Make sure any further formatting to your document remains based on <Normal> in the menu bar. Check the document for any tabs that have not been removed and remove them. Turn off <Autoformat> in your <Tools> menu. You are now ready to reformat your document.

Step 2

Highlight your document the same way you did before. Open the <Paragraph> dialogue box which you will find in the <Format> menu.

Select
(a) Alignment  <Left>

(b) Special  <First Line> By <0.5> - (Smashwords prefers 0.3 in this box)

(c) Line Spacing <Double> - (Smashwords prefers <Single> here). It is important to make sure that there is absolutely nothing in the <At> box, apparently this can really muck up your document. Click OK.

This will give you an appropriately formatted prose document. Note however that the title pages and headings are no longer how they should be. These will have to be formatted.

Highlight your title and anything else on the title page. In the format menu, select Paragraph to open the paragraph box.

Change Alignment to <Centered>. Change Special to <None>. Click OK.

Place a <Page Break> to separate your title page from the rest of your document.

Now go through your document and centre Headings, Chapters or Titles in the same way you did your title page.

Depending on whether you want your chapters on new pages it is okay to use page breaks for a Kindle file, however if you plan to upload your books to Smashwords then page breaks are a no no because this will result in blank pages.

If you are happy with your formatting it is now time to make your document into HTML and that is the next step.

Step 3

Click on <File> then <Save As>. The default save is to a Word document. You will have to change this.

Bring down the drop down menu by clicking on the arrow at the end of the <Save As Type> box.

Select <Web Page, Filtered>. This will save your document as HTLM.

If a dialogue pops up saying it will remove Office features, just click Yes.

Once you have saved your HTML file close it down and your Word file as well.

Now for the next step. The conversion.

Step 4

Open Mobipocket Creator

Click on <Import from Existing File - HTML document> In the Window that opens click on <Browse> and locate your HTML file. Leave all other settings as they are.

When you locate the folder with your file you will notice that the other Word files do not appear, only the HTML one, so no chance of loading the wrong file.

Click on your file and then click <Open>. Your file location now appears in the <Choose a File> box. Click on <Import> Your document will appear in a new window.

Click on <Cover Image> (I trust you have a cover image) A new page appears.

Click on <Add a Cover Image> Browse for your cover image on your computer.

Select the image and then click <Open> and your image will be imported into Mobipocket Creator.

Click <Update> and you will be taken back to the page that has your document file, on this page click <Build> from the top menu bar.

In the page that opens leave the options as they are <Standard Compression> and <No Encryption> then click <Build> which is in the lower half of the page.

It doesn't take long and when it is complete you will get a new window. Just click the option <Open Folder containing eBook> You could view it in Mobipocket but Kindle Previewer is better.

The folder that contains your eBook can be found in <Documents> <My Publications> on your computer.

Congratulations, you now have a mobi file eBook.

Step 5

Before you upload to Kindle check your book in Kindle Previewer. When you open it, it will be a blank page.

Click on File, then on <Open Book>

Locate the <My Publications> folder in <Documents> on your computer. Open it, then open the folder containing your book.

It should then open in Kindle Previewer. Check it over, make sure your formatting is okay, and then upload to Amazon following Amazon’s instructions.

I hope these instructions are understandable and helpful.

9 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

Brilliant, Chris. You deserve to get lots of visitors - this is priceless advice and so clear that even a numpty like me can do it.

Melanie said...

Great post! I'm sure it will come in very useful to many people who are opting for self-publishing to Kindle.

I think I might use a couple of those steps to make sure I don't have any of those dreaded "tabs" lurking in my manuscript file and get the formatting set up sooner than later.

Janice Horton said...

Spot on advice, Chris!

petemorin said...

Still can't find a Mac-friendly mobi creator

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Well done for providing such great advice, Chris. Although I'm not using this myself at the moment, can I just say what a brilliant job you did with Night Watcher!

myraduffy said...

How would we manage without your expertise,Chris. Thanks for all the help.

Norman F said...

Great advice, the formatting can be a royal pain and cue for much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Cheers!

woc said...

I entered the Amazon Kindle Publishing Guide to land in a labyrinth. Your blog post was Ariadne’s string. It gave me the bearings that allowed me to explore further options like odf documents and Calibre. Credit to Dave Sivers for directing me here.

publishkindle said...

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