Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tips on How to Publish on Amazon with KDP...

When you publish on Amazon through KDP, getting the formatting down can be tricky. So I asked Tony to give me a few notes about his experiences while he was publishing my last three books.

I'm publishing them here just in case they might help someone who is experiencing any problems. And please take into consideration the information below is not something that is supported by Amazon. It's just a basic overview that comes from personal experience through trial and error. And we make no claims that this is the only way to do it.

And, for those who think indie publishing is easy, or for those who frown on indie publishing and feel superior to it, this is just the tip of how complicated it can be. The information below only comes after I've written the book, after I've edited the book six thousand times, after I've paid a copyeditor and cover artist, and after I've pulled most of my hair out. With the last book I did, Chase of a Dream, it was twice the work because I pubbed two versions at the same time, abridged and unabridged.

He doesn't get into anything about putting the book on allromanceebooks.com, but said that was one of the less difficult places to do it. In fact, he praised ARe for the way things are set up there.

In my dealings with Amazon, it took a long time for me to get the "format" exactly correct to look perfect for a Kindle Reader. Although Amazon will accept a Microsoft .doc to upload, I found this to be the worse type of file format.

Anyone who will be publishing through Amazon should really read the help sections/guides that Amazon has to help guide you through this process, a long read but worth it.

But the short of it is, use a HTM/HTML as the format to upload to Amazon, this is the best type and easiest way for a conversion to a .MOBI. I also found many errors using a .DOCX file format to convert to HTML, and after many frustrating days of researching, I found that you have to first save your document as .DOCX, then save that .DOCX file and save as a ,DOC file. Once u saved as a .DOC, review the formatting and make sure all chapter headers, section breaks, and page breaks are correct, if not make the changes. Once satisfied with the .DOC, then save as a HTM/HTML document. Again, a review must be done after saving as an HTM, if everything looks good, use that to upload to AMAZON. After uploading the HTM file to Amazon, there is a very important key, especially if you uploaded prior versions of the book, you have to find the folder on your C:\ drive named "My Kindle Content", and delete the files of the book you uploaded prior. Obliviously this step can be skipped if this is your first upload. So, once that is taken care of, you now can review the newly uploaded book from Amazon's Kindle reviewer to ensure formatting is correct, 9 times out of 10 it will be with an HTM/HTML file upload.

There are so many more things to consider regarding the proper formatting, one has to keep in mind the elements that impact a proper conversion; table of contents, font colors other than black, headers/footers, section break vs page breaks, hyperlinks, font size (that is a biggy) and so on, these will have a direct impact on the conversion.

Now Smashwords, I find that site to be a real PIA. They take a file and convert it up to 6 different formats (if you want all of them available for purchase). I discovered that Smashword uses the most extreme formatting constraints for all its conversions, I believe it is based on PALM READER, that is in order for your document to be converted to a palm device; this is used as the basis or parameters for the other file formats. If you can get past all their reviews without pulling your hair out, then you are doing well.

If it was a .DOC file, again, formatting to MOBI will be good, not the best, and maybe not so good on EPUB. I would also, as I mentioned above, before reviewing a "newly" uploaded MOBI (either Amazon/Smashwords), if there are prior uploads, to delete them from your Kindle content before reviewing a new upload.


Barb said...

LOL. Simple! Now I just need to write a book!

ryan field said...

LOL...it's really a step by step process.

Lisa Lane said...

Thank you for sharing your experience, Ryan. I've published ten works through KDP, and I feel like I've just gotten the hang of it.

Another important piece of info for people to consider is the fact that what you see isn't always what you get, even in the HTML file. Formatting the file type ("normal," "no spacing," etc.) is super important--use the right-click function on the file type and manually make sure the font, pitch, and paragraph formatting are exactly how you want them, or they might just "change" on you when you convert to MOBI (convert to HTML, filtered first). Changing them with the quick keys on the upper left of the document won't always cut it.

Also, full-line italics will not stay that way unless you specifically format them to do so (strangely, single words often will, as long as they're not alone on a single line)--again, through type, not just the little italics button....

There's a huge learning curve to it, but practice makes perfect.

ryan field said...

@Lisa...I know what you mean about the italics. That happened to me.

Barb said...

Really was joking before. Sounds like you have to be a programming expert as well as a great author!

ryan field said...

It's a challenge :)