Well, I’ve been a busy, busy boy lately.
I’ve spent more time reading up on Kindle publishing than I ever imagined I would. And my buddy Bryce helped out a lot too.(Matter of fact, watch both this space and his for a full run-down of the how-to of Kindle self-publishing, soon as I can get the time block cleared to do it.)
What I’ve done so far is download a couple of utilities that make processing the Kindle format much, MUCH easier. There are three specific ones I’m using for this process:
- A command line utility Amazon offers on their DTP (that’s digital text platform) site. You run it from a command prompt in Windows or whatever operating system you’re using (think I saw instructions for both Linux and Windows, maybe another one – Mac? – too). Basically you run the utility and it spits out a .mobi format (the one the Kindle uses) file for you. But the catch is, you have to input one of the acceptable file formats to begin with (luckily, HTML is one such format).
- A second utility which does something similar but uses raw Word documents as input. It doesn’t, however, work quite as well, at least not in my testing. (I haven’t tried it with HTML documents yet; that experiment is later today.) It’s also a GUI program, meaning it works IN Windows instead of a command prompt (which many will think of as a “DOS” program).
- Finally, I’m using the Kindle Previewer to view the converted e-books and see how they turned out. They lack the professional kerning capabilities of a major publishing house utilizing a professional typesetter, and I could run the Word files through Adobe InDesign (which is a typesetting program), but it’s sort of a PITA to do that and very, very time consuming (since this is NOT my full-time job and I cannot afford a typesetter).
- Also, I created a cover for the book, which I think (and my wife agrees) is quite nice. It’s slick. But I don’t know how to get the image into the book. I know it will go up with the upload to be a thumbnail for the Kindle store, but how to include it as part of the .mobi file?
So my questions keep piling up. Back to the Kindle publishing forums I go, I suppose. Maybe it’s in the formatting instructions somewhere.
All right, then, here’s what I have to do:
- Make a single Word document of all the stories I’m including in the compilation
- Convert that document to HTML
- Run it through the utility(ies) to see how it turns out
- Upload to Kindle store and Smashwords and pray. Pray, pray, pray.
Did I miss anything?
Here’s one for you Kindle owners out there: Can you download books from sources OTHER than Amazon’s Kindle store? That is, if I email this thing to you, can you get it onto your Kindle and check it out for me, see whether the formatting is at least comparable to professionally converted ebooks? I’d like this product to be as close as possible to professional quality; after all, I’m going to have to charge for it.
Also need any and all information you all can share about the “front matter” in a self-published e-book. How should the copyright information read? And should I include a dedication and acknowledgements page? (I did do it myself, but I still need some help.)
Oh, and any takers on the proofing stuff, please let me know if you’re still available. I’m way behind where I wanted to be, but I’m getting there. Thanks!
Hm. I think that’s it. What’s on your plate this weekend?