There are three stages, and the first one is by far the most challenging! Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
- You need to take your draft or manuscript (as it is often called) and turn it into a format that Kindle will accept.
- You need to have a front cover for your book in JPEG format. You’re probably familiar with JPEG format as it is commonly used for digital photographs and other graphics.
- You need to open a Kindle account. Easy peasy when you know how.
- Word (DOC or DOCX)
- HTML (ZIP, HTM, or HTML)
- MOBI (MOBI)
- ePub (EPUB)
- Rich Text Format (RTF)
- Plain Text (TXT)
- Adobe PDF (PDF)
Amazon says (not me) that for best results, you should upload in DOC/DOCX (.doc/.docx) or HTML (.html) formats.
So how do you go about it?
Option 1: Amazon has a free step-by-step guide on how to do it yourself.
If you decide to go down this route you need to be aware that it can be quite tricky, and if you don’t get it absolutely correct there are likely to be errors in the Kindle version of your book. Anyone buying your Kindle book will have seven days during which they can return it for a full refund. The most commonly cited reason for returning books is poor formatting. So it needs to be spot on.
Having said that, once you’ve uploaded your file to Kindle, you have the opportunity to view it as it will appear on various mobile devices, including a Kindle and an ipad. In order to do this you have to download a piece of software from Amazon. The download you need is right there on the page when you get to this bit so it’s easy. I would highly recommend doing this, as it costs nothing, apart from your time, and it means that you can be sure that what you are putting out there is correct, and how you want it.
Option 2: What I did: buy Scrivener software from Literature and Latte
This is what I did. It costs $40 (about £25) at the time of writing, and you upload your manuscript to Scriviner so that you can output it as a Mobi file (see list above). Scriviner is an award winning writing tool and is used by writers to produce novels, non-fiction, scripts for plays and more. It makes formatting and editing your manuscript easier and will compile your novel, for example, for Kindle as well as other medium. Originally it was designed for Mac users but there are versions for Windows as well as Mac users now.
Literature and Latte have support forums which can help you when you get stuck.
Option 3: You can also pay someone who offers a conversion service.
I’m afraid I can’t recommend anyone at this stage as I haven’t used such a service but I will let you know if I find someone.
That gives you a flavour for the different routes and I will explore this topic more in the weeks to come as I produce my own Kindle edition of Forever Lucky, my next novel.
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E-books are good news for authors as, for the first time, you can get a reasonable level of royalty per book sold, which is difficult through print distribution.
- It’s a very fast and efficient way of getting your book in front of literally millions of readers all round the world.
- There are no setup fees to start selling a book on Kindle.
- There is no printed item therefore, no print cost.
- There is no delivery cost – Amazon will deliver the book to the customer for you.
- As long as you’re willing to charge at least $2.99 for each book sold, you will receive a royalty of 70% from Amazon.
A ready-made worldwide audience
- Amazon has millions of customers all searching on their website for books.
- You are not restricted geographically to selling your books – the world is your oyster.
- You can publish in multiple languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Japanese.
Publishing made easy
Publishing your book on Amazon is quick and easy, and your book will appear within 24 hours. You can make changes to your book and republish it on Kindle at any time and at no cost! The new version will be available very quickly. For example, you might want to change your contact details or update a particular section of a non-fiction book that has become out of date. You can promote additional books in your Kindle book with links – when someone gets to the end of a book, if they have enjoyed it, they will be very open to finding out about other books you have written. Particularly with fiction, once a reader is hooked on an author they are likely to want to read more.
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