Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tips for Publishing on Kindle

Here's what I learned from my recent foray into publishing with Amazon and the Kindle:

1. Here is the address to get started: I'd go ahead and bookmark it--you'll be checking it frequently to see the status of your book once you upload it.

2. Keep your document simple. Single spacing, bolded chapter titles, and page breaks at the end of each chapter are about all the formatting you need.

3. The Kindle uses HTML for formatting. Even if you are a pro at HTML the thought of scrolling through 160 pages of code is not pleasant. I was able to use Word (you can use Open Office as well) to format my document without ever seeing any real code. To do this save your document as a "Web Page, Filtered" under "Save As." You can preview your document by adding a Web Preview button to Word. Under the top bar, the Quick Access Toolbar, next to the save and undo buttons, select "More Commands". Then choose "Commands Not In The Ribbon" and add the Web Preview button.

4. Upload your document and USE THE PREVIEW WINDOW. I uploaded and noticed that my spacing and headers were off when I looked in the preview window. I decided to go ahead and publish to see what it really would look like. That decision cost me 48 hours. If I had gone ahead and used the preview window to fix some of my formatting issues, and then published, I would have had a "Live" book much sooner. Instead I waited until the crappy version published, then fixed it, and then waited again. Each change you make, even deleting a space or comma, can take 24 to 48 hours to upload.

5. Give yourself a high-five. You've just published a book!