Val Waldeck presented a course called How to Prepare and Publish Your Books for Amazon’s Kindle as part of the recent e-Book Publishing Boot Camp I attended. She started her presentation by informing us that Amazon is selling “twice as many Kindle books now, as they’re selling hard covers…in 2011, 107 of the 111 New York Times bestsellers were Kindle books.” Note: These instructions focus on publishing an e-book using a PC, NOT a Mac.
- Prepare your book cover – This is one of the most important parts of your e-book, because most people will decide whether or not to buy an e-book based on the cover. If you design your own cover, remember that the height/width ratio should be 1.6. If you are not skilled in the graphic arts area, spend some money and get a professional to do the book cover for you.
- Use the correct software – This step is easy since you probably have Microsoft Word on your computer already. If you don’t have Word, you can use OpenOffice. You will also need Kindle software.
- Format your manuscript – It is adviseable to save your manuscript under a working name and keep the original document safe somewhere in case you need to start over. Open your document in Word and remove all the “extras” like pictures, page numbers, Table of Contents, etc. (Save the document after each step.) On the first page of your book, insert your book title, your name, and the copyright information. To go to the next page, use the “insert break” command rather than the return or tab key. Make sure you insert tables as ordinary text or as a picture (.jpg file). All pictures will need to be resized for internet viewing and saved in .jpg format.
- Add the Table of Contents – Highlight everything you want in your Table of Contents and choose “Heading 1” from the Word menu. This allows Kindle to make the items clickable so that readers can jump from one section to another. Next, select “Reference, Tables, Table of Content” to insert it into your e-book. (Make sure all references to page numbers are deleted or unselected.) The last step is to highlight “Table of Contents” at the top of your page and insert a bookmark called “toc” – this enables Kindle to find your Table of Contents and make it accessible to the reader.
- Resave your file in the HTML format – Click on “Save”, select “Web Page, Filtered”, and then select “build”. Your computer will do the rest.
- Save all your images in a zip file – Obviously, if you don’t have images you can skip this step. First, select all your images and save them as a zip file. (If you need software, Val recommends 7zip.) Go back and find your HTML manuscript file and place it into the zip folder as well.
- Publish your e-book on Kindle
- You will need to open an account with Amazon Kindle. Once you have an account, you can go to your “bookshelf” and “Add New Title”. You will be prompted to enter information about your book. NOTE: It’s a good idea to prepare your keywords and book description ahead of time.
- You will be prompted to upload your cover.
- Next you can upload your zip file.
- After you upload, preview your book online.
- Download a copy of your book using Kindle and preview your book again.
- If changes are needed, make them and then reload the files to Amazon
- Make sure you enter royalty and rights information
- Save and publish your e-book – it will be live on Amazon Kindle within 12 hours
- You can go to the report section to check on your sales and royalties
- Now it’s time to MARKET your book!
Any questions or comments? For more details, plan to attend the e-book publishing workshop at InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference or check out Val’s e-guide, Kindle Publishing Made Easy.
Ruth L. Snyder currently serves as Publicity Coordinator with InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. Check out her personal blog on writing and family life at www.ruthlsnyder.com.