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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Kindle - The Process of Publishing Your eBook.

Amazon Kindle e-book reader being held by my g...Image via WikipediaHave you tried to publish your work as an eBook on Amazon's Kindle? I published my print novel, Breaking Faith, as an eBook on Smashwords a short while ago and reproduced an article about Brian S. Pratt, a very successful Smashwords author, on this blog. But I was informed by a Kindle owner that using Smashwords for that platform is not so simple as it is direct through the Kindle Store, where it is a one click operation.

I decided to try to place the novel as a Kindle eBook so that potential readers have that option. The first step is to join Amazon's Digital Text Platform ,which gives all the details of how you go about this slightly convoluted process. I'd advise that you first download Kindle for PC , which will allow you to read Kindle books on your PC. Many of these are free, including the instruction book - Publish on Amazon Kindle Using the Digital Text Platform - which details the process in fairly straightforward language.

The instructions need to be followed closely, or the eBook will look poor on the Kindle and you will appear as an amateur (something I risk as I write this, since it takes 48 hours for Amazon to 'approve' your submission, and you can't sample the result until after this).

I had already simplified the text of my novel and compiled an anthology of short stories, A Sackful of Shorts, for my writing group, Hornsea Writers, to place them onto the Smashwords site and I advise you to do the same. The fewer bells and whistles you have on the document, the better will be the result on the eReader.
Ideally, you need to convert your Word doc into an HTML doc (in Word 2007, this means going to the 'Save as' area and selecting 'Web' from the drop down list). Basically, I copied and pasted my single Word doc into Windows Notepad to strip it of all formatting, and then pasted it from there into Word as a 97-2003    compatible document. I replaced the first line indents using the 'paragraph' tab, formatted the whole text as 12 point Times New Roman, and replaced the curly quotes with straight ones.
You'll also need a cover picture, which can be uploaded as either a TIFF or JPG file - they recommend a size of 600x800 pixels for this. You'll need a blurb of up to 4,000 characters as your sales pitch and you'll need to choose the genre you want it to appear in - they give you up to five options.

Pricing is more or less up to you, as the author, but I advise you to read the agreements thoroughly to work out which you feel will best serve you. Many authors make their first eBook free in an attempt to garner more readers in readiness for their subsequent books. And this has worked well for some.

Finally, if you run a website or a blog, I'd suggest you open an Amazon Associate account  which will allow you place various widgets on your site - see the sidebar right and the advert at the foot of the blog. This allows readers of the blog to search and buy from your site. It costs the customer no more than if they visited Amazon directly but it earns you a few pennies or cents and helps keep the blog/website viable.

So, hopefully, I've given you an introduction to this area of enterprise and enough information to help you make a start as a writer. If you're a reader, hopefully I've supplied you with an insight into the why and how of independent author eBook publishing, which might persuade you to look for such books in the future.
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