Easy steps to publish your ebook for Kindle readers

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Make your ebook Kindle friendly

Don’t panic. You wrote your ebook, had the ebook professionally edited, polished the ebook to a gloss and you feel ready to publish that ebook to Kindle’s self publishing site for Kindle readers and Amazon customers.

Don’t panic. There’s a learning curve to self-publishing electronically via Amazon’s Kindle, but Kindle has the largest market share of ebook sales. If you can only publish one format right now, it should be Kindle. Here are quick tips to point you in the right direction at Kindle Direct Publishing.

I just published my third ebook, 1001 Brilliant Idea for Any Writer to Steal. I have several books in traditional print, as well, 1001 Brilliant Ideas is a permanent cure for writer’s block. But you want to know how to publish your book, right?

Here’s the eBook Skinny

Go to Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP) website.

Notice there are two paths for authors KDP and KDP Select. With the first, you’re free to publish your book anywhere else you choose, in any format. The second restricts you to Kindle publishing only for 90 days at a time, and that renews automatically if you forget to shut it off. I have been told if you have an account at B&N, publish your book there, then put it on KDP Select, B&N locks you out of your account. KDP Select provides certain promotional opportunities for authors. I haven’t tried it.

Read the Kindle CONTRACT from beginning to end before you agree. This is CRITICAL! Your author rights are involved.

Read and follow the publishing guidelines or your book could turn out to be very poorly formatted. In some cases, it will be unreadable.

There are only certain html tags and CSS styles Kindle can handle, so you’ll want to be sure you know which ones if you’re coding your own book. There are services who do such coding for you from $25 and up (way up).

You can hand code your ebook with a program like Dreamweaver or CoffeeCup — both are html editors, both are excellent.  CoffeeCup is cheaper.

Or you can use MS Word. Create and format your ebook in Word, using KDP guidelines. The run the file through KindleGen8 (Amazon’s compiler, easy-to-use if working through the Windows CommandLine doesn’t scare you.) the MOBIPocket Creator is another option for compiling. Both are free.

Digression: Once upon a time, a French company invented a format called Mobi for electronic books. Being farsighted, Amazon bought the rights to Mobi some years ago and began creating their own proprietary ebook format and readers (sounds like Steve Jobs, right? Think iPod). So using the MobiPocket program may make more sense, since the company invented the format.) End of digression.

You can also layout your book in Adobe InDesign or other layout software. PlugIns are available and I recommend you find and use them to avoid headaches. I do not recommend trying to use PDF (Portable Document Format) since it is terribly static and stubborn. Ok, go ahead. You’ll see.

Get Your Book into Readers’ Hands

After you finish your file, and before you upload it to publish it, preview it on Kindle’s preview software, your own Kindle, and other Kindles. My book (1001 Brilliant Idea for Any Writer to Steal) looks gorgeous on Kindle Fire, less so on Kindle Touch and disappointing on basic Kindles.

Publishing is easy, just step through the prompts at KDP and be sure to choose 70% royalties. Once you get your book up on Amazon where, like it or not, some 50% of ebook fans buy their books, you can work on reformatting for other sites. And yes, you will need to rework the book to get it right for other sites.

There are providers who claim to get you into all the major formats in one swell foop, like Smashwords.com or BookBaby.com. However, we find Smashwords compiler to be abysmally clunky at best, and BabyBook does charge a fee starting at $99 upfront and $20 per year per book. If this is your first book, it’ll be tough to cover those fees from your royalties.

Feel free to contact me if you have specific questions, I’m happy to help if I can. Might find more help at OnText writers’ blog (by the way, you can get paid to guest blog at OnText).

Hope that helped. ePublishing is an adventure, but anyone who takes a little care can do it. Then the fun starts, promoting your book so people know it’s there. Very very best of luck to you!

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2 Responses to “Easy steps to publish your ebook for Kindle readers”

  1. Great post. I have published a bunch of books in Kindle format. I use an application called Scriviner. It’s wonderful. Not only does it help with the organising of ideas, chapters, notes, references, concepts etc, it also takes care of the formatting for you. All done automatically. I wouldn’t write without it.

  2. Thanks for the idea. I’ve downloaded Scrivener but haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. I will.