Prepare Your Manuscript for Sale on Kindle

Annie Douglass LimaGuest Blogger Annie Douglass Lima has some great tips on…

How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Sale on Kindle without Hyperventilating!

You can do it!  I wouldn’t say this is a simple process, but it is possible, and if you want your book published badly enough, you’ll get there!

There’s a lot of information on the web about how to format your manuscript and turn it into a Kindle book, but much of it is outdated, disjointed, contradictory, overly technical, or just plain confusing.  In my quest to publish my novels Prince of Alasia and In the Enemy’s Service and my students’ poetry anthology A Boom in the Room, and to help my cousin format his financial planning book Strategic Wealth, I struggled hard to forge a path through all the different sets of instructions I found.   In the end I decided to take what I learned the hard way and put together a step-by-step list, including what I consider the clearest and most useful advice from others on how to do each step.  I hope this list will be helpful to others out there!

STEP ONE

Save your manuscript as a Microsoft Word document, preferably 2003 (the .docx format doesn’t work well with Kindle).

STEP TWO

Put whatever “front matter” you want at the beginning of your document before chapter 1.  This usually includes a title page, copyright information, dedication, acknowledgments, and the table of contents (which you’ll learn how to make in step 4).  Each of those should be on a separate page.  Check the books on your shelf at home to see the order in which other authors have placed those items.For the copyright info, you could say something like:

Prince of Alasia
Copyright © 2011 by Annie Douglass Lima
All Rights Reserved

STEP THREE

Format your document properly.  Tabs and other features of a normal Word document often cause strange formatting errors with Kindle; these have to be removed.  Jill Williamson has a useful series of short videos that show exactly how to do this:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU2kprKRrGY&feature=related (inserting a picture and making your chapter titles look right)

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nU1iv2v95s&feature=plcp&context=C4bcb36dVPvjVQa1PpcFOy9rGaVLvKBfiJXpna937XSUtkQ_ZGxFk (formatting page breaks)

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwqvmdWDJto&feature=related (formatting paragraphs)

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_825046&feature=iv&src_vid=TwqvmdWDJto&v=RNOj9ZR88E8 (“cleaning up” the manuscript)

Note: Jill recommends saving your document as a webpage, filtered, right at the beginning.  I recommend doing that only after you’ve completely finished formatting your Word document, because I think things are easier to work with in the Word format.  You really don’t need to have a webpage, filtered, until it tells you to create one in step 9.

Note #2: If you want to use any special formatting such as pressing  the “enter” key more than once in a row (I know, that doesn’t sound very special, but trust me), then you will need to do a whole different set of formatting in addition to what’s described above.  See instructions at the bottom.*Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

STEP FOUR

If you want to insert images (pictures, graphs, etc.), follow the instructions at https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=343660.  (Scroll down to the long comment by Man2010 where he has included detailed instructions and screen shots.)  Note that images need to be jpgs, smaller than 500 pixels wide and 700 high.

STEP FIVE

Create a table of contents.  Don’t forget to include your copyright information, dedication, etc. as well as the titles of each chapter.  (Even if your chapters don’t have titles, it’s helpful for Kindle readers to be able to skip easily from chapter to chapter, so you should still make a table of contents with the chapter numbers.)  Put it near the beginning of your document on a page of its own.  There are several ways to make a table of contents, but what I think is the simplest (and, as far as I know, the only method if you have more than 9 chapters), is explained in http://www.scribd.com/full/48475707?access_key=key-1nj2uq4d189m9n2760xw .  Pay special attention to step 10 in there, which is about creating the “TOC” and “start” bookmarks.  Very important!Another important tip.  When you place your bookmark before the title of each chapter, don’t place it immediately in front of the first word.  Place it on a separate line above the chapter title.  Otherwise, even if you have the title centered on your Word document, it may end up left-justified on a Kindle screen.

Books_Annie_Douglass_LimaSTEP SIX

Create your book cover in a separate document.  I recommend paying someone a flat fee to do the cover art for you, unless you’re artistic enough to do it well yourself.  (I approached a talented high school artist at the school where I teach and offered him $50 to come up with a cover for me.  I was quite pleased with the results.)Here are Amazon’s criteria for how the cover should be done: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2J0TRG6OPX0VM.  In spite of what it says there, experts recommend keeping the picture’s dimensions to about 600 by 800 pixels.  http://www.cjs-easy-as-pie.com/2010/03/kindle-cover-format.html explains why.

STEP SEVEN

Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin and sign in or create an account.  Some people recommend keeping this separate from your regular Amazon account if you already have one.  You may also want to create a new email address to use just for issues relating to publishing your book; for example, princeofalasia@yahoo.com.  While you’re at it, some recommend opening a new banking account just for this, such as one that offers free checking with a low minimum balance.

STEP EIGHT

Once you’ve created/logged into your KDP account, click on “Add a new title”.  Then fill out the online form with the information about your book.When you come to #4, you do still have to upload your cover separately, in spite of what you did in step 8 above.When you get to #5, experts recommend choosing “Do not enable digital rights management”.  Yes, there’s a greater chance that people may obtain your book illegally, but DRM also hinders readers who have purchased it from reading it on multiple devices, and thus may discourage them from buying it in the first place.  Most writers agree that it’s worth it not to enable DRM.

STEP NINE

If your manuscript is all ready (i.e. if you’ve finished steps 1-8 above), follow the instructions at https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=344866 to upload your book.  Scroll down to Man2010’s comment, where he says, “TESTING YOUR EBOOK”.  I recommend also previewing the book on your Kindle for PC, as well as on actual Kindles of the different types, along with any other devices you have or can borrow that have the Kindle app.  (On the real devices, the formatting may not always look exactly the way it does on the previewer, so you want to know ahead of time what customers will see.)

STEP TEN

If anything in the above process doesn’t work right for you, or if your formatting seems to be messed up in any way, I recommend visiting the KDP support forum at http://forums.kindledirectpublishing.com/kdpforums, where people have posted hundreds of different questions and answers.  (“Ask the Community” is the most useful place to look.)  Chances are, someone else will have had the exact same problem, and others experienced with publishing to Kindle have probably already posted suggestions that will help you too.  If you can’t find the right solution to your problem, just login or register, choose one of the topics under “forum/category”, and then “post new thread” (at the top), where it will let you type in a question of your own.  I suggest you bookmark it and check back in a couple of hours.  People tend to be pretty quick about answering on there.

STEP ELEVEN

If your manuscript looks good in the preview, click on “save and continue” at the bottom of your KDP bookshelf page and fill out the rest of the information there.(Note for #7: you automatically hold worldwide rights to your book unless you’ve ever specifically sold or given those rights away.)Make sure you also click on “(your name)’s account” at the top right of the screen and check that you have all the right bank account info and all the rest.

STEP TWELVE

After you’ve filled everything out, click on “save and publish”.  The information and your manuscript will all be sent to Amazon, and your book should appear for sale to the general public on Amazon.com within 12 hours.

STEP THIRTEEN

Go celebrate!  After all that, you’ve earned it!

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More About Annie Douglass Lima…

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches 5th grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published three books. Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

You can find Annie and/or her books here:

Annie’s Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @princeofalasia

Facebook: www.facebook.com/princeofalasia.

Book Links:

Prince of Alasia

In the Enemy’s Service

A Boom in the Room


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