Sunday, March 6, 2011

Publishing on Kindle

Publishing on Kindle is relatively easy, but there are several steps involved.  The following details the steps I took and the resources I used to do so.

1. Save files as .doc format.  (Mine were already in this format, but good to note that this is the best format for creating a Kindle-friendly work.  Also make sure that your file does not have any fancy formatting like footnotes or bulleted lists.)

2. Now save the file as a "Web page, Filtered" (or similar, depending on your word processing software).

3. Open your .html file in Notepad.  (If you've never worked with html before, don't worry; most of it will be ignored anyway. Don't panic. :) )  In some places in my file, instead of a paragraph tag, <p>, at the beginning of every paragraph (and a closing paragraph tag, </p>, at the end), I had two break tags, <br>.  And that won't work for Kindle publishing.  If your file does not have a <p> at the beginning of each paragraph and a </p> at the end, you will have to add them in.  This step was time-consuming for mine, but it was doable.  If you need a blank line, such as after a chapter heading, use <p>&nbsp;</p> .  If you want any text to be centered or right-aligned, use <p align="center"> or <p align="right">.  And if you would like any of your text to be larger than the rest, like chapter titles or the book title, use <h1> at the beginning and </h1> at the end, in place of the paragraph tags.  (Or for even larger text, <h2>, <h3>, etc.)  I also added at the beginning of each chapter a <mbp:pagebreak /> tag, so that each new chapter would start on a new page.

4. Create a cover image.  I created mine in PhotoShop, using an image I found on the website, which I got permission from the photographer to use.  Remember that the image will be in black and white on Kindle but in color on Amazon's site, so try to design your cover to work well in both.  Minimum size should be 600 pixels wide by 800 pixels high.  Save in .jpeg format.  

5.  Download Mobipocket Creator.

6. Open Mobipocket Creator.  Under "Import From Existing File," click on "HTML document." Browse to your .html file, then click "Import."  Once it has finished importing, click on "Cover Image" and add the image you created in step 4.  Be sure to click on the "Update" button at the bottom.  Then click on "Metadata" and fill out the relevant information (title, author, description, etc.).  When finished, click the "Update" button at the bottom, then the "Build" button at the top in the blue navigation bar.  (I left my file at Standard Compression and No encryption.) Then click "Build" at the bottom.  Once it has finished, I recommend choosing to "Open folder containing eBook," so you know exactly where it's located.  And now you have a .prc file, which can be read on a Kindle.

7. Download Kindle Previewer from Amazon.  (Scroll down to Kindle Previewer.)

8. Open Kindle Previewer.  Go to File, Open Book, and navigate to where your .prc file is.  Review your file to make sure it appears how you want it to appear.  If not all of the text is viewable, like it's running off the page to the right, don't worry; this is a problem with the Kindle Previewer, not with your file.  Don't spend an hour trying to figure out what you did wrong like I did.

9. Once you're happy with what you have, sign in to Kindle Direct Publishing.  Here you will add your file and all the relevant information, and you're finished!  Within a day or two, your book will be available for sale.  At the present time, if you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99, you will receive a 70% royalty on each sale.  Anything higher or lower will net you only 30%.

I hope this helps, and please feel free to ask questions!  If I can't answer them, someone else may be able to. 

HOW TO: Publish Your Book on Amazon Kindle by Dylan Love
Kindle Formatting by Joshua Tallent
If you want to download a sample of my Kindle book and see how it looks go here: The Death of Torberta Turchin  (If you don't own a Kindle, you can download a Kindle Reading App for iPhone, PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPad, Android, or Windows Phone 7.)


  1. All very nice, but my Word Processor does not have any such thing as "Web Page, Filtered," all it has in the SaveAs list is HTML. That's a web page, but Filtered???? Is that going to work?

    And I'm willing to bet that "MobiPocket Creator" and "Kindle Previewer" are both Windows programs. Sure, I could switch over and run Windows for a bit to do this, but hey, that's a pain in the butt ... how about for us non-Windows users? (Like, for instance, Linux.)

    Requiring a couple of special proprietary programs to do this job is not really a good thing, but I guess it's what I should expect when dealing with Kindle. Oh, well!

  2. Thanks for the information, Shannon.
    It's something I might try someday.
    I write stories for children. You're welcome to visit my blog:

  3. I love this! I'm definitely going to tweet it!

  4. Jim, from what I'm reading online, the "Web Page, Filtered" may be a Microsoft Office-specific thing and changes the Office-friendly tags to HTML-friendly ones. (From what I'd read before, I understood the "Filtered" option to be at least semi-universal with word processing programs, but apparently not.) So, my guess would be that saving as HTML would do the same thing.

    And yes, MobiPocket Creator is solely a Windows program. However, Kindle Previewer is available for Mac (via the same link as above), as is Amazon's KindleGen, which should do the same think as MobiPocket Creator. I don't know how it works, or how well it works, since I used MobiPocket instead, but it is available for both Mac and Linux.

    Hope that helps!

  5. Also if makes Mac users feel any better, according to Dylan Love's article (linked above), Mac users are the only ones who can publish to iBooks:

    "Apple is the other big player making a foray into helping authors self-publish their books. Their iBooks platform makes it a snap to buy books to read on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, but getting your book into their marketplace is considerably trickier.

    "Before even submitting your book for their consideration, you need a manuscript in ePub format, a 13-digit ISBN, validation against ePubCheck 1.0.5, a US Tax ID, a valid iTunes Store account, and an Intel-based Mac running Leopard or higher."

  6. Great advice, thank you. Looking forward to reading your book.

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