Some people would say it’s about time too, as for a while now I’ve been getting requests to put my book Nail Your Novel onto the Kindle.
What took me so long? Two things.
1 – I don’t have a Kindle
But I’ve been knocking around writing blogs for long enough to know that we like our own ways of reading. People who read on the Kindle want their books in that format and some of them don’t even buy print any more. At the moment I prefer paper and print, but other people prefer pixels.
2 – Design
I designed the print version of Nail Your Novel with sections and sub-heads, identified by typefaces – a legacy from my years in magazines. As the Kindle does away with typefaces, how was I going to make it look right? The very thought of it was nailbiting.
Until I happened upon this blog post by Cath Ryan Howard of the blog Catherine, Caffeinated: How to format your e-book without the migraine. She made it look so simple I thought I’d have a go. She also references the Smashwords Style Guide, which filled in the whys and wherefores and is so darn clear that it deserves a plain English award. It’s deesigned for epub, but the principles also hold for the Kindle. With these open on my desktop, I had most of what I needed. Even with my complicated format, it was easy peesy.
I’m not going to rehash their instructions as they’ve done the legwork and deserve the site hits. I’ll just mention a few points that weren’t covered, although most of these will apply to non-fiction rather than fiction:
Yes, bold and italics will work on the Kindle. Apply them as you normally would in Word with the toolbar buttons – they translate just fine.
Bullets don’t work on the Kindle. So I rewrote the bullet-point lists as numbered lists.
If you’re writing non-fiction you’ll need a hyperlinked contents page, and you may want cross-references to increase the book’s usability. I found this post from Foner Books answered my remaining questions. You do not need an index as there are no pages, but there are a few electronic markers you need to put in to identify the start of the book. You also need page breaks on a Kindle, which you don’t need on an epub book. The Foner Books post explains it all.
Without a Kindle, how could I check it worked? Fortunately the Kindle publishing system has a simulator. Upload your file, check it looks okay, tweak as necessary, upload again. You needn’t worry you’ve published prematurely as you have to go through several more steps to actually launch your book on Amazon. As an extra, a friend converted my file to a format called Mobi and was able to test it on her Kindle. She gave me the thumbs up – and we were ready to go!
So…if you’re wondering about putting your book on Kindle, all I can say is do. It really is easy.
Particular thanks in my journey to this Kindle edition go to the people whose excellently written resources made it possible, and to Suzanne Fyrie Parrott of Unruly Guides and Kevin McGill of Guys Can Read. And there are many, many more of you who have given me such wonderful feedback on the book and have cheered me on in reviews and have spread the word. Thank you – I really appreciate it. (And thank you, .bobby, for the picture.)
What’s it all about?
Read about Nail Your Novel here and read Amazon reviews here
Read the first 16 pages for free here – although on Kindle you can get a sample anyway.
Read reviews from Sarah Peppel (Novel Inspirations from Nail Your Novel) New Book Blogger, listen to me talk about the book to Joanna Penn here. Also I’m going to be popping up in a few guest posts around the virtual town, so stay tuned.
And, one final time, here’s where you can buy it in the Kindle Store US and UK.
Although if paper is still your thing, you can find it on Amazon.com here, or if you’re outside the US on Lulu here.
#1 by James Kelly on February 14, 2011 - 12:20 am
This probably represents the dregs of dumb e-book questions, but even so…if a writer publishes with Kindle, can he or she publish the same book with other e-publishers such as Nook?
#2 by rozmorris on February 14, 2011 - 12:40 am
Good question (actually).
Yes, you certainly can publish with other platforms. The Kindle is a format, like print or audio. Nook is just another format. You own the copyright and you can put it on whatever platform you like.
I’m looking into the Nook, but have to get a US tax ID first to do it through B&N – although I still might have to have US bank account to do it. The other option I know of for epub (which I think covers Nook and Sony ereaders) is Smashwords. But it’s difficult to write-protect the content with Smashwords – from what I can tell – and I’ve been hearing horror stories about content being pirated so I’m wary at the moment.
If anyone else knows anything about this, do please jump in and set me straight
And if anyone has any more questions, please ask!
#3 by Sarah on February 14, 2011 - 1:58 am
Thanks for the mention! Best wishes on your e-book. Definitely an ambitious undertaking.
#4 by rozmorris on February 14, 2011 - 9:24 am
Thank YOU, Sarah. And have fun noveling alongside your daughter!
#5 by souldipper on February 14, 2011 - 3:53 am
When I dare… What great information, Roz. When I’m ready, I will have my nose in your book. Kindle or not.
#6 by James Kelly on February 14, 2011 - 5:00 am
#7 by Morris Rosenthal on February 14, 2011 - 3:58 pm
WordPress let me know through a pingback that you’d linked to my Foner Books post on formatting. Just wanted to warn you that the preview tool on Amazon isn’t enough to test the formatting on Kindle books, it often shows the “start” tag working properly, when in practice the “Go To Beginning” option sends readers to the first Table of Contents item.
I would asy it’s critical for anybody who wants to publish on Kindle to buy one.
#8 by rozmorris on February 14, 2011 - 4:08 pm
Thanks, Morris! Good point – and that’s why I was grateful to have someone test it for me.
#9 by Sally on February 14, 2011 - 7:40 pm
#10 by Tara Benwell on March 26, 2011 - 4:53 pm
Why did I know you were going to rescue me? I’m so glad I asked! Now I must set to work!
#11 by rozmorris on March 26, 2011 - 5:54 pm
My pleasure, Tara – best of luck.