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5 Helpful Tips: How to Format an e-Book

23 Mar

Margaret Kell Virany

Guest post by author Margaret Kell Virany
From Paperback to Kindle: Five Problems & Five Solutions
When I decided to publish my paperback book as a shorter Kindle with a new theme I had a lot to learn. Luckily, I found places to go to solve my problems, and I didn’t even go broke.

Problem # 1
I thought I could upload a PDF created in Open Office and it would be as good as using Microsoft Word. That was how I self-published my paperback in 2008 and, for all I knew, Amazon Digital Services had used the same PDF without doctoring it when they turned it into a Kindle book in 2010. I didn’t know I was on a wrong track.
Solution:  I consulted the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) website.  A PDF file contains hidden html formatting codes which are not accepted by the Kindle publishing platform unless converted. I had wasted time, for example, by using the tab bar and a variety of fonts, sizes and headings. KDP warns against using  tab-spacing, since it won’t convert to Kindle. I corrected that by setting  the ‘paragraph’ formatting to indent automatically, then deleted my manual tabs.

Problem #2
I downloaded a conversion program, Mobipocket, which didn’t work so I was stuck. KDP had said this would put my PDF into a Kindle-friendly format. However, it rejected my Internet Explorer 7. Should I buy a more expensive converter program? Was a new browser necessary?
Solution:  I clicked on ‘Community’ in the KDP page’s top menu and found out I wasn’t alone. Other authors were having similar, or worse problems than I had and were seeking or giving advice.

Problem #3
I had resisted getting a new word processor program
Solution: I spent $138.00 for a Microsoft Word10 program and installed it.  I saved my manuscript in it and created a picture file.

Problem #4
I still had no idea how to do the finishing touches
Solution:  I discovered jtbigtoad , a forum participant, was offering the best advice. He is experienced, goes into minute detail and keeps things simple. He explained how to put in the Table of Contents, links, page breaks, headings, etc.

Problem #5
Creating a good cover
Solution:  At Fiverr.com you can hire a graphic designer who will do a book cover for $5.00.  Mano, a true professional, did the cover for my book, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

Success
I uploaded the book with Jtbigtoad’s instructions in front of me, showing the commands that would appear on the computer screen and where to click. No converter was needed and the actual publishing took 25 seconds!

Margaret Kell Virany

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Hyper Smash

 

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