The Las Vegas Writers Group Message Board › Has anyone published an e-book via Amazon/Kindle?

Has anyone published an e-book via Amazon/Kindle?

A former member
Post #: 15

I had to do a lot of work with formatting, even when copying from one MS Word doc to the same kind of doc. The paragraphing didn't come out the same. Any help would be great. Thanks for the great info you put here!

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I originally read your message on my iPad and intended to reply when I was sitting at my desk top but then forgot about it until now.

I don't recall any specific sites off-hand. I typically would google something specific that I was trying to do like "how do you add a table of contents in MS Word".

Copying/pasting between different text editors is notorious for causing formatting issues and I always recommend against it at work (I work in the IT field). It is one thing to copy/paste from one MS word file to another MS word file but if you try to copy from word to something like OpenOffice, or Google Docs etc. you're dealing with two completely different programs that, even though they do the same things (such as bold, font, underline, etc) they are often written in different languages so you end up with a type of dialect problem when you try to copy and paste formatting from one to the other. Kind of like when someone from Spain tries to speak in Spanish to someone from Mexico. They both speak Spanish but the forms of Spanish are so different that they often have a hard time understanding each other.

The thing with text formatting is that, even though you see pretty bold text in both programs and it seems like they should translate from one program to the other since it's just bold text, what you're not seeing is the programming language that is being used to tell the computer to display the text as bold. For example one program might use a simple HTML bold tag that looks like this (without the spaces, I had to add spaces so that this text editor would display the tag instead of interpreting it) < b > this is my bold text </ b > while another program might use a different type of tag from a different computer language like this [ bold ] this is my bold text [/ bold ].

These subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences cause problems when one program tries to interpret the formatting language of another program which can then lead to broken tags and those, in turn, can prevent you from being able to line up your paragraphs properly, add line spacing where you want it, etc.

I strongly recommend against copying/pasting entirely but if it is something that you must do, then I would suggest copying from one word program into Notepad (notepad strips all formatting code and just provides plain text) and then copying pasting from Notepad into the other word program. (Be sure to use Notepad and not WordPad because WordPad won't solve the problems of copy/pasting).

Of course, in doing this you will have to reformat the entire manuscript which includes adjusting your spacing, indentations, bold, underline, italics, etc. I originally tried to write my first book in Google Docs so that I could write from my desktop, laptop, or iPad depending on which device I had on hand when the moment struck and realized what a nightmare it was with the formatting so instead of using bold or underline etc. I started putting <<>> around anything that I wanted bold so that after I copied/pasted I could simply peruse the document for the brackets and worry about formatting in one program at the very end. Example <<my bold text>>.

We should see about putting together a formatting for Kindle seminar sometime, or even an unofficial get together. You can save yourself a lot of money by simply learning how to do your own proper formatting and I'm not an expert at it yet but after three books I'm decent at it and I'd be willing to share what I've picked up along the way.
Carolyn M.
user 11559745
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 5
Thanks Wayne for the links. I'm still in my 90 day contract with Kindle, but will be checking out the other links you put up.

Also, thanks Shawn-Lynsee for the info on formatting and how goofy it can get. Yes, a seminar or get-together would be super! I've learned the stuff I know about MS Word by doing it and making mistakes and I could definitely stand to be more streamlined in the future. On the up side, I was able to get through CreateSpace pretty okay and am awaiting a printed copy of my book to proof and I'm totally excited about that. It's supposed to come Tuesday. Hope I don't have too many corrections to make!

Thanks again for your responses - both of you.!
A former member
Post #: 9
Hi all - just a note that I'm offering a class on this exact topic, Kindle eBook formatting, here in Las Vegas, on May 19th. You can see details here: http://may19ebookclas...­

We also have monthly meetings devoted to the techy parts of eBooks, not about writing. Hope you can join us at our meetup.com group: http://www.meetup.com...­
A former member
Post #: 2
Peggy,

I just launched my first book, Return of the High Fae, on Kindle and Smashwords. Shawn & Lynsee brought up some great points about formatting. You can download eBooks from both Amazon and Smashwords that give step by step instructions on the proper formatting for both sites. I see some others are offering classes. Another option is to pay someone to do it. Either way it takes a little work.

Createspace and Lightning Source offer print on demand with minimal set up costs as well.

I would recommend getting your book edited as has been mentioned and getting a good cover designer. Remember, too, that as a self published author, the marketing of you book will be up to you as well.

Tom
A former member
Post #: 14
Hi Tom,
Yes, Kindle formatting and editing forms the bulk of my eBook coaching and design service business, now based here in Las Vegas. I've been doing this for a number of years now, and have just completed my part in eBook number 170. I'm offering more live workshops here in the fall. You can checkout my blog and download cool free tools at WizardofeBooks.com.
Frankly, I don't endorse Createspace or Lightning Source for a variety of reasons. I'd be happy to discuss that with you offline if you like.
Good to get to know you!
.peg
R.J. A.
AuthorRJArcher
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 2
All 5 of my novels are available in both print and Kindle and all future books will also be available in both formats. I'm watching the Nook market closely, but so far it's not big enough for me to worry about.

As a former Microsoft developer, I'm pretty much committed to Word as a writing tool so the suggestion about OpenOffice doesn't help me. HOWEVER, we've learned that saving your Word file in "Web Page Filtered" format eliminates virtually ALL of the formatting issues Kindle has with straight Word files. (Click File/Save As/Other Formats/Web Page, Filtered).

A few other comments about Kindle publishing:

  • I know it's trendy to sell your Kindle titles for 99 cents, etc. but I've always believed what the speaker said at the July meeting - the only difference between the print price and the eBook price should be the actual difference in production costs. You, as the author, should get the same royalty regardless of the format. In my own case, my Kindle titles sell for about half the print edition price, but I earn TWICE AS MUCH per copy! And my Kindle sales are now out-performing my print sales.
  • If (when) you go the Kindle route, take advantage of the marketing support available from Amazon. Set up your FREE Author Page and send potential customers there. Some people are actually impressed by seeing your mug shot on an Amazon website! (See mine HERE)
  • There's a great FREE service available to Kindle authors that allows purchasers of your title to request an electronic dedication/signature from you. Visit www.KindleGraph.com for details, but basically the purchaser makes their request on the KindleGraph website, you receive an email and do your thing and then KindleGraph sends the finished image (your book cover plus your dedication/signature) back to the reader, who can store it on their Kindle along with your title.

One final comment about writing in general. I have found Microsoft's OneNote product (part of the Office suite) to be an incredibly valuable tool during the writing process. I use it to organize EVERYTHING, from developing character back stories to simple to-do lists. It's fast, very flexible and right there on your Taskbar whenever you need it.
A former member
Post #: 18
Hi RJ - that tip for MS Word might be the best eBook tip I've ever heard. Thank you so much! I hope you don't mind if I pass that on to my students!!
I'd also like to invite all members of this group out to a free eBook event I'm hosting in Henderson, on Tuesday July 31st, from 7-9pm. Click here to RSVP: http://www.meetup.com...­
This is essentially my revised Kindle / eBooks 101 class in a short lecture-style format. I'm hoping that we'll get about an hour's worth of question time.
Limited to the first 20 people that RSVP.
A former member
Post #: 14
Hi everybody I'm hoping to produce a feature using talent and locations here in the Las Vegas area. Please contact me if you have a script that you would like to pitch. Maybe if your story is produced you won't need Kindle.
A former member
Post #: 26
Mike suggested authors hire a professional editor. Where does one find such a beast?
A former member
Post #: 4
Former member or anyone else,

if you want to contact me by email, I'll help you through some of the process, its not difficult and can be done in just about any format and converted. I'll help you get the links too. I've been blessed to be guided through this process by several dear people who for some reason think I wrote a good book, including an editor who liked the first one enough to do it for next to nothing, if I would promise him to publish it. I made the promise, so I'm doing it, but I still don't know how confident I am that it is the great book he claims.

That said, I am also in the final process, just received the proofs of the novel and nearly through looking for final errors, so a smidge pre-occupied at the moment. Following others suggestions, I'm trying to get things going for the release, tentatively on Aug 15. So in one of those pay it forward deeds, if I can help anyone, please email me at jerriebrock@embarqmail.com.
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