These days, once you get your file cleaned up and ready for upload to the Amazon Kindle platform (KDP), it often can go through straight up. But for specially designed, image-laden eBooks, there is a software to get your ebooks formatted. On this, I would not bother trying to get an eBook converted and designed in these ways:
Calibre – absolutely the hardest way for novices, but it is a free option
Kindle Create – free, but you have to start again if your charts/graphics don’t appear correctly and thus you lose ALL your changes. It outputs KPF – a Kindle Publishing only format.
Oh, What to Do for my Ebook?
If you want to do-it-yourself in designing ebooks more than just once, Atticus is the software for you, at US$147. It takes in your .RTF or .DOCX file and lets you have 17 templates to make an ePub of noteworthy design.
If you’re getting on in years and working stuff out is not as fun it once was… then ISBN Services will take your file and deliver it 48 hours later. Their pricing is in US dollars, from $59, for 100 pages. They provide a free estimate on their site, in 15 seconds. Sometimes you can get a special offer from IngramSpark on their eBook conversion – but for image-or-table-heavy books, they are going to custom price you out of town!
Sign up for the IngramSpark newsletter as it offers discounts quite regularly.
A Tip for Using eBook Design Software
Even with the eBook software, you need to pick your chapter styles, check bullets and images, verify, upload it to KDP, and check the Kindle Preview. This last step — checking the Online preview shows right — is the most important part.
If the font changes half-way through, take that as a sign you need to clear the body formatting. (You can also do this in Word – hit Styles Pane – clear formatting). Return the body font to ‘Normal’ … and just adjust in the eBook software to keep the line spacing or paragraph spacing as desired.
Back at Amazon KDP
Always SAVE the draft after you preview the file, before moving on to pricing and so on.
Don’t forget to decide on whether you want to go ‘Kindle Select‘ and promote your ebook only on Amazon.
Remember to get your ebook cover designed so that it stands out. It does need to be a separate file.
Remember to put in your details as publisher and don’t need to mention Amazon or any other distributor like that. ISBN optional.
Smashwords has special requirements. Your cover file must be minimum 1500 pixels wide and a rectangle (jpeg), your internal file must not contain footnotes or Word-created bullets or text boxes. Any Word-created Table of Contents should be stripped out and replaced with plain headings of one level. Draft2Digital also has trouble with many levels of headings.
Remember, I don’t make the rules — I just follow them! Good luck and best wishes for all your ebooks.
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