I thought I'd start a thread that many will find invaluable, and will update it as time goes by.
1.[b]Problems with Images: = Best answer[/b]
Image guideline #1: supported input formats
The Kindle platform supports GIF, BMP, JPEG, PNG images in your content. Kindle does not support vector graphics. You will have to convert your vector graphics into raster graphics using one of the supported image formats.
If you are using images for schemas, charts, tables, maps or anything that includes text, you must pay special attention to the legibility of the final image.
Images are added to the source using the standard HTML 'img'.
When using images, please save them in 300dpi or 300ppi resolution to future-proof your image content for display.
Image guideline #2: automatic image conversions
The Kindle file format internally supports JPEG and GIF images of up to 127KB in size. This is double the previously-supported maximum of 63KB, and provides for richer nuances in images, particularly for large images, or content with gradient patterns.
Image guideline #3: color
Use color images whenever possible and relevant. The Kindle reading device has a black & white screen today but Kindle applications for other devices, such as iPhone or PC, take advantage of colors.
Image guideline #4: photographs
Photographs should use the JPEG format with a quality factor of 40 or higher. Photographs should be provided with the highest resolution available to you.
Photographs should not be too small. Please make sure your input photos are at least 600x800 pixels in size, unless you optimize them yourself according to the previous guideline. Photographs of less than 300x400 pixels are much too small and can be rejected.
If your photographs are in GIF format or are too small, simply converting them to JPEG or artificially increasing their size will not improve their quality. You should go back to the original source to create a JPEG image with sufficient resolution.
[b]2. Pricing your Ebook = Best Answer:[/b]
There is no quick and easy answer to the question you've asked because there are too many variables. Mainly, it comes down to genre, your writing ability and the amount of effort you'll put into improving the quality of your product, and the amount of time you're willing to spend after you publish. Know this, success rarely happens overnight. You didn't say what type of books, so for the purposes of my reply I'm going to assume that you wrote the books (not public domain) and that they are fiction books of novel length.
People will buy cheap books because they are cheap, but most of those people don't convert to good future buyers if your next book isn't cheap. Cheap means little revenue now and again in the future, even if your books are good. If your books aren't so good, cheap may be the only way to go. At least you'll get something for your time.
If you price your book at $.99 you'll probably sell books without any promo effort.
If you price your books at $2.99, you'll sell few books without promo effort, but you make 70% royalty versus 35%. So if you intend to WORK at selling, you'll make a lot more revenue.
I sell all my books at $5.99. I WORK at selling. I promote at every opportunity. I maintain copious Excel spreadsheets, carefully watch for trends, and adjust. I interact with my readers frequently through fan email, and the forums for my books and on my author central account. I participate actively on this forum and read most posts. I've learned a great deal here, and try to share what I've learned with newbies and other pros. I've done exceedingly well at my established price point. I feel that for the type of books I sell, it's the best price.
Many authors feel that higher price points are the way to go. If they have unique product, they might be right. If you exceed $9.99, you might not sell very many books, and you'll have to contend with a 35% royalty.
Good luck with your book.
3.[b] Editing after your book goes live = Best Answer:[/b]
Go to your Bookshelf. If the book is 'live', click on the 'Action' button over the right and select 'Edit'. Then just enter the changed info. When you're done, make sure that you click on Publish on the second page. Your book should now be in 'Review' status. It should go live again in 2 to 5 days. In the meantime, the previously loaded book will continue to be available for purchase.
4. [b]Helping Authors publish on the Kindle = Best Answer[/b]:
I'm Hitch--the owner of Booknook.biz, which is an Amazon-Listed Professional Conversion Service. We provide conversion services from virtually any type of file--Word, html, Open office, PDF, txt, even Works if absolutely necessary. Within reason, we've had very good success at keeping original formatting from PDF to Kindle editions. When I say, "within reason," I mean primarily within the Kindle's abiilty to display same. Depending upon the font selections, we usually have books that come out looking essentially identical to their PDF counterparts, and in fact often request PDF's of books to be converted, as well as the data file (like Word), just for the purposes of referencing the look, feel and style of the author's original intent.
Please feel free to email me at my email address, below, if I may be of assistance or provide you with a firm quote. I think you'll find that our prices fall well in the mid-price range and we provide high-quality service; I produce books for several NYT bestselling authors in addition to various smaller publishing houses and tons of self-pubbing or backlist-publishing authors.
Donna, on this list, (who responded to you) certainly knows what she's doing, and you can't go wrong with Joshua Tallent, either, over at eBook Architects. Either of those two individuals/companies will also give you a book or books of which you can be proud. (I don't know if CJ is converting books professionally, but you should check out those DIY instructions, if that option interests you.)
No matter whom you choose to "interview," please be sure to ask for credentials and referrals from other satisfied clients, to ensure you work with a credible firm.
Hope this helps,
5. [b]How to format your book using only word = Best Answer[/b]:
How to Format Your Book Using Only Word, With a Little Help from HTML
First let me set the record straight, I am pretty much a simpleton and if it gets too complicated I avoid it.
This is how I formatted a book using Word 2003. It will probably work with other versions of Word, but I am too lazy to test them!
I start by using New Times Roman text font size 11. Click the view tab and engage the ruler. I set the 2 little triangles all the way to the left and then move the top triangle over a bit to the right (this sets your paragraph indents). I use the left justify setting when I type.
I should mention here that lately I have been using the Dragon Naturally Speaking voice to text program (have I mentioned that I am lazy?)
I set my view on "normal" and I just type away I do not pay any attention to the very faint lines indicating where the pages will be as the Kindle has a different page size.
For chapters, I will insert one blank line by pressing the enter key and then insert a page break using the insert drop-down menu. Then I will add a few blank lines on to the new page to begin a new chapter.
For chapter headings I center the text and boost the text size up to 18. When typing for the Kindle, increasing the text size like this will cause enlarged text to appear wherever it is placed this is nice for chapter headings, and you can even boost the text size for the first letter, word, or sentence in the new chapter in it will produce the same effect! I should also mention here that the bold and italics and underline functions will also work. The Kindle conversion will accept these enhancements, but increasing the text size will not be a linear type function, just because you make something 10 times larger does not mean it will be 10 times larger in the Kindle. If you increase your text size by a small amount the Kindle conversion may not notice it. Note, if you like, you can put your chapter headings and right justify to the right side of the page and the Kindle will right justify that text within your book.
For a book cover, you can create a JPEG – it can even be the same JPEG that you intend to use as the cover art for your Amazon Kindle book page – and using the insert drop-down menu place it in your Word document – just be sure that the cover art looks okay in B&W (That's grayscale for you purists).
Obviously the best place to put this would be the very beginning of your document I did this by adding a few blank lines there and then a page break. Above the page break I centered the text and inserted on the second line (using the insert drop-down) a picture (from file), and Bang! There it was! This cover page should only be three lines long, the top line is centered, the next centered line contains the image, and the next one is the page break! Incidentally, you can label that top line "cover" by using the insert drop-down menu to place a bookmark with this name. This causes the Kindle to recognize that page as the cover. (note: no caps!)
NOTE: I have experimented with this and it may be better to use a page that is two lines long and left justified. Place your bookmark on the top left-hand line and move over one space and insert your image (the best size for this is 900 x 1200 –I actually used 859 x 1152) this tends to eliminate the annoying "blank page before your cover" phenomenon!(the second line is the page break.)
For chapters, in the upper left-hand corner of each page, you can insert a bookmark identifying the chapter number – this needs to be something like "ch23" I don't use any capital letters or spaces with bookmarks just to play it safe! Bookmark titles must start with a letter.
At the beginning of the text of your book (this would be whatever you consider the beginning of your book to be) in the upper left-hand corner of that page insert a bookmark labeled "start".
The hardest part of this whole process will be building the "Table of Contents" or the "toc" – as it will be referred to in the bookmark.
Simply create a new page using the insert a page break method – I like to do this between the cover and the start of the book. Be sure and label this page in the upper left-hand corner with a bookmark named "toc". This should probably be one of the last things you do and here is why:
If you've been diligent in creating your chapters, and placing a bookmark at the beginning of each one labeled with the appropriate chapter number, building the table of contents will be simple. On the table of contents page, just type in the phrase "Chapter 1" and then copy/paste it all the way down the page and go back and re number the chapters appropriately. Then you can go in and highlight each "Chapter X" and right-click it and select "Hyperlink" you will have to click the appropriate target location in the hyperlink window that appears (this will be "within the document"). Scroll down the bookmark list and select the appropriate one and click it then click the “Add” button, and go to the next “Chapter X” to hyperlink.
The rules are: the bookmarks must be created before the hyperlinks. There can be one and only one bookmark of a particular name (if you accidentally give a bookmark the name of a pre-existing bookmark, the old bookmark will disappear if you want to move a bookmark, just place the cursor in the appropriate place and insert the bookmark – the old same name bookmark will disappear). You can have multiple hyperlinks that point to the same bookmark.
If you create the bookmarks while you are creating your chapters, you can use the insert bookmark function to navigate within your document – if you click on a bookmark and then go to the insert drop-down and activate "bookmark", one of the bookmark window’s function is "go to". If you activate the bookmark window and scroll down and select a bookmark and then press the "go to" button, your cursor will jump to that other bookmark! (Neat huh?)
Once you have added hyperlinks to your document, you can navigate by placing your cursor on the hyperlink and pressing the control key and clicking the hyperlink this will cause the cursor to jump to the hyperlinked location. (That's neat also!)
At this point, just to be really safe it will be time to jump over to HTML! Fear Not!
This is still easy! Just close out your document and then go to whatever folder is in and create a new folder called my book in HTML. Open the folder and create a subfolder in it called "my book to be zipped". Re-open your Word document and activate the ‘save as’ function – you may want to change the name to HTML (your book's name) and save it in the "my book to be zipped folder". Be sure to save it as a filtered webpage – you will get a warning just ignore it! From here on out, use this copy of your book to work from. After the first “save as a filtered webpage”, all you need do is click the save icon at the top Word work page.
If you look inside the "my book to be zipped" folder, you'll see that there are two files: one file is the HTML Word document of your book and the other is a folder by the same name that contains any images you have added. In order to properly open your HTML Word document, you should right-click it and select the "open with Microsoft Word" option. Double-clicking your HTML Word document will cause it to open in your browser's webpage!
When you are ready to upload this to the DTP bookshelf, right click on the "my book to be zipped" folder and select send to a zipped file. A zipped file of that folder will then appear. This is the file folder you will send to the DTP bookshelf via the upload function. After the book uploads, it will be converted to the Kindle book and you can preview it.
If you have a Kindle, you can e-mail it to the "your Kindle name"@kindle.com or "your Kindle name"@free.kindle.com. This can only happen if you actually own a Kindle (or have a friend who does). This zipped file needs to be placed inside a folder and that folder needs to be zipped. (Yes that is right!) This double zipped folder is what you e-mail to the Kindle e-mail address.
You could get Kindle for PC for free from Amazon and you can wrestle with MobiPocket creator, but if you're going to be producing books for the Kindle it wouldn't be bad to invest in one. The baseline model is $139 and if you poke around eBay or Craig’s list, you may find one cheaper. I guess you could buy a junker on eBay really cheap and you could register its serial number to activate the Kindle e-mail address, but that would be would be really tacky!
6. [b]Can I publish elsewhere after signing up for Kindle = Best Answer:[/b]
Your arrangement with Amazon is non-exclusive. You can publish anywhere and everywhere you have the digital rights to publish. A caveat, though, is that the book may not be listed for sale at a lower price than on Amazon. If that should occur, Amazon may lower the selling price here, or they may pull it altogether from the site.
You may cancel at any time. Amazon will keep a manuscript on file to replace one lost by a buyer. But it will not sell new copies.
You continue to own the copyright.
You don't need an ISBN, but they're available for sale at Bowker.com.
You can publish with someone else, but a publisher will probably require you to sign over all electronic rights, so you'll have to un-publish here.
Publishing on Amazon doesn't stop you from publishing everywhere.
7.[b] Help to increase sales = Best Answer:[/b]
1. I publish an email address in the book (it;s included with ISBN, publisher info, etc) and encourage people to send feedback. If I get positive feedback (I've been lucky so far to ONLY get positive feedback), I've emailed back encouraging those people to write reviews on Amazon with their thoughts. Of those with the initiative to email me, a percentage have entered some very positive reviews. Not one of those customer reviews on the site was orchestrated by me, but just reminding people they have the option of writing one goes a long way.
2. Second, make the product description as much of a pitch for the book as you can. Let's say you have a book on building model boats. You can give a description like "This book shows many techniques for building all kinds of model boats, from plastic models that sit on the shelf to ships in a bottle to working model radio-controlled model speedboats." Which is accurate, but tame. OR you can give a description like this: "There are many books published on model boat building, but this one has many advantages over those. It's not only comprehensive, covering areas as diverse as ships in a bottle all the way to working model speedboats. The techniques are clear, concise, yet extremely helpful, and will satisfy even the most experience model boat builder...." etc etc...
3. Title the book as close to what search terms will be as possible. For example with the book described above, do NOT title it "Miniature History: From the Titanic to the Cigarette Boat Smugglers." The search terms will probably be "building model boats" or "building ship models" or something like that. So title the book: "Building Model Ships and Boats: A Guide." Try searching the Kindle Store, entering "Building Model Boats" and see what the title are of those books that show up first on the list.
8. [b]Changing user name = Best Answer[/b]:
You have to go to the general amazon home page at amazon.com - if you aren't logged in on that page, log in. Then click the link near top left of page (right next to the amazon.com icon in top left) that says "irq8's Amazon.com"
When the page refreshes, you'll have below the blue banner bar that contains, e.g., the search field, another list of links. One near the far right says "Your Profile" - click that
Then, on page that loads, your picture or generic icon for your picture will be on the left side - below that, GRAYED OUT, will be your user name in a field box, but directly above that box is: "Name (edit name)" - and "edit name" should be a hyperlink - change that will change your forum, review, posting names, etc.
If you don't see it, what web browser are you using? Amazon site seems optimized in general for newer versions of IE.
And, BEFORE you do it - you might want to make sure there's nothing under your OLD forum/etc name that you don't want to have associated with your author pen name - e.g. leave a snarky review recently, admitted to surfing pr0n 8 hours a day despite fact you've written a Christian inspirational, etc. -- all just examples of course, but you don't want to have forgotten something and have it bite you in the rump later.
9. [b]Tips and tricks for images and title pages = Best Answer:[/b]
I thought I'd share some tips and tricks I've learned along the way.
After the cover, the title page is the second element prospective buyers encounter when they read your sample. So it needs to look professional. My publisher tested my book on different Kindles and Kindle Apps on various platforms. On most, the title page looked fine but on some, the last line was kicked over to the next page. This, of course, screams "Amateur" to even the most unaware of readers. Also, this can occur if the reader has their Kindle type size set much bigger than normal.
The graphic designer on the project then came up with an ingenious solution: Treat the title page as an image. Here's what to do: in Photoshop, create a file that's the same size as your cover image and set it up with a white background. Then use the Type tool to create the text of your title page. Save the file as a JPEG and place that in your book file after the cover with a page break before and after.
The beauty of this is that the title page looks uniform across all platforms. And even if the reader adjusts the size of the text, the title page remains unaffected.
The product image is the image on your Amazon listing (not to be confused with the cover image in the actual book file). When my publisher uploaded this image, we were all very disappointed because it looked so blurry. It was especially annoying because I was present at the photo shoot where the professional photographer shot a professional model under controlled lighting. The resulting image looked spectacular on my computer but appeared dreadful on the Amazon listing. The graphic designer finally uncovered a clue in this sentence from the DTP instructions:
"Amazon DTP applies additional compression to images when displaying them on its website. For best results, images should be uploaded with minimal compression."
JPEGS are already compressed. So the DTP mechanism was compressing something that was compressed in the first place. The solution, therefore, was to change the format of the product image to a TIFF and re-submit it. The result was dramatic. Even the author line is surprisingly crisp.
You can see the results of all of this on my book, THE CIRCUIT. (Note: it's a work of erotica, so if the genre offends you, best stay away).
I hope these tips help you with your books. Good luck!
10. [b]Sales Promotions = Best Answer[/b]:
Just snagged this post I made in another thread, and it's only a partial list of information. I need sleep now, but will try and get back to complete it later.
You must approach marketing like it's a full-time business if you're determined to make it as an indie author (and after scrolling down, you'll see why in about a minute). Besides working Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Goodreads and Shelfari, if you've been previously published in DTB (dead tree books), set up an author profile at Amazon.
Put ALL of your places you can be found on the web in your sig file for e-mail, and on your blog. If you need a web-site set up, let me know--I've been a web-designer exclusively for artists since 1994.
Don't make it difficult for your guests to find your books:
If you're on Facebook, add a store to your fanpage with Payvment.com
If you're on a blog, add an Amazon widget with your digital books
If you're on a web-site, add an Amazon aStore to your site
Put your books for direct sale on Goodreads.com and Shelfari.com
Do you have a blog? Readers like to interact with authors. Read about doing blog tours.
Draft a press release to your local paper, and offer them exclusive rights if they will run the piece about your book.
Design a book give-away. Announce on your social networks that if people will come and ask you questions on the day of your book release party, then you will enter them into a drawing for either a free copy of the book, or, if it's digital, an Amazon gift card. People love free crap.
Send letters announcing your book to several hundreds of libraries, and offer to help them stock your paperback. If you don't have a paperback yet, but want to hit the libraries anyway, go to CreateSpace and have them printed. Very cheap.
Offer to do local book-signings, again, taking some POD (print on demand) copies of your book, OR, taking pre-burned CDs with a copy of your book that you converted to several file formats from feedbooks.com for free, and an autograph and some special content. Also, hand out coupons from Smashwords for a discounted download. Have a flyer printed up with the book cover (doesn't have to be expensive or even in colour) and the coupon, together with a synopsis of the book.
11. [b]How long does it take to publish my content = Best answer:[/b]
Generally, uploading and converting your content takes only a few minutes with Digital Text Platform.
The process of making this content buyable (“live”) on the Amazon Kindle Store takes 48 hours for English titles and 2-3 days for all other accepted languages. Publishing a title involves integrating your content into the Amazon.com global catalog, i.e. creating a product detail page, addition of content Amazon's search index and the Amazon Kindle categories, etc. Please note that some elements such as the product description will take around 24 hours to propagate to the title’s detail page after it becomes buyable, but customers will be able to purchase the book once it has been published to the site.
[b]12. Territory Rights = Best answer:[/b]
If the book is one you've written yourself, and you haven't sold or given any exclusive publishing rights to anyone else, then you own the right to publish worldwide. The only way your territorial publishing rights might be restricted would be if either:
a. You contracted the exclusive right to publish in a particular country to someone else (a publishing company, for example). You would then not have the right to publish the book yourself in that country;
b. The material you're publishing is legal in some countries but not others. While, technically, you'd still have the publishing rights for those other countries, it would probably be better not to!
As for the royalty rate - the best choice will depend on what price you want to charge for your book, and whether you plan to publish it elsewhere, as well as on Amazon. For most books, it's well worth going for the 70% option.
To be eligible for the 70% rate, you must set a price between $2.99 and $9.99. For the 35% option, you have a wider range available, from $0.99 up to $200.
For the 35% option, you simply undertake not to set a list price somewhere else that is lower than the list price you set for the Kindle version of your book.
For the 70% option, you undertake not to set a list price somewhere else that is lower than the list price you set for the Kindle version of your book, and you additionally undertake that the list price for your Kindle ebook is at least 20% lower than the list price anywhere for a print version of the book.
If you publish your ebook elsewhere, and the ebook is discounted by that retailer, Amazon will discount your price to match the price available elsewhere.
If you're on the 35% rate, you'll still get 35% of the list price (unless Amazon has reason to believe you're "gaming" the system, e.g. by making the book available for free somewhere else, in which case, you might find your book being either being given away for free on Amazon, but no royalties paid, or your book might be removed from sale on Amazon).
If you're on 70% royalties, though, you'll only get 70% of the sale (i.e. discounted) price. So you need to be careful if you intend to publish the book elsewhere as well as on Amazon. Barnes & Noble, for example, are very aggressive in their discounting.
If you only intend to publish your ebook on Amazon, and don't have any reason to set a price higher than $9.99, you should definitely go for the 70% option.
The exception is that you may license foreign language rights for a certain country (or worldwide in that language) and still sell the English edition in parallel in that country, common practice in tree books.
Thanks Ann, there is something we can all do, if anyone here can see this thread about to leave the first page, just give it a bumb to get it back to the top. The reason I did this thread was because I was tired of seeing the same old questions being asked over and over again. lol
I thought I'd start a thread that many will find
invaluable, and will update it as time goes by.
1.[b]Problems with Images: = Best answer[/b]
Image guideline #1: supported input formats
The Kindle platform supports GIF, BMP, JPEG, PNG
good idea and once again a real failure of this lousy jive format for a forum that no sticky up top.
however IMHExperience you missed the NUMBER ONE mistake by authors ie trying to "format" a book in Word etc when The Guide CLEARLY says DO NOT. So here it is
Text guideline #1: normal text
The “normal” text in a Kindle book must be “all defaults”. We encourage content
creators to use creative styles for headings, special paragraphs, footnotes, tables of
contents and so on but not “normal” text. The reason is that any styling on “normal”
text in the HTML would override the user’s preferred default reading settings. Users
tend to report such behavior as a poor experience. Here are the most important
• “Normal” text must not have a forced alignment (left aligned or justified).
• “Normal” text must use the default font family. The [font face=”…”> tag is
ignored on the Kindle platform but even so, make sure it is not used on
“normal” text. The same applies to the CSS font-family style.
• “Normal” text must use the default font size. The [font size=”…”> tag or its
equivalent in CSS should not be used in “normal” text.
• “Normal” text should not be bold or italicized. Selected parts can of course
use such styling. This guidelines only prohibits book that would be entirely
bold for example.
• “Normal” text should not have an imposed font color or background color.
In formatting a book for kindle IF the author has tried to format a book this turns an easy job into a nightmare. This is because filtered, unfiltered or decaffinated, Billy will go ballistic and put all sorts of useless html and CSS tags in the document including widows and orphans - lol which are the sole cause of all the questions here re "my book in kindle does not look right"
No... You are misunderstanding what the Guide says:
When it says don't format normal text, it is
telling us we can't make the "normal" text or "body"
text bold or italics or underlined or anything except
the default format.
You can't make your whole book bold, or italics, for
It clearly says we can apply special formatting where
it is needed.
The Guide is perhaps using the wrong term when it
uses "normal" to mean normal everyday text... most of
the text in a book... but who can come up with a
better, more easily understood term?
Oh Great and mighty one, here is the para
The “normal” text in a Kindle book must be “all defaults”. We encourage content
creators to use creative ******styles****** for headings, special paragraphs, footnotes, tables of
contents and so on but not “normal” text. The reason is that any ******styling******* on “normal”
text in the HTML would override the user’s preferred default reading settings. Users
tend to report such behavior as a *******poor experience******. Here are the most important