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Thread: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word


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Kristen Iten

Posts: 6
Registered: 04/15/14
Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 27, 2015 11:03 PM
 
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Hello Everyone,

I'm getting ready to release my 3rd children's picture book. The two previous books were created with Amazon's Kindle Kid's Book Creator software. I really want to create the next book with Microsoft word so I can insert hyperlinks to my website.

I have run several different failed tests and have no idea what I'm doing wrong. When I preview my test files in Amazon's online previewer it looks ok (just a little degraded) when viewing in Kindle mode. When I switch to previews for other devices, the file is completely wac. It will show two or three illustrations on one page. Sometimes one above the other, sometimes next to each other.

Do any of you have ANY tips for creating a picture book in Microsoft word??? I'm usually really good at this sort of thing, but I'm beginning to feel as if I'm banging my head against a brick wall here lol

      • my books are created by inserting optimized jpegs with imbedded text into a word document. I just need one image per page to display full screen.

THANK YOU in advance!!

Edited by: Kristen Iten on Aug 27, 2015 11:04 PM
booknookbiz

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Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 28, 2015 11:32 AM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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Hi, Kristen:

I'm sorry, but: that is unambiguously the wrong tool for the job. There's simply no viable way to make a fixed-layout kid's book--what we used to call a kids' picture book--in Word. You could create it in Word, output it to PDF, and then put THAT into KKBC; but Word is not meant for FXL books. Nor will it create a decent faux-FXL book, because you simply don't have the fine-tuning available (as one does in HTML) to make the images fit the available space. Heck, even using HTML, trying to make a reflowable (in essence) book fit all devices, as though it were fixed-layout, would be fairly onerous.

In KKBC, you can insert links; you simply can't do it in a pop-up, (I think that's right; we don't use KKBC, we make our FXL books by hand, but we absolutely put links in FXL books). I do know that you can't--no matter the creation mechanism--put links in ANY pop-up (RM, aka Region Magnification). Not in Comix or FXL.

HOWEVER, you can put links on any regular text page. Put them on a page in the frontmatter, put them on a page in the backmatter (about the author, website, etc.). That will work.

I hope that helps.

Hitch
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extradimensions

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Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 28, 2015 12:36 PM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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What kind of picture book is it?
I read some illustrated children's books that have full-page images with a little text somewhere on the page. In that case, Word wouldn't be a good fit. The KKBC lets you create pop-up text for better reading, for example. There is an Edit HTML feature in the KKBC; you could experiment with that (but you must disable pop-ups to add hyperlinks).
I read some illustrated children's books that aren't fixed format. They have 1-2 paragraphs of text, then a picture, then 1-2 paragraphs of text, then a picture, etc. In these books, the paragraphs aren't tied to the pictures; they are completely separate from the images (and thus may not show on the screen at the same time). These books are probably for a slightly higher age range, where not every page has to be a picture. If your e-book is more like this, you may be to make Word work for your purposes.
Kristen Iten

Posts: 6
Registered: 04/15/14
Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 28, 2015 7:05 PM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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Thanks for the input guys. I have a friend who uses Microsoft Word to create the type of book I'm talking about. She takes her images with imbedded text and creates a book with nothing but jpegs. She's not confident in the process and has to use a lot of trial and error to get her books to work as well. I was hoping someone on here would know some specifics about Microsoft that could be of help. Save us a little bit of time stumbling around in it haha!

As for the Kindle Kid's Book Creator software, Amazon sent me an email informing me that their software does not include the ability to insert hyperlinks. Which is why I'd like to make it work with Microsoft :)
extradimensions

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Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 28, 2015 8:08 PM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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If the text is embedded as part of the jpeg picture (i.e. you create the picture with image software, add the text there, and then save the entire object, text included, as one jpeg), then you can't hyperlink the text. Perhaps I misunderstand what you want to do, or perhaps you want to hyperlink the picture itself, rather than the text?
If you want the text to be a separate object from the jpeg picture, then you can hyperlink the text, though if you try to make the text free-floating, i.e. with Wrap Text set to In Front of Text or Behind Text, so that you can place it where you want on your monitor in Word, it doesn't work out for Kindle formatting. But if you wanted text to be a separate object between images, so that text is on its own separate paragraph, this would work and you could hyperlink the text.
...
If you're inserting jpegs in Word for Kindle, you want to select the image, go to Format, go to Size, and make sure the width is 100%. This doesn't make your image fill the screen on a device, but if it's less than 100%, Word makes your image smaller than it should be. If you set width to 100% and it exceeds the margins in Word, don't worry about it; it won't exceed the screen on Kindle. You can force your jpegs to fill the width of a device by saving as a filtered webpage, creating a zipped file (as described in Kindle's free basic guide, Building Your Book for Kindle), opening the HTML in Notepad, and using HTML to force the width to 100% there (then save the file, close Notepad, and paste the HTML file into the zipped folder to overwrite the original HTML file).
If you have text that's not part of a jpeg, you can hyperlink that in Word by using the Insert tab.
booknookbiz

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Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 29, 2015 9:40 AM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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Kristen:

I'm not saying that someone can't slap jpeg after jpeg into a file, and create a "kids' book" with it; it will simply not be the sort of kids' book that Amazon will ever promote (yes--they told me this). Amazon wants every book that they ever put on a "best" list or a "most-read" list or any other sort of promotional email or list to be readable on every device. If you put images of text in an ebook, (which is what a full-page image, that has text on it, would be), it's very difficult to make that readable on every device, without putting the reader to a considerable degree of inconvenience, e.g., having to click, pinch-zoom or tap, pinch-zoom every single page.

That's why they created the RM (Region Magnification) feature for fixed-layout books. And of course, you can't have RM in a book made with Word, not the way you're doing it (no offense, really).

If you do want to pursue this--to make a book this way--then make your images (pages) the same aspect ratio as the Kindle screen. Use 1920 x 1200 pixels, or 3840 x 2400, as would be used for a properly-made book. That will make your "page" match the aspect ratio of the devices.

If on the other hand, you're endeavoring to make a page that has a picture for some part of the page, and text for the other, again, match your image size to some portion of the screen, precisely; then place your text and then use page-breaks. There isn't much you can do, in Word, beyond that. If you use section breaks, you should at least not end up with more than one image on a screen, but it's not guaranteed. You need to bear in mind that eBook are reflowable; they are designed to reflow, to change, to fit the container (reader) into which they are poured. You're trying to square peg-round hole here, to obtain a link to your website.

You might want to consider making the book by hand, in HTML. Some of the other posters here--I think that man2010 is one of them--have templates, that you can use, in which you can sort of paste your content. If you do that, you can then, absolutely certainly, create linked content in the TEXT. Text that is not part of the image, nor part of the pop-up. That's my best recommendation, if you really can't create links using KKBC. I wouldn't know, as my company doesn't make the books using that software, we code them by hand. But I do know that you absolutely can use links in FXL books--but not within the RM area. There is in fact a post around here somewhere where I linked an image of a FXL book we made that has an active link in it, in a conversation much like this.

I hope that helps you.

Hitch
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Kristen Iten

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Registered: 04/15/14
Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 29, 2015 10:43 AM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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@Extradimensions Thanks for the tips. I'm doing all of those things, so at least I'm on the right track :) I appreciate your time! I'll just keep tinkering. Have a great weekend!

@Hitch Thanks for your time :) I'm not slapping together horrible little books lol My books are very high quality, that's why I'm taking the time to try to work this problem out. I want my products to be perfect. I'm clear about what I need to do as far as images go. I've got that nailed down. I'm just trying new options according to Amazon's own guidelines for creating a book like mine with a couple of links on the final page. Some option must be wrong in Word that I have yet to find. I'll just keep working at it. Hope you have a nice weekend!
booknookbiz

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Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Aug 29, 2015 12:53 PM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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Kristen:

I didn't say that the books were horrible. I simply said, you're trying to make reflowable content (pages in Word, with images and text) fit into what should be a fixed-layout project--that's all. If you are putting images and text on the same page, you're always going to have some minor or major issues, because people will enlarge or reduce fonts. When that happens, it changes your page. You obviously already know this, as you've made FXL books previously.

As we've made over 3,000 books now, I know all too well how tricky it is to make a high-quality kids' book product, when you are dealing with text that can be resized. It's like trying to get an eel to sit still for a portrait. That was my sole comment, in terms of quality. That, and the Amazon-marketing aspect. (I know this because a few years ago, we did a set of 24 books for a best-selling AUS kids' book series. The author insisted that we remove the RM from his MOBI files. When his distributor uploaded them to Amazon, Amazon sent them a wee note, instructing them to put the RM back in, as they otherwise wouldn't be eligible for any Amazon promotions. That's how I learned how serious Amazon is about the RM.)

I don't know, (again, because this isn't how we make books) if you can download a KKBC file, mid-stream, and simply edit the HTML contained therein. You might want to try that. Alternatively, as I also mentioned, man2010's HTML templates would likely be your very best bet to get the best of both worlds.

Good luck with your project. I'll butt out, as I think you're reading into my posts intent that isn't there.

Hitch
We produce ebooks
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Andy Pac

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Registered: 12/15/16
Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Dec 29, 2016 8:56 AM   in response to: Kristen Iten in response to: Kristen Iten
 
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HI,

How on earth did you get your first two books to works with KDP? I'm having nightmares with it. I can load it by PDF but it won't save at all. Can you describe the process you use please. I'll be v grateful.
Donna St Felix

Posts: 5,410
Registered: 09/18/13
Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Dec 29, 2016 11:50 AM   in response to: Andy Pac in response to: Andy Pac
 
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Andy Pac wrote:
How on earth did you get your first two books to works with KDP? I'm having nightmares with it. I can load it by PDF but it won't save at all. Can you describe the process you use please. I'll be v grateful.

Kindle does not like PDF's. I myself upload a Word.doc for Kindle.
Notjohn

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Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Help Needed With Picture Book Formatting in Microsoft Word
Posted: Dec 29, 2016 1:39 PM   in response to: Andy Pac in response to: Andy Pac
 
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Andy, this is a four-month-old thread. But you can read and learn from Hitch's replies.

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing

The blog: http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
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