Tuesday, 11 December 2012

From paperback to Kindle - A Novice's Experience.

Earlier this year, March to be precise, I lurched into the world of self-publishing with the release of my poetry book Encounters. Initially available in paperback, my intention was to follow up shortly after with an edition for the Kindle platform.  This is when 'Sod's Law' made it's presence felt for the remainder of the year.

The transition from paperback to Kindle is quite a learning curve. I suspect that I, like many of you, always use word with it's default settings. That is to say, I had never used the fancy formatting options to set the layout. I thought that by pulling up a blank page I could just start typing, changing the font and text size as necessary and hit the return key however many times I needed to create line/ paragraph breaks, was all I needed to do. How wrong can a girl be?

As a result, I had no option but to take my original manuscript and strip it back to basics and re-format the whole thing. I did this with the help of a nifty little e-book by David Robinson E-book Formatting & Publishing on the Kindle . With the aid of this step-by-step guide I was able to apply the formatting rules, but not without encountering the problems unique to poetry.  By its very nature, poetry is rarely set out in normal paragraphs and so the rules  need to be adapted.  It took plenty of trial and error to get the poems to look right on the electronic page. A very laborious process, but definitely necessary and well worth the effort.

Once I had the manuscript formatted, I gave it a final check to see how it would look on an e-reader. I used mobipocket creator,  which is free to download from mobipocket.com. This was also the time to check that any links used were working.   At this point, it was very tempting to go through the process of uploading my files to Kindle Direct Publishing, instead,I did the sensible thing by sending the whole thing off to my copy editor, Maureen Vincent-Northam.  I needed her skills to pick up any glitches in spelling, grammar etc. It's a tough market out there and I wanted to make sure I was providing a well written product.

I also needed to create an eye-catching cover, but as with my initial skills with word, my use of photo-manipulating software is limited, so I would suggest looking here step-by-step guide by Sue  Kendrick as a good place to start.

Compared to the formatting process, up-loading the files to Kindle Publishing  was a doddle! I just followed the on screen instructions.

Now. It's time to think about the promotional video and that, my friends, is a whole new ball game, not to mention blog post!

As you can imagine, all this takes time and a lot of concentration. Not easy at the best of times, but add an active three year old into the mix and it can be damn near impossible, but, two weddings, a funeral and several health issues later, I have finally achieved my goal. It may have taken a little longer than planned, but  I'm happy to announce the arrival of the Enounters Kindle edition.

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