Monday, 23 December 2013

Publishing a Picture Book on Kindle

If you have absolutely no idea on formatting html, and want to publish your children's book this article is for you. All you need is Word for Windows or Pages for Mac! Instructions are about half way down this page.

Having read all the Kindle Publishing Guides, ordering a simple book telling me how to publish on Kindle, watching numerous YouTube videos, researching conversion software etc - I almost gave up. I would say that I am pretty IT literate (having taught IT in colleges for many years) but html is a little out of my league. Yes, I can put my website together in Dreamweaver and keep it updated but that is about it. You would think that uploading a file to Kindle for conversion would be simple … and it is, but the results are not quite what I expected.

Kindle do say that you can upload a pdf (which is great news for InDesign and Mac users like myself) but the results might not be as intended. They were right. I exported my pdf from InDesign and uploaded it to the Kindle Previewer - not a very good result. After numerous attempts at saving my file in different formats (and downloading the Kindle plugin for InDesign), I decided that InDesign was definitely not the program to do this. This is one of the resulting screenshots form exporting as a .mobi file, ready to read on Kindle. I tried exporting as e-pub also and got a similar result.

Using InDesign to export in .mobi format

A little more research and it looks like most people are using Word to publish their books. Kindle says you can use .docx and export it as Word, so I gave this a go using Pages … and it works!

A little file preparation is needed first. Images need to be 1024 x 600 pixels for a Landscape book like mine, and in RGB format. I kept my resolution at 300 as this gets converted anyway and I saved my files as .jpegs on 8 High. Book Covers need to be uploaded separately and will then form part of your book. Kindle recommends the cover to be 1563 x 2500 but I kept mine the same as the rest of my .jpegs.  Some people are suggesting you use a lower resolution which results in much smaller file sizes so that you can really drop your price, but I wanted to keep the quality. After conversion my book totalled at 1.69 mb.

Once your files are ready, open up Pages and then use the Insert Menu to put in your Images and Page breaks in the order you read the book. Even if you change the margins so that your image fills the page, I found that this doesn't seem to make any difference in the conversion process.

Simple Pages document.
Save your file as normal and then choose File, Export, Word (I also tried e-pub - it didn't work). The file is now ready for uploading to Kindle's conversion program.

Log in with your Amazon account, follow the instructions, add all your details including your Bank's IBAN and BIC codes, download the previewer and you're good to go - almost.

Amazon KDP LogIn Page
Apparently, there are some bugs in the previewer one of them being that there is a lot of white space around the image. This has certainly happened to me and I am hoping that when my book is published my images will fill the page. I will edit this blog to let you know what happens when my book appears on Amazon - which should be in around 12 hours.

My Book Page in Kindle Previewer
I really hope you find this article useful. I'm sorry that I can't tell you how to make your books look extra wonderful by zooming into parts of the pages etc but if you just want to publish yourself, and are not very good at html coding, I think this tutorial will work for you.  Best of luck in selling your children's books.

Here are some useful links that you will need:

Update: Well that was quick, my book is now on Kindle.  The white space is still there and I'm not quite happy about the hard line around my images (which is not there on the originals) but, if you double-click on the Kindle screen the image becomes full size. You do have to close the image to go to the next page though. Overall, I'm quite happy with the colour etc. Need to spend a bit more time on the cover next time, the original was for a full front and back cover.

1 comment: