Friday, June 8, 2012

Self-Publishing for Kindle on Amazon

I just got done publishing for Kindle on Amazon! Granted, it wasn't my own book. No, I actually just republished the edited version of MERRIWEATHER IN SEARCH OF THE FAIRIES, a cute story my MIL wrote for kids. It's been available digitally online for over a year but we just recently discovered that somehow the currently uploaded version had NOT been edited. And in fact, now that I'm a pro at all this (yeah, right!), I suspect that the uploaded file may have even inadvertently been changed for the worse prior to publishing.

So how could that happen? How could a digital file get changed without anyone noticing? Well, I'm not 100% sure but I have some ideas. Now that I'm a professional proofreader and have been using the Track Changes feature in Word, I've made some interesting and potentially horrifying discoveries. Let's suffice to say that it seems to glitch up sometimes (software glitches up? really?) and I believe may possibly even make unintended changes.

Also, now that I've experienced the full editing process from both the proofreader and client sides, I can say with absolute certainty that it is almost impossible NOT to make mistakes when choosing to accept or reject changes. The two options are one on top of the other and it is so easy to click on the one you DON'T want. But enough of all that...

How to Self-Publish Your Book for Kindle

Amazon has made publishing EASY! To publish for Kindle, all you have to do is sign up for an account at Kindle Direct Publishing. If you already have an Amazon account, you can sign in with it. Then you just enter all the required information and upload your cover image and properly formatted HTML file.

Oops! Say what? Properly formatted HTML file? Uh-oh.

Not to worry! I just did it and so can you. If you have Word 2010, I can vouch that it's super-easy to convert your document to HTML format. If you have an earlier version of Word, supposedly it's still easy but I don't know that personally. And if you don't have Word? Well, I seem to recall a recommendation to use OpenOffice but don't quote me on that.

Anyway, everything you need to know to publish successfully for Kindle is available on the site. And if you want the info in Kindle format, you can download Building Your Book for Kindle free. I have Kindle for PC on my computer so I just had the directions open right there through the whole process.

A word of caution: Pay special attention to the formatting requirements. I've read a lot of Kindle books lately and now I know why some are so well laid out and easy to navigate and others are...well...not. It is imperative that you format exactly as instructed and then convert to the right type of HTML. But like I said, if I can do it, so can you!

MORNING-AFTER UPDATE: While the new version of the republished book was live by the next morning, the Look Inside feature still showed the old unedited version. Apparently, changes to the description and preview on Amazon’s site take additional time. Keeping my fingers crossed...


  1. The digital age has brought us into a new era of publishing. It has never been easier for an author to get his or her book out in front of millions of potential buyers. No longer do authors have to send out their manuscripts to publishing houses and hold their breath waiting to see if it has been accepted for publication. Neat!

    1. I'm normally super resistant to change but am SO excited about the changes in publishing! I recently attended a publishing presentation hosted by a local author's group that was really interesting. According to the presenter who recently attended some conference with a panel discussion featuring the big publishers, they're all acting like nothing has changed. Seems they'd come out of denial and try to flex with the times. Oh well. Looks like the rest of us now have a better way to accomplish the same end and don't need them any more. Yippee!