T-minus 12 hours and counting! Plus some random Kindle formatting tips..

Today I’ve uploaded Shizzle, Inc text to Amazon. My whole body was shaking as I did it. About half a dozen times.

Turns out that my premonitions about formatting mishaps were true. There were not that many, and I resolved everything in a space of a couple of hours, but here’s what I’ve learned in the process:

First, the good news:

  1. Uploading your book to Amazon is RIDICULOUSLY EASY. Fear not if you’ve never done it before. Assuming you already have an Amazon account you’ve used to purchase books. Otherwise you have to set one up, and it would probably take twice as long. It’s literally a couple of pages and takes about 10-15 minutes. You can preview your text, make any changes in your Word file and upload the new version (takes about a minute).
  2. Note: you can’t have multiple accounts with Amazon. If you use a pen name, it would be a matter of setting up an author page under the pen name, which I’m yet to do.
  3. If you are a first timer, like me, use Word to write your book. I can’t really talk about Scrivner since I’ve never used it, but why complicate something that is already complicated enough? I credit the relatively easy conversion of my text with the fact that I’ve used good ol’ Word.

The not so good news:

  1. I’ve spent an exuberant amount of time fussing over the drop caps and inserting them into text at the beginning of chapters and then again at scene changes. I’ve previously used asterisks in the middle of the page to signal a change of scene. Finding and replacing them was a lot of work, so you can imagine my disappointment when in Kindle they displayed so far below the first line, they looked like “buried caps.” I tried googling solutions, but the consensus was JUST DON’T DO IT. So I spent more time going back and trying to figure out how to highlight the first line/first letter. In the end, I’ve decided to do nothing.
  2. You don’t need to stress over the fonts because Kindle will translate whatever carefully chosen font into its own standard. This could even be considered good news, if IT WAS BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION LAST WEEK, before I spent hours researching, changing, trying out, and changing the font again.
  3. Make sure that you use the style “Headings” for your chapter names and not “Chapters”. Otherwise your table of contents will be empty. Hey, it’s an easy mistake to make! I actually decided to take “Chapter XX” out altogether in the end, and I think it makes for a cleaner, simpler presentation.

The most amazing news:

The text has been uploaded! No more editing! (Unless of course one of you points out a really stupid mistake and I fix it, but let’s just keep it between friends, okay?). This is what it will look like on a Kindle device:

Screenshot (9)

I could have published it already, but I just have to have one more fiddle with the cover image. I’m going to bed now, along with all other Australians, but will be up bright and early to finish it up. That’s if I can sleep at all πŸ™‚


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

34 responses to “T-minus 12 hours and counting! Plus some random Kindle formatting tips..

  1. This sounds like my experience. Great post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, when formatting for kindle, less is best. I usually start by removing all formatting because Word has a tendency to add formatting that you aren’t aware of. Then I go back and add only the basics. Anything complicated gets messy. This works for fiction. If you are doing non-fiction and want to add formatting to make your book stand out, best to get some help with formatting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post!! I was seriously considering a second edition with drop caps because I loved yours so much, but now I’ll just do that for my print edition, not kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So I have yet to upload a book to Kindle (reassured by how easy it appears to be though), but I am an avid user of Scrivener for many years. One of the great things about Scrivener is that it does the formatting for you. You can compile your document with specific headings, in different formats, epub, mobi, etc. I recommend you checking it out–everyone I’ve talked to who has made the switch swears it’s so much easier than Word! πŸ™‚ Even if you don’t, congrats, that’s so exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kelsie! I will definitely check it out, part of the learning curve. I’m just glad I could get away with just Word at this stage, because OMG, talk about a steep learning curve!! At times I was just exhausted, but oh, it’s so worth it πŸ™‚ Best of luck with finalising one of your projects – oh, what a feeling πŸ™‚ I would recommend taking some time off or doing a retreat – I’ve taken the last week off work, I don’t think I would have been finished now otherwise, just due to the volume of work and the excitement/stress of a fist-timer πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations. I went through the same thing last weekend, and it’s a trip. I love how on their site they say it takes about five minutes. Took me almost all of Saturday! The CreateSpace site for physical books is much easier, although once you finally get the thing loaded, it takes several days to actually see it on Amazon, so it takes some patience.
    Congrats again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bendanarama

    Ooh, soon you’ll be getting carpal tunnels pressing refresh on the reports page like the rest of us! One serious note though – a lot of the folks on K boards are saying that early September is a bit of a dead zone as far as sales are concerned, so it may be worth holding off a week or two.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations Ana. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So awesome!! Can’t wait to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. olivia barrington

    I hope that last one fiddle with the cover comes out playing the tune you want. All your hard work will pay off and you’ll be on the moon. Thanks for all the tips about editing, formatting,uploading,etc.I’ll put it to good use when the time comes for my book. Most of all a big CONGRATULATIONS to you for accomplishing another dream. Dreams take hard work and elbow grease but their so worth it! Good Luck!!!! Let us know when it’s available. Till then take a deep breath, your almost there.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations Ana! That’s a great achievement!

    Thanks for all the useful info. I’ll be uploading a book on Amazon for the first time in a couple of months, and I’m terrified that all the formatting will break down! So you directly upload the Word file and it gets converted by Amazon? For some reason I thought you convert it to mobi first and then upload the converted file. Or maybe both are possible? To be honest, I would have preferred to upload an already converted file, so I can spend as long as I need to fix all bugs and preview it on my Kindle. Now I have a bad feeling I’ll have to upload the file 20 times.

    I was also thinking about drop caps, but at the end I decided to keep them in the print edition and remove them from the Kindle. From what I hear, the formatting for Kindle has to be minimalist as everything is removed anyway. Your preview looks lovely, and I think it’s a brilliant idea to remove the “Chapter XX”.

    Best of luck with your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Elena! You just upload the Word, and it takes Amazon about a minute to convert it I wouldn’t have had to upload so many time, but I was super impatient. Instead of going through the entire preview and noting all errors, I would fix the first one and upload gain.

      I don’t know if Mobi is required for Scrivner users, or if it’s something that’s been changed. I wouldn’t rely on advice from an ebook that’s even a few years old – so much up to date info is online fire free…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s pressing that final publish button that takes nerve. Go for it. Look forward to that sigh when it’s done and out of your hands. It will be worth it. Best of everything you ever hoped it would be.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations! Wishing you much success!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Congrats on publishing your book! i’m going to go and buy a copy as soon as I can! Thanks for all the great advice you give as well, it’ll be really helpful when I eventually get around to writing my own book! I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award, check it out here: https://georgiebolwell.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/the-liebster-award/


  14. Jenn

    Congratulations! I remember that feeling, so exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. How exciting! Congratulations on your accomplishment with this novel!


  16. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend Smashwords as well. Your same Word file (plus a couple of Smashwords-related bits you have to insert on the title page and copyright page) can be used, and Smashwords offers both ePub and Kindle e-book formats. They will also distribute your e-book to iTunes and Barnes & Nobleβ€”which Amazon, of course, doesn’t do…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you again, Kevin. Smashwords is on my list, although my next project is a paper version on CreateSpace. I’m currently debating whether to enrol my book in KDP Select, and then maybe do Smashwords after.


  17. Sam Ramirez Friedman

    Thanks for following my blog! I’ve been debating over whether to use a pen name or not for some of my writing. I don’t want multiple accounts, but I do want to keep certain works separate from others.


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