I woke up on day and realized that many of my friends were having all sorts of trouble in life because of a fear of spiders. They wouldn't go to parks. They wouldn't leave the house in some cases! They would shriek and stress and damage their health. All because of a little, innocent creature. I decided I would do my part to help them reduce this unnecessary stress.
What I had before I began:
* A knowledge of spiders
* A few photos of spiders
* CALIBRE (free) software installed on my computer
* SIGIL (free) software installed on my computer
* WORD (you can use a free equivalent) installed on my computer
I start with a template. Usually I open up one of my previous books and then save it into a new directory. You can see a generic version of my template here - Lisa's Word Template for Book Publishing. The point here is that once you get a template you like, keep a copy of it. That makes future books easier to make.
So, when I began, I opened this template. I started writing the chapters. My Spider book is 23 pages long if you count just from the start of the introduction to the end of the summary. I wrote that in about three hours. I could write that quickly because 1) I know the subject matter and 2) I write every day. The more you write, the easier it gets to write. The more your brain can flow out words. The faster your fingers type. Everything works more smoothly. So if you currently don't write every day, build that into your routine. It's like riding a bike or driving a car or anything else. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
So, three hours later, I had my finished document. It had photos and content. Make sure every main chapter heading is tagged as "Heading 1" as in my template. This is critical for the table of contents step later.
Now it was time to make it into an ebook.
I opened Photoshop and made a cover that is 1563 wide by 2500 high. This is the important ratio to use for Kindle. Fill that whole area. If you make a different size, you're wasting space. Also, make sure your image is crystal clear even when shrunk down. Most people see only tiny thumbnails of covers on Amazon when making their purchase decision. If your image is full of tiny details, it simply won't be seen.
Now to turn that Word document into an ebook. First, I did File - Save as PDF. This was sent to friends and family to offer feedback on.
Next, I did File - Save as - Web Page, Filtered. This is critical. This is the best way to hand the book over to CALIBRE.
Next, I launched CALIBRE and opened that .HTM file I just created. CALIBRE is software which converts books from one format to another. In CALIBRE I first edited the metadata. I set the title, the author name, and the cover. Then in the conversion settings under "Table of Contents" I clicked on the magic wand by the Level 1 TOC and used the H1 setting. Make sure the output format is EPUB.
Click OK - this now makes your EPUB document.
Time to edit and polish that EPUB. Open SIGIL. SIGIL is an EPUB editing program. First, always click on View - Code View while looking at that cover image. The default is to have preserveAspectRatio="none" set which will cause problems. Delete that phrase out of the page, and click the save button.
Now click the green check button to run a syntax check. In essence, delete every error it points out. So if it finds clear="all" in a line and complains about it, delete out the clear="all" from that line. To be clear, DO NOT DELETE THE ENTIRE LINE. Just delete the phrase it is choking on. When you're done, save the file and re-run the check. If it comes up OK, you are OK.
Go back to CALIBRE. Now all you have to do is CONVERT again. This time your input file is the EPUB you just edited, and the output file is the MOBI file you want to load into the Kindle. Always load a MOBI file into the Kindle. MOBI is the Kindle native format. You want to give them their exact final format. Anything else is asking them to convert it into MOBI, which opens up a chance for a problem to occur. If you give them a MOBI, you reduce any chance for error.
You can now test your MOBI file on your home system with Kindle free software. You can also drag it onto your Kindle to test it there. Listen to the feedback from friends and family. In my case, after four hours or so, I'd gotten enough feedback that I was ready to go live. So at that point I made all the changes to the base WORD document, I redid the above steps to make it into an EPUB and then a MOBI (which really only takes five minutes once you know what buttons to press) and I had a MOBI file ready to load.
I now went to https://kdp.amazon.com/ and signed in. I clicked on Add New Title. I gave my book a title and description. I set my name as the author. I loaded in my Kindle cover, I loaded in the MOBI file. I gave it a price. I then submitted the book.
This is the only part out of your control. It takes up to 12 hours for Amazon to process the book and put it live. Later, when you revise it, it takes less time, but there's still a six hour or so processing time period. Be aware of that. But since it took me under 12 hours to do the first part of my process, it means that it was under 24 hours from the start when the book did go live.
Keep in mind that you can revise your book any time you want. So even if you find a typo, that's OK. You fix it and post a new version. That being said, don't post a book riddled with typos :). If you get negative reviews on your book, those are permanent. Those won't go away when you post new versions. Those stay forever. So it's well worth it to make sure it's as perfect as possible before you post it live. Readers get quite cranky when they see a book full of typos. It makes them feel the author didn't care.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Conquering your Fear of Spiders - finished ebook
Creating an Amazon Kindle Ebook - main page
What Does It Cost to Ghostwrite a Book?
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