Do you want to convert your work of fiction or non-fiction into a Kindle eBook? Many platforms today allow you to upload files in MS word format, and automatically do the conversion for you. However, on some occasions, you may need to upload files in a compatible format.
When it comes to eBook formatting, Do-It-Yourself authors have three primary options:
If you’ve formatted your word document for paperback, then add the book into Calibre, and choose the setting, output format: EPUB, and Calibre will do the conversion for you. However, you will still need to go into other settings like page setup, table of contents, and ensure your book is setup exactly the way you like it.
Option 2: Use Kindle Create, a free software provided by Amazon, that will help you convert your document to an eBook file that can be uploaded on Kindle direct publishing. The instructions are provided on Amazon’s website here.
Option 3: Manually code your document
A few basic HTML (hypertext markup language) codes will turn a Microsoft Word document into an HTML document, to upload into the Kindle Digital Publishing Platform and convert it into a Kindle book.
The instructions to do it are below:
Copy your entire text from its original word processing document into a new Notepad text editor document. All of your original formatting will disappear and you’ll see your entire book in plain text. You’ll want to save your document as an HTML, so click “File” and “Save As.” Select “All Files” under “Save as Type” document. Type “yourbooktitle.html” and click “Save.” The file is now saved as an HTML document.
Create a title page, which your reader will see when they first open the Kindle eBook. Open the Notepad document. At the very top before any other text, copy the following HTML and paste it into the Notepad document. Replace the “TITLE,” “Your Author Name,” cover designer and book designer with the appropriate information.
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″></head>
<center>Your Author Name</center>
Copyright © 2012 by Author Name<br>
Cover design by Cover Designer Name<br>
Cover image: Cover Image<br>
Book design by Book Designer Name<br>
All rights reserved.<br>
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
<center>* * * *</center>
Right after the Step 2 HTML coding, type <mbp:pagebreak/> to create a pagebreak. You will need to do this before every chapter heading, to indicate a new pagebreak. Due to the fact that Kindle eBooks scroll, you do not need to add pagebreaks after every page. The text is continuous in a chapter.
Create a Table of Contents. Copy the following coding directly underneath the <mbp:pagebreak/> coding. Continue the numbering for all of your chapters. Just change the number inside the <a href=”#chap?”> tags.
<h2>Table of Contents</h2>
<a href=”#chap1″>1. Chapter One</a>
<a href=”#chap2″>2. Chapter Two</a>
<a href=”#chap3″>3. Chapter Three</a>
Type another <mbp:pagebreak/> to start a new chapter. Type the Chapter Name between two heading tags. Add the <a name=”chap?”> and </a> tags around the chapter name. It looks like this:
<a name=”chap1″><h2>1. CHAPTER ONE</h2></a>
The heading tag makes the Chapter Name larger than the regular font. The <a name=”chap?”> and </a> makes the Chapter Name a link. So, a reader can click on the chapter title in the Table of Contents and jump right to that chapter when reading.
Repeat the Chapter Name coding for every chapter in the book, changing the “chap?” to the number of the chapter.
Now it’s time for the text HTML coding. This is the easy, but time-consuming part. Every paragraph requires paragraph tags, written as <p> at the start and </p> at the end. Here is a piece of sample text:
<p>When dawn broke, she was having a nightmare. Again. It was horrible, like all the others before it. Yet, she didn’t want to wake. For the world of wakefulness was worse than the world of dreams.</p>
It is tedious to add this coding and there is no easy way of doing it, so just take it one chapter at a time until you’re finished. Remember to add the <mbp:pagebreak/> coding in a blank line before each new chapter. Your book will look similar to this:
<p>And that was when the trouble started.</p>
<a name=”chap6″><h2>6. The Trouble</h2></a>
<p>John couldn’t believe what had happened to him. One minute, he’s driving down the road in a hot new sports car. The next, he’s handcuffed and thrown in the back of a cop car. It wasn’t a good start to the day.</p>
Add subheadings. Nonfiction books often have subheadings to break up the flow of the text. Subheadings have similar HTML to chapter titles, but without the <a name=”chap?”> coding.
There are no pagebreaks before or after subheadings. Continue the paragraphs below the subheading like in Step 6.
Insert images using HTML coding. Images are not manually inserted into the Notepad document, but they will be bundled with the final document into a zipped file for uploading to Kindle. Images must not be larger than 50 MB and no wider than 520 pixels to view on a Kindle screen. Here is the sample image coding:
<p class=”image”><img src=”image.jpg” alt=”name of image” align=”top”/>add a caption here, if you want</p>
Change the “image.jpg” to the name of the image, still keeping the quotes around it. Change “name of image” to the image name. You can add text as a caption, if desired.
Finish the HTML coding for the document. When you finally come to the end after coding the entire book, then you will type your short author biography. Copy this sample coding and change to fit your biography.
<i>About the Author:</i><br>
Here is the author biography.
Now you’re done with the coding. Save the document and put it into a folder along with all of its images. Zip the folder and upload it to the Kindle Digital Publishing Platform website. Add a cover image, set the price, and you are finished.