Kindle

Now You Can Publish Kindle Ebooks as Paperbacks Through Kindle Direct Publishing

Now You Can Publish Kindle Ebooks as Paperbacks Through Kindle Direct Publishing

If you’re a Kindle author and haven’t logged into the KDP website recently, you may notice a new option on your Bookshelf.

There is now an option to publish your Kindle e-book as a print-on-demand (POD) paperback via the KDP site. This is quite separate from publishing on Amazon’s CreateSpace platform, incidentally.

I spent some time looking at what is on offer today, so here are my thoughts so far. To start with, it’s not just the case that you click a button and a paperback version is produced from the e-book. Some information is obviously carried over (book title, author name, publishing rights, and so on). However, the text and cover artwork have to be uploaded separately as new files. It does surprise me a bit that you can’t just import the existing text and format it for print, but there we are.

You can download various templates for your book from the KDP website info pages and edit these in Word or other software. Some guidance is provided for doing this, including a downloadable PDF manual. In my case KDP recommended that I use a 9 x 6 inch template. Both blank templates and templates with sample text are available via the KDP website.

Likewise, you can’t just automatically import your existing e-book cover. You have to either create and upload a print-ready PDF (you’ll need software such as Photo Shop to produce this) or use the KDP Cover Creator tool. The latter can produce cover designs suitable for paperback books (front, back and spine) and will import your existing e-book front cover if you wish (and it’s suitable). If you want a consistent look across both the e-book and print version of your book, however, you may face a few challenges.

You can set your own price for the paperback version of your book and receive 60% of the price paid once print costs have been deducted. This is obviously worth doing in order to reach the substantial audience of people who still prefer print books rather than electronic ones.

The KDP paperback creator is still in beta and additional features are promised in due course. One major thing lacking at the moment is any way of purchasing a sample print copy of your book so you can see for yourself what buyers will receive. This is clearly a drawback compared with CreateSpace. Neither do KDP published print books currently receive the extended distribution of CreateSpace titles.

If you currently publish on CreateSpace I can’t therefore see any compelling reason to switch to KDP at the moment. However, the likelihood is that once everything is working as it should KDP will become Amazon’s main hub for both e-book and print self-publishing. The future for CreateSpace after that is uncertain. For this reason if no other, it is a good idea to at least take a look at KDP’s paperback creator tool now.

I have made a start on converting one of my Kindle e-books using the KDP paperback creator, and will post here again once it is available. But I’d love to get your comments and feedback as well, especially if you have tried out the service yourself. Please leave any comments below as usual.

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Massive Royalties from Tiny Books

Review: Massive Royalties from Tiny Books

Massive Royalties from Tiny Books is a new product from Paul Coleman. It is being heavily promoted online at the moment, so I thought I would buy a copy myself to see if it is worthy of the hype.

Massive Royalties from Tiny Books is a guide to making money by publishing Kindle Short Reads. This is a category of short Kindle e-book recently created by Amazon. It should not be confused with Kindle Singles, for which you have to go through a submission process.

Anyone can write and publish a Kindle Short Read. The only stipulation is that the book should be under 100 pages. Paul tells us that this type of short e-book is becoming very popular among busy  people for whom time is at a premium.

So what do you get for your money? The main guide is a downloadable PDF manual. In keeping with the tiny books theme, it is quite short itself. There are just 23 pages, weighing in at around 6000 words. The content is organised in 12 sections, as follows:

1. Why Short Reads?
2. Bestsellers
3. Review Secrets
4. Book Description
5. Cover Magic
6. Hooks
7. Outline
8. Browse Categories
9. Launch and Promote
10. Bad Reaction
11. Good Reaction
12. Boxed Set

The advice is focused around creating fiction, and specifically romantic/erotic fiction aimed at women (like 50 Shades of Grey). It would have been nice to see some discussion about non-fiction as well.

On the plus side, Massive Royalties from Tiny Books makes a strong case for creating short Kindle e-books (Paul recommends aiming for just 30 pages or around 7500 words). And it does provide a step-by-step method for planning, writing and promoting a book of this type.

With only 23 pages the advice is clearly not in-depth, but you do get links to a good range of useful resources and information. For example, there are links to Kindle e-book research sites, the HTML codes you can use in your Amazon sales page descriptions, and to people offering to help promote your e-book inexpensively on Fiverr.

One thing you won’t find is any detailed advice on writing and publishing a Kindle e-book using the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform. I highly recommend Geoff Shaw’s Kindling for advice and training about this – and of course there is free information on formatting and publishing a Kindle e-book on the KDP help pages.

So is Massive Royalties from Tiny Books Worth Buying?

On balance, I think that Massive Royalties from Tiny Books is worth the $17 (around £14) currently being asked for it, especially as you also get access to a private Facebook group devoted to this subject.

Ideally it would be good if the manual covered a wider range of potential topics for short books. More discussion about the actual writing and publishing process might have helped those new to Kindle publishing as well. But it will undoubtedly open your eyes to the potential of this approach, and give you a practical step-by-step strategy which you can research further via other resources if required.

To sum up, if making money from Kindle publishing is something that interests you, this guide is definitely worth adding to your resources library.

If you have any comments or questions about Massive Royalties from Tiny Books, as always, please do post them below.

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Publisher's Power Tool

Review: Publisher’s Power Tool

Publisher’s Power Tool is the latest writing product to be launched by my colleague Amy Harrop and her business partner Debbie Drum. Amy and Debbie were kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Publisher’s Power Tool is a guide to publishing picture books for children and adults using the presentation software MIcrosoft PowerPoint (other software options are also discussed). The guide then reveals how to publish them as ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle platform and/or as print books using Amazon CreateSpace.

Publisher’s Power Tool is being sold via the popular and well-established WarriorPlus platform. The main guide is a 69-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy and Debbie’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen-captures where relevant.

The manual explains how you can capitalize on the huge market for picture books. Although children are the obvious target audience, the authors make the point that there is a sizeable market for adult picture books as well, including how-to books, humour books, and inspirational books.

The main part of the manual walks you through creating a picture book yourself with the aid of the PowerPoint software. It sets out the advantages of using PowerPoint for this purpose, including the ease with which you can create a template for publishing a series of such books. You can also easily insert pictures in bulk, which is a great time-saver. And it is also very easy to edit and rearrange the pages in a PowerPoint file, until you have your book looking exactly the way you want it.

The latter part of the manual then discusses how readers can publish and market the books themselves. Eight pages are devoted to Kindle publishing and ten pages to print publishing using CreateSpace. Clearly, covering how to do all this in detail would require a much longer book, so what Amy and Debbie have done is link to useful resources throughout the manual. Some of these are resources they have produced themselves, while others are from external websites. I understand that there may also be some extra reports and/or training videos with the finished product, although my pre-publication access only included the main manual.

The one thing that isn’t discussed in any depth is marketing your picture book (although the manual does discuss how to make the most of categories, keywords, and so on when listing your book on Amazon). Still, there is of course plenty of information about this available elsewhere on the internet, both free and paid for.

Overall, I think Publisher’s Power Tool is another excellent addition to the growing roster of writing resources published by Amy and Debbie. If you are already a confident PowerPoint user you may find some of the advice on using the software familiar, but it is still enlightening to see how the authors adapt it to this particular purpose.

Publisher’s Power Tool is currently on a launch special offer after which – as is Amy and Debbie’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10. If you want to broaden your publishing portfolio with something that is fun and not too time-consuming, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Publisher’s Power Tool, as always, please do post them below.

 

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Pop Culture Publishing Profits

Review: Pop Culture Publishing Profits

Pop Culture Publishing Profits is the latest writing guide to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful Kindle author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Pop Culture Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing e-books (or books) that leverage the popularity of high-profile movies, TV shows, video games, and so on. The main guide is a 41-page PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with screen captures (mainly of Amazon reviews) where relevant.

In the manual, Amy explains how you can capitalize on the huge interest in popular culture. She reveals how you can create books and e-books that will appeal to people interested in the shows and products concerned. One example she gives is a Kindle e-book on the subject of The Vikings, which appeared to have been written to cash in on the popularity of the TV show of the same name.

The big advantage of writing and publishing books related to popular culture is that there is a large group of people interested in these matters, who in many cases are actively seeking more information about them. If you can publish a book that comes up high in the results when they are searching (either online or on Amazon), you could potentially generate a lot of sales.

Amy discusses a variety of niches in which this could work. As well as the movies, TV shows and video games mentioned above, she includes politics, sport, music and books. Unfortunately (from an author’s perspective!) the latter is not as big a niche as the others mentioned, but it is certainly possible to write books/e-books that capitalize on the popularity of current or forthcoming titles.

Speaking of which, one thing that impressed me about Pop Culture Publishing Profits was how Amy reveals ways to find out about forthcoming productions likely to have lots of people talking about them. Certainly, if you can write a book that ties in with the next blockbusting movie (for example), you could be on the way to generating large numbers of sales.

Although the guide is fairly concise, it includes links to other resources – some by Amy, some by other people – covering specific issues and questions. There is a link to some additional training by Amy herself on how to get reviews for your books, for example.

The manual also covers the tricky subject of avoiding copyright and trademark infringement. Amy advises writers to use public domain content as much as possible, e.g. if a forthcoming movie is based on an old fairytale which is out of copyright, you could publish your own version of the tale by adapting a public domain version. Note that Amazon won’t allow you to simply republish public domain content, so you will need to rewrite/adapt it in some way to make it original.

As well as the main guide, there are various bonuses. These include a publishing guide, writing outlines for a variety of books, and a research and writing guide to help you publish quickly.

In summary, Pop Culture Publishing Profits contains some eye-opening ideas and information, and has definitely inspired me to think about trying this approach myself. It is currently on a launch special offer, after which the price will be rising to $27. If you are interested in this opportunity, it is well worth a look. It doesn’t go into the actual mechanics of publishing a book or e-book, but there is plenty of good advice about this available elsewhere (Geoff Shaw’s Kindling, my number one recommended resource for Kindle e-book authors, for example).

If you have any comments or questions about Pop Culture Publishing Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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readers favorite

Get Your Book or Ebook Reviewed for Free at Readers Favorite

All self-publishing authors know that getting reviews for their books or e-books is an essential requirement for getting sales.

So I thought today I’d bring to your attention a website that promises to review your book free of charge through a network of volunteer readers.

The website is called Readers’ Favorite. It’s been around for a while, and is used by top authors and publishing houses as well as self publishers. It’s a site that any entrepreneurial author should definitely check out.

And yes, they do genuinely offer to review your book for free. The way it works is that once you have registered your book or ebook, it goes on a list that is circulated to their volunteer reviewers. If one of these people likes the sound of your book they can claim it, and promise to provide a genuine review once they have read it.

Obviously, this does mean that there is an element of chance about how quickly your book gets reviewed, although you can improve its prospects by creating a compelling description. If you want to guarantee a quick review, however, you can also pay for a guaranteed “express review” in two weeks or less. They review both print books and ebooks, and even audio books.

Readers’ Favorite posts reviews on their own site, Barnes and Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest. You can also post their reviews on your Amazon page.

In addition, they say that their reviewers will often post reviews of your book on their own websites and blogs, and on popular review and social media sites.

You might wonder what if the reviewer gives your book a bad review? Readers’ Favorite say they only post 4 and 5 star reviews. If a book receives a poor review, they provide constructive criticism direct to the author instead. As they say, they are in the business of helping authors, not hurting them.

There are certain other advantages to submitting your work to Readers’ Favorite. For example, if their reviewer gives your book a five-star rating, they allow you to use the Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review Seal on any of your marketing materials (website, book cover, etc.).

Readers’ Favorite also run their own Book Award Contest, which is quite heavily promoted on the site. There are substantial cash prizes for the winners, but of course you do have to pay a fee to enter.

The Awards are run separately from the reviews service, and you don’t have to submit your book for review to enter it for an award (or vice versa).

There is quite a bit more to the site than I have been able to mention here, so I strongly recommend visiting Readers’ Favorite and spending a little time exploring it. There is nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain, by submitting your book for a free review at least.

Lastly, I should also mention that they are always on the lookout for more volunteer reviewers – so if you fancy getting your hands on some extra reading matter, it’s worth checking out the site as well!

If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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My Review of KD Publishing Pro – A Software Tool for Creating, Formatting and Publishing Kindle E-books

KD Publishing Pro is a software product from Bobby Walker and Dave Guindon. It is designed to help any author create, format and publish a Kindle e-book of their own, even if they have little or no technical knowledge.

It looked to me like the sort of tool that might be useful to many of my readers, so I bought a copy myself to put it through its paces.

You download the software from the members’ area, which also has links to a video training course and various bonuses.

Downloading and installing KD Publishing Pro proved quite straightforward. When you launch the program, this is what you see…

KDDP01

You can either use KD Publishing Pro to write your e-book from scratch (in which case you click on the Create button) or you can copy and paste your content into it.

Either way, if you then click on Create Chapter, you can build up your e-book chapter by chapter. A table of contents will then be created automatically for your book containing all the chapter headings.

You can also get the software to insert a copyright page at the front automatically. The wording is standard, obviously, but you can edit it if you want to.

For creating or editing your e-book, you work on the main screen (shown below). This looks much like an ordinary word-processor..It has a good range of formatting commands at the top, including page break, insert picture, change font, and so on. An advantage of working within KD Publishing Pro is that it only allows you to use formatting permitted in Kindle e-books and (unlike Word) it won’t insert a lot of superfluous code. This should mean that your e-book doesn’t have any formatting errors.

KDPP02

A further feature is that via the Marketing tab (below), you can create promotional pages within your e-book leading to other books you have written and/or affiliate products and services you are promoting. This is all fully explained in the video training, of course.

KDPP2

Once you have your e-book finished, you can save it in Microsoft Word format (suitable for uploading to the Kindle Store) and also as a KD Publishing Pro project for easy editing in future. You can also publish directly to Amazon, once you have entered your account information and book details into the software. You can access your sales stats as well, meaning you may never actually need to log in to the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) website.

As well as the software, you get a video training course on how to use it. This is in the usual screen-capture format, and narrated by Dave Guindon. I found the videos were more than enough to get me started, though I do think a written manual might have been helpful as well.

In addition, there are various bonuses. One is a video course providing a beginner’s guide to Kindle publishing. This is pretty basic, but again if you are brand new to Kindle publishing it will bring you up to speed with how it all works. There is also a 10-module course on how to drive traffic to your book’s sales page (or anywhere else) using Pinterest.

The other bonuses are a WordPress plug-in for creating landing pages, and a QR code generator. The latter will generate QR codes that you can insert in your e-books to link to web pages of your choice (optionally including your affiliate code).

To sum up, in my view KD Publishing Pro is a valuable tool for anyone new to Kindle publishing, and also for more experienced Kindle authors seeking ways to automate and speed up some aspects of the formatting and publishing process.

One other thing I should mention is that if you purchase KD Publishing Pro, you will see a “one-time offer” for another Dave Guindon product called KD Suite. This is a set of software tools for researching and marketing Kindle e-books. It’s another high-quality product, and it is definitely worth thinking about buying it as well. (If you wish, you can see an in-depth review of KD Suite I wrote for the More Money Review website a while ago by clicking here. Note that you will need to register (free) and log in to the site in order to read the full review.)

If you have any comments or questions about KD Publishing Pro (or KD Suite), as always, do feel free to post them below.

 

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Permafree Publishing Quickstart by Amy Harrop

Review: Permafree Publishing Quickstart

Permafree Publishing Quickstart is the latest writing guide to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful Kindle author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Permafree Publishing Quickstart is a guide to making money by publishing content that, as the name implies, is permanently free. The main guide is a 22-page downloadable PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s guides, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with screen captures where appropriate.

Although you can obviously publish free content in a huge range of places, the manual focuses especially on publishing to Amazon. Specifically, it reveals a method for publishing free e-books on Amazon, even though using Kindle Direct Publishing the lowest price you can normally set is 99p/99c.

You might ask what is the benefit of publishing a free e-book. Amy reveals that this can be a great way of boosting your readership, building a mailing list, getting traffic to your blog or website, and so on. Amazon is, of course, the world’s biggest online store, and offers the potential for reaching a huge worldwide readership.

In Permafree Publishing Quickstart Amy emphasises that to benefit from permafree, you need to have a clear strategy, otherwise you will simply be wasting time and money. She reveals various ways you can turn permafree publishing to profit. The latter part of the manual also examines how you can make money directly from your permafree content by selling it via other platforms, e.g. as audiobooks.

In addition to the main manual, there are a number of bonuses. One is a step-by-step guide to using the Aweber autoresponder service. If you plan to use your permafree content to help build a list, membership of such a service is pretty much essential. I am a fan of Aweber myself and do recommend their service, incidentally.

Other bonuses include landing page and opt-in templates, which you can edit and adapt to your own purposes. Again, if you plan on using your permafree content to help build a list, these could be valuable resources.

Overall, I thought Permafree Publishing Quickstart was another high-quality product from Amy Harrop. Permafree publishing is undoubtedly a powerful technique when used correctly, and the advice in this guide (based on Amy’s own experience) will undoubtedly point you in the right direction. It is currently available at a launch offer price of $17, after which it will be rising to $27. There is an unconditional 30-day guarantee.

If you have any comments or questions about Permafree Publishing Quickstart, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

Buy Permafree Publishing Quickstart
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Kindle Instant Previews

Let Readers Preview Your Kindle Book on Your Website

Amazon have just introduced a new feature for Kindle authors named Kindle instant previews. It allows you to post a preview of your Kindle ebook on your blog or website.

Here is an example with my Kindle ebook about plotting…

And here’s another example with my sci-fi novella The Festival on Lyris Five

You can read step-by-step instructions for using Kindle instant previews on this page of the Amazon.com website. Basically, you have to navigate to your ebook’s sales page on Amazon.com (not Amazon UK), click on the “Embed” link next to the other sharing options, and then either copy the special link provided or embed the HTML (which is what I have done above).

A plus point is that once you have clicked on the “Embed” link, you have the option to include your Amazon Associates (affiliate) code if you wish. One think you can’t do, however, is use a geo-targeted link such as those provided by Geni.us (formerly GeoRiot) or BookLinker.

Kindle instant previews are undoubtedly a great feature to promote your Kindle ebooks, however – and you could also use them to promote other authors’ ebooks as an affiliate.

If you have any comments or questions about Kindle instant previews, as ever, please do post them below. Feel free also to post links to your own blog posts using Kindle instant previews if you like.

  • If you are new to writing Kindle ebooks, or looking to make the most of this massive potential market for your work, I highly recommend Geoff Shaw’s Kindling, still the most comprehensive guide to writing both fiction and nonfiction for Kindle. Click through here for my full blog review.
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Taming the Dragon

Taming the Dragon Review

Taming the Dragon is the latest product for writers to be released by the prolific Amy Harrop.

Taming the Dragon is a guide for content writers on how they can boost their productivity when creating articles, ebooks, blog posts, and so on. It’s just been launched at a low offer price of $18 (about 12 UKP), and will be available at this price for a limited time only.

Amy was kind enough to allow me pre-launch reviewer access to Taming the Dragon, so here’s what I found…

Like many of Amy’s products, Taming the Dragon is accessed via a password-protected WordPress site (so don’t lose your log-in details!). This has the advantage that that you can access it from any computer with an internet connection, and it can also be easily updated and expanded.

The main course content for Taming the Dragon takes the form of a 62-page PDF. This includes plenty of links to additional resources. Some of these are provided by Amy herself, but most are on external websites.

As you might expect from this experienced author, the PDF is well written and presented. The table of contents at the front has active links, a feature which is always much appreciated. The text is interspersed with graphics and screen-capture illustrations where appropriate.

I hope I’m not giving away too much by revealing that Taming the Dragon is all about boosting your productivity by using speech recognition (SR) software. The Dragon in the title is actually Dragon Naturally Speaking. This is the market-leading SR program, and the one that Amy recommends herself.

The manual discusses how to make the most of SR software, whether for creating fiction or nonfiction, and also for editing and general email and computer tasks. Amy is clearly a big fan of SR, and she reveals various tips and techniques she has used personally to make herself so productive. The main emphasis is on using Dragon Naturally Speaking, but other SR tools (including some free ones) are also discussed.

In addition to the main manual, there are modules devoted specifically to fiction writing and nonfiction writing. These include training videos and other resources.

There is also a module on using “content accelerators”. These are basically brief outlines of articles you could write on a wide range of subjects, from dating to weight loss, affiliate marketing to juicing. The content accelerators are available to download separately in compressed Zip files, with the content in both Word and Mac OS X formats.

Finally, there is a downloadable 32-page PDF guide to content research for online content creators. This sets out a range of online research tools and techniques you can use, including keyword research, Google Trends, spying on your competitors, Evernote, and so forth.

Overall, I thought Taming the Dragon was another high-quality product from Amy Harrop. It will give you insights into how you can use speech recognition software to greatly boost your productivity, and the “content accelerators” may be useful if you need ideas/outlines for content you could produce in double-quick time. If you run a dating website, for example, there are some good ideas for articles about dating you could produce quickly (using speech recognition software, of course!).

As ever, if you have any comments or queries about Taming the Dragon, please do post them below.

UPDATE: Just heard that the price of Taming the Dragon will be going up on Monday 25 January. Order now to get it at the launch offer price!

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Jeff Phelps Books

Guest Post: Launching Into Kindle by Jeff Phelps

Today I am pleased to bring you a guest post from my old friend (and sometime co-writer) Jeff Phelps.

Jeff is a widely published poet and novelist, and this year published his novels Painter Man and Box of Tricks on Kindle for the first time. In his article he talks about the experience of formatting and publishing his novels as Kindle ebooks, and some of the lessons he learned from this.

Over to Jeff, then.

* * *

My two novels, Painter Man and Box of Tricks were published as paperbacks by the Birmingham-based Tindal Street Press in 2005 and 2009 respectively. They had never been issued as electronic books, which I always thought was a pity.

By early 2015 the paperbacks had all but sold out. Profile Books, who had taken over the lists when Tindal Street Press closed, were not printing another edition. Painter Man and Box of Tricks were becoming rarities.

For my own use I managed to buy a few copies at cover price from Waterstones in New Street, Birmingham before they cleared out their old stock and moved to High Street. Even now you can get new copies from Amazon for around £150 or used for a penny. Such are the unfathomable vagaries of the market.  

There had been some excellent, enthusiastic reactions to both books. Among the most memorable was from a man for whom Painter Man had fitted his situation perfectly and a readers’ group in the north of England who had chosen Box of Tricks as their ’book of the year’ from among others they had read, including luminaries such as Daphne DuMaurier, Ian McEwan and Hilary Mantel.      

So when the rights to the novels reverted to me in late 2014 it seemed like the perfect opportunity to relaunch the titles in a new format. There seemed to be so much life still in them.

So where did I start?

I’d recently installed Scrivener on my computer. It’s the ideal word processing package for a novelist, indeed for anyone attempting long or complex pieces. Scrivener’s ‘bells and whistles’ could easily be (probably have been) the subject of lengthy articles on their own. Scrivener has templates for drama, non-fiction and short stories and innumerable tools for keeping track, outlining plots, comparing versions and so on. Text can be written in a format that’s easy to view and work with (Courier font, for example) and then compiled in a form to suit whatever is needed – with a few clicks to specify or confirm font, paragraphing, titles and so on. I soon discovered there was a simple choice in the compile menu which could format a novel into a file ready-made for Kindle – a .mobi file.

I already had the text of the novels in Word so it was a fairly straightforward task to import each novel to Scrivener, breaking it down into chapters as I went. It’s necessary to divide them in this way as chapters are automatically recognised and separated in the final version and given page breaks and chapter numbers, or titles if preferred.

I did spend time making sure the spelling, spacing and titles were consistent, that there was the same indent for paragraphs throughout and so on. A lot of the fine editing had already been done for the paperbacks so I had a head start. I knew the text was generally in good shape.

I revised and updated the acknowledgements and was able to add a few more complimentary comments that people had made – another advantage of the books having been previously published. In Scrivener these pages are simply added in as part of front matter, from where they are automatically compiled in the right place.

It felt like a good opportunity to look at the book covers again, too. I gave this a lot of thought. Experience told me that book covers didn’t always look good on Kindle devices. The screen is small and the detail can get lost, especially on older models. It also struck me that a cover isn’t permanently visible, the way it is in a paperback. When you close your book on a Kindle device it just shuts down and when you go back to the book it opens at the page last read. You might only ever see the cover once. Even when a book opens for the first time on Kindle it tends to default at the first page of text and miss out the cover and the title pages. I wondered whether I could describe the covers of any of the electronic books I had on my machine. I don’t think I could. All this led me to conclude that the cover of a Kindle book is rarely seen so is not a big selling point, except maybe as an ’image’ that goes with the title on websites and social media.

I considered using the original cover designs from the paperbacks, but my permissions only extended to the text, so I decided to start again with something I had clear rights to. After several false starts I found a striking image of the Perch Rock lighthouse in New Brighton where Box of Tricks is set. The photograph was taken by a relative, Robbie Girven, and he kindly allowed me to use it. I was able to add titles and text using Picasa. Painter Man uses a photograph I’d taken myself in Plymouth, UK, of a peeling face on a wall by the remarkable artist Robert Lenkiewicz, who specialised in paintings of vagrants and outcasts. Check out his amazing work if you don’t know it.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Paul Johnson who worked valiantly to design both covers and whose witty drawings I found on Facebook and instantly loved, and to the consummate artist Robert Perry whose nocturnes of the Black Country partly inspired the scenes and characters in Painter Man. Neither was used as it happened. If Monet was alive today I believe he would have been painting the Black Country exactly as Rob Perry does.

After that the rest seemed straightforward. My good friend Nick Daws had given me lots of advice from his experience. He recommended some of the self-help guides that can be downloaded to Kindle, usually free or at low cost. I used How to Create an Ebook with Scrivener by James Gill and Building your Book for Kindle (Amazon kindle). Both guided me perfectly well through the technical aspects and included the invaluable advice to download free preview programs to view the books as they will appear on various devices. This allowed me to check everything before publishing. Sure enough, on my first attempt the front matter was missing, italics were shown as underlined and chapter headings were repeated. I only had to go back into Scrivener’s compile menu to correct these and resave the file.

Uploading to Kindle was straightforward, too. I set up an account with Kindle Direct Publishing and followed the guidance. There was even a useful graph for choosing the price that will work best, based on past sales of similar titles.

One thing the guide hadn’t told me was that there’s a place in the Kindle publishing process to insert the front cover (and even a cover designer) – so I had to go back, take the cover image out of Scrivener’s front matter and insert it here instead. It only took me a matter of minutes.

After that I simply pressed publish and waited for the novels to appear on Amazon, which in my case they did after about an hour.

One can go back and change things after publication – not only the sales price but the text or the details. For instance, Nick Daws suggested I add more detail to the book description which I was able to do easily. It is the main selling point – the first thing that’s seen on Amazon. There’s a character limit of 3,000, so plenty of space to describe the books and put a few good quotes and recommendations in.

That felt like the end of the process but of course in many ways it’s just the beginning. One needs to keep putting the books in front of people, encourage friends to buy, promote reviews (good ones, naturally) on Amazon and elsewhere and request shares on social media… and, of course, write about the whole process on websites such as these. Please share! Jeff Phelps

Painter Man and Box of Tricks by Jeff Phelps are available from Amazon. They are currently priced at £2.65 in the UK store, $3.99 at the US store.

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Many thanks to Jeff (pictured, right) for an interesting article that I am sure will be helpful for anyone who is considering publishing a Kindle ebook in 2016.

If you have an e-reader, tablet or smartphone yourself, incidentally, I highly recommend both of Jeff’s novels. To my mind Painter Man has the greater emotional impact, while Box of Tricks has a bit more humour. If you like well-written, literary (but unpretentious) fiction, I promise you will enjoy both. If you do, please take a moment to review them on Amazon.

If you have any comments or questions for me (or Jeff), please do post them below.

 

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