Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fun With Formatting

My first eBook is currently being reviewed for publication on Amazon; overall, it seems like the publishing process takes about two days for English-language books. However, there's something I hadn't taken into consideration.The formatting of your text prior to uploading at Amazon is key. 

There are people who will format an author's writing for a fee (like Rob Siders at 52Novels) and I'm sure they can make a book look flawless. The only problem is that I don't have the extra money for this kind of service, so I had to go through the process myself. 

Basically, Amazon's Kindle reads the story or novel as an HTML file. An author can upload a Word document to the server and the file is reformatted as HTML. Or, for the codemonkey who may be reading this, the author can convert to HTML prior to uploading; I believe this can make for a visually stunning book. 

Alas, my history with HTML coding is haphazard at best; the preview of my book (provided by Amazon at the time of upload) looked good. It took me several times to get it right, though.

I had a book of 85 pages filled with tabs and a few fancy fonts for titles or headings. Page breaks weren't necessarily included in the document. Amazon disapproved. 

In order for the piece to be converted properly, it has to be simplified and Amazon provides guidelines for how to do this; there are also tons of helpful YouTube videos regarding the topic. Beware: it is time consuming. I get a little anxious when I consider the time it will take me to convert my novel (around 105,000 words) so it is compatible with the eReader.

Maybe by that time, I'll have sold a few copies of the first book. Then I can have someone else format the novel for me. 

I'm not lazy, mind you. I just want to spend my free time writing. I mean, that's my job, right?

1 comment:

  1. I'm about to take this on myself and scared to death. I have to wait for a cover first but hopefully I'll find someone soon.
    Thank you for the guideline link to formatting...I'm going to click on it right now so I can see just how confused I will be.