Wednesday Wing – Publishing an e-book- easy to use steps by @AlisonW_Editor #wwwblogs #AmWriting

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Today Editor Alison Williams joins us to talk about Publishing an e-book

Alison Williams

Publishing an eBook

There’s absolutely no doubt that self-publishing has opened the doors to many new authors and many are tempted by the idea that they can write a book, upload it to Amazon and wait for the money to roll in. But of course it isn’t as simple as that. Aside from the issues around quality, you also need to prepare your manuscript for publishing.

There are freelancers and companies that will do this for you, but of course they will charge you. So, although formatting can be quite a tricky business, it is worth learning how to do this as once you have the skills you will then be able to format and self-publish in future without incurring any costs (aside of course from other aspects like editing and cover design). It can be time consuming, but it is certainly possible. If you are only publishing a kindle version, then formatting is far simpler than publishing a paperback copy.

Rather than providing a step-by-step, once size fits all guide here, I thought it would be more useful to cover the basics and provide links to more detailed information – the process can feel overwhelming, and, if you’re anything like me, it can be better to find things out as you go along, dealing with one step at a time, rather than trying to learn everything at once.

Having said that, I have included some pretty detailed information about your cover illustration, as this was the most difficult part for me to get my head around when I published!

You will first need to have a cover designed. Once you have a cover illustration, then uploading is relatively straightforward. As long as your designer sends you the illustration in the correct format then it should be a case of simply uploading the file. If you’re using Amazon KDP, ask your illustrator to provide a file that is:

  • A jpeg
  • Has a height/width ratio of 1:6 so a minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side (although KDP recommends 2500 pixels on the longest side). If you decide to publish through Smashwords as well as KDP then the recommended file size is 1600 pixels wide by 2400 pixels tall – these dimensions work for KDP too so you can use the same image for both platforms.
  • The image must be less than 50MB and should have 72 dots per inch (dpi)

Tell the illustrator that Amazon uses RGB (Red, Green, Blue or True Color). The image must be saved without using colour separation.

If the illustrator bears all this in mind, and supplies the correctly formatted image, then it should simply be a case of uploading the cover. Most book cover designers will be aware of what is required to upload a cover successfully, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get an image to simply upload.

You can upload your manuscript directly as a Word document, as a PDF, HTML or TXT, although some cause more problems than others. You can find more advice here.

Once you have uploaded your file, there is an online previewer that makes it very easy to see if there are any issues with the formatting. You can go through the previewer, noting where there are errors to sort out, go back to your original document to correct them, and then upload again. Keep doing this until you are sure your manuscript is correct.

There is plenty of advice on the KDP website. It does quite a good job of walking you through each stage, and if you get stuck then there is a good forum where you can find lots of answers.

If you choose to use Smashwords, they have information on formatting your document ready to upload including a step by step guide. Again, it can take time and some aspects are fiddly, but I used their guide and I managed – and I know it’s a cliché but if I can do it then really anyone can. You should be able to use the same cover image as with KDP. You can find lots of information about Smashwords here. Please note – other free to publish platforms are available!

Alison blogs here

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29 thoughts on “Wednesday Wing – Publishing an e-book- easy to use steps by @AlisonW_Editor #wwwblogs #AmWriting

  1. I have downloaded Calibre and shove the original mss through it …in Times New Roman. Makes it look more professional..then it’s a question of setting the margins and paragraph indents and, as you say proofreading the Amazon upload…worth doing to the very last word, as it sometimes hiccups near the end for some unaccountable reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used CreateSpace for an anthology of local authors, and I was annoyed at how they didn’t make it more obvious there were templates for their print formats. It made it so much easier once I figured that out.

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  3. Great advice. For more details, there’s this downloadable guide in Amazon itself:
    And an option to Smashwords that does not have as many requirements with regards to formatting (as long as you have chapters, you’re OK) is Draft 2 Digital.
    They also create a PDF and send it to Create Space for a papercopy (and the quality always passes Create Space requirements)

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  4. Excellent post Alison, I’d also add that as well as an online previewer (which I find can be a bit sticky) you can also download the mobi file then transfer it to your Kindle to check through. Once it’s perfect you then already have your mobi file on your computer ready to send to book bloggers etc.

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  5. Amazon recommends uploading a Word doc, which it converts to a mobi for Kindle readers. Although your eBook might appear perfectly in the Kindle Previewer, the apps for tablets do not always convert eBooks properly. As a precaution, I suggest inserting asterisks or another symbol of your choice between sections. Often, Galaxy 500s and iPads do not pick up the extra spaces, and one part runs right into the next. Amazon appears unable to fix the issue, at least for now…

    Thanks for the helpful info, Alison. Pinned & shared.

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