Monday, October 25, 2010

Creating an E-book

Dear Diary,

I have neglected you this past month, but it was all to a good cause. I have been preparing a book for kindle distribution, and I'm happy to report that I uploaded it today. Hours, even days, will pass before it appears on the virtual bookshelf of the store of virtual books. When it does, I'll name the book and post the link. Might even get a sale.

It should seem that preparing a book for e-book distribution should be as easy as slapping the manuscript into a submit box, but it isn't. E-book readers, whether they are apps you load onto a computer or other device, or a dedicated reading device, use HTML. And as you know, Bob, HTML is a tricky language. One wrong letter can change the entire format of your page. Finding that wrong letter can be a like searching for a needle in a hayfield.

Further, if you want your e-book to look right, you need to use specific commands.

So the entire process of creating an e-book starts with turning your document into an HTML file (easy, as most word processing programs will do that), cleaning up the HTML and changing the non-working commands to the proper commands (not so easy, but could be worse), formatting the special sections (aaargh!!!! I forgot to put href in all the anchor tags. All of them!), creating the PRC file with Mobipocket (easy, easy, hey -- what did I do wrong?), and uploading the finished file to the Kindle store (Where the heck is the upload page!!!!).

Nothing to it, really.


  1. It takes forty-eight hours for a Kindle book to appear completely; first signs appear in twenty-four. Then you can anxiously proofread it all again. Oops, missed a p tag...

  2. Will the review that I posted on Amazon for your paperback version of _By Blade and Cloth_ eventually carry over to the Kindle version, or do I need to copy and paste it?

  3. At least in the case of one of my books, the print and e-versions are not linked.

  4. I do not have the print and paper versions linked, as I need to buy an ISBN for the paper version for them to be linked. So most likely, yes, you'll have to cut and paste the review.

  5. Which book is that? Will First Light be coming out on Kindle?