Converting for Kindle


I recently converted Precise Edit’s 300 Days of Better Writing and Your Writing Companion-Writing Advice and Instruction from Precise Edit, for Kindle. While the conversion platform for Kindle (DTP-Digital Text Platform) appeared to be straightforward, it wasn’t. For example, previewing the document after uploading it was a little frustrating. I couldn’t choose to go to the cover page of a document through the pull down menu in the preview screen. Instead, I had to click the left arrow at the top for several hundred pages (in our case) to get to the cover page and see if it was there at all. Since it wasn’t, I had to revise my coding and go through the whole uploading process again.


After several document updates, DTP forum visits, waiting 48 hours to retrieve a sample copy of our finished version (Amazon doesn’t provide authors with free copies of their books), finding out that I could include a cover page, discovering several forums later how to include the cover page, the document was ready to go. Whew!

I found it hard to access the DTP through our Amazon account. It takes about four clicks to access the platform, and then I had to sign in again before uploading. I suggest after finding the platform, bookmark it.

Amazon also doesn’t let authors set a price of zero (for free) for their products. This caused some frustration for us because we offer a free sample of our guides on our book sales site (http://HostileEditing.com) and wanted to make it available at no cost for Kindle users. The book sample guide is $0.99 on Kindle, the lowest price you can set.

HTML is not a challenge for me, and I prefer to code our books in preparation for uploading instead of letting the platform convert from a PDF or Word document. I find this ensures that the final product looks the way we want it. However, Kindle navigation requires some HTML coding that I didn’t know because it’s unique to this platform. The codes were simple, but finding them took a long time. Instructions from Amazon didn’t even mention them. Platform forum after platform forum, you finally discover what the “secret codes” are.

So you don’t have to search for the coding like I had to, here is a list to help you set up your document and make it Kindle friendly.

  • For a cover page with an image, add this at the beginning of the body in your HTML document:
    <div id=”cover”>
    <center>
    <img src=”dogsbarking.jpg”> [put in the file name for your cover image here.]
    </center>
    </div>
  • To create a page break before each chapter or section use this code at the end of the previous chapter/section:
    <mbp:pagebreak />

Kindle has a menu to help users locate major sections in a document. When you click on the arrow to pull the menu down, you are given the options to go to the table of contents, go to the cover page, or go to the beginning (Chapter 1). The following codes when implemented into your document serve the user to navigate this menu. Put these at the top of the Table of Contents, before the code to add your cover image, and just before the first word of Chapter 1, respectively.

  • For Table of Contents:
    <a name=”TOC”/>
  • To go to the cover page:
    <a name=”cover”/>
  • To navigate to the beginning of a book/document:
    <a name=”start”/>

Other common HTML codes:

  • <b>This text will be bold.</b>
  • <i>This text will be italicized.</i> [the coding <em>-</em> is also used for italics.]
  • <u>This text will be underlined.</u>
  • <p>Paragraph break</p>
  • <br> [Use this code for line breaks in your document]
  • <h1>Heading 1</h1> [Use this code for major headings. Example:

    heading 1 being the largest in font size,

    heading 2 and beyond

    decreasing in font size.]

Note: Remember to always close your tags. You will know when you have an open tag because everything after the word or phrase you wanted underlined will also be underlined (bolded, italicized, etc.).

After I posted 300 Days of Better Writing, posting our free writing guide and the Precise Edit Training Manual wasn’t so complicated. I hope this article helps first-time DTP users upload their books for Kindle with a little more finesse than my first time. I also hope there will be changes made to this platform or production of optional platforms that are much more user friendly and straightforward.

Here’s a source I use when I’m in an HTML tizzy: http://www.tedmontgomery.com/tutorial/index.html

For a list of acceptable DTP (Kindle) coding, visit these infamous forums:
Formatting Documents Guide
Digital Text Platform Community Support (HTML tags supported)

Note: Since the posting of this article, Amazon has changed the appearance of its Kindle DTP platform. The layout is easier on the eyes, but the uploading process remains the same.

Article by Alina Padilla
APadilla@preciseedit.com
Precise Edit

This article is translated to Serbo-Croatian language by Vera Djuraskovic from Webhostinggeeks.com.


Free E-book to Improve Your Writing Skills

Your Writing Companion

Top writing strategies and expert instruction from each of Precise Edit’s writing guides

  • 2 complete articles from
    Precise Edit Training Manual
  • 8 days of instruction from
    300 Days of Better Writing
  • 5 top strategies from
    Bang! Writing with Impact

Discover the quality and practicality of Precise Edit’s writing guides while learning great strategies for writing powerfully!

GET THE FREE E-BOOK (PDF)
or purchase the Kindle version ($0.99).

10 Comments

Filed under Other musings, Writing

10 responses to “Converting for Kindle

  1. Dear Alina: I’ve written a novel in two volumes. Each has an ISBN number and each is copyrighted.However I’m not a US citizen(no SIN,US address or bank acct.) and at my advanced age my old brain cannot wrap itself around your computor jargin. Could you publish my work on the various e book platforms for a fee?

    Regards: Steve Carter

  2. Pallab

    Very helpful. Thanks

  3. I really appreciate this information and guidance. I tried to put 3 books on Amazon but nothing ever looked at all right and I couldn’t correct it. I’m now in the waiting time for another book and after reading your information here I was able to make the page do what I want it to. Thank you.

  4. That’s good news! I’m glad this information helped you. Best wishes on your book sales.

  5. HOLY CRAP someone actually posted the answers I wanted! Amazon’s guides are godawful, thank you so much!

  6. Robinson Rodriguez

    I am a veteran of he Vietnam Conflict. I wrote a journal which is not very lengthy but should keep a reader interested for a couple of hours. Some associates and family members have urged me to get published but I do not know how. I am also wondering if I go through Amazon, how much do I charge? Thank you.

  7. My Table of Contents stays grayed out even after I put in the
    . My start is not grayed out but it doesn’t go to where I put in the tag, it goes to the first of the file after my cover. Is there another piece I need to put in to make this work? I seem to go to the cover just fine.

  8. Sorry, the comment above stripped out the HTML code. “a name=”TOC”” should be in the end of the first sentence and “a name=”start”” should go in before the “tag” in the second line.

  9. Les

    Hey, I was wondering if you knew how to make the cover appear in the Kindle’s library? Once I open the book, the cover’s there. But I was wondering about the preview, when you see all your books lined up on the ‘shelf’. For some reason, the cover just doesn’t appear. Cheers.

  10. Excellent site. A lot of useful info here. I’m sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thank you on your effort!

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