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:
<img src=”dogsbarking.jpg”> [put in the file name for your cover image here.]
- To create a page break before each chapter or section use this code at the end of the previous chapter/section:
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:
- To go to the cover page:
- To navigate to the beginning of a book/document:
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
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