Need not be intimidated
- Easy because Createspace tells you they will take a PDF and upload it to Kindle's KDP, making you think it will look perfect. They LIE!
- Absolutely frustrating because the Smashwords Guide is 107 pages in random order and tons of extra info. (Two weeks and a broken laptop later, I figured things out.)
What you need to know:
- Everyone uses different software/methods. Use what works for you.
- PDFs do not convert properly.WHY?
- Only use Times New Roman, Garamond, or Arial. WHY?
- Never use tabs, returns, or the space bar to create added space or indents WHY?
- Use the Styles & Formatting option on MS Word or Open Office. WHY?
- Page breaks are necessary, it is the way to place the headings at the top of the new page.
- Drop Caps don't work. Here's an alternative.
- Always use hyperlinks, but they can be tricky. WHY?
- Use frontmatter & backmatter of your books to promote yourself and other authors who will reciprocate. HOW?
- You need a Table of Contents, and there are several ways to do this.
- If you screw up the formatting, you can always "Nuke" or remove all formatting. How?
This is how I do it.
Others do it differently.
Set Heading 1 to:
Center, Times New Roman, 14 pt, Bold, Page Break Before
(Using Heading 1 will allow a one click TOC creation in Calibre)
Set "Text Body Indent" to:
Times New Roman, 12 pt, Justify extend single word, indent .3'
This video shows me using Open Office, but the concept is the same for MS Word.
I have a template for both the front and backmatter. The front matter file already has the social media links and copyright saved, along with reviews from my books. I only need to change the title and ISBN and perhaps add a dedication. My backmatter file includes 32 FREE chapters of my books. 10 Free for each of the novels and 2 free chapters of my short story book. All of the links, trailers, Author bio, "Note from the Author", and "Other Authors You May Enjoy" are all included in my template.
If you don't know how to insert hyperlinks into a doc, check out this video. Again, it is Open Office but very similar to MS Word.
Converting the ebook file
I then use Cablibre to convert my .odt file to .mobi and .epub. I then upload the mobl to kindle. The epub needs to be uploaded to the EPUB Validator. This site can detect problems with the epub file, making it less likely to be rejected by retail sites.
I have been told by some formatters that KDP at times rejects the Calibre conversions. I have never experienced this. In fact, the formatting is much better than following KDP's suggestion of uploading an HTML zip file. To do this, you "Save As" in HTML. this puts placeholders for any images, but the images separate from the file. You must then create another folder, and zip both the book file and the image folder together and upload it as one file.
using sigil to convert & build toc
formatting is a never ending process
And take advice from others. The Smashwords guide said to:
Go to chapter 1 heading
Go back to a typed out TOC
Highlight Chapter 1 in TOC
Insert hyperlink> Insert bookmark chapter 1
With 70 chapters, this was an incredibly tedious process. And the aggravating thing? Smashwords STILL rejected it.
As always, if you have any questions, tips, or suggestions, please comment or write me. I love hearing from you all.