Kindle: The work of the Devil?

Despite the fact that I read my kindle virtually to the exclusion of what I am reliably informed are ‘proper book’ it was a great feeling when my first copy of The Jabberwock Anomaly thudded onto the door mat. Actually, it didn’t, it wouldn’t fit through the letter box so the postman handed it to me.

However, while the heart may want what the heart wants the head knows that if you want to make any money from hours of labouring over a slightly warm keyboard, the head knows you gotta go kindle.

My book is over £12.00 in paperback which is a lot of money for anyone but the very best of friends to lay out. The kindle version is £2.99 which is reasonable for 512 pages and 154,000 words. And the difference in commission is very small. In fact, I make more from the kindle version than I do the paperback.  Well, I will.

And the reality is that Amazon sell the majority of their books via kindle. Whether you like it or not, this is the way it is going for the paperback book industry.

What I find amusing is that it wasn’t that long ago that the paperback was being regarded as the Devil’s work. “Not like a proper book,” they used to harrumph. And like all good things its time is almost up and somewhere in a lab in northern California the replacement for the e-reader is being designed, so that in due course the kindle too will be replaced. And I’ll harrumph “Not like a proper e-reader.”

Anyway, I digress. If you have gone the Create Space route you will find a button that says that, should you care to press, your book will be transformed into a kindle version and within days you will have sold a million copies and be on first name terms with J K Rowling.

They are… now how can I put this delicately?… I can’t. They are lying through their teeth.  It doesn’t work.

Not the bit about selling a million and mix with J K and the other high-rollers, that bit you should have guessed, it’s the bit about your being transformed into kindle. Transformed, yes. The other bit, not.

A proper book and a kindle version are a bit different. No, they are a lot different. And the only way to create a kindle version is through Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. But before you submit your work you need to do a bit of groundwork.

Make a new copy of your work and identify it by adding KDP to the name. First, take out any page numbering and headers and footers. Then take out any blank pages you have in there to divide sections or get the right bits on the right side of the book. There is no left and right side on kindle and it will only confuse the issue.

Now you need to start at page one with that little symbol like an ornate ‘P’ on so you can see all your spacing and paragraph marks and, most importantly, page breaks.

Go through the whole thing. Word by word is best. Ideally you should remove the double spacing after full stops. They were a necessity back in the days of typewriters and quill pens, but they can cause problems on kindle. If it’s a long book and has lots of short sentences you might want to experiment with the replace function. As far as I can tell, some versions of Word will allow this and others won’t.

Then make sure that you have page breaks before every new chapter. It doesn’t matter if the previous chapter ends on the last space of the last line, put in a page break and if you get an extra blank page let it stay. Better that than having a new chapter start at the bottom of the page.

After that you need to change your font colour to ‘automatic’. That’s black on the page, but on some kindles the night version shows white letters on a black page. If your writing is not in automatic then your book will appear as black letters on a black page, and that’s difficult to read.

One last thing, be careful of any hyper links you may have cut and pasted in. You may have altered them to standard print on your copy, but they will still show up in kindle. Rewrite them. If you don’t you might as well put up a sign saying, ‘I copied this bit from Wikipedia’.












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