Thursday, February 24, 2011

Formatting Your POD Book for Amazon’s Kindle – Obtaining the Needed Skills

There are costs in self-publishing. An author can pay large sums of money to have a book typeset, edited, marketed, a unique cover and interior designed, cover scribing created among a few services available for a fee in the self-publishing world. Now the cost of converting the interior file from a print version to a Kindle ready version can be added to the list of cost considerations for authors.

As with nearly everything in the self-publishing world, an author can learn how to do almost any task involved in preparing a book for publication, if the author is willing to invest the time, and in some cases money, to acquire the skills necessary to do the job. I do believe editing one’s own manuscript is not the best approach to creating the best possible book, so plan to have someone else edit the manuscript.

Self-publishing is a business and costs are important. Saving money in the production of a book can cost money in the long run if the quality of the book’s design is poor, resulting in fewer sales than possible. Kindle readers can be quite harsh in their reviews on Amazon if they don’t like the quality of the interior of the book. Poor reviews can kill sales of an otherwise good book for sale on Amazon.

I currently have two titles available in Kindle versions. The first title I converted myself and loaded it on the Amazon Kindle Direct Platform. To my horror, when I opened the file to examine how the book would look on a Kindle, the results were disastrous. I quickly shelled out the money to pay CreateSpace to do the conversion work and the results were professional. My original effort is now where ever it is electrons go when they have been deleted on the internet.

As a matter of adapting to the ever changing world of self-publishing, my business model has been modified to plan for the costs of paying for professional conversions of my print files into Kindle ready files for all new titles I self-publish.

In looking at my backlist of nearly fourteen titles, some of which have not sold well in POD format, I am wondering which are worthy of the investment of limited funds to have a professional conversion done. I believe the content contained in each is worth what I charge for the book, but as anyone in the publishing industry will tell you if they are honest, some books will simply be duds in terms of sales.

It is my hope low priced Kindle versions will create sales where there have been few and some positive reviews will increase both Kindle and POD sales. Or course this is a gamble. The money invested in creating the Kindle version does not mean the title will sell, in any version.

My decision as the CEO of my little empire is I will invest money in my backlist titles that have sold enough POD copies to earn a profit. The rest, I will attempt to convert the files myself to create Kindle versions. 

All things technical cause me some stress. I readily admit to not being a techie and it takes this old dog a bit of time to learn new tricks on the computer. My youngest daughter could probably learn how to complete the conversion in a few hours (perhaps I should get her to learn how to do it!). So, I have set out to learn as much as I can about the conversion process in hopes of acquiring the needed skills.

Fortunately, there are several inexpensive books available in Kindle format on exactly how to do the needed conversion! I plan to read, review and share my thoughts on the three books on creating Kindle ready files I have obtained in the coming weeks and hope the readers of this blog find the reviews helpful.

The first book I plan to review is Morris Rosenthal’s Kindle Formatting in Word: Illustrated Kindle Tag Tips to Accompany a Blog Post.