Writing for Kindle

Some time back it was suggested that people should use Open Office (and I think it was the open office file type as well) because Word didn’t translate well into Kindle style files.

Now I see that Amazon says just upload Word into Kindle Create and she’ll be right.

Umm, any advice?

13 thoughts on “Writing for Kindle”

  1. Create Space takes more than one file type, but I would recommend that you convert your Word doc to PDF before uploading.

  2. ^^ Not the usual me, as it were


    Word and Open Office / Libre Office produce horrible HTML full of dreck. If nothing else you will be charged over the odds for file transmission, but the finished ebook will look vile and behave unpredictably depending on which device is used to display it.

    Best practice is to hand-code an epub file and convert it to mobi using Kindlegen (free software from Amazon). However this is a technical, finicky and time-consuming business and if you have only one or two books to upload it’s hardly worth learning. Instead I strongly recommend creating an epub with Sigil (cross-platform and free). It is easy to use and there are tutorials on YouTube. Then convert the epub to mobi using Kindlegen as above. Amazon will automatically convert the mobi to azw.

    Start by saving your text as plain UTF-8, adopting some sort of markup language for headings, italics, etc. Use HTML tags if you know them (e.g. <h1> and </h1> for H1 headings). You will anyway be converting these characters to HTML tags using find-and-replace in Sigil, so you need different characters for, e.g., “start italics” and “end italics”.

    The beauty of Sigil is that you will have a ready-made epub for uploading to other ebook retailers. Access to the Apple and Kobo stores is difficult unless you are based in the U.S., so use Smashwords.com (an ebook-seller and also an aggregator), who will distribute your book to every store except Amazon — assuming you don’t want to give Amazon an exclusive right to sell it. Smashwords will also accept a Word file provided it is formatted according to their Style Guide (free to download).

    Epub is the industry standard ebook format. Having your book as an epub will also allow you to sell it directly to readers from your own site, should you wish.

    BTW this is all part of my job and has been gleaned from bitter experience!

  3. Haven’t got round to trying it, but if you have a Mac you might want to give iBooks Author a whack.

    It’ll generate ePubs books for you, along with other formats.

    Free, from the Mac App store


    If it doesn’t import wot you have write, copy and paste in then reformat.

  4. My advice is not to bother to learn about computers.

    They are a passing fad and won’t catch on.

    Stick with a pencil and pad of paper.

  5. AndrewC: Amren, borther.

    Tim- you could try it and see what happens? Obviously it isn’t going to be the most elegant solution, but if it doesn’t look like shit and isn’t 50 megs that will satisfy most people.

  6. Import your Word file into Kindle Create. It’s dead easy to get the formatting right for Kindle from there. I did it for my most recent book about three weeks ago.

  7. I’ve been converting word documents to mobipocket using mobipocket creator for years.
    No trouble with formatting.

    Then reading them via kindle software on ipad or mobile phone.

    Mobipocket (.prc) is readable on kindles.
    Its the base for kindle.

  8. @Thomas P Fuller
    Can you write a book in word/libre office/google docs and then paste it into Sigil? Or would that cause problems

  9. “Create Space takes more than one file type, but I would recommend that you convert your Word doc to PDF before uploading.”

    CreateSpace is not Kindle. PDF is good for print (CreateSpace) but bad for ebooks (Kindle).

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