Publishing my children’s chapter book as an Amazon Kindle Ebook — Part 1

I had seen another publisher comment on how easy it is to publish your books and ebooks as Amazon Kindle Ebooks. “Just save your document as HTML and upload it. That’s all there is to it,” they said. And at first glance when I went to www.digitaltextplatform.com, it did appear almost that simple.

I created my account and gave them payment information (wouldn’t want to delay the cash that would be rushing my way). Then I went to get a copy of my book, Poster Girl, to convert it and upload it. The final copy of the interior of the book was in PDF format. I selected Save As … HTML, thinking I was moments away from publishing to Kindle.

BUT…. there are the following issues, my PDF file that my prepress/layout person created that went to the printer had all these marks in it that mean something to printing people. What they are to you and me and a potential Kindle reader is… ugly. Here is what my title page looked like:

My Title Page in PDF for Printer

My Title Page in PDF for Printer

Now, at first I thought I could still work with this. I got busy deleting all the extra marks off of the images. Then I went to display the HTML in a web browser (with the edited pictures).

Alas, there were other problems. It wasn’t really clear what method the PDF-convert-to-HTML process uses for determining when text is all part of a paragraph or should have a line break inserted. But whatever the logic, it didn’t work for my book. I had text that read like:

Mom meets me at the bus stop. “Do you know why leaves change colors?” I ask. “Well—hi to you, too, Paula,” Mom answers with
a funny smile. “Yes, I did have a nice day, and, no, I
don’t know why leaves change colors.” “But I have to know—for my science poster.” “Maybe we can look it up on the Internet, then.” My mom loves the Internet. She shops on it. She
reads the news on
it. She even sends letters to Grandma on it. I call her “Computer Mom” because she spends so much time on her computer. She’s even talked about going back to school to become a computer programmer.

Let’s just say, that isn’t how it looks in my paperback version and it isn’t the effect that I was looking for. 

So…. definitely going with my ready-to-go-to-the-printer PDF file and saving as HTML is NOT going to work.  I headed over to the HELP section of Amazon Kindle and the forums and I discovered a book about publishing for Amazon Kindle and I’m thinking it might be worth the $7.95.

On the one hand, the book is only 68 pages and costs $7.95. On the other hand my book is only 64 pages and costs $4.99. So it seems a little hypocritical of me to analyze cost per page. And while this guide is targetting people who know nothing about HTML (I’m pretty well above that), on the other hand, I’m still searching for the easiest way to convert a book from print-ready to Kindle-ready. I think I’ll commit the $7.95.

Stay tuned, for how I do with professional advice. Oh, and the author of this guide, is a major contributor on the forums for Amazon Kindle publishers. Always nice to do business with a helpful person who freely gives assistance.

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