Questions about self-publishing with Amazon

I’m looking at publishing a book using Amazon. I can’t find a basic piece of information: Can I use a manuscript in the same format to publish a Kindle version and a Print-on-Demand version, or must I set up two manuscript styles? I see reference online to needing to use MOBI, but Amazon seems to indicate that this is not the case anymore.

In addition to this question, I’d appreciate your tips or points to consider. I’ve skimmed the KDP pages, so I don’t need links to that general resource, but I am interested to hear about your experience and suggestions. Thanks.

Anybody? There are a couple of earlier threads, but they appear to be at least partially superseded.

It’s not a case of manuscrpt styles.

For the paperback, print-on-demand version, do whatever you want.

To create your Kindle file, you will always be working from your source text file or files. The Kindle file doesn’t import or use manuscript styles. You import ‘raw’ text and have to use Kindle’s own paragraph styles.

To create your Kindle file, you have three options.

(1) Use the software tool that Amazon provides. It works from your text file to generate a Kindle file. Downside: (a) it doesn’t work very well. (b) It doesn’t generate a .mobi file that you can do with as you wish. It generates a file, in Amazon’s own proprietary format, that only Amazon can ‘unlock’, so to speak. Sure, you can upload it to KDP and thus make your book available in Kindle form on that platform, but you can’t do anything else with it.

(2) Send your source text to an agency that prepares the Kindle file for you. Doesn’t cost that much and some of them are really good and fast.

(3) Learn how to make your own Kindle files, working from your source text file(s), using a tool such as Calibre. I’ve been through this learning curve and, well, it’s a little tough but you can do it, provided you have access to someone else who also knows how to do it.

If you want any more help, my website is where there’s a big section on self-publishing.

It’s been a while since I did it, but I remember having two separate files – one for Kindle, one for the paperback version. But it wasn’t hard to change one to the other. I don’t remember the details of the differences, but I do remember that I started with just one, and only had to spend a few hours tweaking and testing to turn the Kindle version into a paperback version.

Basically, I remember uploading the Kindle version into the Amazon paperback creator thing, and then seeing what the test version looked like, and then tweaking it to fit.

Thank you both. It sounds like “first set up my MS for Kindle [then tweak it], then set up a MS from my own source document for paperback” would be okay? If so, it looks like MS Word is all right for initial MS creation?

Have either of you used interior photos, and if so, how much does that tend to jack up the price? I want to use 3-4 to introduce sections.

Stupid question, but I can’t tell from Amazon: The Amazon Table of Contents just shows “Chapter X” in their example. I’m assuming that can be modified with actual titles (“Part 1: The Embiggening”)?

Write your book using Word (I prefer the .docx format) and use a very basic set of styles. One style for ‘Normal’, two or three heading levels and maybe one style for indented or bulleted lists. Just remember that anything other than very basic formatting isn’t going to be preserved once it’s in Kindle format.

For the paperback, take your file(s) into whichever page layout software you’re using. For the Kindle, see my previous reply.

Photos: no problem. For the paperback, on Amazon KDP printing your book in colour will cost you about four times as much as printing in b/w. Probably not worth it for four photos. So, go with b/w for the paperback but be careful how you prep the photos for reproduction. Use photoshop or equivalent to prepare them as greyscale photos and save them as RGB colour 24-bit files (yes, even though they are only greyscale) or else they won’t survive the conversion to pdf.

For the Kindle, they can be colour and this makes no difference to the price or to the conversion proces. It can be a bit tricky to get the photos to appear in the right place in the text but you’ll get the hang of it.

Yes, you have control over the ToC and the information it displays.

This isn’t meant as an ad, but helping ppl to self-publish their work is what I do. if you’re interested.

If you have a Mac and don’t mind investing a little money, get Vellum. It makes creating ebook files a snap, and it can also convert the same file to paperback format as long as you don’t mind using one of their styles.

Me, I create my books in Word, use Vellum to produce the ebooks, and create my own paperbacks (which I then export to PDF). But I’m picky about what my design looks like. There are a lot easier ways to do it if you’re not as picky.