Now that I’ve got your attention, I’ll admit that I don’t have a clue. But I’m going to try to find out how to make an eBook, and I thought it might be useful to blog my experience. If you’re interested in the subject, maybe you’ll follow along — and if you know how to overcome the hurdles I’m facing, please shout!
Step one: get some writing done, to put in the book.
Well, I have a handful of short stories that have been gathering dust for years, and a few poems I could intersperse between them; maybe that will be enough content, at least for a small book.
Step two: [insert text here]
Ah, my cluelessness rears its ugly head; I don’t know what ‘step two’ is, yet.
I’ve been (well, mostly) boycotting Amazon for some time now due to their tax avoidance practises. But I have downloaded the Kindle reader on my sparkly new ‘phone… hmm… dilemma. Much in the same way that I don’t really have any choice but to use Windows on my PC, to reduce the complexity of this project, I guess I need to ‘suck it up’, as they say, admit I’m lacking in principles and just go with the flow, this once.
OK, so let’s try googling “How do I make an eBook for Kindle?“. The top link for that search takes me to an article on FitSmallBusiness.com dated August 2018. I hope that will be recent enough, as scanning down the offered links I see that something called ‘Calibre’ may not be a good tool to use…. Let’s see… it seems we need to save the writing in a ‘.mobi‘ file format. And we can use free online tools to do this. Sounds good. The article says there are three ways forward: of these, it looks like #2, ‘Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) tools’, is good for me, as I already have my writing done — and it’s in the required ‘.doc‘ format (Microsoft Word). I’ll scroll down to that; bear with me….
Right, I’m back. Sorry about the delay, I got distracted by a link to another article on FitSmallBusiness.com by Janette Novak, which points out that I’m going to need a cover for my eBook. I think I’ll make that ‘step three’.
Back to the plot: It looks like my most straightforward choice is to use Amazon’s ‘Kindle Create‘, which is software for PCs and Macs. That means I won’t be able to create ‘.ePub‘ format files (which apparently are used everywhere other than Amazon) — but maybe I’ll look into that another time.
Looks like ‘step two’ is:
Step two: Decide on the digital format and software to use.
My choice for these (at least for the time being) is ‘.mobi’ and ‘Kindle Create’.
Step three: Create a cover for the eBook.
Janette Novak says that the best results, sales-wise, will come from having a professionally designed cover. Makes sense, but then I’m not really expecting my writing to be hugely popular anyway. When creating a cover oneself, she suggests four tools, one of which is Canva, which I’ve used before, so I’m going to try that… uh oh, I’ve just been to the Canva site for the first time in ages, and Firefox has popped up an alert that 100 million accounts were compromised in 2019. I’d better change that password….
OK, password changed. Logged into Canva, and it offers me a friendly hint straight away to search for ‘Book cover’, which I do, and it then presents me with a whole slew of different cover styles to choose from. I pick one, change the text on it, download it as PDF, and voila! One shiny new book cover! Step three turned out to be a doddle.