I wrote my manuscript in Word but when I went to upload it as an ebook, I discovered that vendors don’t accept Word documents. That meant that I had to convert my document to an acceptable format.
I started with Amazon, since it’s the number one seller of ebooks at the moment. I went to their community site under their Digital Text Platform and opened their Simplified Guide to Building a Kindle Book.
While I’m not all that technologically savvy, I’m not bad with computers, either, and the guide was straightforward and I thought I could handle it. So away I went.
I followed the instructions, whipping the Word document into shape. Everything went blissfully well right up to the use of Mobipocket Creator.
First problem: I use a Mac. Mobipocket is only for PC. That meant I had to go and borrow my 16 year olds PC and download Mobipocket. In addition to having to work in a smelly room (come on—he’s 16), I had to transfer everything from one computer to the next.
But I was determined so I trudged forward. I had all kinds of problems with Mobipocket but kept working and after about an hour of fiddling I had a document in the right file format–.prc. There was still something wrong with my cover image—mobipocket wouldn’t accept it. Kept saying that there was an error with its upload. Hmm.
Anyway, I took that file and then downloaded the Kindle previewer so I could see how the document looked.
That’s when the real issues were revealed. The formatting was fine but every single grammar mark (periods, commas, quotations, etc.) had been changed to some weird symbol. EVERYONE.
And no cover image. This was hugely frustrating. So back to work I went. I tried over the course of two days to resolve this issue and decided finally that my time is better spent writing (or working at my day job) than messing with this.
So I looked around and finally hired Ebook Architects to take my Word document and convert it to a format compatible with Kindle, but also to formats compatible with other ebook vendors. For a normal delivery, Ebook Architects charged $150.00. A lot—I know. But I wanted the formatting to be right. So I spent the money.
I mean, a reader should get the cleanest, best read possible. If I can’t read the text, I’m certainly not going to stick with it or recommend it to a friend.
I’d do it again, in a heartbeat. Ebook Architects were awesome to work with. They delivered my formatted documents back to me on time and in great condition.
I did design the cover art this time around—and I’ll write about that more next time—but I’m not sure I won’t hire it out next go around.
So that’s my experience with converting my Word document into file formats for upload to ebook vendors. In addition to having the file in the right format, you need cover art, too. More on that next!