kindle ebook publishing

DIY formatting for Kindle ebook publishing – money-making tip for travellers

DIY formatting for Kindle ebook publishing – money-making tip for travellers

‘The problem with the rat race is… even if you’re winning, you’re still a rat!’

Everyone that I know wants to sit around in their underpants making money on the internet, or on a sun-drenched, tropical beach on the other side of the globe. The ‘World Wide Web’ is crammed to bursting point with ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes and useless information that might make you a few coins but won’t generate enough ‘filthy lucre’ for you to bow out of the ‘rat race’. There are, however, many legitimate ways to make money on the internet: affiliate marketing, freelance services, selling digital or physical products online, are some of them.

Even if you don’t make significant money in a specific area, many sources of ‘modest income’, pulled together, can make a ‘living income’ (especially for Westerners on the move in places such as Asia, where the cost of living is cheaper than it is at home). Making money on the internet is hard work but oftentimes some of the income generated will be ‘passive income’ (automated cash-generating systems). One way to add to your ‘passive (online) income’ is to write a book and self-publish it on Amazon.

Amazon is the biggest online book store in the world and offers a service called Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) to anyone who wants to self-publish on Amazon.

Books

‘How to’ non-fiction books are a good way to make money on Amazon. If you have a skill or method for doings things that you think others could benefit from, then get it down in writing and try and make some ‘passive income’ from it. If you’re a good ‘story teller’, write a novel; if you travel, then write an indie travel guide.

Amazon KDP is an easy, self-publishing platform where you can earn up to 70% Royalties on sales from your books. You can also enroll in Amazon ‘KDP Select’ and earn more money from ‘Kindle Unlimited’ and the ‘Kindle Owners Lending Library’.

Formatting your Manuscript

Writing your book (and re-writing, editing etc.) is the hard part; self-publishing the book, however, if you don’t have an Amazon-friendly manuscript can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience.

Manuscript file formats that Amazon KDP accepts are as follows: .doc files (Word),  .docx files (Word & Word equivalents), .rtf files, .txt files, HTML files,  PDF files, and .mobi files.

After uploading your manuscript file, Amazon KDP  will convert the file to .mobi format (the format used for kindle), however, the results after converting most files (even after following KDP formatting guidelines) can sometimes be a bit ‘hit and miss’ for most DIY formatters/self-publishers, and getting your book to look the way that you intended it to look isn’t always easy, to say the least.

Your best option for publishing on Amazon is to upload a custom .mobi file of your manuscript that you have created yourself. Uploading a pre-formatted .mobi file is the method that I use for publishing on Amazon and it means that I can check how my book/manuscript looks on my kindle (or smartphone, using the Kindle app) before uploading it to Amazon.

The following tutorial will help you create a FREE .mobi file for easy kindle ebook publishing on Amazon.

Note: I use MS Word for writing my manuscripts; if you don’t have MS Word then you can download OpenOffice for free and use the OpenOffice word processor.

FREE ‘open-source’ programs to download are as follows:

OpenOffice
Sigil
Calibre

Getting Started
Creating a MOBI file for Amazon

Step 1. Write your manuscript in MS Word (or equivalent word processor) and do a spell-check, edits, and any necessary rewrites that are required for a final, polished manuscript; once you are happy with your manuscript, move onto step 2.

Step 2.  Download and install Sigil. Sigil is a free, open-source ebook editor for files in the .epub format. Open the program – click on ‘File’ – scroll down to ‘New’ – click on ‘New’ and enter your manuscript title – click ‘save’. Move onto Step. 3.

Step 3.  Copy and paste each chapter from your MS Word manuscript into individual Sigil chapters (to add pages/chapters – right click in the ‘Book Browser’ window – scroll down to ‘Add Blank HTML file’); paste the text as plain text in the new page, use ‘h1’ for ‘headings’ and ‘h2’ for ‘sub-headings’; add a cover, a title page, copyright page, preface, dedications, acknowledgements page etc. (by right clicking in the ‘Book Browser’ window and again scrolling down to ‘Add Blank HTML file’ for each new page), and then generate and create a (TOC) Table of contents page from ‘tools’ in the Sigil menu. Click Save and close.

Step 4. Download and install Calibre. Calibre is a free ‘open-source’ e-book computer-software application-suite that allows users to manage ebook collections, create, edit, and read e-books. Open Calibre – click ‘add books’, scroll to your new .epub book that you have created with Sigil, and then add to Calibre; once added click ‘convert books’; on the new window that opens change ‘output’ from EPUB to MOBI, and then enter ‘meta data’, such as ‘title’, ‘author’, ‘publisher’, ‘tags’ etc., and click ‘OK’.

Step 5. After conversion, right click on your book in Calibre, scroll down to ‘open containing folder’ – right click on the file – click copy, and then paste to your desktop.

Step 6. Connect your Kindle (if you have one) to your computer and use Calibre to send the book to your device – preview the book to see how it looks. If everything is as you desire after previewing, then it’s time to upload the file that you have created and saved to your desktop to Amazon.

Note: if you don’t have a Kindle  – download the Kindle app onto your smart phone, connect your phone to your computer, copy and paste your .mobi file into the ‘Kindle’ folder on your phone, and then preview your book in the Kindle app.

Note: for more detailed instructions on how to use Sigil or Calibre, simply search ‘how to sigil’ or ‘how to Calibre’ in Youtube for tutorials.

I hope this tutorial helps if you decide to self-publish on Amazon.

Good Luck…

‘The problem with the rat race is… even if you’re winning, you’re still a rat!’

DIY formatting for Kindle ebook publishing – money-making tip for travellers

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Copyright © 2016 Raymond Carroll

17 thoughts on “DIY formatting for Kindle ebook publishing – money-making tip for travellers”

  1. I’d never considered writing a book. Certainly not one for Kindle! Thanks for the helpful tips and tricks. Who knows maybe one day I’ll be a self published kindle author

  2. I would love to lay on a coach watching movies making money, in my underpants would be good too though! This is great information about how to get started with an ebook Raymond. When I’m in the position to start an ebook I’ll be contacting you, hopefully soon.

  3. Writing a book is a wish since ages. But never bothered to actually work on it. But of late with self-publishing that idea is creeping up again. Thanks for this post, with so many tips!

  4. True! You get out there a lot useless tips on how to make money online. Know your niche, and as you said join any of the affiliate marketing programs, freelance services etc. I need to pass this article to a friend, a writer to be precise and his going to find it very useful. Thanks!

  5. Thank you for this insightful posts. I am currently developing a bunch of e-book concepts and this has put me in the right direction. Some good tips in there for Kindles as I never thought about that formatting.

    1. Self-publishing isn’t complicated with Amazon KDP but it can be frustrating and time-consuming if you haven’t got an Amazon-friendly manuscript. Good luck with your e-book endeavours and I wish you all the best for success! Thanks for commenting. Take care!

  6. I would absolutely love to write an Ebook but didn’t really know how to do so. I love reading travel guides in Ebook format rather than carrying a paper copy with me. If I could do something which involves my Travel blog and producing Ebooks then this would be amazing.
    Thanks for sharing these tips.

  7. I’ve given up on the plan of making money online. I tried it for two years, did very well on it but I realized that I’m the weird one who loves being a part of the corporate world. Lol. I’m definitely glad for others though who can make it out on their own and be happy about it. I guess it’s the most important thing.

    These are great tips for those who are planning to live the nomadic, wireless life. 🙂

    1. Nothing weird about that, Noemi, different strokes for different folks; some of us are ‘homebirds’, others like to spread their wings – each to their own. Thanks for commenting. And good luck in life!

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