I was looking around Amazon for free content for my Kindle, and ran across an e-Book that neatly answered a nagging question I had: how do you turn a book into a Kindle eBook?
Conveniently, Amazon will send you a free copy of their book Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing
, provided of course that you have a Kindle to send it to.
It turns out pretty much all you need is an HTML file of your book, and about fifteen minute. The KDP software turns an HTML file into a Kindle book for you. (If you have a Microsoft Word doc, then you can have MS Word turn it into HTML.)
Interestingly, both the iPad and Kindle conversion software dislike PDFs. I tried to turn a PDF of The Circle Cast into an iBook using a powerful free program called Calibre. Calibre messed up my table of contents and chapter headings pretty badly. Now I'm trying to get a Word doc to work from. PDF is a format made to specify exactly how the book will appear on your chosen size of page. iBooks and eBooks are meant to appear readably on a variety of different sized screens. Hence Amazon's decision to base KDP on HTML, which is also meant to scale well on different screens.
Ironically, it will be a bit harder for me to get a Kindle edition out because I have to coordinate with my publisher. The downside of having conventional publishers is that they are, well, conventional. Henry Holt is still promising to Kindle-fy my two screenwriting books, Crafty Screenwriting and Crafty TV Writing. Tradewind hopes to bring someone in to Kindle-fy The Circle Cast. But I can't just, y'know, go and do
Once you have a properly formatted eBook for Kindle, as far as I can tell from the book, it is ridiculously easy to set up an account to sell it.
Of course you'll still have trouble marketing it. Most of the book review blogs and, I imagine, almost all traditional reviewers, refuse to look at self-published or Print on Demand books. There is a strong presumption of suckitude if you haven't been able to find a legit publisher.
But if you have a document that a limited number of people will desperately want to read, Kindle (or iBooks) is a great, practically free way to get the information out there.
Now where's my iPad 2?