eBook technicals

This page is for me (so I don't forget about these issues between writing books), and anyone else interested in the technical aspects of creating an ebook - especially one with images.


Many ways to skin a cat (on Kindle)

As the title suggests, there isn't necessarily one right way when it comes to publishing an ebook (epub, kindle, etc). A lot depends on your level of skill, time commitment, and how "perfect" you want your output to be.

The problem with Kindles, of course, is they come is many different types, sizes and resolutions. What that means is one size doesn't fit all. In actual fact, if you have images in your ebook you will need to find a sweet spot where your ebook output does adequately suit the range of kindles. I found, for instance, what looked good on the e-ink, didn't look so good on the Kindle Fire HD, etc. 

Another option is to just pay a professional for the service . I must admit, when I was publishing Trevor: Diary of an Alien, I got so frustrated that I almost went the paid route. The only thing that stopped me was the several week delay between submitting to an ebook formatting service, and receiving the final product. I ended up spending a week which, while there were times I wanted to throw my laptop through the window, proved to be much quicker and cheaper in the end. It's at this point I'd like to thank the good people on the KDP community forums. They were quick in their responses and so helpful.


Not Purrfect

The tech-heads and professionals may disagree with my methodology, but it worked well for me, didn't take too much time, and was within my modest capabilities.

I'd previously published Super Ninja Alien Robot Monsters with few difficulties (although I now want to go back and use what I've recently learned to improve its formatting). In that book, I more or less followed the instructions on the KDP website and read the associated ebook "Building your book for Kindle". I also used a free program called Calibre to tweak a few things and ultimately convert my output to kindle's ".mobi" format.

Trevor: Diary of an Alien was different. I had 69 illustrations of all shapes and sizes, plus a Glyph illustration at the beginning of each chapter. The Kindle Fire left most of the images too small, while the basic Kindle blew the pictures (especially the Glyphs) up way too much. It just looked unprofessional.

The method

I use Microsoft Word. Yes, I know, a lot of you don't like using it; but I've used it since the day it was born, so it's become a bit like that smelly old shoe that you can't throw away. Worse still, I have Word for Mac 2011, which as far as I can tell is like the unloved, illegitimate child of the Microsoft family.

to be continued....