… No, I didn’t get a Kindle as an early Christmas gift, but I did finally get my novel, Dark Justice into Kindle format and it’s now available from the Kindle Store at Amazon. It was actually fairly easy once I studied the process enough to figure out the best method. Of course, that meant doing it twice.
After registering at http://dtp.amazon.com and completely reading the requirements and guidelines, I discovered that I could take a little shortcut and instead of converting my book into HTML, I could upload a .mobi file that I had previously created. While HTML is the preferred format for Kindle conversion, there are a couple of other formats that they claim will work.
So after uploading my .mobi file, you get a chance to preview the results in a “kindle simulator” window. What you are looking for is formatting – making sure the layout on the page looks right and there are no blank spaces and such.
My initial conversion looked pretty good in the simulator. Formatting looked fine. Images are converted to black and white, and they converted well and looked okay to me.
The next step is to approve your preview and wait for your submission to make it through the Kindle system at Amazon and become a “Live” offering at the Kindle Store. That only took a couple of days as I recall, although they claim it could take as many as 5 days to complete the process.
After the waiting period, Dark Justice was a new offering on the Kindle platform!
I went to check out the Amazon page, and everything looked great. Since I don’t yet have a Kindle, I downloaded the “Kindle for PC” application from the same page as my book. Once that was installed (easy install) I downloaded my own “Free Sample” to see what it would look like in the Kindle application. Again, the Kindle app allows you to read Kindle content on your PC, so I assume it would look like it does on the Kindle.
While the formatting once again looked fine, I was really disappointed in the font! It looked something like Courier, only worse. Like really old-fashioned typewriter font.
I wondered if that was the font all Kindle books come in, so I downloaded another sample from a different book. That sample looked wonderful! It made mine look even worse in comparison.
I started doing some research on the DTP (Digital Text Platform) website. I discovered that you should be able to download the converted source HTML that DTP uses in the Kindle book. But that choice was not available to me. There was no “download” option on my preview, as the site stated.
I went to the forums and asked the question. Within a short time, I have a couple of people explain how I should be able to download the source HTML, make changes and then re-upload to DTP. I just was not seeing what should have been there.
Then one of the DTP forum admins asked if I had uploaded a .mobi as my original source file, and if I did – then the download option would not be available. That answered that question, as that was precisely what I had done.
I figured since I had not uploaded HTML as preferred by DTP, that I would now do that and see if it made a difference in the finished Kindle version. Now I face the task of taking my Word document and converting it to clean HTML to upload.
I did a quick search on Google, and found this site; http://word2cleanhtml.com/ Exactly what I asked for. An online utility that converts a Word file to clean HTML.
The first time I tried that, the utility choked on my 80,000 word novel, and returned a message that the file was too big. So I tried a single chapter and that worked fine. Twenty chapters later, I have clean HTML that I could upload to DTP and try this again.
After uploading and checking out the preview, I submitted the file once again. A couple of days later, it was again live on the Kindle Store.
This time it looked much better! Still slightly different from other books, but still much better.
Now the only thing that bugs me about the Kindle conversion, is that the Online “preview” window on DTP looks different that the version I download for the Kindle on PC app. In the preview, each chapter is started on a new page. On the PC app, it starts about two lines down from where the previous chapter ends – regardless of its placement on the page.
So now I’m wondering what it actually looks like on a real Kindle device. If anyone has one, download my free sample chapters from the Kindle Store and let me know…