Checking Your Kindle Book

11 Oct

In Tuesday’s post, Proofing Your CreateSpace Paperback, I outlined the three options you have when it comes to checking that everything in your print book is good to go.

But what about the Kindle edition?

I would say that it’s far more important to check your e-books than it is to check your paperback because the former has a much—MUCH!—higher chance of having something wrong with it than the latter, but the truth is it’s equally important to check any book you’re putting out there, regardless of the likelihood that you’ll find something to correct. But as we all know, uploading a MS Word document to Amazon KDP for automated conversion can be a tricky business and to ensure it hasn’t caused a nuclear meltdown of your life’s work, set aside a day for checking it, line by line.

You can check your Kindle book in the Kindle Previewer which will appear at the end of Page 1 during the process of “adding a new title” on Amazon KDP. It will only appear AFTER you have uploaded a file, and that file has been converted to Kindle format (or a “Mobi” file). It’s an approximation of what your book will look like on a Kindle screen, and it’s functional: you can flip back and forth, increase and decrease the font size, etc.

Until very recently, it looked like this:

But now KDP have got a clue, and have not only upgraded their Kindle Preview to something a lil’ snazzier (that’s far easier to navigate) but also taken into account that there are different Kindles, and that some readers do not read their Kindle books on a Kindle at all.

Aforementioned snazzier Kindle previewer:

Or see what your book looks like on the Kindle Fire:

Or even on the iPad, with the Kindle app:

Or with the Kindle app on an iPhone:

And you can even change the orientation:

Isn’t that fun? Yes, it’s fun—for the first five minutes. Until you find a paragraph indent out of place and spend the next six hours trying to figure out why it’s just that one…

What’s the downloadable previewer I can see a link to in the screen shots above? you may be asking. Well, it’s a downloadable version of what you’re looking at above. And it’s really for people who have done things far more complicated than merely uploading a MS Word document, so don’t worry about it.

You may also be asking, Are those… BULLET POINTS I see in your e-book, Ms. Howard? Bullet points! In an e-book! What’s next? A hairdryer in the bath??! 

Yes, I have bullet points in my e-book. But that’s because with Self-Printed, I didn’t upload a MS Word document. It just wouldn’t do, not with a book like this. So the lovely people at eBookPartnership.com converted the books for me, and I uploaded the ePub to Amazon KDP.

And it worked a treat.

Note: I think it’s extremely important that everyone who decides to release a Kindle book should get their hands on a Kindle as soon as possible. Borrow a friend’s, play with a demonstration model in-store or even invest in one. It’s not enough to have some vague notion as to what a Kindle is, or how your book will look on one. While you’re at it, enter the Kindle store via the device. Only then will you truly appreciate the obstacles between your book and a potential reader deciding to buy it.

Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing (The Second Edition) is out now in paperback and e-book. Woo-hoo! 

6 Responses to “Checking Your Kindle Book”

  1. Claude Nougat (@claudenougat) October 11, 2012 at 10:14 #

    Excellent advice, as always Catherine! I would just add that there’s a limit to what one can do to have a perfect e-book. Sometimes if you try to fix a paragraph indent, other problems crop up that hadn’t even been there before!

    I know, I’ve spent days struggling with KDP! Until I discovered (through the Kindle forums, natch) a neat trick: upload a word.doc that is NOT .docs but thatyou’ve saved in the 1997-2003 version (or something like that – in other words, an old word doc system) because that’s what KDP likes best. Ah btw, they don’t really like pdf. versions either. So stick to your oldest doc saving system available on your computer and you’ll be ok!

  2. rinellegrey October 11, 2012 at 10:46 #

    Those preview tools look pretty good. I wonder how accurate they are?

    I plan to check mine on my ipad and ipod kindle apps, but not sure if I can get my hands on a kindle. Everyone I know only has ipads.

  3. stevenwwatkins October 11, 2012 at 14:07 #

    Helpful, and very timely for me. Thank you.

  4. dkorthbooks October 11, 2012 at 18:12 #

    That actually happened to one of my books recently. I thought it looked ok, but it sure wasn’t. All fixed now tho.

  5. foodsforyourlife October 12, 2012 at 14:36 #

    Great post, Catherine. Your bullets really ARE snazzy! Great ebook conversion service. I confess to having bullet-envy. lol! I’ve only used a lowercase “o” with two to three spaces following it in lieu of. Now that I know real bullets are possible, I’ll be fussing to see if I can figure out how to get them in there.

    Hope this is helpful to Claude or others: I’ve worked on my .doc file in MS Word and then “Saved As” a “Webpage, Filtered (*.html, *.htm)” file type. I downloaded Calibre from http://cnet.com – which is a free ebook converter, ‘reader’ and file emulator. I’d found out about them on a mobile forum, and found several author friends with 20 to 100 plus books on Amazon who use it too.

    In Calibre, ‘Add Books’ – and browse and then click on your “WebPage, Filtered” file for your book (it will have the .html file extension). Do not add your cover to the front of your MS Word file, but rather browse and upload into Calibre via the little browse button – also part of the ‘Add Books’ area. Put in lots of your metadata, mimic the key categories in Amazon, B&N and others. Give yourself five stars (why not?) and you can add your ISBN, ASIN, etc. Go to Edit Books to check your file.

    Finally, in Calibre’s “Convert Books”, choose your file type as .mobi and throw in .ePUB, and press button. Watch hourglass spin, and voila! You have yourself an e-book .mobi file you can upload onto Amazon and an ePUB for Kobo, etc. You can view and make fixes in Caliber or to the Kindle Emulator.

    I check my ebook in Calibre for spacing, TOC, index and proof my ebook using Calibre. The font is big and I pull up my MSWord doc on one half of my monitor, the Calibre version side by each, and edit the MS Word with a mind to how readers will be viewing the content. Calibre’s main website has tutorials. After a couple of books, you’ll find it easy to use Calibre and load up your .MOBI directly onto Amazon.

    I was about to pay someone to convert my first book but since I have two book series with several titles planned in each, I wanted to keep conversion costs as low as possible. Calibre’s free, and it’s worked or me.

    Great screen shots of “Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide,” C. It turned out beautifully!

    I’ll be loading two titles onto KOBO’s https://writinglife.kobobooks.com this weekend. Kobo’s upped the royalty to 80% to authors for a period. Hopefully, they’ll like the ePUB file I upload to them from Calibre. If not, that’s when I’ll be contacting your file conversion team.

  6. suzantisdale October 24, 2012 at 01:59 #

    One of the most mind numbing things is getting the book ready for epublishing! ;o) I love that Kindle now has the previewers for all formats–pretty cool! Thanks for sharing!

    With that said, Kindle is by far the EASIEST place for an indie author to self publish. Some of the other places can take hours, if not weeks (I give you Apple’s Gauntlet of Death for indie authors as the perfect example! lol)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Suzan Tisdale

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