Self-publishing on Kindle

Christine Nicholls explains how she self-published her book Red Strangers on Kindle.

How easy was it? It took time and effort. The major problem was that I did not have an electronic proofed version. I had sent the version electronically to the publisher, but proofs had been on paper, and I had no copy of the changes and corrections I had made. I had to ask someone to read the electronic version against the published book and make them identical. She did it free, but it would be a cost for many people.

The self-publishing hints on the Kindle website appeared to be helpful, but were not because I could not make the system they suggested using (you had to download Mobipocket Creator) work. My computer would not read the book once it had been put on to Mobipocket Creator, so I could not check it. Rather than give up and despair, I checked authors’ blogs about Kindle and found you could upload to Kindle with Word1993-2007. So I transferred my book from Word7 (incompatible with Kindle) to the previous version of Word, and had to check through it again for format changes. But the formats you are allowed to use (specified by Kindle) are so basic that there were few changes. You are not allowed an index or page numbers, and the text must not be justified. However, you are allowed bold, indents, italic. People will have to use wordsearch instead of an index.

Then I followed the simple instructions about uploading the book. Choose as many categories as you can to put the book into, and write a good blurb. Have a good picture of the front cover to upload. They have listed the book as by Christine rather than C.S. Nicholls because they insisted on knowing my forename. However, I don’t suppose that matters.

The biggest problem I found was that I could not make changes to the book once it had uploaded. The site says you can do so. Perhaps it means you can do so only once it has gone on to Mobipocket Creator. So I cannot check what the text looks like, unless I pay for the book. And then I still couldn’t change it without deleting the book and uploading again (and not being able to see it again). I’m sure this must be because I have done something wrong. Perhaps there is a draft button which I did not see.

I opted for $9.99 as the price (if you do so, you get 70% royalty). They have listed it as more (presumably to include the postage).

Would I do it again? Yes, certainly. But it was nerve-wracking and the pre-checking was time-consuming. Authors should get the electronic proofed version from their publishers if they want to save themselves time and effort.

Red Strangers: The White Tribe of Africa - Kindle Edition (25 Feb 2011) by Christine Nicholls