My Kindle Direct Publishing Experience:Part II_ Wrestling With Manuscript Manipulations.
Image by Pixabay modified by Stephen Key
This is a multi-part series entitled “My Kindle Direct Publishing Experience”. The first blog in the series “My Kindle Direct Publishing Experience: Part I _Starting From Scratch” shows how I took my first steps.
What Do You Mean I Am Outdated?
Since I had been writing and publishing to my blog for a year and a half, I should have had the confidence to submit my finished manuscript to the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) site. I didn’t!
By spending the better part of 4 months writing, revising, rewriting, and aggressively editing my novel’s contents, I thought I was ready. Not!
For starters, I was accustomed to do all of my writing in Microsoft Word, version 2007. Time has moved on since I first installed that program some 12 years ago. When I started educating myself to the requirements of KDP in the month of November 2019, I quickly discovered I needed to move on.
KDP wants to give you all the tools necessary to get your book into print because they make money when your book sells on Amazon. If you choose to use Microsoft Word to create and submit your manuscript, you had better do your homework to succeed, or you will face repeated failure.
When I began my journey, I noticed a button on the getting started page of KDP Jumpstart that said “Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word (Beta)”. Not knowing exactly what that download did, or does, I clicked on the button. It didn’t take long for the program’s algorithms to find out that my Word software was “OUTDATED” and I had to install a later version (2010 or newer) to meld their software into mine. Bummer!
Since I was also using Windows 2007, I received notice from Microsoft that they were going to discontinue support of that version in January of 2020, I had to make some hard decisions. Upgrade or die!
Amazing Stuff And A Learning Curve
So I upgraded to WINDOWS 10 and MICROSOFT OFFICE 2019. I was surprised to see how different everything was from my staid old 2007 software. Now I have Task Panes, sophisticated File Saving Options, Click-On-Word synonym suggestions, and more. I thought I was in hog heaven. Not!
You have to go through a serious learning curve to figure everything out. To help myself figure the process, I had to install desktop icons where I could easily click on them to get a program started. I had to learn how to use the Task Panes by customizing the location of my most-used programs like WORD, EXCEL, ADOBE, QUICKBOOKS, etc. I will go into pertinent details for publishing as we progress further into this blog. And there are a bunch.
Suffice it to say that you need to familiarize your self with the basic workings of WINDOWS 10 first. There are numerous video tutorials and online answers to help you get started. You’ll need some patience to re-familiarize yourself with basic functions, but start with the Task Pane and move icons that you use the most to the top bar. Then go from there.
If you were accustomed to having ready access to the control panel, you’ll need to install a desktop icon where you can easily click on it and bring the table of contents up for ready access to things like like Networks, Printing Devices, and Power Settings. Enough said!
The New MS OFFICE WORD Animal
So now we come to MS WORD 2019. Being the different beast that it is, I had to get used to a whole new look and more functionality. For example, the File Save process takes you to a full page with options, including the ability to inspect your current file for issues and errors. But that is not the thrust of my blog here.
What I wanted to do was integrate the Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word (Beta) software into my brand new MS WORD software. So I went into Kindle Jumpstart website and clicked on that troublesome icon again. Lo and behold it started to download without any burps.
When I opened up my MS WORD program, there was the tab bar named “Kindle” nestled inside my toolbar at the top. When I clicked on it, a whole plethora of ready-to-use publication functions popped into view. And they were designed to work seamlessly with MS WORD. Awesome!
But wait! I still had to learn how to use both the new MS WORD software and the different parts of the Kindle platform. So I was smart enough to realize I needed to save my manuscript as a separate file that I could experiment with.
Faulty Seat-Of-The-Pants Machinations
I stated in an earlier blog that I write all of my drafts on my iPad in my WORDPRESS site because I don’t know how to type. I can produce a draft 3 to 4 times faster this way than if done on my laptop computer. When I save the written work piece to the “Update” function, the software takes my electronic device WORDPRESS blog draft through the internet and has it appear on my WORDPRESS Administration Site on my laptop! Cool!
Be sure you have the latest WORDPRESS App upgrade. I failed to do that and had to delete my current app and reinstall it to get the latest, fully-functional upgrade. It now works just like the WORDPRESS Admin site on my laptop.
If that is not bad enough, I do my editing with an onscreen keyboard (so sad!). This way, I can finish my blogs while laying down on a sofa or in bed. I hate sitting in an office chair for hours while my back is aching and making me want to cut my sessions short. I can work for hours this way. Sorry for you office-chair and desktop aficionados!
If you are asking me why I don’t just start and finish my blogs on the iPad, it’s because I am not smart enough to do that. It’s much easier for me to access plugins, media tools, references, and web links on my laptop than it is on my iPad (or cell phone, for that matter).
My other claim to fame is the fact that I was familiar with only the most basic of functions on my old WORD 2007. When I started a new paragraph, I hit the cursor 4 or 5 times to indent. I didn’t use the grammar checker to polish my written material. No formatting, spacing of lines, style sheets, upfront layouts, etc.
To prepare my manuscript properly for publication, I would have to change my mindset and begin to learn all the thing necessary to accomplish that feat. And it would not be an easy learning experience for me. Trial and Error, along with videos and much research became the name of the game. I morphed into an old dog learning new tricks.
Time To Either Fish Or Cut Bait
I had always looked at style sheets as something for experts to use and beyond my capabilities. When the Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word (Beta) software entered the picture, my time for complacency was at an end. And I had to learn fast, because the software integrated its own style sheets into the WORD style subsets.
For example, now there were numerous style format functions that had the letter “K” in front which indicated that you were to use those styles for each part of your book: i.e. KTitle format, KSubtitle format, KAuthor format, KFirst Paragraph format, and so on.
The nice thing about this is I could open the dialogue box for each particular Kindle style-set and add my own characteristics such as type and size of font. After doing that, I added a “B” after the “K” to let me know I had changed that Kindle style-set to my specifications.
When I placed my cursor over the Title of the manuscript, all I had to do was click on my “KBTitle” style and the correct font and size and positioning of the title was handled automatically. Same process for “KBAuthor”, “KBSubtitle”, “KBChapter Title”, and “KBFirst paragraph”.
If I use the same style for each component of the manuscript, then the whole document will be consistent from beginning to end. If you don’t do this, Kindle Publishing will reject your submission and won’t tell you that it was a reason for said rejection. So you have to get this taken care of first. As the Cable Guy says, “Get ‘Er Done!”
NEXT: My Kindle Direct Publishing Experience: Part III Kindle Publication Basic Formatting Do’s and Don’ts
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf when you are done.