MY KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE:PART II_ WRESTLING WITH MANUSCRIPT MANIPULATIONS
Image by SJKeyChronicles.com/Stephen J 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What Do You Mean I Am Outdated?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, but 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. But that was not the case!
For starters, I was accustomed to doing all of my writing in the 2007 version of Microsoft WORD, but time has certainly moved on since I first installed that program some 12 years ago. When I began 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 a repetitive series of rejections and become easily discouraged.
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 Version)”. Not knowing exactly what that download did, 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 It didn’t take long for the program’s algorithms to find out that my WORD software was “OUTDATED” and required me to install a later version (2010 or newer) to meld their software into mine. Bummer!
Since I was also using Windows 2007 at the same time, I was even further dismayed when I received a notice from Microsoft that informed me they were going to discontinue support of that version in January of 2020. I realized at that point I had to make some hard decisions. Either I upgrade to the latest versions of WORD and WINDOWS or simply abort my efforts trying to get out of the gate.
Amazing Stuff And A Learning Curve
So I upgraded to WINDOWS 10 and MICROSOFT OFFICE 2019. When I got my first peek, I was surprised to see how much everything differed from my staid old 2007 version of the software. Now I have Task Panes, sophisticated File Saving Options, Click-On-Word synonym suggestions, and more. All of a sudden I thought I was in writer’s hog heaven. However, that was not quite the case, as you will see.
I learned that before I could proceed, I had to go through a serious learning curve. That included installing desktop icons that could be easily located so I could get a program started. I then had to familiarize myself with the Task Panes Navigation Center which was a place I could organize functions by inserting tabs of my most-used programs like WORD, EXCEL, COREL DRAW, CALCULATOR, etc. As for the publishing machinations I sought after, suffice it to say that there are a bunch of them and I needed to learn each one if I planned on carrying my endeavors forward.
Starting out, I went through the basic workings of WINDOWS 10 before doing anything else. Since there were numerous video tutorials and online discussions to help me get started, I made good use of them. I also discovered the need for some patience as I re-familiarized myself with basic functions.
Beforehand, I was accustomed to having ready access to the control panel for system repairs or modifications, so I installed a desktop icon that I could readily find to achieve that end. The all inclusive table of contents then let me find things like like Networks, Printing Devices, Power Settings, and so on. Enough said!
The New MS OFFICE Juggernaut
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 an array of improved attributes. 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 the Kindle Jumpstart website and clicked on that troublesome icon again. Lo and behold, it started to download without any interruptions.
When I opened up my MS WORD program after the download was complete, I spotted a tab imbedded in the toolbar at the top that spelled out the word “Kindle” bright as day. 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 the MS WORD processing software. 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 together as a unit. So, at that point, I was happy to know that I was smart enough to protect my manuscript by saving a copy of it in 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 within the parameters of 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 on the “Update” function, the software takes my electronic device’s draft through the internet portals and sticks it on my cloud based WORDPRESS Administration Site which I can then access on my laptop! Cool!
Be sure you have the latest WORDPRESS App upgrade at all times. 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 in lockstep with the same WORDPRESS Admin Site I use on my laptop.
If that character trait of mine is not bad enough, I do my editing with an onscreen keyboard on my laptop (sad to say!). 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 on end while my back is aching away and making me desirous of cutting my work sessions short. I can work for a long time this way and on into the night if needs be. As for all you office chair and desktop aficionados, c’est la vie!
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 program. When I started a new paragraph, I hit the cursor 4 or 5 times to indent. I also didn’t use the grammar checker to polish my written material, or formatting templates for line spacing functions.
To prepare my manuscript properly for publication, I would have to change my mindset and begin to learn all the things necessary to accomplish that feat. And it would not be an easy learning experience for me. The implementation of trial and error edicts, along with the usage of video tutorials and much research helped pave the way for success. I had morphed into an old dog who still had enough chutzpah to learn new tricks.
Time To Either Fish Or Cut Bait
I had always viewed style sheets as sophisticated tools 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 complacent thinking came to an end. On top of that, I had to learn right away because the Kindle software integrated its own preset style sheets into the WORD program as soon as the two merged together and forced my hand..
For example, there were now 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. The most important ones were:
- KTitle format
- KSubtitle format
- KChapter Title
- KAuthor format
- KFirst Paragraph format
- KNormal Paragraph format
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:
- KBTitle format
- KBSubtitle format
- KBChapter Title
- KBAuthor format
- KBFirst Paragraph format
- KBNormal Paragraph format
After I highlighted the unformatted Title of my manuscript, all I had to do next was click on my “KBTitle” style set. Once done, the correct font style, font size, positioning, and spacing was handled automatically. That same process works 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!”
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 as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!