How to Publish Your eBook from Word to Kindle in under Ten Minutes

by | Jan 18, 2013

by Ed Ditto (@BooksByEd)

Ed Ditto, an experienced author and ghostwriter, has developed an extremely fast way of moving his books from Word, through Scrivener, and into the Amazon Kindle’s Mobi format for uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing. Here he steps you through the process so you can do it, too.


Author’s note:

After receiving several comments from disappointed users of Scrivener for Windows, I’d like to make it crystal clear that the process below is primarily written for Scrivener’s Mac version. While it’s adaptable for use in Scrivener for Windows, it’s not identical. That said, Literature & Latte, the developer of Scrivener, is working towards feature parity between the two versions. For more information see this thread in L&L’s discussion forum.

My e-book formatting guide is likewise Mac-oriented. I’m currently working on a Windows version, but I’m postponing its release pending upgrades to Scrivener for Windows’s ability to compile PDFs, since I consider CreateSpace and other print-on-demand services to be essential outlets for independent authors.

Thanks for your understanding.


If you’re an independently-published author then you’ve likely beaten your head against the Great Wall of Amazon that is the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, or KDP. When following the standard do-it-yourself process, your objectives may seem mutually exclusive:

  1. Trying to force Microsoft Word to generate the lowest-common-denominator format required by the KDP, while
  2. Attempting to produce your e-book in a pleasing design that reflects the care and craftsmanship you put into your writing.

It’s a bit of a Sophie’s Choice; small wonder the exercise often degenerates into tedium and frustration. You upload a .doc, check it in the KDP’s previewer, discover problems, fix them, re-upload, re-check, re-fix…ad nauseam and all too often, ad infinitum.

So how would you like to accomplish this in under ten minutes? If you’ll trust me and step back from Word, I’ll show you how to cure your KDP headache forever. (Note that what I’ve written below is Mac-oriented. It’s adaptable to Windows with some experimentation, but certain features–most notably Front Matter–are either reduced in functionality or missing altogether.)

Setup: Install Scrivener

Scrivener, the writing suite from Literature & Latte, has a trial version that’s free and fully-featured for thirty days of actual use, meaning that if you use it two days a week it’ll last for fifteen weeks. So go ahead and start the installation.

As the process runs, let me explain what makes Scrivener my application-of-choice for e-book production.

What you’ll shortly be seeing in Scrivener’s Text Editor may make Scrivener look like a “What You See Is What You Get” word processor, but Scrivener isn’t technically WYSIWYG.

In Scrivener it’s possible to write in one format and publish in a totally different one without changing the on-screen appearance of a single character. So when you decide you want to change publication formats…say you’ve imported a Word manuscript and published it to Kindle, but now you want to re-format it for CreateSpace…you simply create a new set of formatting instructions using an intuitive compilation wizard, and Scrivener does the line-by-line format conversion for you.

This means you never have to suffer through the grunt work of a document-wide formatting exercise again. Got that? NO MORE MANUAL CONVERSION. As my grandfather, a skilled framing carpenter, used to say: “Let the tool do the work.”

When the installation’s finished, you’re ready to get started.

Step one: Import your manuscript into a new Scrivener project

Time required: three minutes

Start Scrivener. From the “Project Templates” pane choose “Fiction / Novel.” Name your new project and save it, and Scrivener’s main working window will open. It’ll resemble other word processors; a menu/toolbar sits above a text editor. But it’s the Binder, circled in the image below, that you’re concerned with in this step.

Scrivener 1

Think of the Binder as a three-ring binder where you store your project materials: manuscript copy, research documents, character sheets, photos, etc.

Click-and-drag the “Chapter” and “Scene” dummy documents from the Binder’s “Manuscript” folder to the Trash. Then open a Finder window and click-and-drag the body of your manuscript into the “Manuscript” folder, as shown below. Just the body—everything between the first word of Chapter One and the last word of the Epilogue.

Scrivener-2

Here I’m using my novel Gunrunner Moon, which I’ve stored as individual chapters in .doc format. See how the chapters have fallen neatly into place in the Binder? That’s because I numbered them sequentially.

(If your manuscript is stored as one long block of text, you’ll need to split it into individual chapters before importing…or after; using Scrivener’s easy and intuitive “Documents / Split / at Selection” function. See page 191 of Scrivener’s built-in manual, available under the Help menu, for an explanation. Remove the chapter titles from the manuscript as you split—you want each chapter document to contain only its text, not its title.)

Once the importation is complete, feel free to click around in your manuscript but—and this is very important—do NOT change any of the formatting. Not because you might mess something up, but because, as I mentioned, you simply don’t need to. You’re about to set up the guidelines Scrivener will use to take care of the formatting for you.

Step two: Populate your front matter

Time required: one minute

Now open the “Front Matter” folder and click-and-drag “Title Page” and “Copyright” from “Paperback Novel” to “E-Book.” While you’re here, send the dummy “Cover” to the trash. From a Finder window, click-and-drag the cover of your novel to the “Front Matter / ” folder. When you’re finished you should see:

Scrivener-3

Step three: Edit your meta-data and enter your ISBNs if appropriate

Time required: thirty seconds

Scrivener will automatically populate your title page, copyright page, etc. using what are called “placeholder tags,” AKA field codes. These are fed through the “Meta-Data Settings” pane, accessible by choosing the “Project / Meta-Data Settings…” menu item and clicking on the “Project Properties” button. Now fill in your name, title, etc., as I’ve done here:

Scrivener-4

When you’re finished, hit “OK” to dismiss the “Meta-Data Settings” pane.

If you now click on the “Title Page” document in the Binder, you’ll see the year and author placeholder tags, and you’ll also find space for you to enter your book’s ISBN and ISBN-13 if you have them. Here I’ve entered dummy information. (You can delete the ISBN and ISBN-13 lines if they’re unnecessary.)

Scrivener-5

Step four: Start the Compile wizard to compile your e-book

Time required: thirty seconds

Believe it or not, it’s time for you to produce your e-book for upload. Click “File / Compile.” The Compile wizard will open into its “Contents” pane. This is where you tell Scrivener which documents to include in your output version, and how to include them.

Make the selections I’ve circled below:

Scrivener-6

Here I’m instructing Scrivener to publish an e-book in .mobi format (Amazon’s standard, in case you’re not familiar with it), including the front matter documents “as-is” and the balance of the novel according to the formatting instructions I’m about to issue. Note that I’ve included the “E-Book” front matter.

Step five: Set your “separators”

Time required: fifteen seconds

Click “Separators” from “Compilation Options” and make the following selection:

Scrivener-7

Scrivener will now insert a page break between the individual documents that comprise your manuscript, e.g., causing a new chapter to begin on a new page.

Step six: Set your cover

Time required: fifteen seconds

Now click “Cover” from “Compilation Options” and choose your e-book cover from the drop-down box.

Scrivener-8

Step seven: Issue formatting instructions

Time required: two to three minutes

There’s a lot of aesthetic power packed into Scrivener’s “Formatting” pane. What you’ll be setting up is a plain-vanilla e-book, but experimentation here will definitely be rewarded.

First, make these selections from the main pane:

Scrivener-9

Then click “Options” at top right. My manuscript includes centered text (a poem) so I’ve checked “Preserve alignment” and “Centered text only.” Note that by default Scrivener removes the indent from the first paragraph of each chapter.

Scrivener-10

Hit OK to return to the main “Formatting” pane, and click “Section Layout” at left of center. Under “Title Prefix and Suffix” enter the following (note that the dot indicates a space):

Scrivener-11

This will automatically generate chapter headers within your e-book (“Chapter One” and so on).

Now click “Title Appearance” and choose what follows to dress up each chapter’s title:

Scivener-12

And finally, choose “First Page.” Here you’ll set the number of leading uppercase words for the first paragraph of each chapter…in this case, three.

Scrivener-13

Again, hit “OK” to return to the main “Formatting” pane.

Finally, select “Chapter Title” in the lower window, hit the “A” button to summon the “Fonts” pane, and click “Bold Italic” and “18.” (I like Bold Italic for chapter titles, but that’s a personal choice.)

Scrivener-14

Then dismiss the “Fonts” pane by clicking the red circle in the upper left-hand corner.

Step eight: A slight Title Adjustment

Time required: fifteen seconds

Since Scrivener will automatically generate a Table of Contents for your e-book, you need to de-check the “Override title prefix separator for updated links:” box, as shown:

Scrivener-15

This will ensure that the individual items in your TOC appear properly.

Step nine: another slight adjustment to “Transformations”

Time required: fifteen seconds

One change here: click “Convert multiple spaces to single spaces.” This is a cleanup measure to eliminate double spaces between paragraphs.

Scrivener-16

Step ten: Finish up by installing Kindlegen

Time required: varies, but nonetheless quite speedy, and only has to be done once

If this is the first time you’ve used Scrivener, the final step in your compilation will be to install KindleGen, which is essentially an intermediary application that helps Scrivener produce .mobi-format e-books. KindleGen is a “set it and forget it” app; follow the link on the “Compilation Options / KindleGen” pane, complete the installation, and you’ll soon see:

Scrivener-17

And now, believe it or not, you’re finished! Hit the “Compile” button at lower right. Scrivener will ask you for an output location, and will then get busy producing a .mobi for you. With practice, your elapsed time to this point should easily be ten minutes.

Review: Open your .mobi in the Kindle Previewer

I find it much quicker to review my e-books in the Kindle Previewer than in the KDP. Install the Kindle Previewer if necessary, start it, and open the .mobi file Scrivener just created for you. Here are a few samples from my demo version of Gunrunner Moon.

First, the book opens directly to the beginning, where the chapter title, first paragraph indent, and capitalized words all appear correctly:

Scrivener-18

Checking the cover, we see that it’s correctly sized (although unfortunately the Kindle Previewer’s display is too big to fit into my laptop screen, so all you see here is a truncated version):

Scrivener-19

And Scrivener has automatically generated a Table of Contents.

Scrivener-20

The TOC settings are governed by the “Title Adjustments” and “Layout” panes of the Compile wizard; again, I encourage you to experiment.

Here’s the Title Page:

Scrivener-21

And finally, here’s the Copyright page. Notice that the placeholder tags have been filled in with the appropriate meta-data.

Scrivener-22

And there you have it. You can now go back and make changes, or—when you’re happy with what you see—upload your .mobi directly to the KDP.

Conclusion

The process I’ve just shown you produces a simple, clean layout in .mobi format in a few minutes, but for a much more valuable and comprehensive approach—one that’ll have you publishing like a pro to every major distributor in just a couple of hours—please pick up a copy of my guide: How to Format Your Novel for Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Smashwords, and CreateSpace…in One Afternoon.

As one reviewer reported: “This book is very well thought out, planned and easy to follow. I highly recommend it to anyone facing the otherwise daunting task of formatting for different eBook publishers. Thanks Ed, you have saved me many frustrating hours with your excellent book.” And I invite you to visit my website at https://EdDitto.com for all things authorship, and to follow me on Twitter.

Ed DittoEd Ditto Since fleeing corporate America in 2005, Ed Ditto has written over a hundred feature articles for local newspapers, sold two novels, edited and/or ghostwritten five fitness books, produced seven e-books for other authors, and helped clients win upwards of a million dollars in grant funding. His latest book, How to Format Your Novel for Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Smashwords, and CreateSpace…in One Afternoon, is now available from Amazon. Visit his website, https://EdDitto.com, for Ed’s take on self-publishing, grant writing, and good words.

Photo credit: nitot via photopin cc.

I am an Amazon affiliate, and links to that site use my affiliate code.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

151 Comments

  1. Chandi

    Hi Ed, It is generous of you to respond to so many questions on here.

    I have not yet tried your method. What I need to know first, is whether I can get the final version of my manuscript which is now in PDF format into Scrivener. I had written the manuscript in Scrivener, and then for the copyeditor to do a copyedit, I needed to export it to Word. Then after the copyedit, I sent that Word doc to the interior designer for the interior formatting, which she did in InDesign.

    So now the final copy is in PDF, which is fine for the paperback version. But I need an eBook version too. And I’d like to try your method. But can Scrivener handle uploading a PDF and if so, do I still follow your upload method?

    Thank you so much in advance for your reply.

    Reply
  2. Irene Onorato

    Wow, I had success the first time through and came out with a PERFECT mobi file. I printed out these instructions so I could refer to them over and over. I’ll also look into buying your book. I’m sure there’s a wealth of information in it as well.

    Quick question, and if you’ve addressed this, forgive my inattention to detail… Is it possible to make a template that actually saves the compile settings so I don’t have to do it over and over?

    Reply
    • Ed Ditto

      Hi. There’s a File > Save as Template function. You can also save the Compile settings you’ve created under Compile > Format As. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Irene

        Thank you so much. This will save lots of time as I plan on pumping out several mobi files for Kindle in the next few months. I’ve already used your steps as described above to produce a perfectly good upload-to-kindle mobi file for a friend’s novella.

        Thanks so much for generously sharing this information.

        Reply
  3. Irene Onorato

    I see you have the ISBNs for this book. My question is, if I just want to publish a Kindle and not a PB with Amazon, do I really need the ISBN? Wouldn’t they supply an AISN?

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Irene, you’re correct that Amazon does not require that you have an ISBN for a Kindle version; Amazon will supply an AISN. You only need an ISBN if you plan to sell the product through other retailers other than Amazon. I do recommend having one; but it is your choice.

      Reply
      • Irene Onorato

        Thank you for your kind reply, Sharon. Much appreciated.

        Reply
  4. Melanie

    Thank you so much. This is such a helpful article. You rock!
    I followed your directions to the T, checking and double-checking. All worked great, EXCEPT….
    on my table of contents page (auto-generated by Scrivener), my Chapter 3 is listed twice (on the Kindle Previewer, the text of the chapter is only listed once).
    When I look at the manuscript binder on Scrivener, it only lists chapter 3 once.
    Any tips on how to troubleshoot this?
    thank you in advance!

    Reply
  5. Sian Wood

    Thank you. Can’t tell you how much that helped me. I have managed to upload my book to all the major platforms in the last two days. Wish I had started with Scrivener from scratch. Am sure it would have saved me a couple of weeks.

    Reply
  6. Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux

    Thanks for this post!

    I’d like to add a “Thank You” page and “About the Author” at the end of my e-book, but I don’t want them to show up as “Chapter 28: Thank You.”

    Any advice on where to either save those files or how to re-order when compiling?

    Reply
  7. Steve Beamish

    Hi most of the steps were pretty easy for me but when I try to publish everything I get the following message “Warning(prcgen):W14016: Cover not specified” and then my book cover won’t upload. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated.

    Reply
  8. Susannah Gautier

    I had had great success with your instructions. There was a learning curve but not I format and update my books in minutes for kindle. Then I convert the mobi file to an epub in Calibre (free) in about 10 seconds. The only issue I have had is with a pdf file for Create Space, but I don’t sell many print books so I don’t stress over it much.
    Now I am looking to bundle two books and have no idea how to do that in scrivener. Any suggestions? I’ve googled around but haven’t come up with the solution yet.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Denise

    Can Scrivener accept InDesign files instead of Word files? I’ve tried converting to Mobi using InDesign plugin but get a lot of error messages. Also, we do not use “Chapter 1”, etc. for chapter titles. Each chapter is a separate topic and that topic is used as the chapter title. Can Scrivener be set up to something other than using “Chapter __”?

    Reply
  10. Clare

    I have followed these instructions to the letter twice – but unfortunately my chapter headings are not centred and my tavle of contents just lists the words – Title Page and The title itself – no links to chapters of other front matter.
    Im using a Mac OS x 10.9.2 and am a Scrivener user (although to date have used it only to write)
    Can you tell me what I’ve done wrong? I am going slightly crazy! I thought your instructions were very helpful and clear – yet it hasn’t worked!

    Reply
  11. John

    I love this article and got your formatting book. It’s really wonderful helpful little user guide. I imported from MS Word Mac 2011. I had Scrivner and hadn’t really used it much, but now I’m appreciating it’s power.

    I have two questions:
    I’ve got everything the way I want, except in my output file, the Contents page is right the Cover image page and before the copyright page and dedication page. Is there a way to put the Contents page after the other front matter pages?

    Also, i tried importuning from MS Word Mac 2011 and I had written with tabs i word, which did not import well and looks funky when compiled. Is there a way to clean that up without doing it manually – or import so it cleans that up.

    Thanks for writing a great article and user guide!
    John

    Reply
  12. Ed Ditto

    Hi, Bobby. Make sure that in File > Compile > Transformations that you don’t have the “Convert italics to underlines” box checked.

    Reply
    • Bobby

      Wow Ed. That was easy, after a year of not being able to figure it out. Love Scrivener. Look forward to reading your book!
      Thanks!

      Reply
  13. Bobby

    Ed (or anyone),
    First, I’m planning to buy both your’s and Michael’s e-books, thanks for the leads! I have worked with Scrivener for about a year. The one thing I can’t seem to accomplish in a conversion is that, if I italicize a word or sentence in Scrivener, and then compile it to Word or Kindle, it comes out as underlined rather than italicized. I am using the Windows version.
    Any idea?

    Reply
  14. Eve

    Hi Ed, thank you for this very informative post. I’ve read through all the comments but haven’t seen my particular problem discussed: I can’t figure out how to get KindleGen installed. I’ve tried to follow the directions in their ReadMe, which is opaque to say the very least, with no success. I feel like an idiot. There’s not much you can do about that, but perhaps you can suggest a way (or direct me to a site that can suggest a way) to get this ever-lovin’ blue-eyed utility to install?

    Thanks,
    Eve

    Reply
    • Eve

      (And, by the way, I am using an Intel Mac with IOS over 10.5, which they specify.)
      Eve

      Reply
    • Ed Ditto

      Hi, Eve. Have you tried what I’m about to describe?

      The first time you use Scrivener’s Compile wizard to create a .mobi, it’ll walk you through the installation process. So try it now: in Scrivener hit File > Compile, choose “Kindle eBook (.mobi)” from the “Compile For” dropdown box, and click the KindleGen option. You’ll find the instructions right there.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Eve

        Ah. Well. In the (amazingly short) time it took you to answer my question I had a lightbulb go off and I dragged the KindleGen icon to my Utilities folder. Bingo. In addition to my practice file I also got some stuff I didn’t want (like Scrivener’s sample pages), but that’s easily fixable. Thanks!
        Eve

        Reply
  15. John S

    Ed, thanks for taking the time to put together this information. I have the latest Windows version of Scrivener and am running into lots of problems. The one I’d like to ask you about involves the table of contents and chapter headers. When I create a chapter in Scrivener and leave it blank then Scrivener automatically numbers it for you. In other words, if I leave the first chapter untitled then Scrivener will automatically fill in Chapter One in the output, including .mobi. Well, here is the problem, if I leave the chapter title blank in Scrivener then the compile document prints Chapter One on the first page of the chapter but then in the .mobi document the table of contents reads “Unknown” for that chapter. Conversely, if I name my file Chapter One in Scrivener it will then print it in the table of contents but Chapter One is typed TWICE on the first page of the chapter. Does that make sense? I can’t win! What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks again,
    John

    Reply
  16. Ed Ditto

    I’ll be curious to hear how the Calibre read-through goes. Mind keeping me updated?

    One other possible place to check for the cause of the front matter/back matter font issue would be the Formatting pane’s Structure and Content table (SCT). If a Binder structure has the front and back matter at different hierarchical levels or as different types (folder, multi-text, text) then it’s good to make sure the formatting across those different levels/types is homogenized.

    I have a more in-depth article about the SCT at my website: https://edditto.com/sct/

    Reply
    • pd workman

      Unfortunately, I am not well enough versed at html for the Calibre conversion to be any help.

      I did a complete redo, and instead of using Scrivener to produce a file that I couldn’t be sure of, pasted plain text into a new Word document, created the styles I needed, inserted an active TOC and the appropriate bookmarks, and saved as filtered html which I reviewed and uploaded to Amazon. Some issues that I found:

      – I had a couple of inserted graphics that were mis-sized and caused problems, I just took those out completely, but I obviously need to look at graphics settings to see what can be done for other books in the future

      – Inserting a ‘Start’ bookmark to mark the Beginning does not work real well. I had to move it around half a dozen times before the file behaved appropriately in the preview program. If I put it as the first “character” of the first page of chapter 1, it would start on my dedication page instead. It ended up working if I put it in about the second line of text.

      – My preview file is better now, but still not perfect. For some reason, it is still putting all of the text in italics. I must have a hidden code in my file somewhere. I had initially italicized the dedication, but when I un-italicized it and submitted again, it is still italicized. But maybe my most recent file still isn’t showing up in the “look inside” dialog, even though Amazon says it has been updated.

      How can I download the updated file to my device from Amazon to make sure there are no other quirks in the actual book file? I have archived and re-downloaded, but still have the initial file.

      Reply
      • Roland Denzel

        PD, if you are getting the file from Amazon, you will always get the version you initially ‘purchased.’ They do this so that readers don’t lose notes, bookmarks, and highlighting. You can request the latest from them, however. It’s a manual process.

        I was trying to fix my book over and over again. When I looked at it in the previewer and kindle app on my pc, it was right, but when I redownloaded it to my Kindle via Amazon, it was the old, bad version.

        I contacted Amazon and was told that readers get the first version they ‘buy’ unless they request the newest OR the author makes a major revision and alerts Amazon to tell all purchasers (this process takes weeks to months, however).

        Reply
  17. pd workman

    I used Scrivener to produce my Kindle file for my new book, tested it out in the Kindle reviewer app, on each of my devices, etc. until it was perfect. Submitted it to Kindle yesterday, and downloaded the commercial file today.

    – on my phone, the fonts in the front and back matter are the wrong size
    – on the Amazon “Look Inside”, the formatting is awful. No page breaks, tiny font and long lines, just awful. I have to figure out how to produce and resubmit a file that will work!

    Reply
    • Ed Ditto

      Hi, PD. Tough to know exactly what’s going on without more detail, but a couple of thoughts.

      First, the fact that the file you submitted looks perfect on your previewer app and on your devices but not in the “look inside” sample–this makes me wonder whether you’ve previously submitted a pre-Scrivener version to Amazon? If so, know that even though the actual commercial file will update very quickly on Amazon, the “look inside” sample can take quite a while to do so.

      Second, are you saying that the font in the front and back matter differs in size from the font in the body of the book? Forgive me if this is an unnecessarily basic point, but remember that on an e-reader the user generally has control over the font size and not the author. That said, there are ways to force font sizes through, and perhaps you’ve inadvertently done that.

      Reply
      • pd workman

        1. No, I hadn’t submitted any file to Amazon previously.

        2. I used the “as is” setting in Scrivener for the title page, copyright, bio, and preview extract, as you did in your example. So the title page has a large font (and when I load the mobi file on my phone/ipad/whatever, it looks fine — but on the commercial version downloaded from Amazon the title page font is so large that the title splits over two phone pages) and the back matter is in a font probably one or two points smaller than the text of the book, just barely noticeable.

        I’m downloading Calibre right now so that I can look at the html coding of the mobi file.

        Reply
  18. Ed Ditto

    Exactly. The term “images” would include photos.

    Reply
  19. vicki sterne

    I have created an iPhone travel app: Kauai Beach Guide. I would like to make a Kindle version, knowing that some of the iPhone features won’t work. I have a number of photos that I would like to use, and would pare down to one for each beach mentioned (24). When you mention images, does this include photos? I hired a developer to do the coding, so I personally am not tech-minded.

    Reply
  20. Alfredo

    REALLY great post. Everything worked well. However, I am encountering an issue and have not been able to find the answer anywhere. When I create an e-book (or Kindle .mobi), I encounter ‘Untitled Document’ on the ToC for a chapter or two, even though those chapters also show up on the list. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Ed Ditto

      Thanks, Alfredo. To diagnose that problem I’d need to see a few screenshots. If you’d like, you can get in touch with me through my website, linked above. Thanks…

      Reply
      • Alfredo

        Thanks Ed, and thanks for the amazing post and instructions!

        Reply
  21. Robb Cadigan

    I just want to say that this article was absolutely fantastic. I really appreciate the time you took to put it together. The instructions were very easy to follow. I just converted my .doc to .mobi via Scrivener for Mac, messed around a little with formatting (for personal taste), and I’m off and running. Thank you for saving me so much time! I’ll be buying your book now to help with other formats.

    Reply
    • Ed Ditto

      What a great compliment! Thanks much, Robb.

      Reply
  22. Bob

    This is driving me crackers. I have got a MOBI FIle and it works fine

    How do I publish it on Amazon??? Saying “Upload it” is no help

    So how do I upload a mobi file so that punters can buy it????

    Reply
    • Ed Ditto

      Hi, Bob.

      Glad to hear you were able to compile a .mobi file. Publishing it on Amazon is a multi-step process, but not a difficult one.

      Amazon’s Kindle publishing portal is called the Kindle Direct Platform, or KDP. It’s home page is https://kdp.amazon.com. You can access a good explanation of how the process works by clicking the “Get Started” link in the center of the page.

      Thanks…

      Reply
      • Bob

        Yes, already done that but it asks dozens of questions that are already incorporated in the mobi file (via the OPF file)

        So, do I have to wade through all that? I was hoping to just FTP it somewhere or maybe send as an email attachment?

        Reply
        • Ed Ditto

          Yes you do. I think “dozens of questions” might be on the high side…I haven’t counted, but I think that in the two main steps there are roughly twenty, including checkboxes…but these are crucial and the majority of them aren’t contained in your book’s metadata. You’re writing the book’s description for its Amazon page, opting into/out of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, setting up your rate structure, etc.

          Hang in there, man…you’ve done something like 99% of the work already in writing your book and setting up its .mobi version. You’re almost there!

          Reply
          • Bob

            Ed
            I really do appreciate your time and effort answering.

            Amazon’s efforts on this are an object lesson on how not to let techies write an instruction manual

            I am a computer programmer by background and have also built a lot of complex websites and I sweated blood to get the OPF file and HTML files to work. How people without this background can do this is beyond me

            Anyway, when I get finished I will write an idiot’s guide to how to take the OPF and HTML route (I know there is an easier route via conversion but that is a bit like writing a book in English and then letting Google translate it into German. If you already speak fluent German you should write in that language)

            The advantage I have now is that I can see precisely how to adjust things. I can also just copy the MOBI file to my Kindle and do a final run before publishing

  23. Simon McCullagh

    I have just spent three hours following your ‘ten minute’ guide. Maybe your guide is not up to date with the current version of scrivener but I am really angry. I’m really annoyed with myself for following your ‘guide’ and downloading your 24 page report.

    You tell us to Click and drag of the text from your novel, well word on windows 7 isn’t compatible. Like wise creating chapters within the body of text is a complete pain in the backside.

    Opening a ‘Finder’ window is specific to macs and you don’t suggest an alternative.

    Populate your front matter doesn’t work because it doesn’t exist in the version I just downloaded. Even the manual doesn’t contain the phrase front matter.

    I’ve spent three hours of my life messing around with this slow, cumbersome, crap software because you sold me the idea that it is quick, easy to use and labour saving.

    I am very frustrated and very angry. I don’t know if my anger is misplaced but I’m not in the right frame of mind to know that yet. Have you anything to say to me that might help or is in any way of an apology (like I say I’m quite blinded by my anger at the moment and an apology may not be required).

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Simon,

      I’m sorry you feel that you’ve wasted your time, but I don’t think the author is to blame for that. If you look over the post and the many comments from other readers, the issue of the Windows version of Scrivener not being the same as the Mac version is discussed repeatedly. Despite your frustration, Scrivener has—rightly in my opinion—become one of the best tools for writers I’ve ever seen in over 30 years of working with software. Ed’s innovative method for producing ebooks quickly has helped dozens of writers get their work done better and faster. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you.

      Reply
      • Simon McCullagh

        Thanks for your calm, measured response. I can see why you would have that opinion of scrivener, but that’s really for the writing process rather than turning your manuscript into an ebook. And if the issue of the windows version has been a thorn in so many sides then obviously a rewrite of the article and/or its title would be the moral thing to do, rather than people continuing to waste their time. If your site (and therefore your pocket) is benefited by the numbers of visitors coming to this page, and a large proportion of those visitors are pc users then you should really put a caveat in the title of the article. That would have prevented me from wasting three hours and becoming unduly stressed. Thanks again for your response and apart from this issue I enjoy this site a lot, hugs.

        Reply
  24. Ed Ditto

    Hi, Alan. Thanks for the good word, and I’m glad you took your NaNoWriMo project through to completion.

    Reply

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