What does publishing a book on Kindle entail? Those of you who have already published an ebook will know - a considerable amount of work! And that is after you have you have written it! That alone is an almighty task as anyone familiar with the Ernest Hemingway quote: ‘All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed!’ will know. The idea, the plot, research, character
drawing, editing, re-writing, editing, proof reading etc is enough to make
anyone tear their hair out and why we writers should do it in the first place
is a mystery to me, except write I must! I think it’s in the genes! My father
Edward Benbow was a writer too writing scripts and plays for the BBC before the war and a great deal of other material, stories, novels and poems afterwards. In his last years he tormented his brain with words by writing the longest palindromic composition in the world (in fact long enough to be a book although not a very entertaining one!) at well over 150,000 words. So, writing and words chase and taunt me too - but back to Kindle!
I have published four children’s books on Amazon so far (many more to come)- the latest ‘The Kettle that Lost its Whistle’ this week. They are illustrated books so double the work! The sketching and watercolours are just the first part of the process. Once happy with the pictures (and being very self critical that is rarely!) I scan the images onto my computer. There, the colours and tones can be adjusted, the image enlarged and any small errors taken out. Modern technology is wonderful for this. Text is added under the pictures and then by a variety of means the images are converted to the right file types. I rely on my wonderful publisher son for this wizardry and just sit by nodding my head in the appropriate places! For the cover, the title header, borders etc are added and it is adjusted to the correct proportions for the Kindle format.
Now back to the text. Unfortunately when I originally started writing and formatting books for Kindle I still used double line spacing of text which used to be the standard and how I was used to presenting it. Digital methods have to be much tighter. Text has to run on neatly, no additional spaces are needed which can play havoc with uploading your book. Making your text look ‘nice’ on the page as you type it is not just un-necessary but unhelpful to your publisher and detrimental to the process. The use of pilcrows is essential for text and shows quite clearly any extra spacing’s etc. For a full length novel, such as the memoir I published last year, the word file is converted to a compatible one for Kindle and importantly I think the chapters are formatted in a table of contents. I read an awful lot of Kindle books and there is nothing more annoying, even in a short book, than not being able to click on the chapter heading and so skip in and out of chapters and backwards and forwards in a book! Having to scroll through page after page to find what you are looking for is annoying to say the least and a little effort in getting this right is much appreciated!
For my illustrated children’s books the images once digitally finished are placed within the text ensuring there are no additional page breaks which again can cause problems. All this then, along with the cover, can be uploaded to Kindle. Then there are all the other bits and pieces to fill in along with pricing (a blog in itself) but finally you can press ‘Publish!’ The book then goes off to 'Kindle land' where it is hopefully approved in a day or so.
So there we have it! I have added a few pictures through their various stages which you may be interested in.
They are from ‘Roly Moley Goes in Search of the Moon.’
Here is a pencil and ink drawing. I will have already done a rough sketch beforehand but at this stage it is hopefully the one that will be used in the book. Sometimes things go wrong though and I have to start all over again!
Starting to fill in with watercolour here
Owl nearly finished and the start of the tree trunk emerges. These are just photographs so the colours look wrong - sorry.
This is pretty much the final version as it appears in the book although there will be a few minor alters and the text caption underneath.
Roley Moley Goes in Search of the Moon