For any first-time Indie authors out there, who are planning to self-publish on Kindle, let me offer you this nugget of advice: Get a formatting company to prepare your MS for you, so that you get it right first time!
When I published Legitimate Targets on Kindle in March 2013, I failed to do one important thing… RESEARCH!
If I had, I’d have quickly realised that it’s not the easiest or most user-friendly experience. My first mistake was to upload my MS as a pdf file. It appears that Kindle’s conversion software hates pdf files. There were so many blank lines, dropped paragraphs and other formatting errors, that I tried again… with a Word document.
That was another mistake. Random sentences were split into new paragraphs and lots of the first-line indents were missing. Now, some of the errors were caused by formatting errors of my making, so here’s another tip… When you’ve completed your MS, review the formatting by clicking the button marked with that strange reversed “P” symbol. All your tiny but important errors will immediately appear.
I was quite happy with the result from the new upload… that was until in November, I spotted a couple of typos, missed from earlier proof-reads, so I corrected them and uploaded another revision – That’s when my troubles really started. I should have proofed the whole doc, but all I did was to check that the typos had been correctly updated. Yet another mistake.
The next day, I promoted the book with a two day Amazon giveaway and I was delighted to see that 300 readers took advantage of the promotion. Then, out of the blue, I got my first poor review. “How could this have been published in this state,” complained the reviewer, “Didn’t anyone proof read this?”
I must admit I was quite shocked, so I immediately got online to check it out. To my horror, I found that during the conversion process, Kindle had de-constructed whole paragraphs and reassembled them in the wrong order. Many were complete gobbledegook.
What should have read, “Tonight as she lay in bed waiting for him to come home, Rachel was wearing one of Jake’s T-shirts. The air was thick and humid. Even with the curtains open and the window ajar, there was no breeze; sleep had been elusive.
She kicked off the thin sheet, pulled the T-shirt over her head and flung it across the room. She lay back again and looked down at her naked body. Thin fingers of pale moonlight stretched into the room from the window, highlighting and carressing her curves. She reached down and stroked her thighs.
Closing her eyes, she wished now more than ever that Jake was beside her.”
Now read: “Tonight as she lay in bed the T-shirt over her head and flung it across the room. waiting for him to come home, Rachel was wearing one of Jake’s T-shirts. The air was thick and humid. She reached down and stroked her thighs. Even with the curtains open and the window ajar, there was no breeze; sleep had been elusive.
She kicked off the thin sheet, pulled She lay back again and looked down at her stretched into the room from the window,naked body. Thin fingers of pale moonlight Closing her eyes, she wished now more than ever that Jake was beside her. highlighting and carressing her curves. “
It would have been funny if it wasn’t for the fact 300 people were now trying to read a book littered with total nonsense.
My next upload was in ePub format and seemed to work ok, but it had taken three months to reach this point of total mediocrity. I wanted to expand my marketing horizons but with a less than perfect product, I decided to call in the experts.
It’s not expensive to use a formatting company. It should cost you around £65 ($99) and it will truly be money well spent.