Tutorial: Creating ebooks for Amazon using Mobipocket Creator
If you wish to sell your ebook via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you first need to create a mobi file.
If you are using Scrivener, you don’t need to worry about this tutorial at all! Scrivener has its own abilities to output directly as a mobi file.
I, however, currently use OpenOffice. Which does not.
There are various programs you can use to do this conversion, but the one I use is known as Mobipocket Creator. It is available from this site: Mobipocket eBook Creator
You will need to download both the Creator and the Reader.
First off, you must have a completed manuscript and a cover. To prepare your manuscript for ebook conversion, remove all page numbers, disable footers and/or headers and format the layout as simplisitically as you can. The conversion process will leave in some quirks – including double-spacing between paragraphs – so you may need to translate several variations first.
If your file contains images, these should be on separate pages. Ebooks do not generally display pictures on the same page as text and you will find that the addition of images may involve large blank sections in the book. I have found it most appropriate to position images at the end of a chapter or scene, thus they do not disrupt the flow of text.
This is the home page of Mobipocket Creator:
Whilst various options for importing exist, I have found that the HTML document format gives the best finished result. Once you have removed all the footers and other peripherals from your document, you should save it as an HTML file.
Now click on import from existing file -> HTML document
You can then Browse for your HTML file and Import it.
This will bring you to this screen:
You should then work through each of the options on the left hand side.
Cover Image: Select the cover image from your computer. This should be of reasonable size, but not too big (because mobipocket creator has issues with extremely large images). Click Update to upload it. It will be resized automatically to an appropriate size by the files.
Table of Contents: I confess, I have never managed to successfully instal the Table of Contents. What it does is offer you a list at the beginning of all the chapters, with internal links in the ebook format to those chapters. It also allows the ereading device to show you how long you have on each chapter. As such, it is a very useful tool, and one I shall continue to play with until I figure it out. I suspect it may require the use of an HTML editing program.
Book Settings: You can set book type to “ebook”. Rest is probably irrelevant if your book is written in English and not a dictionary.
Metadata: Now this one is very useful. This is the data that is connected to your book and will aid in its distribution and hopefully encourage people to buy it. Fill in all applicable options. Note: ISBNs are unique to each version of each story, so if you have an ISBN number for a physical book it will NOT be the same as the digital version. Amazon assign their own number to ebooks and ISBNs are not necessary for this stage. I will do a later post re: ISBN numbers, how to obtain them and when you need them.
Main subject: Choose from the list, selecting the most appropriate option for your title.
Guide: I have so far ignored “Guide” but I suspect it is for the more technically inclined.
Once this is done, you can select Build from the top menu. Then Build from the screen that opens up.
Your ebook will now be created. Note that a Warning button may pop up, especially if either a, your cover illustration is too small or you’ve forgotten to upload it, or b, you have internal illustrations. See what the warning pertains to.
“Image file not found” comes up because the ebook is being built in a different folder from the one that your file has been saved into. There are two ways around this:
On the original screen, where you first uploaded your HTML manuscript, change the destination folder to the same folder that the original HTML file came from.
Or, as I generally do – transfer the image file from the original file into the destination folder, go back to Publications and Build the ebook once more.
Now, if there are no warnings then you can preview your book using the Mobipocket Reader you will have already installed. Click through it from beginning to end. You may notice a few funky things with formating (indented paragraphs, double spaces between paragraph breaks) and sometimes the font will seem to change size. If that happens, just double-check it by clicking back through it – it seems to be an issue with the Reader, not the actual mobi file. If you need to make any adjustments, go back to your original manuscript and repeat the process from the beginning until it is to your satisfaction.
Then it is time to move onto the next step:
Publishing your book through Kindle Direct Publishing.
(Tutorial to come)
Angela Oliver is a writer and illustrator, a reader and a dreamer. She has three titles available on Amazon, both in physical format and ebook format.