Preparing Your ebook for Kindle: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide
by Amy K. Jones
Have a book you’re dying to share with the world? Sigil is an open source program available for free online that will allow you to quickly and easily convert your book to the .epub format for submission to Kindle ebooks and elsewhere.
Publishing options for ebooks abound, but if you’ve honed in on the opportunity to self-publish your ebook with Amazon - for the Kindle - or elsewhere and need an .epub format file, you probably need some words of encouragement, a pat on the back for writing a worthy and unique book, and a little help converting your book to the proper format for publication. I’m here for ya! I’ll walk you through the wonderful Sigil Program .epub formatting process and tell you how to preview the results in both the Amazon Kindle Previewer and the awesome Calibre Ebook Management Program. All the programs discussed are completely free and fabulous.
Alright, the first thing you’re going to want to do is open your document in whatever program you’ve created it in and use the ’Save As’ feature to save the document as .html. Then go online and grab a free program called Sigil (http://code.google.com/p/sigil/) and install it on your computer. Open your .html document in Sigil and immediately use the ‘Save As’ feature to save your document with an .epub extension (It‘s the only option available in the program.). Now you have a document that is in the correct file type for submission to Amazon’s kindle ebooks, but don’t stop now; your book still needs to be properly formatted - this is where you’re going to fall in love with Sigil! (^)
Here are the 6 steps to follow to convert your document using Sigil:
1) Separate Your Book into Sections: Scroll down your document until you find the your first ‘Chapter’ break and use the Sigil squiggle button (fifteenth option from the left on the top panel of screen) to create a break in the document. Repeat this process throughout your document wherever you want a separation in the document. (Save your work!)
*If you observe the left column of your screen as you work you’ll notice that each time you click on the Sigil squiggle a new file is created - pretty cool, hunh? ;) This is the feature you’ll use to separate your cover page from your copyright page, dedication page, chapters, etc. It’s fast and easy: place your cursor where you want a break and click the Sigil squiggle!
2) Creating Your Table of Contents: In the left-hand column, double-click on the first file. The first section you created will appear in the main window. Highlight the title of your book and use the dropdown menu to select ‘Heading1‘(the little window in the first position of the second row at top panel). Highlight your name and select ‘Heading 2 from the dropdown menu. Move (double-click on second file in list on left) and highlight ‘Chapter 1’, then select Heading 3 from the dropdown menu. Follow this procedure throughout your book files.
(You know it: Save your work!)
*If you need help selecting a heading type while you’re running through your document, simply hover your mouse over the little heading window where the dropdown menu is and a popup tip will appear advising you that ‘Heading 1 (H1) is best suited for Titles, Heading 2 (H2) is best for Authors, Heading 3 (H3) is best for Chapters and Headings 4-6 are best for subsections.’ (Sigil program tip)
Curious about what’s happening? Click on the ‘Tools’, then ‘TOC editor’ and you’ll notice that the title you’ve highlighted and assigned ‘Heading 1’ appears, in outline form, in a small window that pops up. Just under the title, your name (which you‘ve assigned heading 2) appears. This is your Table Of Contents. You may use the checked boxes on the right to remove items you do not wish to appear in your table of contents.
3) Add Your Cover: Double-click on your first file on the left panel and place your mouse cursor just before the first letter of your title. Click the Sigil squiggle to create a new section. In the left panel, double-click on the new first file and place your mouse cursor in the center of the main area, then click on the ‘Insert’ button on the top panel and select image (or use the add image button that has the image icon on it, in the top panel). Find your cover image file and add it. The image will appear. (Save your work!)
4) Identify Cover Files: Right-click on the first file in the left column and select ‘Add Semantics’. Click on the word ‘Cover’. Then scroll down the left column to the file titled ‘Images’. Double-click on this file, then right-click on the image you’ve added as your cover and select ‘Add Semantics’, then click on ‘Cover’. This will tell ebook reader programs that this is your cover. Do not assign this title to any other image.
5) Identify Book Files: Right-click on the second file in the left column and select ‘Add Semantics’, then click on ‘Title Page’. Follow these steps to assign semantics (identifiers) to each of these files: Cover, Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, assigning ‘Text’ to the file where your first chapter is located. (Save your work!)
6) Verify Your Reformatted Document: Select ‘View’ from the top panel and click on ‘Validation Results’, then select ‘Tools’ and ‘Validate Epub’. This feature will check the document for structural errors that need to be fixed before you submit your book. The lower portion of the screen will either say ‘No Problems!’ (I‘ll keep my fingers crossed for you.) or a list of issues will appear for you to address. When you see “No Problems” you’re done! …Now save your work!
(^) I am not affiliated with the Sigil program or its developers, nor do I gain any reward for mentioning/endorsing the product. It’s just a fabulous, free, time-saving product that I use and love.
Copyright © 2011 Amy K. Jones
Amy K. Jones
Specifically for ebook readers/writers/publishers, this blog is intended to provide accurate, helpful, FREE information about the best FREE programs available online.