This post details my travails at publishing an electronic book format. Specifically the Amazon Kindle edition, because based on their marketshare, the .mobi format is all that matters. I’ll juxtapose this dry material with photos from our Christmas vacation to Austin over the last couple of days. These two are of the girls at the Austin Trail of Lights from last night.
I planned to share some of these details to help others publish an ebook. I held off until I was fully successful. By fully successful, I mean having a Kindle edition available at Amazon. This took four weeks from the time my print editions were available. My ebook was available on the Apple iBooks store immediately, although not without errors. Apple was my first problem. Before even describing my issues, I’ll advise you to simply pay an ebook coder to do this for you. But if you enjoy a technical challenge, by all means, follow my errors.
The first problem is there are virtually zero instructions for how to export your ebook. Ingram Spark is my publisher and they provide two different files with a few instructions scattered throughout the docs. The tips are in a narrative format rather than a checklist, so it’s easy to miss key instructions. My book design software is Adobe InDesign, chances are it’s your’s too. The export routine will provide multiple tabs of export options. I got through it by reviewing YouTube videos. The best one, because it tells you tips for the layout design as well, is this 24 minute video. Trust me, I watched dozens. It’s one of the few that explains the Adobe export options. It also tells you how to rasterize your text pages. It doesn’t say this, but making a photo out of text is a clever trick to get around font license issues. I had those problems too.
You only really need to publish eBooks to Apple and Amazon. That’s where most are sold. I figured out I had issues with Apple by downloading their free sample. Ingram Spark doesn’t do much in terms of monitoring errors from distributors. Turns out my issue wth Amazon was that Ingram Spark lost my contract agreement. They made me sign four, a print contract, an ebook contract, a specific ebook contract for Apple and another for Amazon – which they lost. They offer separate contracts for Apple and Amazon because those sites have mature tools for writers to self-publish directly. I probably should have chosen to work with them directly. Because I didn’t, it was difficult to get Apple and Amazon to talk to me for support issues.
There’s so many things. I’m still working out issues on my ebook with other online retailers. Comment if you have specific questions. These last two photos are of brunch today at Magnolia Cafe and a run around Town Lake.