What format does Kindle use?

With the explosion of eBooks and e-readers trying to keep up with all the different formats and requirements has become a bit of a challenge. As a full time professional publisher I know. And Amazon’s Kindle is no different. And to make matters even worse, the industry as a whole has been growing so fast that at times there have been several updates to the entire formatting process over just the past year or two.

When I first started publishing books to Kindle only a few years ago Amazon accepted one of several formats. However the process was even more complicated than it is today. Back then I usually submitted a standard Word doc file. Today Kindle prefers a certain variety of HTML file called, in Microsoft Word at least, Formatted HTML.

That being said, the end format that gets uploaded to Kindle is only the tip of the iceberg  Before you can upload your eBook to Kindle you need to first setup the on page formatting structure of your manuscript. This includes setting margins, removing blank lines caused by hard returns (aka: carriage returns / line breaks), setting up paragraphs, first line indents, font settings and more. Does this all seem a little bit confusing? Overwhelming? It may. I know when I first started working out the process to publish a book on Kindle there were some moments when I was close to pulling my hair out. However today, I have worked out a simple process that allows me to format an entire eBook in as little as five simple steps.

Do you have an eBook you want to publish to Amazon Kindle? Listen, you’ve done the hard part already by writing the book. Why frustrate yourself learning another entire process of formatting and uploading to Kindle when literally for pennies a page, I will do it all for you. Plus, I can also place your book on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Smashwords, Google Books (Google Play) and the Apple iBookstore at the same time.

Check out my very reasonable Formatting Services HERE.


A Guide to Writing for Beginner’s

I just recently read a book about writing as a Sacred Art. If you are a writer, you understand that. Writing isn’t just something you do in your spare time. It’s a vocation and the need to write is as strong for a writer as painting is for a painter.

Writing is healing, cathartic and as necessary as sunlight or water. It is very much about the journey for writers. Sure, the ultimate goal is to get published and thoughts of acclaim assuage the ego but, for the writer, there is almost a sense of urgency to write.

The first key to writing a novel is the ability to dream and imagine. Think back to when you were a little child and dreamed. Your imagination took you to places you’ve never been before. It made you do things you never thought you could do. Having superpowers…being in strange places…the conditions are limitless. Writing a novel is actually imagination translated into words. You close your eyes and let your thoughts drift while creating a web of consequential ideas. After which, you write them down on paper.

The second key to writing is formulating the premise of your novel. Let’s say you’d start with a huge asteroid moving about in space. Then suddenly it collided with another asteroid and instantly created an explosion. Some of the explosion’s debris fell down into the earth’s atmosphere. By accident a person comes in contact with it. These sequence of events could be your initial start in which you let your mind take hold of and run with to produce the succeeding events.

The third key would be creating a stream of spontaneous ideas. Once you have the initial idea, sink down into it and allow yourself to be completely absorbed. Let’s say after the person comes in contact with the asteroid debris, he gains supernatural powers! And then he notices some new changes in his being, not just physically but also emotionally and psychologically. This is where an avalanche of new ideas start coming in. You will notice that you are no longer directing your story but your story is directing you. That makes writing now so easy. You don’t need to analyze anything because the story now starts to play like a movie. All you have to do is put them into words as the story plays in your head.

Next, make sure you are able to retain your daydreaming and concentration as one event goes after another. This state is now called the “alpha state”. This is the place between consciousness and sleep. Time stands still when you are in this state. Words keep coming to you until you start to feel pain in your legs and in your waist and then you suddenly flick consciousness and you become flabbergasted because you’ve not only written one or two pages but five or more without even knowing it!

The next key would be to practice flipping in and out of the “alpha state”. You can do this by rereading what you’ve written and internalizing it as if it was your first time. It might take you time, as much as hours or even days before you are able to go to your “alpha state” again but once you’re adept at going into the zone, it would only be a matter of minutes before you start writing a new dialogue.

So, you’ve finished your story! Now it’s time to do the final touch-ups. There is still one last thing that you need to do. Yea, you guessed it. You need to check the entire story again for spelling, punctuations, grammar, correct word usage and coherence. You might even need to revise it a few times before you are able to arrive with the final output. But don’t fret, it’s not much work really compared to writing the entire novel. What’s important is you now have your own novel, written by yourself, using your very own imagination. How much more proud could you get?

Easy Steps To Get Past Writers Block

Getting past writer’s block has so many different possible cures, some of which seem like a sorcerers’ brew, you may as well be trying to get rid of hiccups. My all time favorite cure is “just write anything.” If I were to follow this advice when I’m stuck in a frustrating blank stare moment, my page would be filled with expletives that would be of no use to anyone, including Lenny Bruce.

If you have no idea of what to say on any given subject, you do not have writer’s block, you have a lack of knowledge problem. If you have the facts in front of you and still do not know what to say then you have writer’s block. The basic step of gathering enough material to complete your writing task should never be confused with writer’s block. Writing takes leg work – tedious legwork. Before the Internet this task could seem insurmountable; but now with worlds of knowledge at our fingertips, I don’t want to hear about any problems getting background material on any subject. Learn how to use the search engines well. This should already be part of your writer’s skill set.

Genuine writer’s block comes when you “just don’t know how to say it.” You have the information, a basic outline, yet you are not satisfied with the tone, cadence or anecdote provided. It just doesn’t feel right. You can’t tie your ideas together into one cohesive product that supports the underlying theme you are trying to convey. What do you do?

Take your material and write it out as you have it. Even if doesn’t feel right complete your assignment as if it were due today, and walk away. Leave the problem to rattle around in your brain for a while. Now here comes they key. Do something totally unrelated that requires you to pay some attention to your new task – a household chore, returning emails, running an errand. I generally find a physical chore, like walking to the post office to be superior to a mental chore like answering emails. Exercise is one of the great inspirational tools available to us. If you exercise regularly this would be a great time to do that. Sometime during your chore or exercise the answer will pop into your head. That is the way our brains work. Inspiration comes to us all the time. We need to be distracted from the noise that interfering with our ability to hear the inspiration. Once we have changed our focus away from the problem at hand our brain can finally deliver the answer unimpeded. Whether you believe the answer has come from your brain or from the cosmos the answer is always available to us. Sometimes more than one chore is required for distraction. On a big problem it might take a week of chores. Be absolutely sure you have a pen and pad of paper with you at all times, because the answer may be fleeting, or just a partial answer with the remaining portion to show up at a later time.

Most writers are working on more than one project at a time. Leaving one assignment and starting another can also help in getting the answer to a previous writing problem. Remember; never confuse lack of preparation with writer’s block. Lack of preparation is a matter of laziness and is a whole different problem to overcome.

How to Build Your Writing Style?

Writing style is a writer’s uniqueness. When you build your unique style, you will be known for it. For instance, Ernest Hemingway used to begin his sentences with ‘and’ or ‘but’ that was his particular style; Dickens uses aesthetically complex sentences, and that’s his style. So, each writer has his own style, which is the sum total of all the writing mannerisms, choice of vocabulary, and grammar constructions. In this article we will discuss the importance of building such a writing style and see how we can do it.

  • Read more and analyze what you read as you go on. When you read professional publications and blogs, you will know more of what is in these days. You will know the specialty of a particular writer. This is a first step toward building your style.

Some professional publications I recommend reading include Readers’ Digest, news sites like BBC, The Telegraph, CNN, etc. While reading, give importance to the mannerisms, choice of words, sentence structures, etc., used in the article.

  • Why I say ‘avoid Wikipedia’? Wikipedia is written by the commons, and is not entirely correct. Only their premium articles (which are locked from editing) are error-free. All other articles are edited by people, those who even don’t have an account there, and hence tend to be full of errors, grammatically and factually.
  • Hence, it is important that you read it only for information, not for building writing style. Always read professional blogs and other publications which give you some great advice on writing.
  • Give importance to your grammar and punctuation. The key feature of a writer is primarily his writing grammar and punctuation. When the writer composes an article full of errors, his credibility goes down instantly. So, it is extremely important for the people trying to get into a writing field to learn grammar and punctuation. Rules of grammar and punctuation are very simple and can be learned from such publications as Ask Oxford, Merriam Webster, etc.
  • There are disputes galore! Yes there are a lot of disputes as the what is correct and what is wrong in written English. For instance, if you check out Oxford comma (Google ‘comma rules oxford comma), you will know many writers recommend using it, while some writers avoid it.

It is dependent on the writer what he chooses to use.

In Conclusion

It is popular saying that writing has personality. Indeed. The personality of a writer is dependent on the words he uses, the usage, vocabulary he chooses, and the style.

How To Create A Winning Title For Your Book

Mothers of newborn babies are used to being asked, “What’s your baby’s name?” As innocent as it may sound, the deeper question behind the question is: “Did you give any thought to your child’s name, or did you just pick something out of thin air?” I submit to you, that there are millions of babies around the world who will grow up with names that people won’t understand, with no meaning at all, names they themselves don’t like. Many of them will eventually apply for and legally change their name.

Think of your book as your “baby.” This is not to belittle the birthing process, because after almost losing both my wife and daughter during childbirth on November 26, 1983, I believe that nothing can really compare to it. However, there are some parallels. As your book is born in your heart and makes its way out of your womb, and you finally announce to the world that it is here, how will the name you give it affect how it is received by total strangers? Will they eagerly embrace it, or will they be “like a calf staring at a new gate?”

Every advertising guru I’ve studied talks about the importance of a good headline. Claude Hopkins states: The purpose of the headline is to pick out people you can interest. You wish to talk to someone in a crowd. So the first thing you say is, ‘Hey there, Bill Jones,’ to get the right person’s attention … What you have will interest certain people only, and for certain reasons. You care only for those people. Then create a headline that will hail those people only.”

Jay Conrad Levinson said: Every guerrilla destined for marketing victories knows very well that if you have ten hours to spend creating a marketing weapon, you should spend nine of them creating the headline. It’s the first impression you make, often the only impression, and the rest of your marketing weapon will live or die by the quality of that headline.

Jay Abraham points out, “A headline is an ad for the ad. Its purpose should be to reach only those who are most qualified to be a prospect for your proposition.” There is very little difference between a headline for an ad and a book title. A standard cliché is, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” While this may be true, almost everyone does. An original and creative title for your book speaks volumes about you as an author. Even titles that are changed by the publishing houses reflect you, because to most people, the book and author are one. Your title should in some way mirror what your book is about. With a little thought, you will see that there are many ways to do this. Many successful titles have sprung from common phrases, puns, wordplay, songs, nursery rhymes, parts of scripture, and advertising slogans, just to name a few.