How I Convert My Manuscripts Into Ebooks

by Phyllis Zimbler Miller on October 7, 2012

Photo of alphabet blocks

Here is an overview of how I do ebook conversion for my own Kindle ebooks.

I admit that I like to do this because, besides ensuring control of my own ebooks, I want to ensure that the formatting is done well.

To start with:

For an html editor I use Sublime Text. After trying it for free, I bought a license for this software.

I have used Komodo for which you do not need to buy a license. But there’s a quirk in the Komodo program that makes it too easy to have errors. The Sublime Text license fee is very reasonable and Sublime Text is less prone to making errors in my experience.

To use my html editor, with the help of my business partner Yael K. Miller, I set up the “rules” from Guido’s blog series, and I now use these for all my manuscripts.

Note: Remember to save the document you are creating as an html document. This is the one step that I often forget to do.

After I have gone through the manuscript utilizing the html “rules,” I check the document visually to see any obvious errors I have made.

Then I put the html doc into Calibre (this is free software although a donation is recommended), clicking that I want a mobi format (for Kindle). (SEE UPDATE BELOW RE CALIBRE.)

Next I press a few buttons, including using a code I got from Guido Henkel’s blog series to create the table of contents, and voila! I have a mobi format.

I then check the mobi format on Kindle for PC (rather than my real Kindle), correct the errors in Sublime Text, and resubmit to Calibre.

I repeat this process until the mobi format is exactly the way I want it to be.

Caution: Remember to delete the previous version on your Kindle for PC before you add the new one.

(Note: Yes, the ebook will look differently on an actual Kindle than on Kindle for PC. But for my purposes of checking errors in the html coding, the Kindle for PC works very well. I have that screen open as well as the Sublime Text screen and can easily make corrections.)

Finally I go to kdp.amazon.com and add the new book, including uploading the cover photo (that Yael creates) and choosing the Kindle categories.

I then wait for KDP to put the book live.

After a few times, this process becomes almost second nature. And I love the ability to make changes in any of my ebooks whenever I want to do so!

UPDATE December 2012: I have just learned from KDP: “Although we used to accept MOBI files created by programs such as Mobipocket Creator and Calibre previously, we no longer support MOBI files created using third party applications such as the one you’ve used.”

In other words, I will no longer be using Calibre and instead will be switching to KindleGen.

© 2012 Miller Mosaic LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. A new nonfiction ebook of hers is TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK and her newest fiction ebook is the thriller CIA FALL GUY.

Click here to visit her Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller

She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Herb October 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Thanks for this great info Phyllis.

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller October 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Herb — And thank you for appreciating what I write!

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