Teaching the Old Dog New Tricks

Image from digitalanalog.in

Image from digitalanalog.in

I self-published my first novel back in, like, 2001.

At the time, most everyone I knew who was writing decried this decision, telling me it would

ruin my potential to get picked up by a publisher,

that it indicated

I wasn’t “good enough”

to get picked up by someone, etc.

Not everyone, but many folks felt this way back then. I guess I was a self-publishing hipster.

I tried a few different avenues, but wound up with CreateSpace after trying others and was quite happy with them. I even paid to have one of my print novels converted to Kindle. This was years ago, and it was not quite the “do it yourself” project that it is, today.

As it happens, one of my self-published books was picked up by a publisher and I have finished the contracted trilogy so…so much for naysayers, eh? 

But! I am still a self-published novelist and I have been trying to get another of my titles, Summer’s Music, available on Kindle. I thought I had it all neat and tidy, but the formatting was Just Not Right, so I had to reformat the whole book.

This happened just before the Mad Deadline Dash with Éire’s Devil King.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about How I Relearned the Process.


createspace-logoFirst, I checked in with CreateSpace to see what was up, in getting Summer’s Music to Kindle. They were very helpful and gave me many links and Help options.

I wanted to make a new cover. My usual awesome cover artist found herself swamped and couldn’t pitch in on this project, so I, gulp, learned to play with GIMP a little and made my own eBook cover. I do not think I could do a paperback cover, but the simplicity of the eBook made it do-able.

For this step, aspiring self-pubbers, Go to a site like Shutterstock.com to look for images. You can buy them there and, using the proper licensing, use them for eBook covers. It’s great. Or, you can find one of the wonderful cover artists who make eBook covers to do it for you.

Then, you have to get your manuscript in.

Mine had already been in paperback for years, so I just had CreateSpace send me the files. And KDP said they “could” take PDF (the format that I had submitted the book to CreateSpace in originally, years ago) but it might not look right once it was Kindled.

They were right. I uploaded my new cover and old document and it was horrid.

So, I read that they took MS Word doc and docx files.

macbook_pro_13inchLet me tell you, copying a PDF file (copy and paste) into a Pages file (which is what I have since I’m a Mac girl) was a mess. It took me days to fix it to look right. Days.

Days that I largely wasted my time, as it happened.

So, I got it all looking nice and then converted it to Word, per the Pages conversion option.

And THEN, I saw at the KDP site that for doc and docx files? You should really insert page breaks at the chapters to make for a smoother reading experience.

So I went back and did that. And then I added symbols at the section breaks in the middle of chapters so that they’d be clearer, too.

And then I uploaded the doc. Finally. After days of work, days of spacing. Days of checking for alignments and so on. Because that transition from PDF was messy, remember.

But at last, it was time to preview.

Angry, Frustrated Woman --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Angry, Frustrated Woman — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

It was a mess. Each letter had its own line.



Imagine my frustration.

Well, I went back to the KDP help pages to look for alternatives. What I found was that you could submit a book to Kindle publishing if it was in ePub format.

Did you know that Apple’s Pages application converts their docs to ePub format? No muss, no fuss? Well, it does, so now you do.

I converted it again and submitted it again and previewed it again (btw, the online preview options for Kindle publishing are very accommodating!) and sighed in relief.

Next time I plan on converting one of my self-published books to Kindle, it will be far less stressful. 🙂

Look for Summer’s Music for YOUR Kindle today! 🙂

Click here for the Kindle Edition!

Click here for the Kindle Edition!


  1. Warren C. Bennett · June 27, 2014

    If you were truly a self publishing hipster, you’d never do it again because it is now popular.

    “I tried it before it was popular…”

    I’d say you were more a self-publishing visionary. Way cooler title and a bit more true to who you actually were and ar.

    • Sandi · June 27, 2014

      But “visionary” sounds so… self-aware, you know? Prideful maybe? I am just contrary and rebellious. Or stubborn. Or something.

  2. Warren C. Bennett · June 27, 2014

    *sighs* are I can’t find an edit button.

    • Sandi · June 27, 2014


  3. Darlene Jones · June 27, 2014

    Your comment that self-publishing meant that “I wasn’t good enough” really hit home as that’s exactly how I felt when I started. Happily, with four books out there and another in progress, I no longer feel the stigma. http://www.emandyves.com

    • Sandi · June 27, 2014

      So glad you went for it and succeeded! Go, you! 🙂

  4. Angela Misri · June 27, 2014

    Been there, had the same crappy experience, and as much as it helps to read that other writers had the same experience I truly believe all the advice in the world just cannot save you. You have to upload it, see the issues, pull it back down, fix it, rinse and repeat.

    • Sandi · June 29, 2014

      Hi, Angela!

      This is so true. Wading through the morass oneself is the only way to learn this stuff. It is comforting, though, to know that one is not alone. I don’t feel quite as foolish when I find others have had problems, too.

      Best wishes to you in your writing!

Comments are closed.