Sunday, 22 January 2012

Are You Ready To Follow In Amanda Hocking's Footsteps?

Who Is Amanda Hocking?

Amanda Hocking is twenty-seven years old, lives in Minnesota and had never sold a single book before 15 April 2010. She will shortly sell her millionth. Her books have been a self-publishing phenomenon - according to the Observer, Amanda is 'the most spectacular example of an author striking gold through ebooks'.

Along with David Baldacci, Amanda Hocking and Stephenie Meyer are the latest authors to join the Kindle Million Club, selling over 1 million paid copies of their books in the Kindle Store. They join 11 other authors in the Kindle Million Club: Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, John Locke, Kathryn Stockett, Janet Evanovich and George R.R. Martin.

 "I'm so grateful to everyone who has bought one of my books, and to Amazon, for giving me a place to share my books," said Amanda Hocking. "None of this would have been possible without you (Amazon). Thank you!" Amanda Hocking got her start independently publishing her books and is now the best-selling author of 10 books, including the My Blood Approves series and the Trylle Trilogy, which has been optioned for films. Hocking has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post and Forbes. 

No this is not the Amanda Hocking fan club. But if this doesn't inspire you to get the creative juices flowing, what will?  Imagine, without the emergence of Amazon Kindle's Self Publishing platform Amanda would probably be receiving rejection letters from publishers right now. According to Wikpedia, J.K. Rowling was rejected twelve times before her book was accepted by editor Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury, a small British publishing house.

If you haven't picked up that pen or started tapping those keys then you probably never will because there never was a better time for anyone with aspirations of becoming an author than right now.So let's get down to basics. 

What Are You Going To Need To Get Started?
1. A Word Processor: 
If you haven't got Microsoft Word then I suggest you download Open Office. It's free and will do the job just as well. It's what I use. Remember it's your responsibility to proof read your work unless you are prepared to pay someone to do it. A spell checker is a must. It's important you look professional from the off.
Download Open Office.
Once you download Open Office the feature you will want to choose is Writer.
It is very similar to Microsoft Word except it's free. 

The most important thing to focus on at this stage is your writing.

Once you are ready to publish your work you need to save it in HTML format. This is short for Hyper Text Mark-up Language and is used to create web sites. The reason you save it in HTML is it works best when you format your book to self publish on Amazon Kindle.
To Save your work simply left click on File.

From the drop down menu select Save As
This  box should then appear:

Where it says Save As Type select HTML Document.
Then save it on your hard drive in a prepared folder. 
If you have any images for your book save them in a separate folder.

Having written your book and saved it in HTML format you are ready to use a free software that will enable you to format it correctly for the Kindle. Take a bow Mobipocket Creator.

The first thing you need to do is download a copy.
Download Mobipocket Creator
When installing the software I always choose to have a desktop icon as a shortcut.

This is what you will see when you first open the program:

Because you have already saved your work as an HTML file you now select HTML document from this section:

This page will appear:

Where it says Choose a file: left click on Browse.

This box should then appear:

Navigate to where you saved your HTML document and left click Open.
Your file should now appear in the Choose a file bar.

Next, click on Import.

You will now be taken directly to this page:

You are now ready to create your formated Kindle compatible file. Click Build

This page will then appear:

Leave the settings as they are and click Build.
The bars will show the progress of the build.
 You will probably see a page that looks something like this:

The warning will probably relate to 'cover not specified'.
All this means is that you have not provided a cover image.

We will leave that until another time as it takes us to a very important area for the self publishing author - self promotion

The Mobipocket file of your book will probably be stored in the My Publications folder within your My Documents folder.
Open it up and you will see files like these:

Click on the Kindle Content and this will show you how your book will look on Kindle.
This is the file you will upload to Kindle when you are ready to take the plunge and become a Kindle Author.

I am actually trialling a paid software at the moment that could well become the industry standard. The creator of the software intends to include a cover creator within the package. This is worth it's weight in gold. Currently the software is priced at around £25 but if you are serious about publishing on Kindle and other platforms this could well be the way forward. 
I'll keep you posted.

Next Week: How To Get Yourself Listed As A Kindle Author.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, I will be trying out Open Office as I'm getting a little frustrated with Word.