How to self-publish a Kindle ebook in four hours (or less)

by Dean Evans

Ever thought of publishing an ebook on Amazon? It’s not that complicated. A little fiddly perhaps, but nothing you can’t handle. I converted The Good Content Code into a Kindle-friendly format in less than four hours and it was published two days later.

Amazon uses HTML code to specify the layout of a Kindle ebook, so the first order of business is to make your text as clean as possible.

I wrote The Good Content Code in Microsoft Word 2010, so I flushed it through Windows Notepad to get rid of any hidden formatting.

Of course, this also gets rid of any images and text formatting (like bold and italics). You can use images in a Kindle ebook but they are rendered in monochrome and the quality isn’t great.

For this book, I opted to publish without images, so I re-edited the text to remove any references to them.

A bit of HTML coding required

As previously mentioned, Kindle ebooks are styled using basic HTML code. Loading up my HTML editor of choice (Kompozer), I did a second pass through the text to restyle the chapter titles, subheadings, bulleted lists, numbered lists, quotes and links.

Subheadings get identified by <h2> and <h3> tags, bold styling can be activated with <strong>; italics with <em>; line breaks with <br>. This should be familiar to anyone who dabbles with a website or blog. The only oddity is the page break, which can be deployed with <mbp:pagebreak> and </mbp:pagebreak> codes.

This is the part of the process that took the most time. I won’t pretend that this is the best way. There’s probably a far quicker one. If you know a handy shortcut, let me know in the comments section below. I’d appreciate it. It will make Kindle-ifying subsequent books so much easier.

To check if you’re on the right track, you can upload your HTML formatted book to the Kindle Direct Publishing website at to see how it looks on a simulated Kindle display. It doesn’t even need to be finished. You can upload new versions as you edit.

Ultimately, you end up with an HTML file that you can upload to the Kindle Publishing Direct platform. Simply fill in your author details, upload a suitable cover image, select a category plus keywords, then set a price. Press publish and Amazon’s approval and publishing process kicks in. This can take up to 48 hours.

You can see the result of my efforts with The Good Content CodeĀ here.

What experiences have you had with Amazon’s digital publishing platform? Good? Bad? Meh? Let us know by adding a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Henry Assen March 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I have written a book using MS Word. Can you please guide me in the process of publishing it on KINDL.


Dean Evans March 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm

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