Author Topic: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?  (Read 1665 times)

slowsmile

I was just wondering if anyone here has been using the Kindle Create app to create and publish their books on Amazon Kindle. You can use this app to produce reflowable ebooks, fixed format ebooks, paperback books and comic books. I've been using Kindle Create or playing with it, almost on a daily basis, ever since it came out in early 2017 so I know it fairly well. But I still prefer to put out my ebooks using epub format and that's because I'm a techy guy and would naturally prefer it but, if your not tech-savvy then Kindle Create is perhaps a godsend because I've found that an ebook produced using Kindle Create is definitely on a par with what you can do in epub format. And it's all just point an click. And for paperbacks, I know of no easier or quicker way to format and publish your book on Amazon without errors than by using Kindle Create.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 02:21:24 PM by slowsmile »
"Excuse my dust." -- Dorothy Parker's epitaph
 

Vijaya

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2020, 03:45:09 AM »
I used it to publish my first novel and was very happy how easy it was for even someone like me, who's often tech. challenged. I really like how the e-book turned out. It's easy on the eyes and the formatting, pages, etc. disappear when you begin reading, what remains is the story, which is what I strive for in my writing.


Author of over 100 books and magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 

slowsmile

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2020, 12:10:46 PM »
Thanks for that. I've been using Kindle Create for a while(ever since it was released in early 2017). I also noticed that more than a few people were having problems with Kindle Create on the KDP community Forum, so I wrote a detailed step-by-step ebook called How to Publish Books and eBooks on Amazon with Kindle Create(on Amazon). This book is also a lot more than just a step by step how-to guide on Kindle Create book because it also contains other essential information including tips, current bugs, best practice advice and troubleshooting advice on Kindle Create for the novice. It also contains other essential information such as how to properly format your images for books and ebooks on Amazon and how to avoid niggling formatting and layout problems in the Look Inside version of your ebook. All in all I've been quite impressed with Kindle Create as a helpful, useful and easy finishing-off tool for Kindle publishing.

Link to my book:
]http://www.amzn.com/B083XH8C2V]
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 12:30:04 PM by slowsmile »
"Excuse my dust." -- Dorothy Parker's epitaph
 

Bill Hiatt

  • Trilogy unlocked
  • *****
  • Posts: 2330
  • Thanked: 885 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Tickling the imagination one book at a time
    • Bill Hiatt's Author Website
Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2020, 02:12:31 AM »
I'd definitely be interested if I hadn't discovered Vellum. Of course, though Vellum isn't that expensive for what it does, it isn't free, either. Because Kindle Create is, it could be a more budget-appropriate choice for authors, particularly those just starting out.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

slowsmile

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2020, 07:37:27 PM »
I know that many users love Vellum. But on the KDP Community forum, the professional formatters there don't use Vellum because it seems to produce alot of code bloat(unnecessary, useless code) in the epub or mobi file. So they still prefer to create hand-made epubs for upload. I have to also own up to preferring to format all my own ebooks and books in epub format using Jutoh and Sigil(for ebooks) and using Adobe InDesign(for print books) -- which is my own personal preference. But I can certainly see how useful Kindle Create would be, especially for the tech-challenged and broke indie author/publisher and that's really why I'm all for people using Kindle Create. And if you use Kindle Create together with a free app like LibreOffice(or OpenOffice) to create a properly prepared Word doc then that means that you can publish both an ebook and a paperback book on Amazon at no cost at all because all apps used are free. I really love that idea! In fact, I'm finishing-off a new step-by-step ebook called "Using Kindle Create with LibreOffice on Microsoft Windows" which should also be published on Amazon within the next two weeks or so.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 08:24:23 PM by slowsmile »
"Excuse my dust." -- Dorothy Parker's epitaph
 
The following users thanked this post: Wonder

Bill Hiatt

  • Trilogy unlocked
  • *****
  • Posts: 2330
  • Thanked: 885 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Tickling the imagination one book at a time
    • Bill Hiatt's Author Website
Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2020, 02:13:39 AM »
I had the code-bloat discussion one time with someone, I think on Kboards, but it might have been on KDP community forum (before the automated moderation drove me away for good). Yes, there's code bloat, but when I questioned the person about the impact of code bloat, he wasn't sure there was any. Vellum doesn't seem to produce an overly large file, its book files don't trigger error messages, at least not that I've ever seen, and they don't seem to load more slowly than non-Vellum books. Sometimes, it doesn't display properly in the Look Inside without some nagging of support, but that's a function of Amazon not being consistent on its end, and the problem is not unique to Vellum.

In other words, I can see a purist wanting to avoid unnecessary code, but if it doesn't detrimentally affect the reader experience, I don't care.

A professional formatter could doubtless produce a better result. Vellum does what it does really well, but a lot of things can't be customized. However, if an author likes the look of a Vellum file, it is less expensive in the log run to use Vellum than it is to hire a formatter every single time. Vellum's current price for the ebook only version is $199; the version that includes paperback formatting is $249. I just checked the site of a formatter I'm aware does outstanding work and is known for integrity. Assuming I submit a clean Word file, a novel in my normal length range would be $225-$250--just for the MOBI and EPUB files. Files for paperback publishing are also available for an addition charge. The charge is not specified (The site says, "See our POD Package pricing plans," but I couldn't find them.)

In other words, hiring a good formatter could run as much, just for ebook formatting for one book, as Vellum runs for unlimited books, ebook and paperback. For an author who plans to write a lot, Vellum becomes more cost effective very quickly.

I used to do my own ebooks (Scrivener, with an occasional tweak in Sigil). I had no problem with that. But Scrivener doesn't work as well with PDFs for paperbacks, and it took me about a week to do the PDF formatting by hand. Vellum does it better and does it in about 30 seconds. Could I get a more elegant design from a pro? I'm sure. But for the number of paperbacks I sell, it's just not worth spending a lot of money to jump from good formatting to great formatting. I'm a voracious reader, but I buy books for content, not pretty formatting. As long as the formatting is easily readable and free from distracting inconsistencies or other problems, I'm fine.

There is one caveat--Vellum doesn't really support nonfiction features like tables, appendixes, indices, footnotes, etc. But for ordinary fiction, it would be more than enough for most authors.

It's also worth noting that its still only available for the Mac.  :icon_cry: I had an old Macbook I'd used at work that could run Vellum. If an author had to buy a Mac just to use it, that would change the cost factors considerably.

It's also worth noting that, aside from Kindle Create, D2D also offers some basic formatting options (and seems to be gearing up to do paperback). I haven't used them for that, but some people have described them as a good free alternative.   


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

Gessert Books

  • Blurb unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Thanked: 9 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Book Layout and Formatting by Phillip Gessert
    • Gessert Books: Book Layout and Formatting
Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2020, 04:07:24 AM »

In other words, I can see a purist wanting to avoid unnecessary code, but if it doesn't detrimentally affect the reader experience, I don't care.


I can say a little bit about this; not meant to dissuade anyone from using the software, but just to provide info that I hope will be useful to someone finding the thread. Also not all of this necessarily applies to Vellum, just a note on code bloat in ebooks.

Code bloat in ebook makes the book very difficult to revise without going back to the original software. The view into the code becomes so esoteric and confusing that it's really easy to make a mistake or introduce new errors. Most folks don't mind just going back into e.g. Vellum to make changes to avoid this, but if you no longer have access to the software, or want to accomplish something the software can't do, you'll run into this issue. Pushes the finished ebook closer to PDF in terms of workflow--(almost) a static production file only.

Code bloat also tends to not be very semantic--lots of divs and spans, paragraphs with classes that redefine them as something else that already exists as a semantic tag of its own. This is bad because it then doesn't properly expose the document structure to the reading device. That in turn is bad because device fallbacks or  reader overrides for those elements can't kick in, and also folks using screen readers can have a bad experience. Basically,

Code: [Select]
<p class="chapter-heading"><span class="bold-text">Chapter One</span></p>
<div class="framed blockquote"><span class="italics">My pithy quote. --Self</span></div>
<p>Once upon a time...</p>

...just turns into...

Chapter One
My pithy quote. --Self
Once upon a time...

...if your stylesheet is thrown out for any reason. And those three elements are just considered by the reading system to be three paragraphs, identical in purpose, with nothing structural distinguishing them.

Also, devices based on ADE (which is most non-kindle devices) do best with ebooks that are as lean as possible. That's because if ADE encounters a single rule it doesn't like, or a single mistake in code syntax, it can throw out the entire stylesheet. That's not to say you can't have a massively bloated file that still does great under ADE, but if you've got hundreds or thousands of lines of code, you're a lot more likely to snag on something ADE is picky about.

None of this is intended as a dig at any particular software. For what it's worth, I don't think it is possible to create easy-to-use, WYSIWYG ebook software without code bloat. There are just too many arbitrary things folks will want to do, and devs of software like that usually want to allow some concessions for folks that think visually (this is a heading so im going to make it a little bigger and bold it) not structurally (this is a heading so im going to tag it as h2). But those are a couple tangible reasons code bloat can be bad.
 
The following users thanked this post: RPatton, Wonder

RPatton

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2020, 06:09:35 AM »
Pretty much everything Gessert Books said.

I also want to add, I use InDesign, but I also use my own style sheet and that strips out all of the default tags. When I crack open one of my books (or a hand-coded book), I don't have to touch any HTML to make changes, just adjustments to the CSS. When I crack open a Vellum file, I can't just make a change to the CSS and expect it to follow into the HTML.

That's not to say Vellum isn't a good product. It can be. However, it has a lot of limitations and the customization is not nearly as strong as it appears at first glance. People love Vellum for it's ease, and it has it in spades. However, it is not without its problems.

I haven't looked closely at Kindle Create or even D2D, but I imagine that they all come with their own sets of problems. Just because we can't immediately see the problems doesn't mean they don't exist. Drop caps and how they appear in different devices is a great example of a problem. Device specific styles need to be applied, but I don't think Vellum does them (or didn't the last time I cracked a Vellum book open) and I doubt D2D or Kindle Create does either. And that's a problem, because there are a lot of different devices a mobi can be read on and all of them will look different or just plain bad if adjustments aren't made.



 

twicebitten

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2020, 06:40:50 AM »
I downloaded and wasn't impressed. D2D's is better, though you have to use styles in Word just so not to get false chapter breaks. Once you learn that trick, though, it's a pretty useful tool. Still, readers will read books without any formatting, and some people have a hard time with dropped caps, so I avoid those at all costs.
 

slowsmile

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2020, 10:47:02 AM »
I've been using Kindle Create, almost on a daily basis, since January 2017 when it was first released. I really love using Kindle Create because it's so simple to use. But, from the KDP Community Forum, I noted that alot of indie authors actually hated or detested Kindle Create. This includes authors who regularly upload Word docs and epubs to Kindle. It was almost like they felt really threatened by Kindle Create -- how weird is that?  I was very surprised at those comments and it became very evident to me that those who objected to KC really didn't really know its usage or purpose. Many indie authors were completely unaware that Kindle Create is just a finishing-off tool -- it's not a full converter and should never be thought of as such. It's just a simple tool that allows you to vastly improve the interior styling of your ebook. It also hugely simplifies the paperback creation process -- in fact there's no simpler, quicker or better problem-free way to upload your print book to Amazon than using KC. And alot of people who have problems with Kindle Create are also completely unaware that you must always properly prepare your Word doc for Kindle Create in exactly the same way you would format your Word doc for direct upload to Amazon Kindle. But don't get me wrong, like any conversion app, Kindle Create certainly does have its own downsides but all-in-all I think that KC is an absolute godsend for those tech-challenged indie authors who have no capability and no wish to learn how to create epubs because if you create an ebook with Kindle Create then your ebook will at least be on a par with its epub equivalent. And, just to be clear on where I sit, IMHO using epub format for your ebooks -- and manually taking charge of the html therein -- is still the best way to format your ebook because it gives you so much more extra and deeper control over the formatting and styling of your ebook. And perhaps with the exception of Jutoh, no other ebook converter(paid or otherwise) comes close.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 11:49:04 AM by slowsmile »
"Excuse my dust." -- Dorothy Parker's epitaph
 

Al Stevens

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 549
  • Thanked: 158 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Coffee-drinking, insomniac binge writer
    • Al Stevens, Author, Musician
Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2020, 02:35:47 PM »
I used KC to assemble a collection of short stories I'd written some time ago. I did it to see how well it handles a typical fiction book. I built the e-book .kpf file and used Calibre to convert to .epub, which I first examined with Sigil. Nice compact file, no bloat.
The first problem comes in using KC to make corrections. Too many editing deficiencies. (It could be I just didn't find the features.) No smart quotes or em-dash conversion. No way to change the formats of themes or add new themes. Some parts of element processing and formatting don't work.
Having to go through Calibre to convert to epub is a pain. So is not being able to export to .doc or .odt formats.
I can't really see any way to use this program without augmenting it with a word processor, a file format converter, and an epub editor. So, if I have those programs, there is really no use for KC. I've begun to look into Jutoh. The only deficiency I've found so far is that it isn't free. :)
     
 

Lynn

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2020, 03:07:16 PM »
I like Jutoh. It's ridiculously powerful if you dig into it.
Don't rush me.
 

lea_owens

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2020, 03:34:36 PM »
I use KC. I find it easy. I upload the word document to KC on my computer, follow their prompts, make sure all chapter headings are correct, insert the TOC, double check that anything in italics shows up in italics. It's easy. Save as the publish copy and upload. If I have changes, like when I went right through a book that was several years old and changed all spelling from Australian English to American English, it was much easier to change the entire word document and upload that to KC, do the chapter headings, TOC, etc. again, and make a new publish copy to upload rather than try to change the manuscript within KC. I haven't had any complaints from readers about any format errors or issues.
 

Guerin

Re: Anyone Using Amazon's Kindle Create app for their books and ebooks ?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2020, 02:13:54 AM »
So is not being able to export to .doc or .odt formats.
I can't really see any way to use this program without augmenting it with a word processor, a file format converter, and an epub editor. So, if I have those programs, there is really no use for KC. I've begun to look into Jutoh. The only deficiency I've found so far is that it isn't free. :)

Kindle Create is not meant to be used as a word processor/editor. It is for formatting only. You should do you're writing and corrections with a word processor like Word, or one of the free alternatives, and then save the doc off as a Word doc. You then import that into Kindle Create for formating. Most of your formatting should still be done in Word. KC just makes your final product a bit prettier with themes and some manual formating. My master document is always my Word doc. Any changes/corrections are made to that doc and then I reformat and publish.

One of the main reasons to use it is to have a formatted copy to review before publishing on Amazon. The file created by KC is not converted during the publishing process as is an epub or doc file. When you upload a Word doc or epub, the file is converted and then you have a chance to review it. You can even download it in mobi format for review if you like. If you want to change the formatting at all you have to make changes to the original Word doc or epub and go through the upload, conversion and review process again. With KC, you can fix little formatting errors much quicker since all this work is done on your local machine and not Amazon servers. If you don't want to use any of the KC formatting features, you can convert and format using Kindle Previewer 3 and then export to KPF format for upload.

Guerin Zand | Website | Facebook