(It’s FREE next weekend, June 15-16, at Amazon.)
I put “Horse Power” on Kindle primarily in order to learn how to do it. It turned out to be surprisingly easy, at least for a book which is primarily text.
The first step is to edit your work. Fully. Carefully. This is a sample of your work, and you want it to attract readers.
“Horse Power” had an additional function. It is a bridge, set 20 years after the end of Tourist Trap and relating an important incident in the history of the planet, Horizon, which is central to the trilogy I am now writing. As such, its primary function is to introduce the two books I have published, Homecoming and Tourist Trap, and provide the opening of the trilogy.
Horizon in the trilogy is a planet on which horse and dogs are critical to the stock-rearing economy. The planet has no fossil fuels, and in the wider world of the colonizing company’s owners, horses and dogs were merely luxuries. Stock was to be handled by imported vehicles, powered by fossil fuels imported at high prices. Horse Power was written to explain the transformation.
But it’s only a short story, and one on which I never expected to make any money. I’d give it away happily if it led to interest in Homecoming and Tourist Trap, which explore the earlier relationships among Roi, Amber and Timi. It was a natural to learn how to use Kindle Direct publishing, and the $.99 minimum price and the KDP Select Program, with 5 days free each 3 months, seemed well-suited to my needs. Eventually I want to take it off KDP Select and put it up on Smashwords as well as getting a few hard copies using CreateSpace, but the Kindle Direct program looked like the easiest place to start.
Once I had the edited story, the next step was to write the front matter, the short summaries of Homecoming and Tourist Trap explaining the background of the story, a short teaser for the trilogy, and create a table of contents which would link to each section. This was all done in Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac, using standard Word features such as bookmarks and hyperlinking. When I was sure everything worked, I “printed” the file as a PDF.
I then made the following metadata file, so that I could cut and paste into the Amazon metadata page:
Title: Horse Power
Description: Rumors have reached the Inner Council of the Jarnian Confederation that the Horizon Company is illegally exploiting the colonists. Roi has been sent to find out what’s happening, and he asks his old friends, colonists Timi and Amber, for help. But the Company’s behavior is legal, if immoral. Can the three find a solution to the problem?
Contributors: Sue Ann Bowling
Publication date: leave blank
Publisher: Sue Ann Bowling
Categories: science fiction, animals?
Horses, Dogs, Science Fiction, Jarnian Confederation, Fiction, Colonization, Space travel, Debt slavery
Cover? I’d seen some work I liked on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday blog hop, and I contacted the artist (Tomomi.ink.) She worked with me to create the cover for Horse Power at a very reasonable price.
With all complete, I filled out the metadata page and uploaded the PDF and the cover. Somewhat to my surprise the book, including the linked table of contents, worked fine on all of the viewers on the testing page, with one exception. I had bookmarked the centered section heads and table of contents title (which must be given the name toc.) As a result, whenever I used the “go to table of contents” or linked to a section from the table of contents, the centering of the title disappeared. I know enough HTML to suspect that the way I bookmarked did not nest the tags correctly. When I next do a revision I will put the bookmarks on the line before the centered titles. It would help I I could figure out how to remove an existing bookmark in Word; I may have to remove and retype part of the text.
I’ll be taking it off KDP Select once I learn other publishing options, but for the moment I still have five free days for this three-month period, and two of them are scheduled for the coming weekend: June 15 and 16. Download a free copy and play with the index and go to index functions, and watch how the centering of the section heads changes as you jump to them as opposed to scrolling to them. Minor, but something I will correct eventually.