Aaron Shepard offers solid tips for self-publishers working in Microsoft Word (review)
June 20, 2013 | 4:00 pm
Aaron Shepard‘s book, “From Word to Kindle: Self Publishing your Kindle Book with Microsoft Word,” is a short guide, or as the author describes it, a “lengthy article,” on how to prepare your book for Kindle Direct Publishing, “for intermediate to advanced users of Word.”
Similar guides are not uncommon, but are, as Shepard asserts, “usually less helpful than they could be.” Rather, he goes by the principle that “for an all-text book, Word’s HTML is almost perfectly suited to Kindle conversion with little or no change.” That said, Shepard continues, “supposedly, as long as you start with a properly formatted Word document, you’ll wind up with a well-formatted ebook. That is almost equally wrong.”
Obviously, much of the value of a book like this hinges on the author’s personal credibility, and at points, Shepard leans substantially on this.
On the question of tables of contents, he says: “Just follow my instructions and you’ll be fine!”—cutting through much online debate on how best to do this. But he is not afraid to let the results speak for themselves. “This ebook was produced with the same techniques it describes,” runs the text, and although the book is workmanlike rather than inspired, it is certainly solid, and demonstrates the fruits of Shepard’s impressive knowledge of the ins and outs of Word, Kindle, and the conversion process from one to the other.
Shephard himself has a demonstrable track record as an author, self-publisher, publisher, advisor on self-publishing, and advocate for the discipline, all of which speaks as well in favor of his conclusions. Some will find bones to pick with the techniques he suggests, but first-timers in the field with sufficient knowledge to handle Word at the level he describes will not be led astray.
Shepard is very conscious of his medium’s limitations. “The Kindle’s typography is primitive—especially on the hardware Kindles—so your book is never going to look great,” he warns. Also, he focuses in this book purely on good text formatting and structuring for Kindle, leaving the questions of cover design and picture insertion for other times and other titles.
All the same, with the barrage of—mostly unfair—criticism being directed at the self-publishing community these days, self-published authors could do far worse than avail themselves of this concise and extremely cheap book.
Shepard doesn’t overcharge, and he has a lot to contribute. That’s a welcome thing in publishing, self or otherwise, now as ever.
Aaron Shepard reads King o’ the Cats: Click the button above to listen