By Bruce Jones
I am really excited about this new application from Amazon called Kindle Comic Creator. This free application allows you to produce Kindle books from your pdfs, PowerPoint presentations, jpg, really any kind of file you have that can generate a graphic file.
It was one of my goals for 2013 to move my books over to the Amazon/Kindle platform. The problem is that my books are graphic books with lots of images, charts or maps. These work great as print-on-demand books using CreateSpace but don’t work very well on the Kindle. Making a book that is all text and using MS Word, such as a fiction story, isn’t such a big deal, fairly easy to convert. But with pictures you need to re-make all the graphics, make them certain sizes, specific resolution etc. Then put the graphics into Word and upload. Sometime they work often they don’t. Trying to find this information is crazy hard. Earlier this year I spent months testing different graphic sizes, layouts, Word files all kinds of things. I read blog posts, watched videos, contacted people on Facebook, so confusing. I was downloading at some Kindle books looking great and others looking crappy. Mine were on the crappy side.
Watch the video and see me build a coloring book using the Kindle Comic Creator.
Then I found the Kindle Comic Creator from Amazon and OMG, this is amazing. Kindle Comic Creator is a free program from Amazon that will convert a wide range of graphic files into Kindle Mobi files. Originally designed for converting comic books and graphic novels to the Kindle, it is also amazingly good at really any kind of graphic book like mayb a children’s book, or an atlas. The tool supports .pdf, .jpg, .tif, .ppm and .png files. You can upload a full pdf file of your book that you might have made using InDesign or individual graphics that you exported from PowerPoint or Google Presentation.
You can’t believe how easy it is to use this free program. And the quality of the pages is amazing. You can literally have a book done in 20 minutes. The program is available for both Mac and PC and can be downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1001103761 When you download Comic Creator you will also download Kindle Previewer for reviewing your book. I think this happens automatically.
Some of the features of it are:
• Create guided navigation experience with Kindle Panel View, great for graphic novels
• Create books with double page spreads or facing pages. I tend to pick unlocked orientation, so the page can be turned portrait or landscape.
• Import artwork from jpg, pdf, tiff, png and ppm formats
• Preview content across a number of Kindle devices before publishing
Steps to set up a graphic book for Kindle Comic Creator
1. You need an interior book file and a cover file. The interior file can be a series of jpg images that you upload or a full pdf book. For page size the Comic Creator basically works around the Kindle Fire page size but I have found really anything works. Books look great on any device
2. Start the application, select “Create a New Book” you will be asked a few questions about it, such as the orientation, if the book is a graphic novel, etc. For the canvas size put in the pixel size of your page, for an 8.5 x 11 book it is 612 pixels x 792 pixels. 8.5 x 72 equals 612 pixels per inch.
3. Then drop in some metadata, author, title, etc., the cover image (a jpg file) and where you want the book stored on your hard drive while processing.
4. They ask if you have an html Table of Contents. This is one of the areas that doesn’t quite comply with a standard Kindle book, having a clickable table of Contents. Kindle really wants a TOC and Comic Creator isn’t quite there yet with that. You can drop in an html one but I don’t know how to do that. Also if you look at children’s books, or graphic novels, they very often don’t have TOCs. At this point I am not worrying about it. They will get there. A lot of Kindle books don’t have TOCs. Graphic books aren’t usually 300 page books, mostly we are looking at 24-70 page books, easy enough to get around.
5. Then upload your pdf book file or a series of images into Comic Creator. You also have the ability to shuffle the images around, delete, and add more. If your book is a graphic novel then you can set up the individual panels to view in order. If not you are basically done. You also have some text editing ability. They also have a pretty good user guide on the same page as the Comic Creator.
6. Next you choose Build and Preview from the tool bar. Comic Creator processes a little and when done it opens your book in the Kindle Previewer for review. Make sure it all looks good and then Export as KF8. This creates a mobi/Kindle file ready for uploading.
7. Upload your book on the Kindle Direct Publishing site. Make sure you fill in all the necessary boxes and you are publishing on Amazon.
In the upload process you will need to select your royalty amount, 35% or 70%, and enter a book cost. Kindle actually charges authors for the downloading of books on Kindle. Books that are all text have very small file sizes and you don’t really notice the charges. But graphic books have pretty large file sizes and Amazon charges you for their download. Except if you select the 35% royalty figure there is no charge. I figure any royalty is just fine by me and 35% is ok. We tend to forget that we are selling and delivering books pretty much world wide for almost no costs.
In my rush to get all my books up for the holidays I didn’t pay a lot of attention to my file sizes. I am sure I could back and build some smaller files. Another cool thing about Kindle and print-on-demand you can update your file.
Final Comment on the Kindle Comic Creator
What is really amazing is the quality of the images on the Kindle screen. They are fantastic. Depending what device you are on you can finger pinch and enlarge them also. For the amount of effort it takes to get your book on the Kindle this program is so easy. There are a few things is doesn’t do, like a clickable Table of Content or the flowing text that a regular Kindle has. But for getting complicated graphic pages up on the Kindle platform for almost no effort it is just fantastic. That you can take a standard pdf file or a bunch of jpg images and make a book in about 20 minutes, how can you beat that.