If you are looking for a short, quick guide to how to publish on the Kindle, this tiny booklet will readily fill the bill. And, if your book is less than a megabyte in size, and is essentially straight text, and you do not care too much about the formatting details, this should be the only book you need. I am guessing that the previous description would apply to 70-85% of those publishing on Kindle.
But, what if you find yourself in a different group? What if your book is larger than a megabyte? What if your book is not just straight text, but uses graphics and tables intensively? What if you want to give your book a little spice by having certain footnotes point directly to text, and others pointing to a webpage?
Well, I guess if you are in this last group, this is not going to be the book for you! That is why my review is 4 stars, not 5. So, if you find yourself in the first group, no need to read any more, but if you find yourself in the second group, read on.
Yes, if, like me, you publish nonfiction books that are loaded with tables and pictures and graphs and footnotes, a book that could easily exceed a megabyte in size, you're going to have to pursue a different route. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, take a look at my most recent book, Impossible: The Case Against Lee Harvey Oswald (Volume Three). Go ahead and download the sample, and better yet, download this volume, which will be free on the 22nd of every month. I've tried to make that book as professionally formatted as a Kindle book can be, with extensive control over all the parameters, including the amount of points a paragraph is indented, what quotes should look like, optimized graphs and images, and so forth.
If you want to pursue the route I have taken, you're going to be starting with Microsoft Word, as this book suggests, but you are only going to use Word as a starting point. Once your basic book has been written in Word, you're then going to have to copy and paste your HTML into a program like Dreamweaver. Once you get into Dreamweaver, you're going to have to modify the HTML "class" tags, and ultimately move the entire thing kit and kaboodle into a program called Mobipocket Creator. Fun, fun, fun!! If you want to optimize your images, which is what you are going to want to do to reduce your file size (remember, as an author you have to pay .15 per megabyte, so if your book is 10 megabytes, and you want the 70% royalty, you're going to have to pay $1.50 every time someone downloads your book! How is that for motivation to optimize your images?). To optimize your images, you will be using a program like Photoshop.
And, of course, if you want to do some fancy tricks like turning footnotes into hyperlinks that take your reader to source material that you have quoted, you're obviously going to be in the HTML world.
I hope I haven't scared you as to what the realities of the situation are, and if you fall in the first class, you don't have to worry about any of this. But if you're doing a complex, large book, with heavy formatting, you need to understand why the method described in this book is probably not going to work for you, and you should understand that there are other ways to do the book, which will give you the results you desire.