Keep in mind that there are hundreds of ways to create mobi files that vary widely in results, and most work perfectly well, especially if you’re creating an ebook file of a plain text – or nearly plain text – novel or story. Most of the projects I work on include bullets, images, and other objects beyond plain text, so I’ve tried several options. The one that works consistently best for me is Kinstant Formatter.
From Word To Mobi Using Kinstant Formatter
1. Properly prepare your Word document.
(Now before all my tech writer friends scream about using Word, you should know that I use InDesign to layout and format print edition books. There are also plugins for InDesign to create ebooks, but I have not yet needed to try them. …and I’m not sure how well the InDesign files would translate to the HTML required for ebooks. Since Word is more of an inline word processor than a layout and design tool, it actually translates pretty well in to html code…using Kinstant Formatter.)
So, back to the first step…prepare your ebook properly in Word or another word processor that will save files as a .doc or .docx file. That means using standard styles like headings, normal text, a table of contents, etc. and inserting images set inline. There are other settings, too like setting bookmarks for TOC and Start to indicate where quick links will find your table of contents and the page on which you would like the ebook to open (or start).
The Support tab for Kinstant Users actually offers advice on some of these Word tweaks. Go to https://www.word2kindle.com/Home/Support and scroll down to “Any tips for best results?” You do not have to login to see the Kinstant Formatter Support Page.
2. Create an account or log on to Kinstant Formatter.
To purchase a package and create a Kinstant Formatter account, go to http://www.sherrysnider.com/kinstant. (Yes, that’s an affiliate link. I’m not going to push anyone into a purchase, but if you’re interested in Kinstant Formatter after this demo, I’ll happily take a commission on the purchase. 🙂 …and yes, the sales page is pretty cheesy, but Kinstant Formatter works great.)
Once you purchase a package, you’ll get a direct link to the login page. Use your appropriate email address and password to log on.
3. Click Select File… to browse to your Word document to “open” and upload for formatting.
4. Click the next Select File.. button to upload your cover image.
5. Enter the exact title and author name that you’ll be using when you submit your mobi file to Amazon.
6. Select the advanced options that you prefer and click the Generate button.
Note that the most common options are selected by default. Personally, I usually add the Force Alignment option because I do not like the full justification that’s normally a default display.
Note that there are multiple options for Output Format. If you want to create an ePub file – the default file format for most ereader devices like Nook, etc., select the option for Standard ePub (other eBook readers). To create a mobi file for Kindle, select the option for Kindle ePub (for Amazon KDP). (Yes, I know it says ePub rather than mobi, but a few years back, Amazon changed its policy, so it would no longer accept mobi files generated directly by third party software. That’s okay. Kinstant Formatter just added an extra step to comply with the requirements. …covered in step 8)
7. Once the Kindle ePub is created, click the Download button.
Do make a note of where you save the file. You’ll need it to create the final mobi file.
8. Open the Kindle Previewer tool, click Open Book, and browse to the newly created Kindle ePub file.
If you do not already have the free Kindle Previewer tool installed on your computer, you can download and install it from http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000765261 (or just Google “download Kindle Previewer”).
9. When you open the Kindle ePub file, the Kindle Previewer will use Amazon’s KindleGen to compile the actual mobi file.
Note that I have personally experienced a few glitches at this step, but every time I repeated Step 8, I got a successfully compiled mobi file. …just didn’t want you to be surprised if you see an error in compiling from time to time.
When you DO get a successful compilation message, click the “here” link to locate the newly generated mobi file. THIS is the book file you’ll upload to Amazon.
10. Click Ok to preview the mobi file in the Kindle Previewer.
Double-check all the pages in the previewer. If you see any issues, note where they are and go back to your Word file to make corrections. (Every issue I’ve ever found in a mobi file generated by Kinstant Formatter traced back to an issue in Word.) It’s easy enough to run the updated Word document through Kinstant Formatter repeatedly until you get a satisfactory mobi file.
As an additional step, I usually open and review the mobi file, not only in the Kindle Previewer, but also on the Kindle app for PC, an actual Kindle device (or three), an iPhone, and an iPad. (You don’t have to own all these devices. I borrow them from friends just to perform a quick check on the formatting before submitting the mobi file to Amazon.)
That’s it. It looks like a lot of steps, because I documented every single click…and then some, but it’s actually a pretty simple process, and I get consistently good results.
If you’re looking for a tool to create ePub or mobi files from your doc or docx files, I highly recommend Kinstant. …and here’s the link to the cheesy sales page again if you need it. 🙂