Fast Amazon KDP Book Interior Formatting (print PDF and EPUB ebook) for hire

Stop wasting money on book-interior formatting. And, stop formatting your books in Microsoft Word.

Recently, I tried to traditionally publish one of my previously self‑published books. When the publisher explained that I had to manually apply Microsoft Word styles from their template to all the paragraphs in my manuscript, I realized how inefficient traditional book‑creation process was. It also brought back memories of my struggles with LibreOffice/OpenOffice when I used to publish free ebooks on my site. (The old ebooks are still available for free.)

My automated book-creation process

Before I started self‑publishing in February 2020, I was determined to escape from this hassle. Because I am also a programmer, I was able to create a fast and efficient book‑creation process with a shell script. I wrote my manuscript in a plain‑text format known as MarkDown. (Its formatting is very minimalistic and intuitive.) The shell script converted the MarkDown text file to HTML. It also applied some CSS styles that I had written to format the HTML content. It then exported the formatted HTML to PDF. This PDF‑creation process is fast and takes only a few seconds to make changes.

The ebook‑creation process using Calibre is manual. However, I use the same formatted HTML that I created for the PDF in the ebook-creation process as well. This ensures that the paperback and the ebook have the same look‑and‑feel.

My automated book‑creation process has greatly helped in self-publishing 26 books (29 titles) by February 2022. Also, remember that I write, edit and illustrate my books. I even do the covers myself.

UPDATE: My traditional publisher has agreed to receive the manuscript in MarkDown instead of one using the Word template. They are very open‑source‑friendly.

After two years in self-publishing, I finaly ran out of material to write. (All my hobbies and interests now manifest themselves as books.) Now, I have this amazingly efficient book-creation process for anyone who needs it. I have created all kinds of books with it:

  • cartoon books
  • heavily illustrated children's books with edge-to-edge colour and illustrations
  • highly annotated programming/technical books
  • colouring books
  • puzzle books

You can check out free PDF samples of my books for ascertaining the efficiency of my process. The samples are low-resolution and watermarked. The final uploaded PDFs are infinitely better.

You

If you are writing a fiction book, then do not waste time formatting it. Do not even format it in Microsft Word. Use Word only for the grammar and spell check. Do not waste your money on any other writing aid.

If you are writing a children's book or a non-fiction book with lots of images, subheadings and bold/italicised text, some MarkDown formatting will be required on your part, as shown below:


Chapter Title
=============

Subheading
----------
**Bolded** text.

### Sub-subheading
*Italicized* text.

1. Ordered list item 1
2. Ordered list item 2
3. Ordered list item 3
4. Ordered list item 4

#### Sub-sub-subheading
***Bold and italicized*** text.

∗ Unordered list item
∗ Unordered list item
∗ Unordered list item
∗ Unordered list item
∗ Unordered list item

![Image description](image-filename.png)

> Extracted text from another source… > > In other words, a text quotation.
[www.VSubhash.in](http://www.vsubhash.in/commonmark.html "About my book CommonMark Ready Reference")

I have a free CommonMark Quick Reference chart as a downloadable PDF. You can learn MarkDown or CommonMark in no time.

There are a lot of free MarkDown/CommonMark editors. Download one for your OS. Windows users can try GhostWriter. I have never used it, as I am on Linux all the time. I used to use Markdown Writer FX. (It requires Java pre-installed.) It does not support complex Unicode characters so I use the default text editor in Linux. The default text editor in Windows is Notepad. It is feature-less and should be avoided. Use Notepad++ instead.

Requirements

  1. Manuscript as
    • a DOCX/ODS file (if it does not have a lot of images) OR
    • a plain‑text file in MarkDown format (if it has lots of images). In ebooks, all images need to have descriptions. It is easier for you to put them in a MarkDown file.
  2. All tabular data (tables) in a DOCX/ODT document or XLSX/ODS spreadsheet.
  3. Images used in the book at 300 dpi in PNG format. For the ebooks, I will handle the conversion to JPEG.
  4. Mention the book metadata in a plain‑text file:
    • Book title
    • Author name
    • Publisher name (same as author name if self-published)
    • Copyright notice
    • ISBNs and their formats (optional)
    • Disclaimer (optional)
    • Dedication (optional)
    • Paperback
      • Page dimensions. Remember that some book sizes cannot be sold outside Amazon.
      • Is it full bleed? Cookbooks and childrens' books have edge-to-edge colour or illustrations.
      • Is it large print? Books for small kids are usually in large print.
      • Book cover image (optional)
    • Ebook
      • Publication date
      • Book description
      • Keywords
      • Book cover image at 96 dpi
    • Any other requirements
  5. Front page images (same dimensions as the paperback pages) at 300 dpi.
    • containing the title (optional)
    • containing the title and author name
  6. Custom font files (optional).

You get

  • PDF for paperback upload
  • EPUB for ebook upload
  • MarkDown for your revisions

Cost

A fiction title can be formatted as a PDF and an EPUB ebook in less than an hour. That will cost ₹1500 or $20 (not including intermediary expenses). Children's books or non-fiction books with a lot of illustrations and tables will take longer and cost ₹1500 or $20 for every hour. As the number of hours increase, the price advantage will be lost.

It is best if all requirements are clearly spelled out in the book metadata file and there is no back-and-forth with changes. Send me the manuscript only after it has been fully reviewed by your copy-editor. Any subsequent revisions will have to be made in the MarkDown file by YOU or your proof-reader.

There will be no cost extra for a paperback revision, assuming that it will be rarely needed. For the ebook, there will always be a cost for every revision. (The process is not automated.) However, Calibre allows you to edit EPUB ebooks and you can make the changes yourself (without requiring my involvement).

Free Cover

I did all the covers for my books. If you are unable to spend extra for a professional cover or get a cover designer in time, I can create a temporary basic cover for free. You will have to accept it. There can be no criticism whatsoever 🤣 . When you eventually get a good cover from somewhere else, I will replace it for free.

Link: | Magic Link:

My solar inverter installation

A solar power installation costing less than ₹30,000.

When online classes started because of the lockdown, I had to quickly install a solar inverter. I thought I had done enough research and made several mistakes. I bought a Luminous 750 solar inverter. It can handle only 320 watts of AC loads. I also bought an ordinary inverter battery because solar batteries were expensive and not easily available. I thought I could run two fans for an entire night with a 100-AH lead-acid battery. It was too late when I realised that a 100-AH battery can only be discharged up to 50 AH.

I bought the solar panels (₹13,000) and inverter (₹4000) online at really cheap rates. The battery was ₹10,000. The solar cables, DC SPD and other materials brought the total to around ₹30,000.

I have 375 watts of solar panels. They charge the battery in about two hours. For the rest of the day, the panel output is an excess and would have been wasted as heat by the inverter. I run some AC loads on the inverter during this time and this (solar) power is free. (The AC input cord of the inverter is plugged in to an extension box that is in turn plugged in to to a wall socket. It is not switched on. It is used only to provide the mains earth connection for the inverter and its AC output.) At night, I would consume battery power for one hour around dinner time. After this, I would switch off the inverter for the night. The inverter battery is a tubular battery (used for ordinary inverters) but I do not deep-discharge it as it were a solar tubular battery.

I installed three-pin sockets in several rooms and connected them with dedicated cable conduits from the AC output of the inverter. When I wanted to switch off the solar inverter (because of the limited load and time limits), I had to manually unplug the devices from the new inverter-powered sockets and plug them to old mains-powered sockets. This was a hassle I wanted to avoid.

Belatedly, I added a 1000-watt inverter with a built-in 100-AH lithium battery to my solar power installation. I bought the lithium-battery-based inverter form Stalwart Solar for ₹25,000. This is a one-box system that includes the inverter, charger, UPS and lithium battery. It does not have a solar charger input. I charge it using the solar inverter. (If I had known better, I would have bought Stalwart Solar's 1000-watt solar inverter with built-in 100-AH lithium battery for only ₹30,000 and reduced my system size.) Now, I am able to use all 100 AHs of the lithium battery instead of only 50 AHs of the lead-acid battery.

Omega Digital UPS with solar inverter

The AC input cord of the solar inverter is plugged in to an extension box (red) for the mains connection. The lithium inverter is connected to the AC output of the solar inverter. I crafted a 16-amps two-gang electrical box (white power outlets) to connect to the AC output of the lithium inverter. The AC loads are now connected to this extension box. When the solar inverter is switched on, I am limited by its 400-VA load limit so I use it only for charging the lithium inverter. At night, I switch off the solar inverter and run the AC loads using the lithium inverter. It can handle 1000 watts but I do not push it beyond 200 watts. On a bright sunny day, the lead-acid battery gets charged in two or three hours. After that, all solar power is used to charge the lithium battery and power my AC loads. The lead-acid battery is unlikely to get cycled much now. Its life will increase but I will have to deep-discharge it once a month. I will also have to temporarily remove the lithium inverter during rainy season and use it sparingly during that time.

Video of Omega Digital UPS with solar inverter

UPDATE (November): As the lithium inverter's AC power cord was plugged into the AC output of the solar inverter, I could not draw AC power directly from the solar inverter. If I connected AC loads to the lithium inverter's output, it would draw power from solar inverter, as the AC input cord and AC output socket are directly connected. The lithium inverter draws a lot of power during charging, almost equal to what my solar panels were outputting. Any loads connected to the lithium inverter would deplete the lead-acid battery of the solar inverter. After that, the overload beeping noise would start to occur.

To solve this problem, I added another 16-amps two-gang electrical box. It has two input cords — one for each inverter's output. However, the second cord is connected to one of the sockets of the old gang box. (The lithium inverter is plugged in to first socket.) Now, I can draw power either from the solar inverter or the lithium inverter. Using the old box, I can turn off power to the lithium inverter when I consume power from the solar inverter.

The daily routine is:

  1. From before sunrise to when the solar panels start outputting power, I use the lithium inverter.
  2. During most of the day, I use the solar inverter while it also charges its lead-acid battery.
  3. Around noon, I switch to mains power for a few hours while the solar inverter tops up the lithium inverter's battery.
  4. In the evening, I switch off the solar inverter and turn on the lithium inverter. The latter remains on but no load is connected to it unless there is a power cut.

Neither the lithium battery or the lead-acid battery gets fully cycled every day, prolonging their life. They are topped up to full every day using only solar power. Excess solar power during the day is fully consumed. Mains power consumption is minimized.


  • The content of this post has been directly lifted from my book ‘How To Install Solar’. It is available on Amazon Kindle for ₹100. The full-colour paperback can only be ordered from Amazon UK.

    Cover of the book

  • Because of the lockdown, the Salem, TN-based Stalwart Solar is not selling the inverter in Kerala. I went to the Kerala-Tamil-Nadu border and bought my unit from a Coimbatore-based dealer. If you want to buy a lithium inverter, you can contact Stalwart Solar at ☎ 9944706699 or ☏ 7708855311. It is best if you buy their solar inverter with built-in lithium battery. You will not need to buy a separate lead-acid battery. I bought this ordinary inverter because I already have a solar inverter.

  • Stalwart Solar has published a few videos on the Net. If you know Tamizh, you will understand what they are saying.
Link: | Magic Link:

Celebrating one year in self-publishing with 20 titles

By making the ebook of my best-selling title free

In February of last year, I self-published a subset of my 2020 jokebook with Amazon.com. In my first year, I have written 23 books and published 20 of them. (One was held up by Amazon for some reason and two were never submitted.) A computer title FFMPEG Quick Hacks has been the most popular and profitable book in my book list. I had planned to release the ebook free after one year (in April 2021) but I have decided to release it early to celebrate one year in publishing. I have been busy writing books that I have not been blogging much. I am currently making some updates to my last book Linux Command-Line Tips & Tricks. After that, I will take a break from writing.

CORRECTION: I finished my first year in publishing with 21 books because Humorous Tweets Of Chairman Mao v2021 was eventually published on other non-Amazon ebook stores.
https://books2read.com/maotweets

UPDATE (April 2021): KDP approved the book after a manual review. The second coffee-table book is now available on Amazon.

Link: | Magic Link:

For older posts, check the archives.