My Experience Getting Rapid City on Kindle #makecomics

I attended a self publishing panel at New York Comic Con two weeks ago. One of the best take-aways was the existence of a piece of software especially built for getting children's books listed and sold through the kindle. This is cool because there is no set format for those books, so the software is fairly adaptable.

But, searching a little bit past that, I found that Amazon has a very similar tool specifically for making comics. It is the Kindle Comic Creator, and this is how it works... (for me anyway).

First, I downloaded and installed the software. Amazon makes all of that nice and easy.

The video on the Comic Creator page is a pretty fair presentation of how the process goes. The automatic panel finder is actually pretty smart. I was skeptical as well, but it basically works. There were a couple pages where the panels were simply hard for a machine to find, and a few pages where it seemed to make dumb mistakes. But, after just a bit of trial and error, these problems are pretty easy to fix.

Keep careful track of where you save the files. You will need that later.

Once it is saved, the test viewer that you downloaded with the Comic Creator opens automatically. On my computer, this viewer did not work very well. I could not see the panel transitions very well and I could not resize the viewer to fit my monitor. It seemed that the panels MIGHT be readable on a full sized tablet, but I had no way of knowing that.

Kindle has a free desktop app for reading Kindle books on your computer. I already had that, so I copied the .mobi file that the Creator program generated, and placed it in my Kindle reader file. Easy. It opened fine. So, once it was there I synched it to my various linked devices.

And then I spent an hour on the phone with Amazon support trying to figure out why the hell a file in my Kindle folder could not synch to my devices. The question was never resolved. They suggested I email the file to my Kindle, which I resisted because WHY DOESN"T THE BUILT IN SYNCH BUTTON SYNCH THE FILES? All I want it to do is teh only thing it is capable of doing... synch files! Just synch the files!

Eventually I relented and emailed it, but it was too big a file. So, I downloaded the Send to Kindle software and used that as suggested by support. And again, the file was too big.

So, again, I used Amazon software to create a file and after an hour on the phone with Amazon tech support NO ONE can find a way to get that file to be visible on my tablet's Kindle app. Can't be done. Stop trying.

In the meantime, I had created an Amazon Author Page. My actual page is pretty awful, and in need of an update, but it gets the job done for now. There seem to be a few ways to do this, but it also seems like all of Amazon is connected so all of these roads lead to the same place.

I also created an account at Kindle Direct Publishing. That took a little time to set up, but was not hard. I used KDP (as they call it) to make a new book listing and uploaded the .mobi file that I made with Comic Creator.  It took about 24 hours for it to process, but once it did, it was right there listed on Amazon. Right next to everything in the known universe.

Now this is the part of the process that is so stupid that I am reluctant to even type it. I went to amazon, searched my own book, and bought it from myself. Yep. I really did. As smooth and simple as the rest of this process was, that idiotic step was the only way I could figure out to actually get the book onto my tablet kindle app. But, dumb as it was, it worked.

The reading experience is not quite as nice as Comixology, but it is very nice and very readable. It is slightly less readable of the classic Kindle device because that device does not have automatic screen rotation for wide panels. Still, even with that, it works pretty well.

The end result of all that is my book, Rapid City Below Zero, is listed on Amazon.

I hope that you can get through this process and bypass some of the frustration I had to tear through. If it helps you, and you think it might help someone else, please share this information.

Good luck making comics.

Josh Dahl