I'm in the process of writing my first eBook. The writing is nearly finished - I will be done by Tuesday.

Currently I'm writing in Google Docs and I plan to publish on Kindle. Are these compatible? If not, what should I do with the document I already have?

There are many ways to produce Kindle .mobi files. One method is to create a MS Word file and to convert it to a .mobi file (using Calibre or Amazon's own suggestions).

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A14LJ3QNDNO64G

It is not easy to produce a kindle file from MS Word. If you start with Google Docs, you're going to have to export it to MS Word (don't export to PDF).

Calibre is pretty powerful; it can convert your MS Word file fairly well. If you don't have MS Word, you can export from Google Docs to Open Office (Libre Office) file format .odt. Choose File --> Download as --> ODT But my experience is that ODT to .mobi doesn't work that easily.

But expect to spend some time testing and previewing your Kindle file. It will take a good while to learn how to get it into mobi format (or epub format). Alternately you can pay someone $200-$300 to handle a simple ebook conversion.

If you are comfortable with some html, you might try pasting the ebook contents into Sigil Editor. https://github.com/Sigil-Ebook/Sigil/releases

Tip: It can be easier to make an epub file first and then convert it from epub-to-mobi. (Adobe Indesign can produce an epub file, as can some other programs).

To convert from epub to mobi, you can use Amazon's own Kindle previewer tool https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?docId=1003018611

Yes. You can write. Here are my experiences.

MS Word approach

  1. I exported the manuscript as .DOCX. This format worked best for me. I faced serious problems with .epub and .pdf formats.
  2. Caveat - If you have used Google doc specific embedded drawings then they are likely to get clipped. I had to convert them to pictures using Windows sniping tool and embed them back as an image
  3. Caveat - I had lots of problems with equations. They would not align well with oridinary text or with bullets. Some of the Equation toolbar symbols like the summation did not show up at all. I had to use the "insert symbol" approach
  4. Caveat - Table column widths appeared different on Kindle

Overall suggestion using MS Word - write a couple of pages on GD which captures some of your complex formatting scenarios, export to DOCX and preview the file on Kindle previewer (online) . I would recommend doing this upfront so that you can learn lessons

HTML approach

You can also save your Google Doc content as a HTML file. This will come down as a ZIP with 1 HTML and a subfolder with all the images. But there were serious challenges.

  1. HTML errors - Kindle Previewer 3 would frequently complain that there were errors in the HTML. I had to un-minify the HTML and then run Kindle Previewer again. Go back to the offending line number. There were many empty IMG tags and I had to remove all of them

  2. Font units - The font sizes were too large when viewed on Kindle. I had to change the font units from pt to em for much improved rendition on Kindle

  3. Equations - If your manuscript has mathematical equations then these will be converted to static pictures.

  4. Table of contents - The table of contents that was generated inside Google Docs would not work nicely on Kindle. Clicking on the ToC would take me to unpredictable locations in the book. I have no explanation for this.

  5. Further reference -

https://medium.com/@perrygarvin/how-to-make-an-amazon-kindle-book-using-html-and-css-146070ba0d7e

https://daveparsonsnz.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/converting-a-google-doc-to-a-kindle-format-mobi-file/

Summary Yes you can definitely use Google Docs for authoring Kindle content. You can use MS Word or HTML. You should try out a short sample before progressing too far down the road. However, in my case, I am almost on the verge of abandoning GD in favour of a tool like Scrivener, which I believe is more suited for such an endeavour.

Hope this helps.

It depends on if you wish to publish it with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. If you want it to be just available as a Kindle format but not dependent on publishing through Amazon, then you have to go through a little bit longer process.

The steps are as follows:

  • You started a Google Docs document
  • Create a new working folder
  • Download Amazon KindleGen as a zip
  • Unzip the KindleGen in your new folder
  • Export your Google Docs document to an HTML format (so no Word format!)
  • Unzip this HTML document in your new folder too And then the change of coding begins:
  • In the HTML source is a 'style' element: replace all the 'pt' for the 'font-size' with 'em' values.
  • Add in the meta description: so your name will be displayed in the digital info.
  • Do the same if you want your book to have a cover image:
  • Open your cmd on your Windows or Mac
  • Run your Kindlegen with your HTML doc --> for example: C:\kindlegen>kindlegen HTMLDoc.html
  • Now the tool creates a .mobi file in the same folder.

Now you can connect your Kindle to your laptop or computer, navigate to your documents map and copy your .mobi file into it.

Good luck!

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