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9 Steps for Using Amazon's Kindle Comic Creator to Self-Publish Children's Books on Amazon
Amazon introduced the Kindle Comic Creator not too long ago, and not only are authors using it to make their own comics, with various panel views, but they are also using them to create cute books on Kindle for kids. For example, the book "What is Christmas? God's Perfect Gift…" was created via the Kindle Comic Creator.
To that end, here's a simple 9-step guide to using Kindle Comic Creator to make your own Kindle book:
#1 - Visit the Kindle Comic Creator link on Amazon and download the correct version for your system, either Windows XP, Windows 7 or Mac OSX 10.6 or later as of this writing.
#2 - Choose the "Create a New Book" option and select the language of your book. Although it's recommended to create the "Kindle Panel View," which offers guided navigation and lets the writer control the story flow of their books when the Kindle Comic Creator automatically detects Kindle Panels from the artwork, we aren't going to use this for our simple children's book. So choose "no" for the Kindle Panel View option, and once you do, the orientation of the book will switch to "Unlocked," which is fine - and the page turn direction will be left-to-right, as is fine for the English language. (Please note that Kindle Panel View is not recommended for Japanese language Manga.)
#3 - For the canvas size of your kid's book, it's important to allow your original resolution size to reflect the full dimensions of the images or photos you'll upload. The default values of an 800 px width and 1,280 px height will work fine if that's the general size of your photos that we'll discuss next. The maximum value allowed is 1,280 px - but if you have photos taller than that, Amazon will scale them down - but make sure that they aren't too wide if you're choosing the portrait option. For example, I learned that when creating a book in this manner that screenshots I'd used were wider than they were tall, so with Kindle maintaining the aspect ratio for our book based on values we enter, it looked a little squished. See the Kindle Publishing Guidelines PDF for more information.
#4 - Find large photos and Photoshop them, or use whatever program you're comfortable with to add text atop of them. This is the step where you'll take a quick break from the Comic Creator to find photos to upload that will serve as the basis for your children's book. The photos themselves will represent the book's pages, and not any text or documents written in Microsoft Word. (If you want to create a book that way, please see "How to Self-Publish a Kindle Book for Free in 10 Steps" for more information.) The Kindle books we'll use Comic Creator to make will look more like this "Children's Book for Baby: Learn the ABCs - Fun Kindle eBook for Kids with 26 Beautiful Photo Alphabet Lessons," also by children's book writer Hannah Elise.
To create images like that, search for photos on iStockPhoto.com, BigStockPhoto.com, or the variety of other places that sell stock photos that are large and beautiful. If you want to find free photos, check out resources online at Wikipedia or many other places that allow you to use free photos, either with attribution to the photographer or without. Just make sure they are nice and large, because as you saw in the previous step, larger photos look best - and if they are larger than 800 by 1,280, that's fine. Amazon will reduce them. Let's say they are 1,500 by 2,500 - that's work well for portrait because they'll reduce accordingly.
Now open each photo in Photoshop or Microsoft Paint or Gimp or whatever photo editing software you have available, and add text atop the images, as you can see was done to the above two referenced children's books. When you save each photo, it helps to give them orderly numbers, like page1.jpg, page2.jpg, etc., so you'll know the proper order to add them in the next step to your book. Make sure to create your book cover using one of these large photos (or search on Fiverr.com or Elance.com for someone to create one for you if you don't know how.) Save the book cover because we'll upload it to Amazon in the next steps.
#5 - Back in the Kindle Comic Creator program, enter your metadata and cover image, which means you'll want to enter your book's title, author name, publisher (not required) and your book's cover image. The cover image is mandatory, however, you may change the cover image later if you'd like. Use the large book cover image that you designed (or had designed for you) in the previous step and upload it in the "Create a New Book" section of the Comic Creator module.
Enter the location where you'd like to save your new book - and under advanced settings, tell Amazon where the HTML version of your Table of Contents page is located, if you have one. You can also select the border width and color of your "Kindle Panels" if you'd chosen that option for different types of comic books, as well as more information about your "Virtual Panels" under the advanced settings, but these advanced settings options aren't necessary for the book we're creating.
#6 - Choose "Start Adding Pages" for your children's book after you've entered all the above metadata and your book cover. Once you click "Start Adding Pages," Amazon will pop up the "Add Pages" option, which will let you scroll through the images you've created and select them en masse or one at a time. This is why I like to number my files (such as 1-Christmas.jpg and 2-Christmas.jpg, etc.) so I know the ones to select first and in the order that I select them.
After importing, the Kindle Comic Creator will say, "Good job importing pages! Now start creating Double Page Spread or Facing Pages by visiting Page Settings." Just click "OK" and you should see all your images on the left-hand side (not your cover image, though) and the options to "Add Page" and "Delete Page" and options for your book settings and page settings. You can click on your book's pages, which are now labeled as "Page-0" and "Page-1" and so on to ensure they are in the correct order. If not, you can always click a photo and drag it to the proper location, or use the add page or delete page options to add photos you've forgotten.
#7 - Choose "File >> Export as KF8 Book" once you're satisfied with the look of your book. Give your book a name, and then you should see a message that says, "Please wait. Generating book." Below that, you'll see Amazon's command line e-book compiler compiling your book and parsing the pages, so depending on the size of your file, it could take a few seconds. In the end, you should see the approximate standard Mobi deliverable file size, which is hopefully less than Amazon's current limits - but we can check in the next step. The main thing you want to see is "Mobi file built successfully," and a newly created file with a ".mobi" extension. For example, mine is named "My Test Book.mobi" in my "Documents" directory.
#8 - Upload your cover image and file to kdp.amazon.com by first logging into that Kindle Direct Publishing module with your Amazon account information, and entering all your pertinent information, such as your name, address, bank account information under each country to receive EFT direct deposit payments as allowed, tax information and more.
Next, select "Add a new title" at the KDP dashboard (https://kdp.amazon.com/dashboard) and proceed to enter your book's title, your author name under the "Add Contributors" link, the book's description - and choose to enroll it in KDP Select if you'd like that promotional option and don't plan to publish an electronic version of your book anywhere but Amazon.
When uploading your book's cover image, select the same image you selected previously and when uploading your book's content file, select the ".mobi" file that was created via the Kindle Comic Creator module. Click "Save and Continue."
#9 - Publish and profit! Finally, select the "Save and Publish" button on page two. Congratulations!