Now that my novel has come out of the KDP Select programme, I wanted to try and get ‘New Fire’ onto other platforms. I’ve mentioned before that Nook does not support authors outside of the USA. The Barnes and Noble decision to only allow US citizens to publish books is an odd one and I can only assume that they have no serious intention to compete for independent authors worldwide. They have either decided that the earnings from non-US authors would not justify the cost of setting up global payments, or they believe that only US citizens write worthwhile books! I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Happily, Kobo aren’t as myopic as Nook so they are able to pay to worldwide bank accounts. The Kobo portal for authors is WritingLife. Here, like Amazon, you create an account for yourself, type in some key metadata about your book, upload it and publish. Uploading was the only bit I struggled with. The Kobo step-by-step publishing process misleadingly states that it supports the upload of Word documents. It does not. I won’t bore you with details of the dozen attempts I made, using the pitifully lean instructions, to get Kobo to accept my Word document. Suffice to say that I ended up trying a blank document with one chapter heading and one line of prose. Kobo rejected it, and so, after scratching my head for a while, I turned my attention to the ePub format.
Microsoft Word does not publish to ePub yet, something they will surely seek to address before long! In the meantime, I cast around for tools to do the job. A company called Aspose offer an evaluation tool, ‘Word Express’ which seemed to work, but the licensing agreement suggested that I’d have to pay for a full copy in order to publish without fear of prosecution. Happily, before I could get a response from Aspose on the licence cost, I found Calibre, a free tool for managing your eLibrary.
Although Calibre does not convert directly from Word to ePub, the process is still pretty straightforward. It’s described here, but the interesting thing is that I had already done these exact same steps in order to publish to Kindle. Both Amazon and Calibre need you to take the following steps;
- make sure all your chapter headings are styled as ‘Heading 1’
- and then, save to HTML
So starting from the HTML version of ‘New Fire’ that I’d created prior to my Amazon upload, all I had to do was load that into Calibre, correct the title, upload the cover and press “Convert”. Voila! The resulting ePub file uploaded without problem to Kobo.
So in a few days time, my novel will be available on Kobo! Nook will remain out of reach until they decide that non-US authors are worthwhile and I’ll only upload to Sony when they don’t force me to hand over a proportion my royalties to Smashwords. Call me ‘newfashioned‘, but I refuse to be anything other than an indie author.