Creating a Fixed Layout Kindle Children’s Picture eBook – some tips by Alan Dapre

NOTE: The Template under discussion here is no longer available.

This post was first published on Dec 10, 2012.

If you are familiar with my blogs you’ll know that I occasionally write about my experiences in creating ebooks. Recently Amazon published Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapré , a free flowing epub for the b&w Kindle (update:  if you click the above link and download now the ebook has been reworked for KindleFires & is backward compatible with the b&w kindles).

Now that the KindleFire is here I decided to create a fixed layout ebook of my Wee Panda Bear story ‘Wiggle Jiggle’.

I studied the Kindle Fire guidelines but they seemed quite complicated … so I had no option but to scour the net for a decent template.

I found a company called U-DO-IT which makes templates for children’s books and graphic novels. Better still, there is a template which includes region magnification. This means that when text is double tapped it is enlarged in its own box and therefore stands out. Very useful for children’s picture books.

The KF8 Region Magnification template is well constructed, with advice in grey text throughout, and follows the Amazon guidance for region magnification KindleFire books.

I have made my own flowable epubs using other templates so I was kind of familiar with the folders and structure. That said, this is for a fixed layout template so there are definite differences and it is wise to follow the instructions carefully.

One point to note is that helpful guidance is in the UDOIT DOCUMENTATION folder in the form of the index.html document.

It is good that the advice in the tutorial movies is clear and can be stopped and rewound at anytime, though you will use each movie as and when you need one.

It took a moment or two to understand how to format my images and where to put them etc but the advice is there. I just needed to read it all, not just jump in.

After compiling my ebook (i.e. assembling the images at the right size and resolution, added text, setting the layout and look of the region mag boxes, etc) I dragged the content.opf file to Kindle Previewer where I could check for errors.

For me when I got the odd error it meant that a photo was put in the wrong place or I had not put the correct path to it – my error. It helps to make sure that the info in the style.css matches what you put on xhtml pages. A bit of common sense meant I soon sorted issues out.

The resultant mobi made automatically by the Kindle Previewer is found in the Compiled-content.opf folder.

I then went to the KDP site and added my new book title. I entered the details, wrote a description, added an ISBN in my case, verified my publishing rights, added categories & uploaded a cover. (By the way – the tutorials show how to make a cover the right size – all very helpful). I now easily uploaded my Kindle Previewer mobi.

Amazon works some more magic and flashes up the words ‘Upload and conversion successful’. To preview their converted mobi I downloaded it – ‘Wiggle+Jiggle.mobi” – by clicking ‘download book preview file’. I now had it in my downloads folder and could double click it and have a look at it in Kindle For Mac. It worked perfectly.

Amazon has accepted the story and I  have it for sale online. Just click my ebook’s title – Wiggle Jiggle – to go to Amazon –  where you can download it at a great price. 

The whole process of making an ebook for KindleFire was vastly simplified by using this KF8 region mag template. It works. If you have any questions then it’s easy to fire off a comment and get a helpful, slightly grumpy sounding, response.

Please note I am not getting paid to blow U-DO-IT’s trumpet regarding the template – I’m just happy it worked well for me, and is a good tool for authors who don’t want to pay hundreds to get a digital book created. Reckon the template creator owes me a pint for all the traffic he gets.

Update May 30th, 2013 – I have now also created my third ebook – ‘Eggy Leggy’. :)

Update June 21st, 2013 –  Sadly, I am unable to offer advice to anyone stuck using the current updated U-DO-IT template. I have not used it so cannot vouch for its usefulness. The template I used did work for me but involved a lot of head scratching before I got it. The software maker has provided detailed info but it takes some getting used to. Best to read his comments section and then write your own.

I am getting lots of hits on this article. Please buy and download my ebooks -feel free to  take them apart to see how well they are made.

******

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (UK link)

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (US link)

Cuddle Muddle Author Alan Dapre

Cuddle Muddle Book 1

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ –  available on kindle (UK link)

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ – available on kindle  (US link)

Wiggle Jiggle Author Alan Dapre

Wiggle Jiggle Book 2

‘Eggy Leggy’ –  available on kindle (UK link)

‘Eggy Leggy’
 – available on kindle  (US link)
Eggy Leggy - picture book by Alan Dapre

Eggy Leggy – picture book by Alan Dapre

 

3 thoughts on “Creating a Fixed Layout Kindle Children’s Picture eBook – some tips by Alan Dapre

  1. Karen Fredericks

    I agree – lots of head-scratching, and your caution of “not jumping in” were a “must” to listen to. But the truth is – for the forseeable future it’s a complex process and with this template, you really can do it. Jason Zaloga, the developer, really did answer all my questions. It took a long time to do – be prepared to be frustrated – but it IS worth it. And remember – the first book is 10x harder then the ones that follow.

    Reply
  2. maggie

    Hi,
    I purchased the U-Do-It KF8 download to make a children’s kindle ebook and can’t for the life of me figure out how to even get started with it, let alone make an ebook! I’ve watched the videos and read it but still no idea. Feel a wee bit dumb at the moment. Do you have any hints to share? I contacted the person who made it and he said I should read through it a few times 🙁 still not getting it though. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi,
      I cannot offer direct advice as I have not used the current template. I suggest you go back to the software maker and explain the exact point where you are confused and start a dialogue from there. The key for me was looking in the index.html doc for guidance. As you have paid good money I would hope you get the advice you need from the person you bought it from.
      I wish you luck.

      Reply

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