How to Publish on Amazon with Storyist

Publishing on Amazon

Running time: 10:22. Covers how to create a Kindle edition of your novel, screenplay, or non-fiction work, and how to make it available for purchase on It also covers some of things you might want to consider when preparing your work for publication including how to preview your Kindle edition before publishing it.

[The following is a transcript of the screencast.]

Hi, I'm Steve Shepard, the developer of Storyist. In this screencast, I'll show you how to create a Kindle edition of your novel, screenplay, or non-fiction work, and how to make it available for purchase on

I'll also cover some of things you might want to consider when preparing your work for publication including how to proofread your Kindle edition before publishing it.

Then I'll show you some of the advanced features that Storyist provides to give you fine grain formatting control if you want to edit the book content after you export it.

Creating Kindle Editions

For this screencast, I'm using the "Storyist User's Guide." You can download this project from the Storyist website if you want to follow along. You'll find it on the support page at, along with Kindle, ePub, and PDF editions of the guide--all of which were created by Storyist.

The first step in creating the Kindle edition is to choose File > Export. When the export dialog appears, set the export type to "ebook" and the format to "Kindle Document." Then select the project files you want to include in the book.

If you've got a cover image in the project, select it too. You won't need one if you just want to read your work on your Kindle, but if you will if want to publish it on

After you've selected the items you want to include, click Next.

The first time you create a Kindle edition, Storyist presents a dialog asking you to locate Kindlegen. Kindlegen is a free command line tool developed by Amazon for packaging eBooks for sale on Don't worry, you don't need to run the command line tool yourself. Storyist will do that for you. You just need to tell Storyist where it is.

To install Kindlegen, click the Download button. This launches your browser and takes you to Amazon's Kindle publishing page, where you'll find KindleGen for Mac OS 10.5 and above. Click Download Now.

When you've downloaded the zip file, double-click it to expand it. In the expanded folder, you'll find the kindlegen tool, the end-user agreement, release notes, and sample projects. We're just interested in the kindlegen tool, so after you've read the end-user agreement, copy the kindlegen tool to a folder on your hard drive. I like to keep a folder called "tools" in my home directory for this purpose.

Once you've copied the kindlegen tool to the folder, return to Storyist and click Choose and select the tool. That's it for setup. You won't need to repeat it the next time you export a Kindle edition.

Now click Next.

You'll see a list containing the items you selected in the first step. Arrange them in the order they should appear in the eBook, then click Next again.

Enter the title, author, and a short description. Then add any metadata (or card catalog information) you want to include. To add metadata, click the Add button and choose a metadata tag name from the popup. There are tags for subject, publisher, author, contributor, ISBN, type, format, source, language, and rights.

If you want to learn more about these tags, please consult the User's Guide.

Now click next again.

If you want to prevent people from copying text from your book, click the checkbox titled "Don't allow readers to copy content from this eBook."

You can leave the other options unchecked. These are for more advanced uses, and I'll cover them in a little while.

Now we're ready to save the file. Click Next one more time. The Save dialog appears. Enter a name for your Kindle file and click Export.

And that is all that you need to do to create a Kindle edition.

Publishing on

Publishing your Kindle edition on is also straight forward. To get started, visit If you have an account, you already have access to Amazon's Digital Text Platform, which is the web service you'll use to publish the book. If you don't have an account, create one now. It's quick and easy.

When you sign in to the Digital Text Platform (or DTP as it is known on the site), you'll find yourself at the DTP bookshelf. Click "Add a new title" to create a new entry for your book.

Publishing with DTP is a two step process. First, you enter information about your book, and then set the rights and pricing.

In the Book Basics section, enter your title and a brief description of the book. I'll continue using the guide as an example, and enter those details here. Then click "Add contributors" and add the author.

Next, in the Publishing Details section, select the language. The Storyist User's Guide is written in English, so I'll choose that. Note that there are some other optional fields here. For instance, you can enter the publication date and the publisher. You can also enter an ISBN if you've got one. If you don't, just leave it blank.

Next, in the Publishing Rights section, choose the appropriate rights status for your book. If you've written the book and haven't assigned the publishing rights to someone else, you hold the publishing rights. Since I hold the publishing rights for the guide, I'll select that option.

Next, in the Browse and Search section, enter the category that the book will be listed under and the search keywords that you think readers will use to find your book.

Next, in the Product Image section, upload your cover image by clicking "Browse for image." Select the cover image, and then click "Upload image."

Then, in the Book Content section, choose a digital rights management option and upload your book. For this example, I'll turn digital rights management on, and then I'll locate the Kindle file that Storyist generated, and click "Upload book." This uploads the book to Amazon's servers, which perform some prepublication checks, add digital rights management (if you've selected that option), and prepares it for sale.

While this is happening, click Save and Continue and move on to part two.

In the Content Rights section, enter the territories for which you hold the publishing rights. I have worldwide rights, so I'll select that option.

On to royalties. In the Royalty Option section, you can choose to receive 35% of the list price or 70% of the list price. To receive the 70% royalty, you need to price your book between $2.99 and $9.99. That is fine for me, so I'll choose that option. There are some other things to consider too, so be sure to click the "restrictions apply" link for details.

The last step is to set the list price. I'll set this at the minimum--$2.99--and let it calculate the estimated royalty.

When you're ready to publish, click the checkbox to confirm that you have the necessary rights and agree to the DTP terms and conditions and click "Save and Publish".

And within 48 hours, your book will be available on

Preparing Content for Export

Now let me talk about some things to check when preparing your work for export.

First, check that your headings appear correctly in the Project view. This is important because Storyist uses the first two heading levels to create the Kindle table of contents. You can set the heading level by applying a heading style.

Also check the resolution of your cover art. Amazon recommends 600 x 800 pixels. If your cover is less than 500 pixels in either dimension, your book may be rejected when you upload it.

For other images, note that the Kindle format only supports images up to 127KB in size. Larger images are converted automatically, though, so you can use any reasonable size in your project and let Storyist (and Kindlegen) do the conversion if necessary when creating the Kindle edition.

After you've created your Kindle edition, it is a good idea to read through it on a Kindle reader to make sure everything is as you want it.

Amazon provides a free Kindle simulator that approximates how your book will appear on the various Kindle readers. The current version simulates Kindle, Kindle DX, Kindle for iPhone, and Kindle for iPad.

Amazon also offers a free Kindle reading app for Mac OS X. You can download both applications from

The best test, however, is to proofread your book on a Kindle device. You can either email your file to the device (you'll find the email address in your Kindle account), or connect your Kindle to your computer with a USB cable and download it directly to the documents folder

Advanced Topics

Now I'd like to talk about a couple of advanced topics.

Storyist makes great looking Kindle editions without requiring you to know the ins and outs of Kindle formatting. But if you want to customize the look of your book, and you are comfortable editing HTML and CSS files, and are willing to learn the limitations of HTML and CSS on Kindle, you can have Storyist preserve the intermediate files for you so you can edit them yourself.

To do this, export your manuscript as you would normally, and in the last step, click the checkbox titled "Save intermediate HTML files in a folder with my Kindle file." If you do this, Storyist creates a folder with the HTML, CSS, OPF, and NCX files necessary to create the Kindle edition.

If you open one of the HTML files, you'll see that, unlike some computer generated markup, the contents are very clean and readable. Storyist adds CSS class names to each paragraph that match the stylesheet names in your project file, so if you want to fine tune the formatting, all you have to do is edit the main.css file.

Then, rerun kindlegen to create your book.

I won't cover how to run kindlegen from the command line here. If you'd like help, stop by the Storyist forums. You'll find the information there.

Keep in mind that Kindle only understands a subset of HTML and CSS, so if you're going to edit the files, be sure to take the time to read Amazon's documentation.

Thats about it. Thanks for listening, and good luck with your book.