I was going into the process cold, and as I have done with many self-taught skills, I dived into the Amazon documentation. I decided to go with the Kindle Format 8 (KF8), since it offered the most flexibility for fixed layout books (like picture books). Official resources can be found here, and the official PDF here. Now this might look like a lot of gobbledy gook to most people, and I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed. I am not a stranger to website coding, but this kind of HTML and XHTML coding was new to me. What I ended up doing is downloading a sample and deconstructing it, changing only what I needed to change. There’s also lots of online documentation that proved useful.
This was three years ago. If I was to do it over again, I would use Scrivener, since it has exporting to ebooks built in.
Once I had the framework, it was just a matter of producing the single images that went on each page. Now things can get more complicated by creating the text separately in the HTML, allowing for zoomable regions, etc., but I made my text clear enough that I didn’t require that. I chose to keep it simple for my first book. Perhaps I’ll get adventurous in my next picture book (yes, there’s another picture book waiting in the wings 😉 ).
The next step was to run all my files through the Kindle previewer, which converted my HTML and images into a .mobi file, which it then previewed on a simulated Kindle device. After I previewed my book, and made sure there were no errors, I uploaded the .mobi file to the KDP website. I could have also uploaded my zipped HTML/image files and word files and let Amazon do the conversion, but preferred to upload the .mobi file that the preview generated. It was uploaded exactly as is. I’ll elaborate on that process in more detail in part two.