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You can do IT in laterlife 


You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her 

Or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too.

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

December 2012 

Self-publishing the Kindle Way

Are you a secret writer? If so, you have probably dreamt of one day publishing your own poetry, novel, autobiography or short stories and making them available to friends, family and even the paying public.

Happily, a way to do this is now available at Amazon, who are offering Kindle self-publishing for free. You won't produce printed copies, but your ebook will be listed online and anyone with a Kindle or Kindle-reading device (such as an Android phone, iPhone or iPad), can click and buy your book in seconds.

In essence, it takes five steps:

  • Format the document correctly
  • Save it as an appropriate Web file type
  • Include artwork or tables as picture files
  • Produce an attractive cover
  • Upload all your files to the Amazon site

You will also have to choose the best possible title, produce a description of the book to display on the Amazon page and decide on the price you are going to charge – including offering it for free if you simply want it read widely.

Set the headings from the Style box and the paragraph spacing from the Format – Paragraph menu to make sure they are interpreted correctly – spacing using the Enter key alone is not good enough.

Chapter headings should be set at Heading 1, main paragraph headings at Heading 2 and subheadings at Heading 3. Everything else should be left at your usual word processing setting such as Arial 12. To make sure each chapter starts on a new page, hold down a Ctrl key and press Enter (Return) at the end of each chapter.

As the Kindle shifts all your text around if you just use your Return key to start new paragraphs, set a 10pt – 12pt gap after each paragraph so that, as you type or start new paragraphs, everything is spaced properly.

Most books on Amazon's site now offer a "Look Inside" option and, for Kindle books, this displays the contents list and first few paragraphs. If you make the contents list fairly full, it gives people a clearer idea about your book, so creating a proper Table of Contents is very important. It is easy to set up from the Reference – Index and Tables menu and is based on your Style headings. Setting one level will just list chapter titles so set it at three levels, to list main paragraph and subparagraph headings as well. Kindles sadly cannot cope with page numbers, so you have to take off the tick in the "show page numbers" box.

If you make any revisions to your document, right-click the Table of Contents list and select update before saving again.

The Kindle needs your document to be saved as a Web page – Filtered file. As this is one of the many file types offered in the Save As Type box, when you Save As you select this option and can then see what your book will look like on the Web.

All pictures, tables or charts that you want to include in your book should be saved as a jpg or tiff files on your computer and then added by using the Insert – Picture menu to add them in the right places.

If your book has any such inclusions, it is very important to compress (zip) both book manuscript and all artwork files (but not the cover file) into a single zipped file that you treat as one when you upload your work to Amazon. Otherwise, your book will have blank spaces as the picture files will not have been kept together with the text.

Make sure you steer away from other people's copyrighted work. If you don't want to pay for professional pictures, make a drawing or take a photo and open it in an image editing program such Paint Shop Pro. Either explore imported fancy fonts or just add a simple title and your own name in different coloured fonts using the tools provided.

Amazon want your images to be a certain size, so make sure your camera can take photos at 3MP or higher and, when editing, set the canvas size to 1000 x 1600 pixels.

Uploading files
When you are ready to publish, sign in at using your Amazon log-in details or create an account there. Complete all the boxes provided such as book title, author, rights, description, price and any other aspects. Then click Browse to locate your cover image and manuscript or zipped file on your computer.

Your book will be available in the UK in about 12 hours. Once published, make changes at any time by amending and re-saving your computer files. Then sign in at the "manage-your-book" page provided, select the box next to the book title and click Actions – Edit. Now you can repeat the uploading of the amended documents as well as enter new text into any of the boxes.

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