May I introduce Brian Kittrell, fabulous author and inventor of the Kindle Processor...
Thanks for contacting me, Patricia, and thank you for your interest in the Kindle Processor project. It's been in development since November, 2010, when my first book came out. A few people complained about the formatting of the book, and I went back and found out that none of my formatting from my word processor "stuck". So, my book didn't have indents, spacing, or really anything to make it easy to read. Thus, Kindle Processor was born in its earliest form, a few simple lines of code to go through my book's body and format it to read better on the Kindle.
Q: Can you tell us about KindleProcessor?
A: Sure. KindleProcessor is a tool that takes the body of a book and formats it for the Kindle in HTML with CSS styles. Basically, a Kindle is nothing more than a portable web page viewer, so the books distributed for it need to be optimized like a web page would. KindleProcessor goes through the file, adds indents, centers chapter headers, and so forth. I've been adding and tweaking features as time has gone along, and I have a whole new phase of the project in mind. I'll discuss that a little later here.
Q: Where did the idea for it come from?
A: As I mentioned before, the idea came about from my own personal needs of having my books formatted properly. I didn't want to go through and code the thing myself from start to finish, so I started writing a little bit of code. That little bit of code is now several hundred lines long to account for all the extra options and preferences that I had for it. As time went along, I saw lots of other people having problems getting their own books formatted properly. Even people who had software designed for this specific process were experiencing difficulties. So, I decided to make it available for public use.
Q: How can it be so cheap?
A: Originally, I was charging $0.35 (35 cents US) for the processor and unlimited support while using it. Unfortunately, I discovered that PayPal was taking the entire amount in processing fees after the second person used it. So, I had to up it a bit. I could easily charge much more for the service, and I've actually been advised to increase my prices by people who have used the service. If that's not satisfaction, I don't know what is!
But, back to the question at hand. It's cheap because I choose for it to be cheap. Some of the money from the $0.99 fee helps support the server equipment to host the tool online, and part of it goes toward securing unlimited support from yours truly. Yeah, it usually takes me about 30 minutes to 1 hour to fix a book if something went wrong, and I know that most people wouldn't accept mere pennies to offer support; however, I enjoy offering the service to people and helping them. So, I only charge what I think is necessary to keep the service going. I'm an author, too, and I know how expensive really everything is for publishing.
Q: How long does it take to format an ebook?
A: The average promised turnaround is 10 minutes, but just about everyone has gotten their book back in under 3 minutes. Once you upload the book, it is added to the queue for processing. Since this is a relatively new service, there aren't going to be many in front of you at any particular time. So long as the processor succeeds, it's done in no time at all.
If you have to utilize support because something went wrong, I usually get it processed and back to you the same day.
Q: Can you convert an ebook to any other formats with this?
A: Not yet, but it's coming. Plans for Phase II are being drawn as we speak. The plan is to convert the processor into an ePub format compiler. The reason this is good is because both Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble's PubIt! service accept ePubs for distribution. That would mean you could pay once and receive one file that was properly formatted for both services, and it would include the book's cover, proper formatting, and a table of contents.
Phase III of the project is moving the service to be free for users with advertisements supporting the server costs, and a premium option for those who want the highest priority for their books. The premium service would give authors the ability to be placed in a separate premium queue so their books are processed almost immediately. (in under 10 minutes every single time.)
Q: Are there any other products like this on the market?
A: Yes and no. There are plenty of other products that will turn your manuscript into an eBook, and they vary in cost. Some are free, of course, and a Google search will bring up several options. I don't know of any others that cost $0.99 that come with unlimited support, though.
Q: Do you have any other projects in the works?
A: Of course, there's Phase II and Phase III of Kindle Processor that I'm working on. Of course, I am a writer, too, so I write and publish my own books as time goes along. Those are much more time consuming than working on KindleProcessor, and they demand the highest level of attention. I always find it funny how writing hundreds of lines of code is so different from writing a book; the software will tell you when something's wrong rather quickly, but it takes several people hundreds of hours to find all the errors in a book, and there are usually still some errors when you go to press. Ah, the curses.
Q: What else would you like to tell us about yourself?
A: I'm just a guy who tells stories and writes programs, really. I'm content to live out my days and design little things like KindleProcessor or my books. As long as there are people out there enjoying my little contributions, I will keep making them.
Thanks for the opportunity. I always enjoy interviews and publicity stuff. It's so much more interesting and engaging to me than simply putting up advertising, so I welcome these opportunities. I have been writing books for about 7 months so far, and my book publishing website is http://www.latenitebooks.com. My stories are available just about everywhere books are sold online.
Thanks so much Brian!