How to format an ebook for publishing

Amazon KDP is one of the preferred publishing platform when it comes to online publishing.

Publishing on the platform allows you to publish your books in two ways; either as an eBook or a printed book (paperback).

Generally, these two publishing options have similar formatting style, except that there are a few additional options, available for the paperback.

Notwithstanding, there are instances where new authors make mistakes with their choice of formatting styles and this usually leads to a bad user experience and low ratings for the book.

You don’t have to make this formatting mistakes for your book. This is why, you need to write and format your book properly before uploading it on Amazon.

eBook Formatting: Important Sections You Need

Now, the following are the general formatting and the important sections you’ll need for your non fiction book, notwithstanding whether it’s Paperback or ebook;

Title Page

A title page contains the title of your book. And the sub title (if any). It usually shows up immediately after your book cover.

Usually, some authors do prefer to make their title page, a reprint of the book cover. But, there’s really no hard and fast rule about this. You can give your title page any design you want.

Whatever be the case, be sure your title page is in line with your book cover.

Table of Content

Ideally, a table of Content lists all the content of your book in a vertical order, starting from the first item on your book, excluding the book cover, to the last section of your book (like references, bibliographies, etc.).

It gives your readers an idea about the different sections of your book.

Platforms like Amazon gives readers the chance to preview your table of content before buying your book.

There are chances that your table of content might further compel a prospective reader to buy your book or discourage them.

This is why in order to get things right, you want to carefully consider the headings of your table of content especially, for self published books.


The introduction is usually a very good place to “sell” your book to your prospective buyer.

For online publishing, the introduction arguably serves the same purpose as the back cover of a book, in traditional publishing.

It gives a summary details that’s meant to further capture a potential reader’s interest in your book.

Most authors open their introduction with great story telling. They try to capture their audience’s experience through masterful story telling and in most cases this usually works.

Because, unlike the back cover; in traditional publishing, the introduction gives you an even bigger opportunity to summarize and sell the story behind your book in a very compelling way.


Chapters usually are sub sections of your book. They are a collection of sub headings and themes that come together to make your book title worthwhile.

To be successful with online publishing, the chapters of your book should not only be captivating. They should be able to link up to the main theme of your book.

Individually, try to give each chapter of your book a central theme. And make each of them a collection of story (content) that links up with the main story that forms a bulk of your work.

Generally, with the basic word formatting, you can get your book ready for online publishing. But, you also can add further formating styles to make your book look even better.

If you want to do this then you can use the following steps…

  • Highlight the title of the first chapter. On your home tab, locate the the styles section, then click Heading 1 to apply the style to the chapter title.
  • Repeat this step for each chapter title.

About the author

Usually, while formatting your book, this should also come in your back cover if you’re publishing a paperback on Amazon.

On the other hand, if you’re publishing an eBook, you’ll have an “about the author” section for your book, both in the “author central” section and your main Amazon account.

What you need to do here is to keep your “about” description consistent with your book’s central theme. It is very important.

If you’re writing a book about a topic related to mathematics, you’re better off showing off your experience in the field than showing off your PhD in Literature in English.

It doesn’t matter how many certifications you must have had, your experience in the field you’re writing about can do a lot in boosting your perception to your prospective buyer…

This is why it is always important you list your experience and related certifications in your about page.

Where you don’t have requisite experience in that field, you can work on listing certification or experiences in similar or closely related fields.

Whatever the case, be sure you’re not under selling yourself in your “about the author” section.

Present yourself as someone that’s qualified to be listened to. Because in any case, you definitely have what it takes to be listened to.

At least sitting down to put your book together is some reasonable proof of this. (May be different for very professionally inclined topics).

Where you feel you don’t have enough experience, then you can get to learn. And even the learning process can still qualify you to share a compelling story about yourself to a potential buyer, if you can craft your author bio really well.

How to Format the Content of Your book For Online Publishing

The following are the recommended formatting options for both eBook and Paperback publishing…

Content Arrangement

Be it paperback or eBook, it is now possible to type and format your book’s content as a .doc file (or Microsoft word).

In order to present your book in the .doc format, you want to avoid formatting with excessive decorative font styles.

Reason for this is because some fonts do not show up properly after they are uploaded on Amazon.

To avoid this, you can always embed fonts, while converting your book to an ebook for further upload on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can stick to a few of the popular fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, etc and focus on using a uniform font size for specific headings and body content.

Be that as it may, to be on the safe side; it is always preferable you upload your final book copy as a PDF file.

This is because in some instances, ms word files gets scattered after getting uploaded on a third party platform. So in order to avoid this, you may want to stick with the PDF.

Book Length

Although it is good you have a reasonable length of content, there’s really no strict rule on how big or how small your book’s content should be, especially for non fiction titles.

It’s a no brainer, quality is still more valuable than quantity but not withstanding, be sure your book has some reasonable number of pages alongside good content.


ISBN or international standard book number helps in the documentation of your book’s titles, especially in online stores.

Publishing with Amazon gives you the option of using your own personal ISBN or an ISBN generated for your book by Amazon.

Both ISBN are good enough for your book but you can only use one at a time. So if you already have an ISBN for your book then you can use that instead of getting another ISBN from Amazon.

Book Cover

To make things easier for publishers, Amazon has a collection of book cover templates you can use to create a cover for your book.

Although it is always preferable to use your own book cover, If you’re not serious about getting a professionally designed book cover, you can use any of the Amazon templates to create your book cover.

If you’re planning to use the Amazon book cover, note that there are usually limitations to available functionalities so you may not have exactly what you want in some cases.

But you can still start with the free Amazon cover creator, if you don’t need something very professional.


Keywords are common words used by users while searching for items on the search engines.

As you already know, Amazon has it’s own in-built search engine which takes care of it’s product searches.

For your book to appear in organic search on the Amazon search engine, you’ll need to input search keywords related to your book.

Amazon allows you to use about seven keywords related to your book while uploading the book.

This, alongside the other search terms like your sub title, description, reviews and ratings helps in improving the rankings and availability of your book for display to potential buyers.

In conclusion, there are so many things that makes up a successful book. Formatting is a very important part of this.

And when it comes to online publishing, it is very important you stick with the best formatting approaches.

So here’s where we’ll end today’s tutorial on how to format your book for publishing on Amazon.

Do you need help in publishing your book online? You can reach out to us.

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