As you’d probably know, Amazon KDP is the preferred publishing platform for the majority of self published authors, when it comes to online publishing.
As an author, publishing on Amazon gives you the option of publishing your books, either as an eBook or a printed book (Paperback).
Generally, these two publishing options have almost similar formatting style on Amazon KDP, and each can also be formatted using word document, except that there are a few additional options, available for either of them.
Notwithstanding, in the course of consulting for authors on Amazon, I have noticed that a handful of new authors have made serious formatting mistakes that has given their readers a bad user experience, leading to low ratings for their book.
I don’t want you to make same formatting mistakes with your own book, that’s why I created this guide.
In the following paragraphs, I’ll be breaking each of this into different sections and I’ll be sharing with you steps you can use to format your books before uploading it on Amazon.
How to Prepare your Manuscript for Amazon
Preparing your manuscript can be a daunting task for most authors.
There are several softwares you can use to create your book manuscript but to make things easier for yourself, you can use a simple word document.
The reason behind this is not far fetched. Apart from Amazon’s Kindle Create (Which comes with its own limitations), using other softwares, it can be really difficult to get a book format that’s easily accepted on Amazon without glitches.
To avoid most of these, you may want to use your traditional Word (For Window Users) and Pages (For Mac) formatting.
Especially for your ebooks.
eBook Formatting for Amazon: 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;
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 (or chapters used )of your table of content.
The introduction is usually a very good place to “sell” your book to your prospective buyer.
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, just like the back cover in traditional publishing; on Amazon, a potential buyer can preview your introduction before deciding to buy your book.
This 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 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 Amazon Publishing. But, you also can add further formatting 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, in your word processor, locate the the styles section, then click Heading 1 to apply the style to the chapter title.
- Repeat this step for each chapter title.
Using the H1 styling will get your chapter headings aligned properly and will be very useful while you’re setting up your Table of Content.
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 for instance, while writing your author bio, you’ll come off as more reliable if you show off your experience or degrees demonstrating your expertise in Mathematics or related field rather 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.
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.
In traditional publishing, book description comes as part of the back cover under “about the book” at the back cover of your book.
Amazon KDP gives you the chance to include your book’s description right on the front page, where your book is displayed on Amazon website and in the book cover (for paperback).
Beyond writing a very compelling description here, you can also use this as an avenue to optimize your book for better visibility, using some important keywords.
How to Format Your book For Online Publishing
The following are the recommended Amazon formatting options for both eBook and Paperback publishing…
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, if you’re publishing a Paperback.
This is because in some instances, 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.
Alternatively, the Word Doc format will work effectively for your book, especially where you’ve had everything formatted well.
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 a 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.
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 they usually come with limitations and just a few functionalities so you may not have exactly what you want.
Keywords are common words used by users while searching for items on the search engines.
As you’d probably know, Amazon has it’s own in-built search engine which allow users to search for items and find them on Amazon website.
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, you need to understand and use the formatting that works with the platform you want to publish on, before publishing your book on the platform.
Here’s where we’ll end today’s tutorial on how to format your book for Amazon publishing.
Do you need professional Amazon Publishing and Consulting Services? You can reach out to us let’s work with you to publish your book.
So, there you have the complete guide on how to format your book for Amazon publishing. Which of these steps, did you find very difficult to navigate? Let’s hear you.