After putting in hundreds of hours of work to piece together your first draft, you want to find ways to format your book for Amazon so you can give your readers the best reading experience ever.
You want to do this because formatting and finishing up your work properly is one of the easiest ways to get the best reviews for your work, attract a better visibility, gain more sales and a widespread reach.
Like most first time authors, you might find it difficult to get around formatting your book for Amazon KDP as the whole process can be quite daunting and confusing.
As someone who once had to grapple with the complexity of formatting for Amazon KDP, in this guide, I’ll be sharing with you the things I learned and how you can use these tips to format your book.
After going through the following paragraphs, you’ll be guided on how to get the best publishing outcomes and better reviews from your readers…
Steps to Prepare your Manuscript for Amazon
Table of Contents
Preparing your manuscript can be a daunting task for most authors, especially beginners.
The following are the steps you can use to get started formatting your book for Amazon…
Map Out your Idea
Start with mapping out your idea and then dividing it into different sections starting with the beginning, middle part and then conclusions.
Further more, you’ll divide these three dimensional sections into chapters. And you’ll further map the chapters into sections as well.
Doing this makes it easier for you to find the right flow as you get to put the ideas together. It also gives your audience a consistency that gets them from the beginning to the end of your work.
Write your Book
Before thinking about formatting your book, you want to finish up writing the book and putting it together in an understandable and readable format.
Starting from the beginning to the middle and conclusion, you want your work to be consistent with a flow and tone that works for the book generally and individual sections.
Consider Using Kindle Create
There are several softwares you can use to create your book manuscript but one of them that stands out is Amazon KDP’s Kindle Create.
Amazon’s Kindle Create makes it easy for authors to create books that delivers great user experience for readers.
For ebooks, even though you can use Microsoft Word to set up the initial layout, to create an interior layout that delivers a continuous flow and great experience, consider using the Kindle Create Software.
This software gets you to put your books together quite easily, allowing a free flow of the work from the chapter titles, down to individual pages.
This is the best way to create a great user experience.
Steps to Format ebook Interior for Amazon
The following are the core sections you’ll need to get your ebook’s interior content all set up for Amazon KDP…
Choose Compatible File Format
To get the best out of your work, write and format it in KDP compatible format.
Currently, the following are the accepted file format for Amazon ebooks: such as .doc, .docx, .html, or .rtf.
Without saving your file with either of these file format, it might be difficult to upload it on the KDP platform.
Ensure Consistent Styling
Use a consistent styling for all sections of your work. From your chapter titles to sub titles and body of work, ensure there’s a level of consistency that’s repeatable, through specific sections of the work.
Choose Proper Images
If your book has need for images or illustrations, be sure you’re using the appropriate ones, only where its relevant.
Keep in mind, too many images and illustrations may increase the overall size and cost of production of your work as well as your preferred interior styling.
Use Page Breaks
To ensure proper formatting of your work, be sure you’re using page break between each chapter of the work.
Anything less than this might get one chapter flowing into the other.
Preview Before Submission
Before final submission of your ebook draft for Amazon KDP review, preview the interior of your work, using the Amazon preview tool or KDP Create.
This will show you the display of your book on different devices, exactly as it’ll be displayed for potential readers.
Steps to Format Paperback (Print copy) Interior for Amazon KDP
The following are the steps you’ll take to format Paperback interior for Amazon KDP…
Select a Paper Size
One of the first steps to format paperback interior for Amazon KDP is to choose the right trim size. This is very crucial.
Using your preferred word processor, select the appropriate trim size (paper size) for your book before uploading it on Amazon.
The popular trim sizes for Amazon KDP are 5×8, 6×9, and 8.5×11 inches. You can use any of these, depending on your goal.
Font and Line Spacing
Although you can choose from a widespread number of fonts, not all fonts are readable, useful for a print book interior or readily available across printers so you want to be careful with your choice of fonts.
The following are the popular fonts for Paperback content interior on Amazon KDP: Centaur, Garamond, Hightower Text, Palatino type as well as Arial and Times New Roman.
PS: Remember you don’t necessarily have to use the same font for both body of work and chapter title.
Add Page Numbers
Add page numbers to your book for each sections. You can use the options in your word processor for easy alignment.
While at it, be sure to differentiate between the page numbering for the pre-chapter section of your work and the main body of work.
Format Images Properly
Incorrect use of images in the interior section of your work can cause printing issues and overall, bad experience for your readers.
Pay attention to use images only on sections that’s necessary. Also, format each section for a proper display.
Where you’re using illustration, run all necessary checks to ensure that there’s a correct delivery of each sections of the work before final submissions for review.
For best results, convert your file to PDF before uploading it on Amazon. And then, go ahead and preview your draft, before final submission.
General Interior Formatting Requirements for Amazon KDP
Now, the following are the general formatting requirements 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.
There’s really no hard and fast rule about creating a title page. Most authors use this page to write out the book’s title, sub title and author’s name, just as it is on the 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. And it’s clickable for most ebooks.
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 help a potential reader to decide whether to buy your book or not so you want to pay attention to this part of your work.
Introduction, Preface or Prologue
The introduction is usually a very good place to “sell” your book to your prospective buyer.
Some authors might choose to call this section Preface or Prologue. The goal of this part is that it gives a summary of detail 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 interest 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 up the entire book.
To be successful with online publishing, the chapters of your book should not only be captivating. They should be able to link up the section with the main theme of your work.
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 interior for Amazon KDP, there’s need to create content that will be used as part of the author bio.
If you’re publishing an eBook, you don’t need a back cover instead, 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 experiences 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 have, your experience in the field you’re writing about can do a lot in boosting your perception to a prospective reader…
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.
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 reader.
PS: For print copy, you’ll have an “About the author” section on your back cover , alongside your profile and author page.
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 Design Book Interior For Online Publishing
The following are the recommended ways to format your book for Amazon and set up the book for better visibility.
Font & Text Arrangement
To get the best experience for your users, avoid using excessive decorative font style as some of these fonts do not get displayed correctly, after uploads on Amazon.
To avoid this, use recommended fonts and also, always embed fonts, while converting your book to PDF versions 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.
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 and justifiable pricing.
Use of ISBN
ISBN or international standard book number helps in book store indexing, documentation and identification of your book’s metadata across 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 Design
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 creator, note that they usually come with limitations and just a few functionalities so in some cases, you may not have exactly what you want.
Use of Keywords
Keywords are common words used by web 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.
So, there you have the complete guide on how to format your book for Amazon publishing. Now, It’s your turn. Which of these steps, did you find very difficult to navigate? Drop your comments below.