Wow. Week 4!
By now you should have finished writing your book (or editing/polishing an old book that you’re resurrecting) and you’re ready to format it and upload it.
Some people say that formatting a book for Kindle is simple. Others say that although it should be simple, it is actually a lot harder than people make out to get it right. Generally, fiction is relatively simple – even simpler if you are writing short fiction to start out, because you don’t need a table of contents.
Step by Step:
Formatting. The KDP site will give you information on what you need to do to format your book for upload. Warning: KEEP IT SIMPLE. If you’re writing fiction, just use a H1 style in word for your title, and keep the rest in a simple, common font like Times Roman or Arial. Kindle will use one of their set of fonts anyway, so there’s no point in searching for something ‘pretty’. The idea is CLARITY. They use fonts that the reader will be able to read easily.
When you have saved your story in Word, save it again as an HTML FILTERED file. This strips out most of the Microsoft coding that can stuff things up. You can upload the HTML file.
You will be able to see what your book looks like in the Kindle previewer after you upload your book, before you click the button to ‘save and publish’. However, it is a good idea to download the Kindle Previewer from the KDP site, so you can check it on your computer first.
This page has some links that will help you, including a Kindle Publishing Kit that has more detailed instructions if you feel you can’t do it using KDP’s instructions:
[Note: If you bought the Kindle Publishing Kit and are still confused about how to use the template, I have created an additional 'how to guide' that explains about using Microsoft Word's 'styles' function. If you're a newbie when it comes to using styles, just email me and I'll send it to you.]
Your Book Description: important tip – write this before you start the process of uploading your book. The book description appears immediately underneath your book image on the Amazon sales page, and is one of the chief ways that people decide whether they want to buy. Many people forget about this, and quickly type in a short paragraph in the box provided as they are in the middle of the uploading process!
Make sure you have written a GOOD book description (think: ‘sales blurb’!) that tells people what your book can do for them (if nonfiction) or make it sound intriguing (if fiction). Make sure you appeal to the reader’s emotions. It’s fine to touch on the main points of what is in your book, but avoid a dry ‘list’ or an intellectual-sounding treatise. Don’t sound boring. Don’t waste this opportunity to promote your book.
Here’s a tip: Click through to the sales pages of other books in the same genre or on the same topic as yours. Which book descriptions make you want to buy? Which sound boring? Spend some time on this and make your book description as good as you can. (Better than other books in the same category!)
Write your book description in plain text. Leave spaces between the sentences so it doesn’t all run together on the page. Have it open in a separate window ready to copy and paste into the ‘book description’ box when you are uploading your book.
When your book goes live and your book description first appears, it will be plain vanilla text, but you can go back and edit it later via Author Central. You should do this once your book is live anyway, because you can use bold, italic and bullet points to make your book description look much more attractive and easier to read.
Upload Your Cover: Visit the KDP site and read through the instructions, and make sure that your cover is the right size for your book. If you have commissioned the cover from someone who is used to creating Kindle book covers, it should be the right size. (Note: you no longer need to include your cover in the manuscript you upload – the cover you upload is automatically added to the front of your book.) You can change the cover later if you create a better one.
On the Resources page for the 10-Week Challenge you’ll find a book on Kindle Publishing. This has some more ideas for you and will help you with Author Central.
This could be the week you see your first book up on Kindle! Several people have already done it. I hope they’ll add the book link to the comments section here so you can go and have a look – and ‘like’ it!
Which reminds me of one more thing. If you scroll down to the bottom of an Amazon book page, down past the product description, the reviews, and ‘also recommended’, you’ll see a list of TAGS. Make sure that you add some tags for your book, because these are related to the ways people search for your book. (e.g. I write books on writing. I add tags that are related to the content of the books.)
You can (and should) add tags to your own books, or to other people’s books. You can also ‘agree with’ the tags on other people’s books. The more that people agree with your tags, the higher your book moves up the rankings for searches associated with those tags. So do it! Here’s a quick screen capture of the tags associated with my Busy Writer’s One-Hour Plot:
Note that I’ve also added ‘write a romance book’ and ‘write for kids’, because people searching for info on these topics also want to know how to plot a book.
I know there’s a lot to take in when you’re new to this. Just go through it one step at a time. Create the best possible product you can to begin with, and take care with the formatting. Upload it and create your Author Central account. Get your book listed – you can go back and tweak later!