I have been willing to publish on kindle for a long time. I kept delaying but once I set my Pre-orders it gave me an instant pressure to write the book within a week!. I have two other books lined up for Pre-orders. I even sold 6 books based on preorders. I got super excited when I saw my first pre-order. However, I couldn’t meet the deadline because I had formatting issues and still had to fix the typos. So amazon canceled all my Pre-orders. Because of my motivation – an object in motion remains in motion – I could fix all the typos and fix formatting and images issues and publish to amazon again within two days. Here is the screenshot from my pre-orders. My book is $4.99 each. One thing I have learned that I am a big procrastinator for a long time and anyone can change their behavior quickly. On this page, I will be sharing all the tips related to kindle publishing that I have learned from Kindle Help pages and kboards forum.
I am also writing this so that i can review when i am writing my 2nd and 3rd books. A quick reference page for kindle!
Kindle General Tips
Kindle Publishing Tips
What can be changed and what can not be once the book is published:
Keywords: Always use all the keywords which are allowed by amazon. You can TRICK amazon to get into additional categories by using the right keywords.
Also you can email KDP team to include you book in other categories.
DO NOT DO Digital Right Management option while publishing on kindle (Books sell better)
Have different author central profiles in various countries US UK FR DE JP
Setting up author profiles will be a pain. I haven’t done it. However, once the blurb is final, it will be easy to copy-paste.
How to Format Kindle Books
Best to use MS Word to write kindle books
Never use automatic bullet points or numbering – just looks weird after conversion to kindle format.
If you need to use the numbering, do this: Only type “1.” and hit the space bar and then click CTRL Z (undo).
If you need bullet points to go to Insert –> Symbol and then search for bullet points and give it a HOTKEY. Also, after inserting the bullet, make it bold!
Now if you do not want to do this hack you can try this I haven’t yet done it. She is using this document converter
Do not unnecessary hit enter. Hard returns. A hard return is anywhere you press the Enter key while typing your manuscript.
Hard returns can change the design of your book in unintended ways.
To avoid this, only use hard returns when you want to start a new paragraph or create extra space between paragraphs. You shouldn’t use them at the end of every line.
If you use more than 3 paragraph returns, it might show empty pages.
Use page breaks to start new chapter and new sections.
Use Paragraph spacing of 16 pt (After) so that there is some space between paragraphs. Set line spacing to 1.5
Use the default word fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial.
Track Changes. Make sure the Track Changes option is turned off. You can check this by going to the Tracking section of the Review tab.
For Table of Contents follow these instructions (KDP website recommends Kindle Create but it worked fine using this in MS word)
- Apply the Heading 1 style to all chapter titles.
- Go to the References tab and click Table of Contents.
- Select Automatic Table 1.
- Click Table of Contents again, but this time choose Custom Table of Contents.
- Clear the Show Page Numbers box, set Show levels to 1, and click OK.
- When asked if you want to replace the table of contents, click Yes.
- Highlight the table of contents title Contents.
- Go to the Insert tab, and in the Links section, click Bookmark.
- In the Bookmark name field, enter “toc” and click Add.
- Insert a page break after your table of contents.
I including HEADING 1 and HEADING 2 in my TOC. Also you can hit F9 key to refresh your TABLE of Contents
You can search for tabs in word by using ^t
Don’t include your cover image in your manuscript file.
eBooks are reflowable and can be viewed with different font sizes, so page numbers and page count don’t apply. Also, eBooks don’t have headers and footers, so you don’t need to add them to your file. Users can change the font and font size in their tablet or kindle. So use “normal” style in MsWord.
Do not use tabs or spaces for indenting. Indenting a paragraph can be done by modifying the “normal” style.
Text boxes and shapes. We don’t recommend inserting text boxes and shapes to create diagrams. If you want to include visuals like these, insert them as images
Another formatting tip _ I really liked a line under the main chapter headings. This is from Decon on kboards.com:
- In Word, for chapter title/numbers with a line below go to your Title 1 preset at the top light hand of the page. Right-click on this and select “modify” from the drop-down box
- Select the required font and size and bold if required, also position of the title or chapter number Eg left, right, center. Ensure it is set at automatic to produce black text, then click OK.
- Now start again by right-clicking on your title 1 style and select modify. This time, in the bottom left corner select “format” and from the list that appears select “borders” For the color of the line select automatic to ensure a black line. Below that you can set the thickness of the line. On the right-hand side select the position of the line by clicking on one of the small boxes. To have it below the chapter number it’s the second one down. Then press OK and your preset style for chapter headings is set up.
Word Dropcaps do not work so use from kindle create. I did not use Kindle Create at all for my first book.
Here is how I uploaded the manuscript:
- I made my manuscript in MS word
- I then save it as a “web filtered” HTML files
- Click on the HTML file and zip it. (Send to
- Drag the folder of images in this new zip file. (Right Click–> Send to –> Compressed Zip Folder in Windows)
- So we can upload this zip file directly to the KDP website.
What about a book cover?
BOOK cover is really important. After your cover, the product description has to sell the book.
- There are a few things that make the difference in the covers (at least from my experience).
- Clarity — The image should be immediately recognizable.
- Obvious — You have about 10 seconds to get someone’s attention. Don’t expect them to peer deeply into your hidden message.
- Bright — I don’t know why, but the lighter the colors, the higher the sales.
- The thumbnail has to be understandable. If you can’t tell what the book is by looking at the thumbnail, you have to switch it.
I initially did not want to spend any more on book cover so I created it on Pixlr.com It is a good software
Regarding Pixlr: It lets you save the file in its native format and jpeg and png
eBook cover art is a height/width ratio of 1.6:1. This means that for every 1,000 pixels in width, the image should be 1,600 pixels in height. To ensure the best quality for your image, particularly on high definition devices, the height of the image should be at least 2,500 pixels. Ideal dimensions for cover files are 2,560 x 1,600 pixels.
The minimum image size allowed is 1,000 x 625 pixels. The maximum image size allowed is 10,000 x 10,000 pixels.
Remember to use RGB format (True Color) not CMYK or sRGB – i think pixlr by default is RGB format
A good test is to open it in a web browser if it could open you are fine!
for cover art with while or light background its better to have a thin border.
I also hired someone from fiver for $7 and the ebook cover design was okay so so i think we need to spend some money like $50-$100 to have a really good exciting design.
There is also a cover creator tool from amazon I did not use it.
This is pretty neat – mockups of people reading and holding actual books _ Will do it once I have published decent books
A good resource for the font to be used in your cover
Font and color pickers:
Some other helpful websites
Feels buggy – but you can do drop caps, fancy quotes etc.
Kindle Book Previewer
Kindle book previewer is the best and better than kindle create. Since it actually shows how the book will look to the final used after uploading and converting.
What I did was create a dummy kindle book “as a draft” and uploaded the manuscript. Then click on the Kindle previewer. You could see how it would look on a tablet, cell, and actual kindle. I figured out a lot of mistakes like bullet and spacing.
Kindle Promotion Strategy
Ask for a review in the middle and then at the end. Test your hyperlinks from amazon
Once the book is published you can change hyperlinks so that it takes people directly to the review page rather than the book page.
Backmatter of the book can have about the author and other books by the author.
Images in Kindle Books
FIRST important rule – TURN off automatic image compression in word otherwise it can give you bad quality pics
Also do not copy-paste or screenshot or paste. Always insert images and insert the “IN LINE WITH TEXT” setting this is the default in word.
Use high quality images since many people zoom in.
I mainly used screenshots since these were stock charts from my computer which were automatically saved as PNG format.
Using a resize tool like gimp.org might work but for my png files, it was increasing the size rather than decreasing it.
Then I used the default windows program PAINT and it resized perfectly.
You can also use the resize windows program “Resizer App” which can help in mass resizing a group of pictures in a folder.
Note we are trying to resize to a little smaller size because the kindle delivery rates are 0.15 per MB. You would think I am so cheap 😀 So if your book is 10MB, that’s $1.50. Think big. A million sales later, you just paid 1,500,000 (1 and a half million dollars) just because you did not optimize your pics properly!
I also like pixlr ( I made few book covers using that) but they have very little support for resizing
I also used border style on images from MS-word and did some image editing like cropping some images within my word file.
General Writing Tips
Join writing critique groups to improve write. A good one is r/writing on reddit.
You can change a blog post into a book like for example:
- Have you thought about writing a book? Do you just not know where to begin? Do you get writer’s block just thinking about writing a book?
- Best-selling non-fiction author David Kadavy shares his simple process for writing a book. Build confidence, ditch your inner critic, and finally write your book with simple habits you can start today.
- ^^You can read this short read (~7,000 words) in about 30 minutes, so it won’t get in the way of the one thing standing between you and your book: Action!^^
- Download today and make the book you’ve dreamed of a reality.
- Now includes a free sample chapter of David Kadavy’s latest book, The Heart to Start.
Courses I took
I took a kindle course from Lynda especially to learn formatting. I have access to Lynda through my library. The name of the course is “Learning Ebook Publishing” by Jason Matthews