Ebook formatting - book marketing guide #3

Some time ago, in an era of traditional publishing, an author did not have to bother at all about the proper formatting of his book. He provided the raw text, and it was publishing house employees' job to create an user-friendly, easy to read book. Today, when a vast majority of ebook readers admit that they read a free sample on Amazon, proper ebook formatting can be the deciding factor in the final decision of buying a specific book. Not only a bad book formatting may result in negative feedback while you are trying to promote your book, but it may even cause your book to be removed from the KDP store.

A proper kindle ebook format should include:
  • cover of the book, linked in the table of contents as cover
  • if your book has a preface or introduction, it should be inserted in a separate linked chapter in the beginning of the book
  • chapters and subchapters (numbered if possible) linked to the specific places in the table of contents
  • hyperlinked table of contents, that works on different types of devices used to read ebooks (kindle ebook readers, tablets, smartphones and pc kindle software)
  • if your book includes pictures or some other graphical elements (tables, charts, diagrams and so on) you should make sure they are correctly scaling on different screen sizes
  • if your book includes characters in foreign languages, make sure that they are available in the 'Latin-1' format, as it is the format currently supported by Amazon.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to have a vast technical knowledge to format your ebook correctly, as Amazon provides free and useful tools for authors to assist them in the process. If your book does not have many pictures and other-than-text elements, you may try to format it in one of the most popular office software suites such as OpenOffice or Microsoft Office, and upload it directly in KDP panel, saved as html file.  You can view the file using first of Amazon's tools, called Kindle Previewer (available on Amazon KDP for free). This tool will generate a preview on the screen emulated on different devices and applications, and then you can check if there are any obvious errors.

If your book requires more detailed formatting, another free Amazon tool, KindleGen comes in handy. It is a tool dedicated to building ebooks by authors - but it requires a bit of html knowledge.

Last, but not least, if you want to format a book with many pictures and graphical details, you can use another two programs offered for free by Amazon. If you plan to publish a comic book, you should use Kindle Comic Creator. It is quite a simple tool that creates ebooks by converting graphic art in popular formats such as jpg files or pdf. If you are a children books author, you should check out Kindle Kids' Book Creator. It works a bit similar to Kindle Comic Creator, importing art from typical graphic formats - the difference is that it is a tool dedicated to creating interactive, clickable books that work on tablets with Kindle software (they won't work with traditional e-ink kindle readers).

When you finish formatting your book, head on to the next chapter of our book marketing guide, which is about the importance of a good book cover. And of course do not forget to promote your book by submitting it to our site!

Book marketing guide table of contents

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