Publishing a book on Kindle contains a number of steps that are often not easily found or readily understood at first glance for the new writer. If you are trying to publish your first book, it can be a daunting task and you will face several moments of frustration along the way.
Hopefully, the tips I provide in this article will help to smooth out this process for you to a certain degree. There are by the way, several methods by which you can create an acceptably formatted manuscript that Kindle will accept.
I will be discussing herein the methods I finally chose as being the easiest for most new authors to implement.
First step, once you have named your book, is to come up with an eye catching book cover. Kindle likes to have these done as .jpg images and their preferred size for the cover is 1600 x 2500 pixels.
This will be loaded into your Kindle account separately from your manuscript upload. My best recommendation for coming up with an eye catching book cover: Go to the Fiverr website and pay someone to do it.
They will create your cover for $5.00 that will be a 1600 x 2500 .jpg and a good resource from there usually also will give you a bonus 3D version within the same package. Fiverr also will search for and will find for you a quality royalty free (hopefully) stock image that can be placed into your book cover’s design if you need one.
This usually costs you about $10.00 more – so for $15.00, you have your book cover for Kindle taken care of.
On the Kindle website, they indicate that they desire you to use the “Latin-1” font for your book content font. I wrote my first book using Microsoft Word and almost went crazy trying to find and import this font from a number of font downloading websites.
Well guess what, the “Georgia” font I found out later the Microsoft Word does support, is extremely close to Latin-1 and it is acceptable to Kindle. So, if you are using Microsoft Word (an application that Kindle recommends you use) just go use the Georgia font – it will do the job for you.
The standard font size for your text by the way should be 12 point. Headings can be 14, 16 or 18, but don’t make them bigger than 18 unless necessary.
To actually upload your manuscript file by the way, Kindle wants you to do the following things:
Upload your manuscript and illustrations within the manuscript in a.zip file. Use the illustrations created by Word when you converted your document to webpage – filtered.
The recommended approach: When you are in Microsoft Word, save your file as “webpage-filtered”. This puts your word document in HTML format for the upload and it separates but maintains the linkages to all your images.
By the way, regarding images you are using within your document: Kindle prefers them to be .jpg images and they want you to use the “Insert Picture” tool to place your images into your word document rather than to cut or copy and paste them in. They also want you to “centre” the image on your page between the left and right margins.
Once you have uploaded your cover, manuscript, set your pricing, typed in your keywords, written your outline for the book, etc., and uploaded your document package, your cover may appear along with your purchase details within a day, but be prepared to have to wait a day or two before the content arrives and attaches itself to your online book on the Amazon site – so be patient and wait a couple days before you start marketing it to people.
Make sure everything presents as it should be online before you start going after sales for it.
There are some other tips to formatting your kindle book prior to publishing that I also want to mention – as they are important to ensuring your book displays properly to your customers on their various platforms.
Don’t set your font colour to black. Set it to “Automatic”. This setting allows the text to be black on a white background in a lighted environment and white on a black background in a dark environment – and a number of Kindle book reading environments are built to work this way.
Insert special characters such as the copyright symbol from the Word utility for this (often found under the Symbol heading on the “Insert” page) as opposed to copying and pasting it in from elsewhere – as it often doesn’t format very well if you use the copy/paste method.
Get rid of all the tabs you used to move typing starting points on a line within your manuscript. Use the space bar to move text starting points on a line instead as HTML does not handle the tab command in MS Word very well and you could end up with formatting issues.
One good idea for getting rid of these, put your document into the “Show hidden paragraphs and symbols” – often displays on top task bar as two up and down lines with a bar across the top and a little blob of black on the top left side of this image.
Use curly quotations instead of straight up and down ones for all your quote areas and apostrophes – again, to avoid running into formatting issues.
Here is a funny one – don’t just type “… ” type dot, space, dot, space, dot if you want it to show up properly as “… ” within your document…
Insert a “Page Break” at the end of each chapter.
Make sure all the images in your document are. jpg’s. – Kindle does like these the best. Colour images are OK but be prepared as Kindle will turn them into “16 scale” black and white/grayscale images when they convert your manuscript while creating the final publishable version.
If you need to indent any of the text in your book, highlight it and use the ruler features to perform the indentation – remember not to just “tab” it over.
The tips listed above should go a long way to helping you get your first Kindle book published with a lot less stress and time consumed. Good luck with your authoring career!