Kindle eBook Basics

Don’t Let Formatting Mistakes Squash Your Success!

Reports and novels and children’s picture books – oh my! When it comes to Kindle eBook creation, there are many different avenues  you can take, as pretty much any type of literature can be published and sold. You can write fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, poetry, how-to guides and reports, even erotica is fair game.

Basically, as long as your book passes Amazon’s review process (and I’ve never had a book or report that didn’t), then you can become a published author.

Completing your book from start to finish is only the first phase of the self-publishing process, though. For some of you, this may be the most difficult part. But for those of you who are self-publishing neophytes, the ensuing processes: formatting and publishing and marketing (can we get another oh my?) can present numerous other obstacles to overcome, especially the formatting part,which has been known to produce the following side effects:

  • fist-shaking
  • hair-pulling
  • huffing and puffing
  • and exasperated keyboard-smacking

One of the very first eBooks that I ever worked on was an A-Z guidebook about successful meditation. The book itself had well-written content and an attractive, professionally-made cover. What it lacked, though, was the proper Kindle formatting.

The book was a guinea pig of sorts, as the marketing company I work for was just beginning to test the waters of eBook creation, and many of the details of the formatting process were not executed as properly as they should have.

Just because your eBook looks good in MS Word, that doesn’t mean it’s going to also look good as a Kindle book.

If you are new to Kindle publishing, poor formatting is the probably the biggest rookie mistake you’ll make. Unfortunately, though, it’s a mistake that’s difficult to recover from if you don’t catch it right away, as your reviews and sales are going to suffer as a result.

customer_reviews

People who are not satisfied after purchasing your eBook are not likely to follow the adage of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Nope, they are going to jump on their computers and leave you negative reviews, which in turn will affect both your sales and your Amazon page rank.

So, the moral of the story is whenever possible check, double-check, and triple-check to make sure your eBook doesn’t have any funky formatting issues.

Formatting a book for Kindle can be a pain-in-the-butt process. But it’s much less so if you follow the guidelines set forth by Amazon from the start… meaning that before you type a single sentence of your book, you should read those guidelines and treat them as your self-publishing commandments.

For example, Thou shall format all images so they are In Line with Text (one of the more common mistakes people make).

Image_In_Line

Some of the guidelines can be pretty confusing, however. But this is where formatting software can come into play.

You’ll still have to keep in mind Amazon’s more basic guidelines, but formatting software can help you to iron out the less detectable hiccoughs, which often occur.

A piece of really helpful software, which my boss co-created, is called the Kinstant Formatter. With this software, users simply upload their eBooks and then KF pretty much takes care of the rest, generating a .epub file, which users can then upload to their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) accounts. The whole process takes under five minutes to complete.

Of course, I can’t say that the Kinstant Formatter works flawlessly every time. There have been occasions when I’ve needed to run a document through multiple times, making adjustments here and there, before I could get it to look just right.

But the software definitely does make the formatting process a lot less of a headache. I don’t want to turn this post into a sales pitch, though, so I’m not going to go into much more depth about it.

But if you would like to learn more, you can visit the website at: KinstantFormatter.com

kinstant_formatter_image

And in any case, whether you use software or do the formatting by hand (following Amazon’s guidelines), before you upload your eBook to your KDP account, you definitely should verify how it looks with the Kindle Previewer tool, which is a free and easy-t0-use download.

What have your experiences been with the Kindle formatting process? Do you prefer doing it by hand or using software? What advice can you share?