The Foolproof Guide to Publish Your First E-book on Amazon

By Rohi Shetty

Once you have done the incredibly difficult task of completing your first book, you need to decide where to publish it. Let us assume that you have decided to save yourself the time, money, energy, and stress of trying to persuade a traditional publisher to publish your book. Instead, you take the first definitive step to name, fame, and gain and publish it yourself. Kudos! Onward.

Since this is your first book and you don’t have much of a fan following yet, other than family and friends (if that), it’s best to rely on Amazon to publish and distribute your book. Amazon is the world’s biggest bookstore and it’s open 24×7 worldwide. More importantly, you can publish your e-book (Kindle book) for free. You can also update your book as many times as you like, again for free.

And the best part? You don’t have to wait for weeks, months or even years to get your book published. You can get it published on Amazon as soon as you prepare your book for publication. That’s what you are going to do right now. So fasten your seat belt and let’s get going already.

So what do we want to achieve at the end of this preparation process? Same as Apple—elegance and ease of use.

The most important part of the preparation process is to make sure your book does not have any spelling and grammatical errors. Have zero tolerance for any typos. Use Word’s built-in spelling and grammar checking tool, but proofread your file manually as well. Ideally, print out your document and read it aloud.

You can also use the free version of Grammarly and Hemingway Editor for additional help. (You will have to register but it’s free and takes just a couple of minutes.)

Now save your digital book as a new file with doc or docx format. The two main principles of preparation: keep it simple and keep it consistent. For example, we don’t want too many fonts in our book and we don’t want different spacing between lines and paragraphs in different parts of your book.

The most effective way to simplify this whole process and to maintain consistency is to apply styles. For example, I apply

  • Normal style to body text
  • Heading 2 to chapter titles
  • Heading 3 to section titles and so on.

Then you can be sure that all the elements in your book will be consistent.

Front matter
Front matter includes the beginning pages of a book, such as

  • title page
  • copyright page
  • dedication
  • preface
  • prologue

Important: Don’t forget to insert a manual page break after each element of the front matter.

  1. Title page: Center the book title on top and the author name below it. For example,

The Ultimate Guide to Walking Meditation
Rohi Shetty

[Insert manual page break]

  1. Copyright page: This page usually follows the title page. For example,

Copyright © 2018 Rohi Shetty

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, or transmitted in any form by any means, without permission in writing from the copyright holder, except for brief quotations in a review or on social media.

Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

Published by Happy Books.
Pune 411 001, India
Cover design by Leonardo da Vinci
ISBN-13: 999-0-9999999-9-9
First Edition: March 2018

The dedication page follows the copyright page. Again, insert a page break. For example,
This book is dedicated to my readers—May your tribe increase!

Preface, introduction, and foreword
All these three elements are optional.

  • The preface is used to share interesting insights and information that’s important to the background of the story. Kellie McGann says that what she likes best about a preface is that you get to sign it, put the date, and even the location.
  • The introduction explains why you wrote this book, why it needs to be written, and why you are the right person to write it.
  • The foreword is not written by the author but by someone else, usually an authority figure. For example, E.M. Forster wrote the foreword for Mulk Raj Anand’s first novel, Untouchable.

After you’ve created your front matter, you can format the rest of your book.

You can use Word-default paragraph indentations, bold characters, italics, text spacing, and separate paragraphs and headings in your Kindle book. Delete headers and footers, including page numbers, which do not translate into Kindle format.

Page Breaks
Insert a manual page break after the last sentence of each chapter to keep the text from running together. To do this, click “Insert” at the top menu bar and select “Page Break” or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Enter. Depending on the number of chapters you have, this may be a time-consuming process but the effort is worth the improved reading experience.

Line Breaks
If you need to insert a line break in the middle of a paragraph or sentence, press Shift+Enter so the spacing between sentences in that paragraph will stay the same.

Inclusion of images
If you want to have pictures in your book, don’t copy and paste images directly into your Word file. Instead, insert JPEG images by clicking on “Insert” and then on “Picture,” then locate and select the picture file. Center all images in your book.

If your book has a lot of images, it can be viewed in color by readers using the free Kindle apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android. Otherwise, images on Kindle are displayed in 16 shades of gray.

Hard returns
A hard return is anywhere you press the Enter or Return key while typing in your manuscript. Hard returns are invisible unless you choose to show all nonprinting characters. To show them, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+*. (For Macs, use Command+8.) You’ll see hard returns in your manuscript marked with the paragraph symbol (¶).

The placement of hard returns in your manuscript can affect the design of your book. Hard returns indicate where you want new paragraphs to start or line spaces added. You shouldn’t use hard returns at the end of every line. Use hard returns only to start a new paragraph or to create an extra space between paragraphs (for example, to start a new section within a chapter).

Don’t use tab spacing to indent the first line of paragraphs. I suggest you don’t indent the first line of the paragraphs in your first book. Instead, leave extra space between paragraphs.

Table of contents
You should create an active hyperlinked table of contents in your book for ease of navigation. Since Kindle e-books are reflowable and Kindle content can be viewed with different font sizes, don’t include page numbering in your table of contents because they won’t be accurate.

On a PC, you can use Word’s built-in Table of Contents tool. On a Mac, you’ll need to create a Table of Contents manually using the Hyperlink and Bookmark functions. For more help, click here.

Text boxes and shapes
Don’t use text boxes and shapes to create diagrams. If you want to include these visuals, insert them as images.

Drop caps
Drop caps are large capital letters at the beginning of a block of text with two or more lines of regular text. They are typically used for the first letter of the first sentence of a chapter. Don’t use them in your first book.

Back matter (optional)
Back matter is additional information at the end of your book, such as bibliographies, appendices, notes and glossaries. Back matter can be laid out in any order you choose, as long as you insert page breaks after each section. Indexes are not recommended.

Book cover
You need to create your book cover separately. Don’t include your cover image in your manuscript file. When you publish your book on Amazon, your cover image will be automatically added.

Saving as filtered HTML
Once you’ve completed the entire process, save your Word file as Web Page, Filtered (htm or html) for PC or Web Page (htm) for Mac. This format is required to build a successful eBook.

When saving the Word file as html, all the images (if any) in the Word file will be extracted and stored in a separate folder. This folder will be saved in the same location where the HTML file is saved.

Uploading your eBook for sale on Amazon
Once you’re satisfied with the quality and presentation of your book, upload your file to Amazon KDP Bookshelf and complete the publication process.

For more information on publication of your book on Amazon, refer to this Help page.

Time-limited offer
If you need help with any part of the publication of your book, let me know. You can send me an email or place your comments in the box on the webpage.

(15 March 2018)

Rohi Shetty is a doctor, health writer, and editor for hire. Check out his Kindle books on Amazon and connect with him on LinkedIn and his new Facebook Page. You can contact him hereif you want his help to publish your books on Amazon or with other e-book retailers.

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