How to Self Publish a Book on the Amazon Kindle Store

This Article is not about how to write a book, I’m assuming if you’re reading this then you’ve already done that. This is about how to format it correctly and get it published and up on Amazon and in the Kindle Store. It is quite easy, but there are a number of important steps.Re-reading & editing When you publish a book with a conventional publisher, then they will do proof-reading, editing and so on. When you self-publish, you will have to do that all yourself, or find someone who will do that for you.

You should do the usual spelling and grammar check, but also make sure it hangs together as a book. Read it and re-read it to ensure that you are happy with it. Active Table of Contents A physical paper book generally comes with a Table of Contents. Readers can look up a particular chapter, find out the page number and then flick to that page in a matter of seconds. On a Kindle, despite Amazon’s page turning technologies, it is much more difficult, so the table of contents doesn’t work so well.

The answer is to make what is called an ‘Active Table of Contents’ – this takes advantage of the fact that a Kindle (or whatever device Kindle books are being read on) is a computer, and makes each chapter title in the Contents a link, so readers can quickly and easily navigate to the chapter of their choice. This is particularly important in non-fiction books, where readers may dip and out of a book rather than reading it cover to cover, and return to certain chapters after a first reading.

By creating an Active Table of Contents, you are identifying that your Table of Contents is in fact the Contents, so allowing readers to navigate to the Contents at any time, just by telling the Kindle to ‘Go to Table of Contents’. There are various ways you can create an Active Table of Contents, probably the easiest is if you are using Microsoft Word. Here’s an easy guide from Microsoft to how to do it. Having a decent cover image is even more important on a Kindle Book than a normal book.

People really do judge a book by its cover, and unless you are a well known author, without a cover you are unlikely to sell any copies of your book. There is nothing more off-putting than seeing a book on Amazon just with the standard Amazon placeholder image. Amazon suggest a cover image that is 1:1.6 in ratio, and a minimum length of 1000 pixels. So the minimum size should be 1000 pixels by 625 pixels. They recommend however, having a book that is at least 2500 pixels on its longest side, so that would be 2500 by 1562.

All cover images on Amazon Kindle are portrait mode, i.e. height longer than width, just like most physical books. So how to go about creating a Cover Image? It sounds scary if you are not used to dealing with images, but it isn’t that difficult and there are lots of tools out there to help you. My suggestion for a basic cover image is to find a photograph that you really like and in some way sums up or is thematically linked to the book.

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