Welcome to the second lesson we have on using the Amazon Kindle search engine to move our business forward.
Last lesson we looked at a few things. We looked at how we’re going to use Kindle books as part of your overall strategy, and concluded that they’d be used both as a method for driving traffic to your site and brand, and also to make money in their own right. This is shown in this diagram. We also looked at some ways to get your books out there by choosing the right keywords and by ranking highly in your chosen category.
You can check the last lesson if you want to refresh yourself on those subjects, but for now I want to move on with today’s lesson. Today we’ll be look at how to actually format your Kindle book and get it in the Kindle store. We’ll also be looking at pricing strategies, other ways you can sell your books, and much more. So let’s cut the intro short, and look at how to get your book published!
Aims Of This Lesson
- Income Stability.
This lesson will help you stabilize your monthly income, and give you more consistency.
- Gaining Traffic.
This lesson will help you gain traffic to your website without the use of Google.
Creating Your Kindle Book
Alright, so let’s get down to actually creating the book. I won’t tell you what you should be writing about, as I looked briefly at this last lesson. That, plus you should know what people in your niche want to hear about anyway. If not, then you will need to do some market research. Ask any of your existing community, check on related forums, think about what problems you have ever had in your niche, and the like. These should throw up ideas for what you can make a book about.
OK, assuming you have a book that is written up and proof read, there are a few things that we need to do to get it ready to publish as a Kindle book. Those things as covered in this section.
I’ve split the next few formatting options up into ‘essential’ and ‘optional’. You will of course need to do all of the essential steps, while the optional options will only need to be used if your book calls for it. Have a look at all of them, and see which ones you need to use in yours.
Essential: Formatting Your Kindle Book
First of all, we need to format your book so that it’s suitable to read as a Kindle book. The thing is, you can’t just upload a word file and think that’s it. Well you could, but it won’t be as attractive as it could be.
Having said that, there isn’t much formatting you need to do to make your Kindle book easily readable by others. The main thing you need to remember is this:
Only press enter once to create a new paragraph.
I’ve included a template you can use which already has all the modifications I will be mentioning to you. You can take it, and simply fill in the blanks and delete anything you don’t need. If however you want to know how format Kindle books yourself (And how exactly to use this template), the instructions are below.
Please note that I’m using Open Office (Which is free to download and use) to write up and format my book, so if you’re using a different word processing tool, these instructions may be a bit different for you. Bare in mind though that Open Office is pretty much like Microsoft Word, so if you use that, you’ll be able to achieve the results doing pretty much the same commands.
If however you’re using Pages for the Mac, you will need to find where you can change the needed settings by yourself. There are only a few things you need to change, so a simple Google search of where your formatting settings are should do the job.
First of all, you need to got to the formatting section and change the formatting on the paragraph. In Open Office you can do this by going to the ‘Format’ tab, then clicking on ‘Paragraph’. This will bring you to the ‘Indents & Spacing’ tab.
Under the ‘Indent’ section, make sure ‘Before text’, ‘After text’ and ‘First line’ are all at ‘0.00cm’. Then under the ‘Spacing’ section, make sure ‘Above paragraph’ is set to 0.00cm, and set ‘Below paragraph’ to 0.60cm.
Make sure none of the boxes on the page are ticked, and that line spacing is set to ‘single’.
Next, you will want to modify the headers. I personally use headers 1, 2 and 3 in my books, but you can use as many or as few as you want.
To format the headers, you need to first create one. Click on the text you want to be a header. In the top left hand corner of the screen, find the drop down menu which says either ‘Text body’, ‘Default’ or ‘Paragraph’. This will be underneath the ‘New’, ‘Open’ and ‘Save’ icons in Open Office.
Click on this drop down menu, and click on the header type you want it to be. Heading 1, Heading 2, or Heading 3.
Once you’ve done that, next you need to modify the heading. So go back down to that same drop down menu, and click on ‘More’. A new window will pop up, listing the headers and some other format types. Right click on the type of header you want to edit, the click ‘Modify’. Here are the formats I choose:
Before text: 0.00cm
After text: 0.00cm
First line: 0.00cm
Above paragraph: 0.42cm
Below paragraph: 0.21cm
Before text: 0.00cm
After text: 0.00cm
First line: 0.00cm
Above paragraph: 0.42cm
Below paragraph: 0.60cm
Before text: 0.00cm
After text: 0.00cm
First line: 0.00cm
Above paragraph: 0.42cm
Below paragraph: 0.21cm
You can also change the font color by going onto the ‘Font Effects’ tab and choosing a color under the ‘Font color’ section. On top of that, you will probably want to go to the ‘Alignment’ tab, and choose a ‘center’ alignment for some of your headers. This will make the book more easy to read, as it’ll be clearer to the readers where your new chapters and sections start at a glance.
Other then that, I keep the rest of the settings on their default. If you want to change anything up however, feel free to style your book as you want.
Like I said I’ve included a template here with all the formatting already done for you, so use that and paste your book into there if you want. Just make sure you paste your story in an ‘unformatted’ way (‘Edit’, ‘Paste Special’, ‘Unformatted text’, ‘OK’). If you don’t do this, the previous formatting will go into this document and it won’t look right. If you’ve pressed ‘Enter’ twice in your old formatting and now there are big spaces between paragraphs, you will need to go back and delete those big spaces.
Please note that we don’t have to format the paragraph style, but if you want to you can. A paragraph format or size 12 Times New Roman font often reads well in Kindle books. And that’s pretty much it for formatting your Kindle books. Now it should be laid out neatly and easy to read.
Next, you want to save the book. I’d advise you save the finished book in two formats: Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP (.doc), and HTML Document (OpenOffice.org Writer) (.html). The HTML document is the one you will be uploading to the Kindle site, and the Word document is the one you’ll be able to easily refer back to when editing etc.
While you can upload either of those files to Kindle, if you use the bookmark feature (Which we’ll look at below) it becomes easier to test it’s working when you have a HTML file.
Essential: How To Link Your Books Together
When you have got more then one book on a subject, you should link them together. This can encourage more sales of your books, as if someone buys one of your books and enjoys it, there is a chance they would buy from you again.
Links should be put at the end of your book, under a clear section which states that you have ‘more book’. If you are doing clickable chapters (Which we’ll show you how to do in the ‘Optional: Creating Bookmarks’ section below) you should include a ‘More Books’ type header / section.
Having a link to your other books at the bottom of the current one can encourage another instant sale from that person. Even if they don’t buy right away, it’ll put it in their mind and they might buy in future.
Some Kindle models automatically list other books from the same author at the bottom of the book. Not all models do though, so it’s a good idea to include your own link and outro text.
Creating a link to your other books is easy. All you need to do is create some text you want to make clickable (E.G Click here to see the first in the series), highlight the text you want to make clickable with the mouse, go to ‘Insert’ in the OpenOffice tabs, then click ‘Hyperlink’. A new window will pop up. In ‘Path’, enter the url which leads to your other book’s sales page. Then under ‘Frame’, click on the drop down menu and select ‘_blank’. This just makes sure the link opens in a new window in their browser.
Once you’ve done that, click ‘Apply’ and you will notice that the text now has a line under it and has changed color. This means that your link has now been applied, and that any time someone clicks it, they will be taken to wherever it is you linked to.
If you want to edit the link you have created, simply hover over it the right click on the mouse. You will see the option to ‘Edit Hyperlink…’. Change the settings as necessary.
Essential: Linking Your Books Strategy
As you create new books, it’s important to make sure they all link together some how. A good idea is to link all your books to one main book, which will be the beginning in your series. The reasoning for this is simple: If you always send people to the same book, the chances are that this book will become your best selling book over time. It will sell more then the rest as all of your links are pointing people towards buying it.
If you can get more sales of one book, this book will move up higher in the Amazon rankings, and Amazon will in turn suggest it more as it will believe it’s popular. It will therefore make more sales through their search engine and make you more money.
In this first book, you can then link to all your other books to encourage sales of those as well. Put them in the order of which ones you want to sell the most, or in order of where they are in the series.
While you can link your books to a different book if the first book doesn’t relate, creating a few related books and linking to the first one is a strategy that I’ve found works well. Just make sure the first book you link all your other books to is a really good one, and that it will make people want to read the rest.
Essential: Encouraging Readers To Review Your Books
As well as adding a link to our other books at the end of each book, we’ll also want to put in a call to action to encourage reviews. This will go directly after the end of the story, so people will have it fresh in their mind and be more likely to take action.
So for example, your call to action could go something like this:
Enjoy this book? Then please leave a positvie review on our page and let others know.
You can also get the first book in our series *Book Title* here.
Thank you for the support.
While you may not get a huge percentage of your buyers taking you up on your offer to review (People often prefer to read then move on to the next book without reviewing) you will get some people doing so. You will get the most reviews if you decide to put your book in Kindle Select and give it away for free for a day or two. Even then however, it isn’t guaranteed. Having the call of action though does make a difference, and will get you more reviews then you would have received otherwise.
Essential: Getting Your Book Covers Made
The last essential thing you need to do is create a book cover. Your book cover is essential to how many sales you make; You will need to make sure it is not only eye catching, but that it’s also descriptive.
The ideal book cover will let the person know what you book is about even before they read your book’s description. While it isn’t always possible to get the book’s content across 100% through the cover, you will want to at least give the person an idea of what your book is about.
So for example, if you book’s about taking care of your dog, you will want a picture of a person taking care of their dog. If you book’s about fixing computers, you will want a picture of a computer and some fixing tools.
This will help people pick out your book from a line up, especially when Amazon shows a list of related book covers and titles on other people’s product pages. If yours looks like it does the job that people want done, they’re more likely to click on your link and go on to buy from you.
So with that in mind, how do you go about making a book cover?
Well, if you know how to design graphics and have a tool such as Photoshop, then you’re set with this task. You simply need to buy a stock photo from somewhere like IStockPhoto or Fotolia (Fotolia is cheaper but has less selection) and then add your text over it.
The height of the book needs to be at least 1000px in height. The width can be as long or as short as you want it, but I recommend you have it either 625px or 700px. Amazon recommend a ratio of 1000px in height and 625px in width.
Even if you’re not a graphic designer but don’t want to spend fees to paying someone to create a cover for you (Not that expensive, will look at that more in a bit), you can always buy a stock photo then just add your own text to it. You can do this in any graphics program you have on your computer already (E.G. ‘Paint’), but downloading a free graphics program such as Gimp is probably your best bet.
Simply type the text how you want it (Try and make it look attractive) then save the file as a JPEG or JPG. You can then use this file to upload to Amazon.
If you would rather get someone else to create the cover for you, you could always outsource the task. You can go to a outsourcing website such as Odesk, and get someone to design you a cover for $10 – $20 max if you provide the photo. So get the photo you want from IStockPhoto or Fotolia, then send it to them when you hire someone. Alternatively, you can pay them a bit more and get them to buy the picture on their side as part of the contract. You may have to pay them a bit upfront to do this so they can buy the picture, so I’d suggest buying the picture yourself then sending it. Paying people upfront for this kind of job is not a good idea, so avoid this wherever possible.
I’ll talk a bit more abut hiring from Odesk in the ‘Optional: Outsourcing Books’ section a couple of sections below.
OK, so now we have our book put together, and is ready to publish if we so choose. Before we move on though, here are some other optional things you can do to make your book stand out that bit more:
Optional: Adding Images To Your Book
If you’re making a picture book or you simply want to add pictures to your book to spice things up, then this is totally achievable to do. You will need to have the pictures you’re going to use on your computer, and in an easy to remember folder.
To insert the picture, click in the area of the document that you want to place it. You will be able to float the text around the image, so don’t worry right now if text is in the place where you want the image to be.
Click ‘insert’ in the Open Office nav bar, select ‘Picture’, then ‘From File’ in the new area that pops out. Browse to where the picture is located, then double click it to insert it in the document. You will notice that the image may not be where you want it to be in your book, or even at the right size. This is no problem, as you can adjust it.
Firstly, the size. By clicking on the image, you will see green squares come up at each corner. You can drag these corners and resize the image as you see fit.
Once that’s done, next we can edit the positioning. Double click on the picture and a new window should come up. Click on the ‘Wrap’ tab. Here you will be able to select how the image wraps around the text. Choose which option your prefer, then click ‘OK’. You will see your image now appears to the side of the text, or however you choose it.
You may want to go back and change how much boarder the wrap has if the image is too close to the text, a good amount it 0.20cm on the side that meets the text.
You can also go on other tabs and do things such as adding boarders, hyperlinking your picture, and cropping it. I prefer to keep things simple though, as that often looks best.
You can also move the image within the document simply by clicking on it (Don’t let go) then dragging it, so give that a try if you want to reposition your image.
Rinse and repeat with all the images you want inserted.
If you have a long book or a book you want to separate into different parts, you may want to add in clickable links at the beginning of your book that will take your readers directly to that section. This will make it easier for people to navigate, and pick up from where they left off.
I’ve shown an example of this is the Kindle book template I’ve given you. If the readers click on Chapter 1 or Chapter 2 in the Contents section, they will be taken directly to that chapter.
You can achieve this same result through the use of Bookmarks. Here’s how you do this in OpenOffice:
Click on the area you want the reader to go to when they click a link in your Chapters area. We’ll show you how to create the Chapters area later. Go to the ‘Insert’ tab in Open Office, then ‘Bookmark..’.
Type in the name of the chapter so it’s easy for you to remember what is is. If your chapters are numbered, you may want to just type ‘1’ for the first chapter, and ‘2 for the second etc. Click ‘Ok’ to make sure the bookmark is created.
Once you’ve done the first one of these, go to the next area you want a bookmark, and repeat the process. Keep doing this until you have all your bookmarks in place.
Next, it’s time to create the chapters area. You will want to put this under the title page of your book, but before the book goes into full swing. Call this page ‘Chapters’, or anything else you want.
Create text that will describe each chapter, and put them in the order that the chapters come up. You may also want to put these in numbered bullet points so your reader knows what chapter each one is, but this is optional. Make sure these chapter names match up with what you called the bookmarks. While this isn’t essential, it helps you more easily remember where each bookmark relates to.
Once you have done that, the next step is to make the links clickable, and to ensure they go back to the right header. So highlight the text in the ‘Chapters’ area that you want to lead to the first chapter, go to ‘Insert’ in the Open Office tab, then ‘Hyperlink’.
In the next window that pops up, you will notice in the pictures in the left hand side ‘Internet’ is highlighted. This would be handy if we’re creating a link to a website, but we’re not. So instead click on the ‘Document’ image, then look at the ‘Target in document’ section. You will see a bulls-eye looking image on the right. Click that.
The next section that pops up will be called ‘Target in document’. Select ‘Bookmarks’, and click the + box beside it. This will show you all the bookmarks you created. Click on the one you want to insert, then click ‘Apply’ in the ‘Target in document’ window. You will notice that in the ‘hyperlink’ window, your ‘target’ will now display the same text that your bookmark is. Click ‘Apply’ in this window as well. Your text in the document will now turn into a hyperlink, usually now in blue and underlined. And that’s it, you just created your first bookmark.
Now simply highlight the next place you want to make a clickable bookmark link, and do the same again. Rinse and repeat till they’re all done.
To test if these links are done correctly, when finished save the document as a HTML file, which is called ‘HTML Document (OpenOffice.org Writer) (.html)’ in OpenOffice. Next, go to where you saved this file through your computer’s folder system (Don’t open it in OpenOffice) and double click to open it. The file should now open in your default web browser. Click the links to see if they work. You should be taken to the part in your book that you selected. If so, your file is complete. If not, go back and edit your links till you get it right. If the links don’t work, go back and make sure you follow the above steps exactly.
And that’s it, you now have clickable links in your book.
Ok, I don’t want to go into outsourcing too much, but I just want to throw the idea out there. If you have a lot of work to do and don’t have the time to be creating loads of Kindle books by yourself, one idea is to outsource some of the process. I’ve already touched on paying someone to design you a book cover, but why not pay someone to actually write up your book?
If you go to somewhere like Odesk, you can get good quality writers and designers to do you some nice work for reasonable prices. For example, if you already have the image you need from a Stock website, you can get someone to design the cover for around $10. You could also get books written for you for around $50 for a 5000 word book, sometimes cheaper if you find the right person.
While this will of course depend on the type of book you want created, it is possible to get these kind of prices if you look around. If it’s a more specialist subject though, you may find you need to pay more to get the right person.
You will need to set up an account to use Odesk, and add your payment details. From there, you can post a job which everyone can see, and within the hour of posting you will have people applying to do the work for you.
You should interview people before you give them the job. Make sure they show you their portfolio, or send you some sample work on the subject to see if they can produce a good quality product.
If you think they can create you a good book, you can hire them. Give them a time limit to finish your work (Say 2 days for a book cover, or 1 day per 1000 words of your book) and chase them up if they’ll late delivering in the agreed amount of time.
Bare in mind that while Odesk is free to post jobs, they take 10% off the final price you give to the contractor. So if you offer someone $20 to write a book, you will pay $22.22 all together.
Like I mentioned, I’m not going to go too deep into the process of outsourcing as it’s beyond the spec of this course. Do though bare in mind it is something you can get started with pretty quickly, and will save you a lot of personal writing time.
Adjusting Your Book
Before I show you how to put your book on Amazon Kindle, I want to let you know something. Once your book is up and published on Kindle, it’s possible to change anything about your book whenever you want! What this means, is you can publish your book, notice a spelling mistake, and go back and upload the new book file with no spelling mistake. It also means you can sell your book, and if you think the cover is turning potential buyers off, go back and change the book cover.
You can also change the book description, the keywords, and most of the other details you put. You can even change the book price when you decide to.
The only thing you should bare in mind, is that after each time you change something then re-save it, the book will have to get approved again. This will take 24-72 hours they say, but I find it usually takes a lot less.
During this time the older version of your book will still be in the Kindle store for people to buy, only once it has been approved will the newer version take it’s place.
The reason I’m letting you know this is because it opens up a lot of possibilities to you. First of all, you can test how different things effect you book sales. Not making any sales at one price? Then change it up and monitor the results. Want to change the intro of your book to one that’s more enticing to the readers? No problem, you can do that!
I’d definitely recommend adjusting your book and trying out new things here and there, the only time I’d say to leave your book is if it’s selling a unit amount you’re happy with. This is because some changes, namely when you change the price, are hard to come back from. So say you’re selling a lot of units and you switch the price, your sales could go down. Yes you can change the price back to it’s original pricing point, but it can take a while to get back to that volume of sales (If it does at all).
So be careful about making changes if you’re selling a good number of units. If you’re just making trickle sales, feel free to change things up to try and increase your sales.
This lesson is continued in Lesson 11 Part 2: Leveraging The Amazon Kindle Search Engine Part 2.