This is a step-by-step guide and overview of how to publish an eBook and paperback at Amazon KDP. Note that there are several challenging steps in the eBook publishing process. Sue Polinsky and Get Me Online, Inc. publish eBooks and paperbacks for authors and subjects of all types. We’re happy to help you publish an eBook.
Writing Your eBook
Many authors choose to write in Microsoft Word. The second most-used writing tool is Google Docs. Either one produces a manuscript that can be converted to an eBook. We can provide eBook templates for Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Before you start writing, follow these steps:
How to Publish an eBook: Basic Do & Don’t for eBook Formatting
- Use Heading 1 style for chapter titles.
- Use Normal style for body text.
- Don’t make more styles. They are usually stripped out.
- eBook paragraphs use full justification.
- Use Section Breaks (Word) to start a new chapter.
- Fiction/novels need a Table of Contents.
- Don’t add headers or footers (page numbers) to eBooks.
- Choose the finished size of your book early in the process.
- We have the Word Template(s) to use for your book size.
Sections of an eBook
There are required and optional pages that you can include when you publish your eBook.
- Title page (required)
- Copyright page (optional)
- Before the first chapter optional pages
- Short Reviews (if you have pre-publication reviews)
- Table of Contents (required for eBooks, not needed for fiction paperbacks)
- After the last chapter optional pages
- Research References
- About the Author
- Other Books by the Author
How to Publish an eBook: Setting Page Margins and Gutters
Choose the size of your eBook before you begin writing if possible. Popular sizes are 5″x8″ and 6″x9″ and 8″x10″. There are many more sizes available in both inches and centimeters. Of course, an eBook size doesn’t matter on a phone, Kindle Reader or tablet but every eBook has an option to create a print book from the same copy and then size really matters.
How do you set margins for eBooks?
For eBooks with no illustrations or pictures, there is no “bleed.” This chart shows the margin settings for novels and fiction eBooks without bleed.
|Page count||Inside (gutter) margins||Outside margins|
|24 to 150 pages||0.375″ in (9.6 mm)||at least 0.25 in (6.4 mm)|
|151 to 300 pages||0.5 in (12.7 mm)||at least 0.25 in (6.4 mm)|
|301 to 500 pages||0.625 in (15.9 mm)||at least 0.25 in (6.4 mm)|
|501 to 700 pages||0.75 in (19.1 mm)||at least 0.25 in (6.4 mm)|
|701 to 828 pages||0.875 in (22.3 mm)||at least 0.25 in (6.4 mm)|
Your top, bottom, and outside margins do not have to be the same. For example, you can set the top and bottom margin to 1 inch, and the outside margin to 0.375 inches as long as they all meet the required minimum.
How to Publish an eBook: Fonts and Paragraph Formatting
The fewer fonts and simpler formatting used in a fiction/novel eBook, the better.
What fonts should I use in my eBook?
eBook Fonts: Keep the Fonts Simple
Don’t use multiple fonts and fancy font formatting in an eBook manuscript. KDP will strip out a lot of formatting and change unusual fonts to ‘regular’ ones. If you really want a “fancy” font, make it a high resolution image. If you’re writing a novel or fiction for older teens and adults, those fonts aren’t needed and don’t translate to devices like Kindle Readers or smartphones.
Serif vs Sans Serif Fonts when publishing eBooks
In general, the copy in your eBook can be either serif or sans serif fonts. When you read a newspaper or paperback book, in general, the body text uses serif fonts like Times New Roman (12pt).
This is an example of a serif font.
This is an example of a sans-serif font.
A common sans serif font is Arial. Web pages (like this one) often use sans serif fonts. If you’re not sure which to use, look at some eBooks and paperbacks and decide which is easier to read.
How do you format paragraphs when publishing an eBook?
Paragraph Line Height in eBooks
The recommended line height for eBook paragraphs is “1.” You can increase it a little, such as 1.02 (in Word), but most eBooks use “1.” Line height is the space between lines of the same paragraph. This means there is not extra space between paragraphs in eBooks.
Paragraph Indents in eBooks
In eBooks, the first paragraph of a chapter does not indent the first word. All other paragraphs in a chapter do indent the first word of the first line of each paragraph. Looking for a dropcap in an eBook? They’re tricky and generally you don’t add them in Word or Google Docs. They are added during publishing.
Dialogue Formatting in eBooks
Dialogue, where people are talking, is treated like a regular paragraph. Line height remains at “1” and you press ENTER after each paragraph.
How to End a Chapter in an eBook
At the end of a chapter, add a section break in Microsoft Word. (Layout >> Breaks >> Next Page). In Google Docs, choose Insert >> Break >> Section Break next page.
eBook Cover Size and Dimensions
eBooks have a single cover (paperbacks have a back cover, too). When publishing eBooks and paperbacks, eBook covers do not have a universal size specification. Cover dimensions depend on the eBook size, the number of pages and if your eBook will be offered as a paperback.
eBook Cover Sizes
An eBook has only a front cover. If you are creating it yourself or hiring a graphic designer, the front cover (which can be used on the paperback version) should have an image or solid color, the book title, sub-title and the author name. Other metadata can be added.
How to use images on eBook and paperback covers
You must own the rights to use an image on the cover. Your cover image must not infringe another publisher or artist’s copyright or mention pricing or other temporary promotional offers.
- Ideal dimensions for cover files are 2,560 pixels in height x 1,600 pixels in width (for an eBook front cover).
- For best quality, particularly on high definition devices, your image should be 2500 pixels in height.
- Minimum dimensions of 1000 pixels in height and 625 pixels in width.
- Cover image should not exceed 10,000 pixels in height and in width.
- An ideal height/width ratio of at least 1.6:1, meaning: For every 1,000 pixels in width, the image should be 1,600 pixels in height.
- Your cover image file size must be less than 50MB.
- Use an RGB color profile.
- Borders: Cover art with white or very light backgrounds can seem to disappear against the white background. Try adding a narrow (3-4 pixel) border in medium gray to define the boundaries of the cover.
- Upload your eBook cover as a .jpg file. Paperback covers must be PDFs.
Paperback Book Cover Size and Specifications
Paperback book covers must have a back cover that is not required if publishing only an eBook.
Paperback Cover Guidelines
- Paperback covers must be a single PDF file that includes the back cover, spine and front cover as one image. It must be less than 650Mb in file size.
- A paperback must have at least 79 pages to include text on the spine.
- Paperback covers can have two finish options: glossy (shiny) and matte.
- Paper covers have bleed, that is, the color and image must reach all the way to the edge of the page.
- Paperback covers must include a barcode on the back cover. Authors usually let KDP print the barcode. Your cover design must leave room for it.
- There are several technical requirements for a paperback cover. Your cover will be rejected if it does not meet all specifications.
Parts of a Paperback Cover
- Full cover
- Front cover
- Safe area
- Spine safe area
- Spine margin
- Barcode margin