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Kindle Publishing: How to Self-Publish Your Book On Amazon

By Hazel Lau | amazon kindle publishing , book marketing Get free updates on new posts here

In his book “Choose Yourself!”, James Altucher has brought up an important concept about today’s industry, here is a quote I like very much:

You no longer have to wait for the gods of corporate America, or universities, or media, or inventors, to come down from the clouds and choose you for success. — James Altucher

James Altucher

 

This is particularly true when it comes to publishing industry. You no longer have to wait and pray for your manuscript to get picked up by traditional publishing agents or companies; You can go on your own, write and develop your very first book, and publish your own success.

In fact, James Alutcher self-published his book “Choose Yourself!” on Amazon and this book has just hit over 350,000 copies in May 2015 since its release.

You might be thinking, sounds good but where do I start?

continue reading

Day 10 Formatting Process

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 10

Formatting Process: How Does It Work

 

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I once spent longer than usual to get a book formatted for my clients. It wasn’t a long book nor did it have many images or special formatting features to be taken care of.

The problem was its content. Not that it was a disappointing content in terms of its possible value to the audience, but it was an uncorrected proof with many typo and grammatical errors between the paragraphs.

The author sent his manuscript right to me before going through an editing process first.

After I sent him what I thought a complete formatted version on my end, he passed it to his editor for proofreading then started to shoot me emails asking for changes to fix those mistakes that weren’t caused by my formatting.

Since his editor proofread from chapter to chapter, every time when I thought that was the end of the project, he sent me another email to fix it.

For every update that I had to make, I needed to edit the source file in HTML, export it as Kindle ebook, preview it myself before sending the final draft to him.

Though we finished the project in good terms eventually, that project taught me a lesson.

Only if he could edit the content before sending me for formatting, then so much communication and time would have been saved for both of us!

I could have finished the project earlier and he would have gotten his book faster and launched it sooner!

Ever since, I always recommend my clients to send their manuscript for editing and proofreading first. It’s much easier and faster for your editor to fix the content in text file.

This is also why I want to break down the entire process of working with a book designer or formatter here, so that you save yourself trouble and costs when outsourcing this task to someone.

This is especially important if you’re hiring someone who works on an hourly rate or charges extra per revision!

I’ll be going through how my team and I work but the rundown is similar if you’re working with other formatters. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to hire me or work with other people, this section will help you have better control in formatting a polished Kindle ebook.

Step 1: You send your edited manuscript to your formatter.
For some book designers, they only accept your manuscript in certain format so make sure you check with them what’s the best format to send over beforehand.

For Kindle Station, your manuscript could be in Text (.txt), Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF (.pdf). Also, send your cover (if not designed by us) and all images used in their original resolutions in a separate zip file.

Step 2: You ask and clarify all the concerns.
Book formatters and designers work differently. You should clarify what you have in mind before placing an order. There is no harm sending a chapter or two to the potential formatter even before both of you agreed on the project. Sometimes, it’s easier to ask them for a direct look over about what can and cannot be done.

For Kindle Station, I often receive concerns from authors wondering whether or not a particular formatting capability can be converted well on their Kindle ebooks. I’m more than happy to address this type of questions.

Hopefully by now you know what to expect from a formatted ebook after reading the previous chapter. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to ask your formatter or us to find out if certain special formatting can be done in your own book.

Step 3: We fix, clean up and format a sample for you.
Not all are willing to offer a sample formatting using the chapters you send in, but if they did, ask for it. Otherwise, you should at least ask them where to preview their previous work. You can also ask if they’ve formatted similar books before especially if you think your book has lots of special features that need to be taken care of.

Say, you have many images contained in the book and want to really make sure they are converted well after the formatting, ask for some image-heavy books that the designer has done before.

For Kindle Station, we offer formatting up to one chapter using your own content for free.

Once you’re happy with that, you can move on to place an order and send the complete manuscript.

Step 4: We format everything and send the first draft back to you.
This is the creation stage where your designers start to deliver their promises. A turnover ranges from days to weeks depending on your content length and how fast the designers work. For Kindle Station, we send you the complete first drafts in 3 to 5 days so you can run it through on your own Kindle device or Kindle Previewer. You can also send this first draft to your beta readers if needed. This is a group that helps spot any errors that were previously missed out, create buzz and spread about your book in the early stage.

Step 5: You ask for revisions.
Again depending on the formatters, some only offer a few revisions and charge extra after that; some like Kindle Station, are happy to offer unlimited revision for a period or even lifetime. Make sure you clarify this before you place the order.

Based on previous experiences, we normally have to do this for our clients two or three times before sending the complete final draft. This will take longer if your content was not previously edited. That’s why I encourage you to edit before formatting to avoid wasting time in this process.

Step 6: You’re happy with the finished product.

This is the final stage. You’re happy with your formatted ebook. It’s done! Your designer will send you the file in whatever format he promised and marks the project as completed.

For Kindle Station, we will pack and send you everything you need to upload and submit to Amazon KDP, that includes a MOBI ebook and a HTML file.

Step 7: You’re now ready to submit your ebook to Amazon KDP.
This is a pretty straightforward step. You can do it yourself or pay someone cheaply to do this.

For Kindle Station, it’s on the house. We will help you with this step if you like to keep this completely hands off.

Day 9: Format Your Way to A Bestseller

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 09

Format Your Way to A Bestseller

 

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Before I get into today’s lesson, I want to quickly refresh your memory on what we have covered so far.

By now, you should have a clear idea of why formatting your Kindle ebook properly is essential, what it really does to your book, and of course how to not make the old same mistakes in formatting.

The truth is – you may design your books as fanciful as you want, as long as they get formatted and converted properly before submitting to Amazon, you’re doing fine.

But what if I told you by making a few tweaks and adding a few extra pages, your Kindle ebook will become way better than many other books in your genre?

What’s more?

You also stand a better chance to increase your readers base, establish your author brand or boost your book sales for every copy you sell!

What do I mean by that?

I’m talking about a book structure many Kindle bestsellers have in common… that you may learn and apply to your own book right away.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

“Readers Capture Page”

A “readers capture page” is a page that converts your readers into long-term readers.

This is an example:

reader-page

By tapping on the free gifts link, this is where readers will be directed to give you their email addresses in exchange to receive a freebie.

reader-web

See how this page works? By giving a valid and compelling reason, you take your readers off the books and transfer them to your list. Then, you’re able to develop this author-reader relationship further because now you have a system in place to follow up with them periodically, either offering more values, promoting your new books or getting them engage in the latest book launches.

To do this, you will need to have a few elements set up:

  1. A “readers capture incentive”. This is your valid and compelling reason. This is why your readers should continue to hear from you. This could be another ebook that you’ve written, a free chapter of your next book, an article you’ve written to further discuss the topic, an interview you did with an expert in the filed, a podcast, a video, a short email course… This can be anything you’re able to come out with, as long as it’s something your readers may look out for.
  2. A “readers capture page” in your book, like the one described above.
  3. A “readers sign-up page” hosted on your own website or landing page builder, like the one described above.
  4. A “readers capture machine”. This is also known as autoresponder. This is what you use to collect your readers’ names and emails to follow up on them later on.

“About Author Page”

This is a page where you brag about yourself, just kidding. This is a page where your author brand shines.

I recommend my clients to put this page near the end of the book, rather than at the beginning for The First 10% Preview reason that I’ll explain later.

It’s a fact that those who haven’t bought or just bought your book care less about your background. They probably read a few lines about your bio on the Amazon book page to confirm you’re somewhat legit and genuine before they buy and that’s it. Simply set up your profile on Amazon Author Central and give enough bio on your book page. Don’t overcomplicate this.

Then when do they care about you? They only care more after reading your books. That only happens if they think what you write makes sense and want to hear more about you. When this does happen, this is a page where you tell a little more about yourself to break the ice, and more importantly, tell them where to look for and connect you online such as your author website and social media profiles.

A good example:

author-page

Keep it short and precise to one or two pages.

The First 10% Preview

Do you like free sampling? I sure do.

Free sampling is a great marketing strategy that works for decades. We as customers don’t like to take risks. We want to make informed buying decisions. We want to make sure our money exchanges something back that’s equal in value, if not, more.

It’s the same in book marketing.

Recall how you’ve bought your last book. An awesome book cover captures you attention. You pick it up. Other than reading its book blurb and recommendations, what did you do? You probably flip a few pages and read a short paragraph or two! Agree?

This happens in the real world when you’re buying a print book. What happens when it’s online?

Fortunately, Amazon actually helps merchandising your books better by making use the same concept. It’s called ‘Look Inside the Book’. It does exactly what it says by allowing potential readers to search through and preview Kindle book samples by clicking on this “Look Inside!” arrow attached to the book cover image. The good news is, your Kindle books are automatically enrolled in the program when publishing on KDP!

There is nothing you have to do to enjoy this seller’s feature. But this is also a downside, because you can’t control what is to be seen as sample.

KDP takes the first 10% of your content and creates a sample for you. In the other words, what you’ve included in the first 10% of your book will help make or break your book sales. While there is front matter (copyright, dedication) a book has to follow conventionally, I always recommended my clients to keep these information precise so they don’t waste the 10% content!

What should be included in this 10% are ideally,

  1. Readers Capture Page. You increase your chances to get them sign up onto your mailing list by presenting this page first even they decide not to buy the book at the end. Simply saying, the more they see your free gift page, the more chances you stand for having them to sign up.
  2. “Exhausted” Table of Contents. I’ll describe more on this later.
  3. An enticing first chapter that will keep them engaged and make them want to read more. Some authors like to offer a walkthrough of “What This Book is About” or “How to Use This Book”, others provide pages that you might have seen before, such as “Why You Should Read This Book” and “Who is This Book For”. All these pages are implanted at the beginning of the book strategically to help push the readers off the fence.

“Book Series Page”

This is a page where you introduce and cross-promote other books in your series.

If you’re truly serious to be an author, you shouldn’t stop at just one book.

Reason #1. One book is often not enough to build your name. Don’t stop there. You want to build your a hallmark, a brand around your name. I’ll let this article do the further explanation. Fiction or non-fiction, the key to success is building a reader base raving for your books. More often than not, this requires more good content released from you periodically.

Reason #2. Having a book empire makes it easier to promote and sell more of your books. Imagine every book in the series is cross-promoting each other, you stand a good chance to boost your overall sales just by adding this page.

Reason #3. Amazon will also suggest more books from you to whoever reading to the end on its Before You Go… window. Along with that is a list of “Customers who bought this book also bought”, located at the bottom. Now think about this, if you’ve no second and third book in the series, you’re literally sending free traffic to your competitors!

A good example is like this:

series-page

What if you don’t have a next book ready? That’s more you should put up this page to avoid sending your readers to buying other books for the reason above.

You can either put up a page to advertise the new launch or “coming-soon” book, then apply the same “Reader Capture Page” concept here by directing them to sign up on a waiting list.

If you’re really not planning to have any other book at the moment, then replicate your “Reader Capture Page” here to direct your readers off the book to your own web presence.

For non-fiction authors, this page could be also your up-sell page to promote a relevant training program, home study course, or personal coaching.

“Asking Page”

This is a page where you ask for help from your readers.

Ask for what? Ask for anything and everything that could help spreading your book and boosting the sales. Many authors think they’re not business owners or salesmen and it’s no wonder they suffer from making little sales from their books.

Think about it, you’ve already done the hardest part-getting your book written and published, why let it sit on the shelf? Even if your main purpose is not making money, think of the number of people who could benefit from what you’ve written and think again of those who would not have the chance to change their lives, if you refuse to ask for the sales?

I am not asking you to hard sell. If it’s true that your content is value-adding, then by adding this single page is not demanding too much from your readers. In fact, they will love to help you do so.

What should you ask?

  • Ask to checkout your other books and related courses.
  • Ask to engage with you more through your web presence and email list.
  • Ask to spread your work by sharing it on social media platforms.
  • Ask to leave you a review on your Amazon book page.

A good example is like this:

asking-page

In conclusion, this is a book structure that I recommend:

  • Book cover
  • Front Matter
    • Title Page
    • Copyright page
    • Dedication (if any)
    • Preface/ Prologue (if any)
  • Readers capture page
  • *“Exhausted” Table of contents
  • Chapters
  • Resource Page (if any)
  • Author Page
  • Book Series Page
  • Asking Page

The “Exhausted” Table of Contents

I’m probably the one who coiled this term “Exhausted” Table of Contents but I’m definitely not the one who invented this idea. I got inspired by two evergreen book series called For Dummies and The Complete Idiot’s Guide.

Open up any book in this two series, you’re likely see a content page like this.

content1

Or like this,

content2

Why this work is that the structure builds up the anticipation of what readers can expect, without revealing everything unless they get the book.

Remember I said as humans we want to make or at least think that we make informed decisions? This helps to answer the “is this right for me?” concern and bring the readers one step closer to your sales door.

I admit that this Table of Contents works better if you’ve a non-fiction book, and works better if it’s a long throughout guide.

Don’t worry if you can’t make this in your book. The bottom line is get your books completed with a clickable Table of Contents regardless what.

Day 8: 3 Reasons Why Your Formatting Sucks

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 08

3 Reasons Why Your Formatting Sucks

 

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I want to touch about this topic because these are things that you can actually fix quickly in your ebook.

It’s really not that difficult to do, and by doing that you will make your customers’ lives easier, so why not?

But if you don’t, then you’re leaving room for your readers to give bad reviews.

(Still remember what I covered in Day 6 lesson, readers do concern about bad formatting?)

Don’t make these mistakes.

I will cover what are the few mistakes being the easiest for authors to make below.

Together, you will also find a quick solution of how to fix them.

Mistake 1: Your book doesn’t have a Table of Contents (TOC).

Another day I was reading a long book, somewhere in the middle I decided to refer back to the beginning chapters to recap some of the points. I tapped at the Go To menu (you know what I meant if you’re a Kindle reader) and found it grayed out, NO Logical TOC table of contents was available!

I scrolled to the first page of the book, expecting to find a clickable HTML Table of Contents created within the book, again, I found NOTHING!

By now, I’ve gotten a little frustrated for not getting what I want immediately, and had to scroll and tap carefully on my Kindle to locate the desired chapter and page.

Tell me what you would feel if you were me.

Table of Contents is one of the must-have features in your ebook. This feature is very important to Kindle customers, so much so that Amazon requires all Kindle books with chapters or sections to have at least one active table of contents.

toc

If you could include both, it’s even better.

For those who haven’t done so, here is how to insert a clickable HTML TOC to your book.

  1. Put your cursor at where you want to insert your TOC.
  2. On the Insert menu, point to Reference, and then click Index and Tables.
  3. Click the Table of Contents tab, and then click Show Outlining Toolbar.
  4. Select the options that you want to apply to your TOC and click OK.

*Steps adapted from Microsoft Support Article ID: 285059

Note that the steps may be slightly different for different generations of Word. For more help, check out Microsoft Support.

If that doesn’t work, here is another way to do the work manually using the Hyperlink and Bookmark functions. It might take a little longer time but I don’t encounter any problem whenever I use this method.

Here you go-the steps of adding a Table of Contents! Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?

Furthermore, having an active table of contents has another powerful benefit, which I’ll cover in the later part.

Mistake 2: Your pictures are missing, not supported, undersized, or in low resolution.

Have this happened to you before? Halfway through the chapter where you’re supposed to see an image is instead replaced by a blank space between two paragraphs. Where did the image go?

Amazon KDP supports the most common types of image file, which are JPEG, PNG, BMP and GIF. Having your image files in anything other than these will cause the problem above occurs.

Most of the time, the problem isn’t about inserting the wrong image types that result in missing images; the problem is about inserting the images wrongly.

Do not copy and paste your images into your final draft! Instead, insert the images properly by following the steps below if you’re building in Word.

  1. Click to place the insertion point at the location in the document where you want to insert the picture.
  2. On the Insert menu, point to Picture, and then click From File.
  3. Locate the picture that you want, click the picture file, and then click Insert.

*Steps adapted from Microsoft Support Article ID: 312799

Note that the steps may be slightly different for different generations of Word. For more help, check out Microsoft Support.

That is all! You’ve inserted an image to your file successfully. You may also use the tools on the Picture toolbar to resize and rotate the image, if necessary.

If you’re building in HTML and your images are missing, then make sure:

Your image codes are properly tagged and pointed to their URLs respectively.
This is what I mean, first look for the code at where your image is suppose to be inserted. You should see something like this:

<img id=””Picture” src=””pic_mountain.jpg”” alt=”” width=”883″ height=”1209″ border=”0″/>

Make sure your “src” has pointed to its desired pic URL, in this case, it’s pic_mountain.jpg.

You have all the images used contained in the correct source folder.
In this case, an image, which named pic_mountain.jpg, has to be in the correct folder.

You have compressed and submit all files and folders in one zip file.
Sometimes, you may find your images are correctly located but appear undersized or blurred. This is because Amazon KDP will compress the images further during the process, so whatever large sized images will become smaller.

A simple way to make sure your images are not overly compressed into inappropriate size, try inserting high-resolution images with larger file size into your final draft. You could also modify the exact width and height by modifying the image codes in HTML.

Using the same code from the above, you may adjust the width and height of your image accordingly by changing the numbers.

Remember, you don’t want to over do this by always inserting the largest image file sizes.

Like I mentioned, the larger your image sizes, the larger your final ebook size, and the higher Amazon is going to charge you for the digital delivery cost. Also, Amazon KDP only accepts single image file size up to 5MB and the entire manuscript file up to 650MB.

Mistake 3: You upload PDF instead of the properly formatted and converted ebook file.

As I covered, I don’t recommend uploading and submitting your manuscript in PDF especially if you’re publishing a text-centric Kindle ebook.

Let me explain.

First, your Kindle book will never look exactly how it is in PDF. What you see in PDF may not be converted well in Kindle format because of its embedded formatting and image placement. Also, you’re likely to experience the formatting errors that I mentioned previously, such as irregular page breaks or inconsistent font sizes.

The reason why PDF is being used is that we want to make the fancy formatting styles and layouts “stick”. Since you can’t actually achieve that in a re-flowable ebook and worse, may generate more errors in the end product, why put bombs in your book? If your content is already great, don’t leave any room for your readers to complain about because when given a chance, they really do.

Check out Amazon’s answer of why your Kindle ebook doesn’t look exactly like the PDF (point number 4).

If you absolutely have to upload your manuscript in PDF, then make sure you preview it using Amazon’s tool before clicking the “Publish” button as suggested by Amazon. If not, choose to publish in one from the recommended formats I mentioned in the previous section.

Day 7: Understand Amazon Kindle Formatting In 3 Minutes

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 07

Understand Amazon Kindle Formatting In 3 Minutes

 

Did you get here from a link from a friend? To get access to all the content, make sure you sign up for this free course right here.

 

When I asked aspiring authors regarding their challenges in getting their Kindle books published on Amazon.

This was one of the responses I received.

“The formatting. Oh the drama. There is the overwhelm point. Formatting for Nook, formatting for Kindle, formatting PDF, formatting for Library markets?”

I totally get it.

Of course, you’ll find detailed documentation on Amazon KDP site for almost everything you need to know about formatting.

But if you have ever struggled to understand the manual before, put that aside now because I’ll be giving you a crash course on that today.

Like how it’s important to understand the basic design principles for a good cover before you hire any designer, it also makes sense to understand the basic of how Amazon Kindle Format work too, even that you’re intending to get someone to do the job for you.

What type of format do I need?

Amazon KDP accepts multiple formats:

  • Word (DOC or DOCX)
  • HTML (ZIP, HTM, or HTML)
  • MOBI (MOBI)
  • ePub (EPUB)
  • Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • Plain Text (TXT)
  • *Adobe PDF (PDF)
  • Kindle Package Format (KPF)

As long as you’re preparing your manuscript in any of the format above, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) will convert your final draft fine. However, for best results, Amazon recommends building and submitting your final draft in Word or HTML format.

What type of format should I choose?

Publishing Text-centric Kindle Books
If your books are text-centric and have no or little amount of images, build your books in Word format. It’s easy to do and you will have your ebooks converted fine. If your desired layout fails to be converted well in the ebook format despite having formatted everything correctly in the Word files, save and export the files in HTML format, then modify your HTML files. More often than not, you’ll be able to fix the errors by editing the HTML files directly.

Therefore, if your books are heavy with images and complex formatting, build your books in HTML format. It’s not easy to get a hang on editing HTML code but once you do, you’ll have control over many things to generate a desired ebook. Remember to compress all your files into one ZIP file before submitting to Amazon.

If you’re intending to send uncorrected proofs to your beta-readers before the books are available on Amazon, then build your books in MOBI format. It’s handy to distribute everything formatted nicely in just one ebook format. Note that only the .mobi files are supported by Amazon now. Another .prc files generated by MobiPocket Creator are no longer in use.

You can also build your books in EPUB than MOBI format. As far as I know, EPUB doesn’t get converted as well as MOBI by KDP, so make sure you double check your books using Kindle Previewer before publishing. Since MOBI is Amazon’s Proprietary eBook Format and supported only by Amazon, you will need EPUB if you’re also self-publishing on others ebook stores such as Apple iBookstore. Otherwise, stick to MOBI is great enough.

*Though Amazon has claimed to accept final drafts in PDF, I don’t recommend you to do so. I’ll explain why in the next section.

The books I want to create are images/ photos/ pictures/ graphic heavy, does it make any difference to formatting?

Sometimes authors who are clueless in handling the images in their books approach me-they heard about the nightmares pioneer authors fought through and Kindle format for being sucks in converting the images. If you’re one of those who have this concern, then pay attention to the content below.

First, let’s understand the definition of having heavy images.

How exactly heavy is that?

I don’t have a good definition for that. But to me having 50 to 70 graphic elements is still considered manageable. Too many images you’ll have a hard time editing and compressing the files, and risking your final draft too big in size.

Remember, the more graphic elements you’ve, the larger sizes they contribute to your final draft, and the higher digital delivery cost Amazon will charge you.

Amazon accepts total manuscript files up to 650MB and the largest single image file it can accept is 5MB. So if you have 100 graphic elements and each is 5MB, your total file size is already 500MB contributed by graphic alone. Therefore, judge it yourself carefully to avoid including too many unnecessary graphic elements.

Next, ask yourself if the images will be the main focus. Also, consider what type of reading experience you want to deliver to your readers.

If your books are text-centric and images are only for the supportive purpose, follow the tips above and you’ll do well.

If not, continue to read on.

Publishing Illustration-centric Kindle Books
To understand how to better publish illustration-centric books on KDP, you’ll first need to grasp the concept of re-flowable layout vs fixed layout.

Ebooks with re-flowable layout scale on all types of devices. The page is not finite so readers are in control with its font size, font type, page margins and page breaks. This format is commonly used in text-centric ebooks.

Advantages

  • Easy to produce.
  • Cheap to produce as the entire book may follow just one re-flowable layout.
  • Readers have more control over the book presentation.
  • Lightweight.

Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t allow full-bleed images.
  • Doesn’t support multiple text columns within a page.
  • Doesn’t support text be placed over or wrapped around the images.

On the other hand, ebooks with fixed layout are the opposite. The page is preserved to its individual page’s layout so readers are not in control of elements that I mentioned above. This format is commonly used in children ebooks (illustration-centric), comic ebooks, online magazines.

Advantages

  • Allow images to spread across the entire page i.e. full-bleed.
  • Support multiple text columns within a page.
  • Authors have more control over the book presentation.

Disadvantages

  • More difficult and take longer time to produce.
  • More expensive to produce as one page may be coded differently from another page.
  • Less flexible as it doesn’t scale easily on all types of devices unless you code individually to each reading device.
  • Larger file size.

Continuing from what we’ve discussed previously, if what you’ve are illustration-centric books, at the same time stunning images and layout are the emphasis, which is what most children book or comics try to do, then produce your book in fixed layout.

Regardless which, both layouts have the purpose to enhance readers’ experience in reading your books. Therefore, understanding what you want to deliver to your readers will help with choosing the appropriate layout for your books.

Note that there is no way to mix these two layouts in one book with today’s technology.

There is an exception in uploading your book in PDF, which is in this case. Amazon KDP has now offered a conversion tool known as Kindle Kids’ Book Creator, where you’re able to create your children’s books by uploading PDF or images (JPEG, TIFF, PNG or PPM) directly.

Say, you already have a children book in print. What you can do is scan the pages into images or combine all in one PDF and submit to this tool. Or, you’re currently selling your own digital copy on Gumroad or own website and you want to expand the market further by converting it into Kindle ebook, you’ll be able to take advantage of this tool as well.

Another common type of illustration-centric books is none other than comics, which Amazon has launched another tool called Kindle Comic Creator to help authors produce or reproduce their comics, manga, graphic novels in Kindle format.

 

By now we should have a common understanding of what formatting is. But you might want a little more clarification. How does your book really look like in a Kindle-friendly format?

Instead of explaining in detailed text, it’s better to see with your own eyes. Check out and download Amazon KF8 sample here. This is the layout you can expect if you format your book properly.

Once you’ve unzip the file on your computer, you can view it in several ways:

Option 1: Add the ebook to your Kindle device and view it on the screen. (Best!) Find out from here of how to do that by sending it to your Kindle Email or uploading directly to your device.

Option 2: Install Kindle Previewer on your computer and open the ebook with this app. (Recommended if you don’t own a Kindle device.)

What do you need to know about Kindle format?

Regardless of what format you use to build your manuscript, either Word or HTML, remember KDP has its limitations and doesn’t support everything. Part of the formatting process including optimising, reducing and sometimes eliminating the special formatting that cannot be converted properly.

Most Kindle authors aren’t writing a superbook that requires advanced formatting, so I’ve prepared a simplified version to help you understand what can and cannot be done in Kindle format.

And I’ll only be touching on Kindle re-flowable layout since it’s been widely used by many authors.

Supported

Default MS Word layout such as headings, subheading, bullet points, numbering, hyperlink, bold, italic, image etc. You don’t have to worry too much over the fonts, font sizes and margins used, since the readers freely control them.

Supported in *Kindle K8 Format Only

(Try to avoid the following if possible until K8 is widely supported by all Kindle devices.)

  • Tables. One way to improvise is presenting your content in the most appropriate make-sense form without making tables.
  • Drop cap.
  • Footnote. One way to improvise is citing with numbers and hyperlinking them to an index or resource page individually.
  • CSS.

Not Supported

  • Special characters. Even K8 has its limitations here.
  • Page number. (Not necessary)
  • Multiple text columns.
  • Text placed on or wrapped around the images.
  • XML and frame inside HTML

What is Kindle K8 Format?

K8 is a newer and enhanced generation file format by Amazon and currently supported by Kindle Fire only and will be rolled out in the traditional Kindle e-link readers in the future. In short, it allows more formatting capabilities than before to make your ebooks better.

As you’ve read the previous section about re-flowable format, you’ll likely be able to appreciate what can and cannot be supported in Kindle format. An easier way to think about this is that every formatting capability that required the page to be fixed is best to be avoided.

A rule of thumb is this, keep your layout as simple and have them ready in MS Word or text file with the basic layout possible.

Day 6: What Formatting Really Is

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 06

What Formatting Really Is And Why Care?

 

Did you get here from a link from a friend? To get access to all the content, make sure you sign up for this free course right here.

 

Over the last few days, I talked a lot about the making of book cover – hopefully you’ve found them useful.

But enough for cover design now.

Do you still remember the formula I proposed in the beginning?

Decent Content + Great Cover + Professional Formatting =
High Quality Kindle Ebook
 

Let’s jump on to another important but often overlooked component…

Formatting!

Most authors are aware that in order to get published on Amazon Kindle, one of the first steps is to turn their manuscripts into compatible Amazon format.

But exactly what is that?

How does this process actually benefit you as an author? What types and how many formats do you need to prepare? Is that a process you really have to go through yourself?

If you’re an author who has all these questions in mind, then you don’t want to miss out this lesson.

Let’s get into the fundamental question: what formatting really is and why care.

 

First and foremost, formatting is NOT converting. Not exactly.

Here are my definitions.

  • Formatting is “cleaning and fixing up” your manuscript and “preparing” it for the conversion later.
  • Converting is “transforming” your book from one format to another.

Simply saying, if your format is not “Kindle friendly”, then your content will not be presented nicely on the Kindle devices. You want to transform it into something “Kindle friendly” so the format produces most consistent results when converted for reading on Kindle devices and apps.

Now, this is what I see a lot when it comes to formatting.

You might find several software or converters online (mostly free) that claim to convert your manuscript into ebook formats (EPUB, MOBI…) in seconds. You upload your manuscript, click the convert button and only find the resulting ebook has one or more errors like the following:

  • Inconsistent font sizes.
  • Blank page.
  • Blank spaces or lines of strange coding instead of images between paragraphs.
  • Images appear blurry or undersized.
  • Broken bullet points and numbering.
  • Big chunk of text with no line breaks.
  • Irregular page breaks between paragraphs.
  • Big chunk of text with no proper alignment from each other.
  • More.

It is NOT what you expected.

What has happened?

What actually happened is that the converter converts your manuscript from whatever format it is originally (MS Word, Text…) into a more “Kindle friendly” format (EPUB, MOBI…), and the only job it does, is converting.

Therefore, if you really want to produce a quality Kindle ebook, then look beyond just converting, you need to format THEN convert.

Make sense? Great.

Why Care Of Proper Formatting?

Because Amazon and its customers care.

Some time ago I talked to an author regarding her decision of going after a publisher and literary agent than self-publishing her book. Here is her reply:

erika-email

Now imagine she is your customer, and that’s YOUR book she was talking about.

Let me tell you what she’s likely to do next.

With a few clicks of a button, she can easily file a poor quality content report to Amazon.

report-content-quality

If that doesn’t hurt enough, be aware that she can also tell the world how deceived and disappointed she feels by leaving a negative review about your book.

Hello Kindle authors! I want to bring your attention to the consequences of the “readers’ feedback” above, and hopefully make you re-think the importance of proper editing and formatting of your Kindle ebook before submitting it to Amazon.

Amazon has a high standard for content quality.

They know that if their customers are not happy, they’ll stop buying from Amazon. And you and I, will soon be out of a business.

From removing ebooks with PLR content off the shelves and blocking those spammy authors who published them, to cracking down on Kindle books under 2,500 Words-Amazon has been doing what they can to ensure more quality self-published ebooks are produced and sold in their ecosystem.

That said, if they find out that you’ve violated their rules, they’ll make sure you KNOW it and make the correction.

Here is a special guide to Kindle content quality that helps you understand the most frequently seen quality issues among the Kindle ebooks and how you can avoid repeating them in your own books.

Amazon allows its reader to ask for ebook refund within 7 days of purchase.

People can get hooked up to your sales copy and buy your book, or get attracted by your beautiful book cover and make a purchase.

However, if they find out that it doesn’t deliver what you promised, or the content has been produced in an unprofessional way, it will hurt their reading experience severely.

They can ask for a refund and return the content conveniently.

This is the obvious consequence. It hurts your sales and reputation.

Amazon treats poor content quality issues as Critical Issues.

How critical it is? Critical enough to remove your book from sale until the correction is made.

critical-issue

You may have written a great book, then the more you shouldn’t allow careless mistakes like typo and mis-hyphenations to be littered around in your book.

Because people do talk about it.

Amazon displays all the book reviews of your book, good and bad, on your sales page.

Why is this important? Research suggests that customer word of mouth affects consumer purchasing behaviour. What’s more? It also suggests incremental negative review is more powerful in decreasing book sales than an incremental positive review is in increasing sales.

The sad truth is that other readers do find the negative reviews “useful”.

formatting-review

I hope all the above-mentioned reasons and examples are compelling enough to make you re-consider how essential professional editing and formatting are in your Kindle publishing business.

It’s more than just “converting”.

Day 5: Design Process

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 05

Design Process: How Does It Work

 

Did you get here from a link from a friend? To get access to all the content, make sure you sign up for this free course right here.

 

After the last lesson, you might be shouting in your head, “Great now I know what it takes to make a good cover, but I’m not a designer myself!”

Guess what? That’s not my purpose either. This is not a Cover Design 101.

I want you to at least understand the design principals behind a good cover, so that you know what to expect for you cover before you put down money on hiring any designer.

Why?

Because relying on your designer too much is going to cost you a lot.

Get that?

Good. Then you’re ready to dive in the process of working with your designer to knock that cover out.

But why is it necessary to tear down the process?

Because many authors take this process too lightly.

I had authors dropped me one email with their book titles and expect me to deliver a cover they want just like that.

I see why it happened after many times. It’s either the authors:

  1. Do not understand the importance of their book covers so they treat the process as if they’re ordering a commodity service.
  2. Are clueless about the design process at all so they just do what they were told and normally do.

Let me tell you this (from the designer’s perspective):

The better you understand the process and know how to communicate with your designers, the faster and closer you’re going to get a “perfect cover” without overspending your budget.

I define “perfect cover” as one that has not only followed rules of a “good cover” and the best a designer could deliver in a single project, and also one that has checked the most boxes to what you’ve in mind.

I’ll be going through how my team and I work but the rundown is similar if you’re working with other designers or agencies.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to hire me or work with other designers, this will help you to have better control in getting a good cover, period.

Step 1: You prepare your design brief.
Have an idea of what you want, seriously.

I know, it may sound ridiculous. You’re hiring a designer to do the work because you feel that you’re not as creative and don’t have a good idea for your cover!

But wait. Do you know many cover designers especially the professional one charge by working on the “idea”? In the other words, if you simply let a designer to take control of anything and everything, you’re likely to pay her more and possibly receive many ideas that you don’t like at the end.

To save your money and the designer’s time which are both valuable, do the following before hiring anyone to work on your cover.

How to Prepare Your Design Brieft

  1. Write down the core messages of your book. Unlike traditional publishing where the design process may take up to months, sole designers have limited time to read your book from page to page. Therefore, you’ve to tell them what are the most important points you want to get across to your readers, so they could do the magic and get them translated on the cover.
  2. Write down the text you want to go on your cover. Keep this to a minimum because the more text it is, the smaller the font size it has to be to fit the content all in. You’ll end up having an unattractive cover that is hard to read. Refer to “The Cover Component” in the previous section for what to write.
  3. Write down the covers you want to emulate. Remember I said there are patterns and common practices to follow in different genres? One way to make sure your covers are not out of this is to see what is already in the market. If you’re working with us, we will do this step for you. But it’d be great to send us 3 to 5 examples so we can understand your taste better

Once you’ve prepared all the information above, congratulation! You’ve got your design brief and ready to work with a designer!

Step 2: You send the design brief to your designer.
Designers work in different manners and guarded by their own policies. Assuming you’ve nailed down one designer to work with, this is normally the time you put down a deposit or pay full amount. Some would take this further to sign a contract to protect both parties’ benefits.

For some, having your detailed brief is enough to get them started. For Kindle Station, I prefer to schedule a quick call or communicate through emails with my clients to further understand their visions and needs. I suggest you to talk further with your designers especially if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want yet. The call or brainstorming should be part of what you’re paying for.

Step 3: We research, propose and design cover concepts.
This is the creation stage where your designers start to deliver their promises. For Kindle Station, we send you first drafts of two cover concepts in 3 to 5 days.

Depending on your budget, some designers can deliver up to 8 concepts. Of course, the more concepts you ask for, the more money you’ll be expected to pay.

Also, depending on how established and booked solid the designers are, it can take 3 to 7 days or more to receive your first draft. This should be clarified beforehand.

For some design agencies, you can even receive a first draft in as short as 24 hours. These companies have more designers under their belts so they can promise a faster delivery.

In either case, the faster you want your covers to be done, the more you’ll have to pay so plan out your schedule nicely to avoid rush orders. You would be surprised not all designers are willing to take last-minute orders especially if they are already in demand and have other commitments.

Step 4: You decide which concept you like to continue work on.
If everything goes well, you would have a few cover drafts on hand at this stage.

Don’t be surprised or upset if you think the drafts are not “what you have discussed”. It’s not that the designer didn’t get it right the first time. For some, they actually like to send rough drafts to show you how different elements will come in place before working on the details like fonts and colours.

For Kindle Station, we like to send polished early design. You will be able to take our draft covers with you and ask for feedback from your audience. Refer to the previous section for the exact steps in testing your covers.

Before asking for more revisions, you’ve to decide which concept you like first so the designers can continue fine-tune the concept.

Step 5: You ask for revisions.
Depending on the designers, some only offer a few revisions and charge extra after that; some like Kindle Station, are happy to offer unlimited revision for a period or even lifetime. Again, clarify this before you place the order.

As someone who has helped design many covers, do you know what kind of clients give me the most headaches in the early stage?

Clients like this…

Client: Well, I’m not sure if I like this cover…
Me: Cool with that. Could you tell me what you’re not happy with so I can make the changes?
Client: I don’t know. It’s just not right. It doesn’t give me the correct feeling.

I quickly learned that this happened because the clients don’t have clear visions of what they want, which is why I suggested you to plan this out in Step 1.

Over time, I also learned to pinpoint the problems by asking right questions. You can use this as a guide to find out what to improve on for your cover.

Ask yourself, do I like/ dislike the…

  • Font type
  • Font size
  • Colours
  • Background
  • Images
  • Layout

Good designers will also give you their opinions. Maybe your tagline is too long and made the cover look crowded. Maybe your preferred colour does not reflect your core message.

Every maybe could bring out a new possibility. Sometimes the revisions bring you closer to a finished cover, but sometimes it doesn’t. Therefore, you may be wasting your time (sometimes money) if you can’t tell exactly what you like and dislike about the cover. As much as your designers want to deliver perfect covers, they can’t read your mind. Bear in mind, the more meaningless the revisions asked, the longer the time taken to finish the covers. This is certainly not good for both you and the designers.

Therefore, be open minded and willing to compromise but also be specific of what you wish to see and ask for it.

Step 6: You’re happy with the finished product.
This is the final stage. You’re happy with your covers. It’s done!

Your designers will send you the finished covers and mark the project completed. Most of the time, you’ll only receive your covers in the required formats for publishing, i.e. flat and/ or 3D in JPEG and/ or PNG. You can’t do further changes by your own with these formats.

For Kindle Station, upon request we offer to hand over all files including source formats (Photoshop and/ or Illustrator) and copyright at a small additional cost. This makes things convenient for you. Having all the files stored on your end means that you’re able to make small quick changes without relying on the designers all time. Sometimes, it helps to save you time and money if you know what to do. You’re also free to move on to another designer in the future if needed.

Day 4: What Make A Good Cover?

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 04

What Make A Good Cover?

 

Did you get here from a link from a friend? To get access to all the content, make sure you sign up for this free course right here.

 

Well, well, what exactly is a good cover then, I hear you ask.

It’s a good cover if it does its job i.e. catching attention from your audience quickly and eliciting their interests by building curiosity without revealing all the story of your book.

By sending out enough right signals, your readers will be willing to pick up your book and find out more.

In my definition, that is a good cover.

However, it can be pretty subjective when it comes to design.

Take font for example. What one designer likes may not be favorable at all to another designer. Though there are particular fonts designed for certain genres, it’s hard and pointless to argue which one is better than another.

Despite that, there are indeed a few rules to follow in putting different design elements together to create good covers that are not only to sell but also look beautiful.

Before I continue, let me remind this, if you are able to avoid the 4 main mistakes I covered in the previous day, then your book cover is already way ahead than many others.

Also, I’ll only talk about front covers because that is all you need for your Kindle book and what I do the most. If you need more than that, such as what makes a back cover or dust jacket shines, then look beyond me and listen to other experts in the field.

Alright that’s enough for reminders, I know you’re eagerly to learn more, so let me present: what it takes to design a good cover.

 

The cover components

By convention, you need the following components to be on your cover. And anything other than them, in my opinion, is not necessary. Having more may cause more harm than good and wasting spaces on that 6” x 9” canvas.

Title
This is obvious. If the cover IS that important element of your book to get people into buying, then the book title IS that important component on your cover. Your book title is the first impression of your story as it suggests to your readers if your book will be interesting and applicable enough to pick up. Therefore, put more thought into creating the best title possible for your book.

Subtitle or Teaser
Subtitle is your alternate title. A good subtitle should contain keywords, explain and set the context of your content. You’ll often find subtitles being used more in non-fiction books. When it comes to fiction books, what you may see more is the teaser. A good teaser should entice the right interests and give hints to the main plot without disclosing the whole story.

Background
When I say background, I am referring to that one layer that goes beneath your other cover components.

Depending on your genre and book content, it could be a layer with or without images. Sometimes, for non-fiction, a less busy background like colour pattern may make your cover stand out than a complex image. On the other hand, for fiction, colourful photos or pictures may be more appropriate and much more attractive than a mono-colour background.

Author’s Name
Again, this is self-explainable. One mistake that I see authors make is making their names more prominent than their book titles. Remember this, readers don’t care who you are until they realise you’re the right one to offer what they want. Think about the last time you bought a book from an unknown author, did you pay as much attention to the name? I bet that wasn’t the first thing came to your mind.

If you’re already a housebrand, you don’t have to make your author’s name big to catch the attention. People will be looking for your name and waiting eagerly for the new book to come. But if you’re not, making your name big doesn’t help until you’ve built your own authority successfully.

The design elements

Next, let’s understand how different design elements make your cover pop. If you think that your cover isn’t attractive enough, then look among the elements below, you’ll find your answers.

Convey with a theme and concept.
Build a relevant theme and concept to convey the core message of your book clearly. The theme and concept also communicate your genre. You want your audience to know immediately that your book is in the right category and may be something they’re looking for. In simpler terms, if what you have is a science fiction, you want it to look like one rather than let’s say, a romance fiction.

Create focal point with layout.
Your cover has to lead the audience’s eyes by creating a strong focal point. Therefore, learn to play smart with your layout because it affects how you arrange your text and images on a single flat canvas.

If you played with any camera before, you’ve probably noticed the Gridline function your camera has. And if you’re more advanced than that and into photography, you probably have heard of Rule of Thirds.

According to Wikipedia, ‘Rule of Thirds’ says that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject.

You could apply the same guideline in designing your cover. Split your cover into 9 grid boxes and place your text and images along these lines or their intersections. Combined with the right fonts and photos, your cover is going to wow your audience.

Choose the right fonts.
As mentioned, certain fonts appear to be more suitable for certain genres because they trigger respective emotional responses from humans. Therefore, you have got to pick the right one to fit your theme and content.

Typography alone is a huge topic. I could try writing about it, but I doubt you’ll benefit more from me, than listening to a cover design expert like Derek Murphy, who has an intensive article just about picking the right fonts for your book cover.

Make dramatic visual effects with photos and picture.
You and I both know that a picture speaks a thousand words. Great photos are used for a few purposes:

  • Trigger the right emotional responses to make the readers relate to your theme and concept.
  • Summarise your plot and build anticipation without giving away all the information.
  • Make your cover pop and more interesting.

As I said, you do not need to include photos on your cover not all the time. For fiction books, having great photos (sometimes one photo is enough) as the background is almost a convention because fiction tell stories and photos do just that. For non-fiction books, having great graphic or simply a colour background could be enough in some cases. It’s a creative way to turn the facts into more interesting topics.

Enhance visual effects with pleasant colours.
You can’t avoid colours if you want to create dramatic visual effects. Similar to the fonts, colours speak and represent a lot of things. By changing the tones, shades, and contrasts, you achieve different visual effects. Be careful though, having more colours on your cover doesn’t mean it’s better and could mean the opposite sometimes. Know what to achieve in your theme and style, and then choose one or two colours that fit. It could be similar colours to avoid too much contradiction between design elements, or totally different colours to highlight their differences.

Either one, your cover should have good amount of light contrasts to be seen. That is especially important when it comes to your title and background; those two should be distinguished from each other clearly.

Take note of the lighting too. Have you seen covers that look dull? One reason could be the covers are lack of lighting that casts shadow on the text and images.

Keep your cover simple.
Simplicity in design means a lot of good. Keep your cover simple means avoiding too much complexity (too many dramatic photos, too much colour effects, too fancy fonts…). Making it less complex means the design elements will stand out more in the hierarchy. You want your title and main object to be the focal point and anything less important smaller or appear to supplement the design only. Hierarchy also means allowing more empty spaces on your canvas, which would in turn improves the readability and balance of your cover.

Even with all these rules in mind, I don’t mean to ask you to tackle them one by one. Of course, if one of them appears to be the obvious reason why your covers suck, then definitely fix it. However, bear in mind, making of a good cover is a process of considering all these elements and knowing how to put them together in a way that they all balance and are in harmony with one another.

That is what, a designer does.

Day 3: How Good Is Your Cover?

By Hazel Lau | Get free updates on new posts here

DAY 03

How Good Is Your Cover?

 

Did you get here from a link from a friend? To get access to all the content, make sure you sign up for this free course right here.

 

Let me ask you a question.

How good should your cover be?

Now you might roll your eyes and give me a straightforward answer, as long as it does its job of course!

(Remember I told you what does a cover really do in our very first lesson?)

But, how do you know your cover is good enough?

Well, you test it.

I am a member of a few self-publishing author groups on Facebook. One common request I see from my fellow authors is this:

Can you feedback about my book cover?

While I don’t suggest you to think you’ve the greatest book cover ever, I also doubt the usefulness of asking feedback about your cover from other authors.

So what if you posted your cover and received 50 comments, half of them told you Cover A was better and another half voted for Cover B.

What are you going to do next?

Also, in more than one occasion, simply because the first few persons commented Cover A was great, the rest who came later also voted the same, then more and more people said the same thing despite the two covers bearing not much differences at all?

Be aware of this, as majority of us tend to stick with polite conversations and when being asked for feedback, we tend to give a 5-6 score on a scale. People are also found to drastically change their actions and give up their beliefs just to fit into their social circle.

Even if you manage to get one cover with more votes, does it necessary mean that it IS a better cover?

Is that a cover that will attract your audience?

Think again, the group of people that you ask isn’t the same group of people who will be interested to buy your book.

In his great article Why Asking for Feedback on Your Book Cover is Mostly Useless, Derek Murphy pointed out a very important fact. Here I quote,

A buyer on Amazon would glance at the cover for a second, click and glance again at the bigger size, then read the book summary. You’re asking people to really consider the cover itself. They’ll look at it, think about it, dissect it, criticize it. Of course they will find things they don’t like or that could be improved. Their interaction with your cover is very different from the natural interaction of would-be buyers, as such you can’t rely on their feedback.

Why don’t let the potential readers who are more likely to buy your book tell you the answer?

This is what Derek recommended, getting feedback for your book cover in a smarter way.

  1. Get the covers of 5 other bestselling books (mainstream published are preferred) in your genre – your direct competition.
  2. Print the covers out along with your book cover, or Photoshop them together.
  3. Block out all the author names.
  4. Ask people to vote on them.

Following his way, you will find out if your book cover is good enough.

I would like to add in a few points.

Instead of asking your parents, friends and relatives or fellow authors, ask your targeted audience directly. That means, if you’re publishing a science fiction, then make sure you’re asking feedback from science fiction readers.

There are a few ways:

  1. Just ask 3 to 5 real readers to vote on your covers using the method above.
  2. Post your covers to the readers groups or book clubs in your genre. This is good as you’re also showing up genuinely in front of your audience and creating attention around your books. Rather than asking them to buy your books the old-school way, you’re now getting them involved and hopefully excited about the books you’re planning to launch.
  3. Split test your covers with Facebook ads. This is appropriate when you’ve two or more cover drafts.

How to Split Test with Facebook Ads

How good should your book cover be? A straightforward answer would be, as long as it does its job.

But how do you know then? You test it.

Instead of asking your parents, friends and relatives or fellow authors, you want to ask your targeted audience directly. That means, if you’re publishing a science fiction, then make sure you’re asking feedback from science fiction readers than anyone else.

One way of doing that is to split test your covers with Facebook ads.

This is especially useful and appropriate when you’ve two or more cover drafts.

Below I want to share a step-by-step approach of how to do that:

Step 1: Create your campaign by choosing the right objective.
I recommend choosing either “Send people to your website” or “Boost your posts”.

For the former, key in the URL of your book sales pages on Amazon or your own website. For the latter, select the right post on your Facebook Page where you had mentioned your covers before.

Step 2: Create your advert set by setting the right audience’s demographic.
Select the Location (countries), Age and Gender that you want to target. This is pretty straightforward.

For example, you definitely want to include Spain as one of the locations if you’re publishing a Spanish Kindle book. Similarly, if you’re writing for young adults, then choosing the appropriate age range is important.

Sometimes it’s easy to define your audience because they’re obvious, but sometimes it’s tricky if your audience doesn’t share common attributes.

But don’t worry, that is where Interests comes into play. You could browse the categories and pick the right subcategories, which are the ones you think your audience is interested in.

Here is the thing, Interests allows you to target people who have expressed an interest in OR like Pages related to anything.

Therefore, other than just picking from the list Facebook has provided, you could literally “steal” readers from your competitors. Sounds cool?

Let me explain. Say you’re publishing a marketing handbook for startups, it might be hard to target the right audience just based on the location, age and gender alone. After all, anyone at any age from anywhere could start a business!

Here is what you could do then. Write down a list of authors and experts in the field who are well known for what you write, in this case, it’s marketing.

Anyone who has a bit of sense about marketing knows who is Jay Abraham or Seth Godin. These gurus are huge brands! They’re famous, established and well known for what they’re doing in the circle you want to target.

Guess what? They all have their own Pages!

By entering their names into the Interests column, you’re now telling Facebook to display your ads in front of these people, who have liked Jay’s or Seth’s Pages, likely to be fans of them, and more importantly, are interested in marketing, business and entrepreneurship. Do you think they will be more interested in hearing your book? You better think so.

fb-ad-interest

 

The more you know your audience, the easier you’re able to hunt them down by playing these settings, so do make sure you do your homework.

Step 3: Set your advertising budget.
For beginners, start small with your daily and total advertising budget to get a hang of it first. You could also set the start date and run the campaign for a period of time than infinitely.

Step 4: Create your adverts with different covers.
Remember, each cover is an ad. If you only have two covers to test, then you only need two ads. The good news is, Facebook has made it easy for you. You don’t have to create the ads one by one.

You only have to upload your different covers as images and fill in the rest (Headline, Text and Call-to-action Button) to make them complete. Then Facebook will automatically create and add a different advert for each image.

fb-ad-different-images

Make sure you make the call-to-action straight to the point. This is not a promo for your book so be clear about it. Write something simple, like “Do you like this cover? Click to show your love!” You get the idea.

As for where to place your Facebook ad, only turn on Desktop News Feed (requires a Page) and Mobile News Feed and turn off Right Column and Audience Network.

Step 5: Review and place order.
That is it! You’ve created a campaign successfully! Now let it run for a few days before collecting the data and picking the winner cover!

To wrap this up, know that the feedback about your book cover is not always as useful. It only becomes more reliable if you’re receiving them from the right people, either your targeted readers or professional cover designers.

Your book sale is a better metric. You will know your cover is not good enough if your book doesn’t sell well, given that other factors have been right and lot of traffic has been landed on your sales page. Therefore, pay attention to the fact than listen to the majority.