How to Format Your Book and Publish it on Amazon

Michael Rank
A free video tutorial from Michael Rank
PhD, History
4.1 instructor rating • 5 courses • 22,916 students

Learn more from the full course

Turn Your MA or PhD Thesis Into a Best Selling Book

From thesis to published book in 30 days

03:49:38 of on-demand video • Updated December 2017

  • Transform your research into a best-selling book.
  • Take your research, repackage it into something anybody would want to read, upload it to Amazon, and begin selling it on the world's largest bookstore.
  • Use the best-seller book launch sequence to make your book dominate any Amazon category.
English [Auto] Now we've gotten to the nitty gritty of how to choose your book topic. Let's say you have your book topic you have the Microsoft Word documents you've repackaged it you've done the barstool test and you wrote it with your intellectual but non-scholarly friends in mind. How do you take that word document and upload it to Amazon. One of the step away from this PowerPoint presentation and show you exactly how to go through this process. This process seemed like moving really fast. It's kind of like those cooking shows where somebody prepares a five course dinner in 20 minutes and you're perpetually yelling at your TV. Slow down. What do I do after I cook the. Shut up. But before I throw in the intro and you might need to pause here there and go back once this is all done and that's fine. But I'm just going to jump in that process and quickly show you the step by step approach of how to format your book for Amazon and upload it. Now let's start at the very beginning. You have your book you turned it from your research into a popular book. This is the Microsoft Word document. How do you take this and format it for an Amazon ebook. Let me show you right away. First let me show you some of the features of this document. I have a title the copyright notice that after that there is a table of contents that go to the different chapters. Then there don't worry about this free bonus. Author's note you don't need that. And then an introduction in Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 yada yada. You have to do some special things to format this for the to be an Amazon ebook. They use a format called Moby. You can upload a Microsoft Word document and it will convert it but you have to do special things with page breaks with the chapters to indicate where the table of contents are. And I did go off and learn this stuff by myself. You can also use software like Scrivener which does it but it's a headache to learn. Let me show you a much easier way to do all of this and save you massive headache whenever I have a problem. I want to do something. I don't know how and I know there's someone out there that if they know what they're doing they could do it very quickly. Here's a web site I go to this Web site is called Five dot com. The place where people do things for you for five dollars. Remember earlier when I mentioned that I had my e-books covers design for $5. It was done here. Somebody designed an ebook cover for $5. Well people will also format your book for Amazon for $5. And please do this you'll save so much time it makes your life better. So let me just show you how to do this. If you go top here find services just click in format's ebook format. That's a good one. So if you click on any one of these I like to go up here filter by average customer review. You know you want people who know what they're to find someone who hopefully has a lot of good reviews. Let's say this they have a 172 positive reviews. That's nice. And then they just say I will format to your Kindle except the files Doc Doc X RTFM EDT. Cool. So all you do is send them your word file that's broken up into a table of contents Chapter 1 chapter to chapter 3. They will give you back a file that you can upload to Amazon. OK so now you have that file. Where do you go. Here's where you go. This is Katie on Amazon.com Kindle direct publishing. This is the portal where you upload your books and you sell them. You don't need anything you don't need any credentialling to do this. All you need is an Amazon account. And I think most of us have this. So here signing with your Amazon account you just sign it. You don't have an account you can sign up. So you just come to KDP to Amazon.com and you click this button to sign in if you're new to Katy B. Oh if you're new to KDP you won't see any books down here. But otherwise the screen will look like this. Here's how you get your book up. Click on this thing up here that says Create new title introduce KDP Select what this means is that if you only sell your book on Amazon you get perks and bonuses. Do this stuff trust me unclick. Yes it means that you can't put your ebook up on anything else like Barnes and Noble or Smashwords or Coba or whatever. But when we start out we're going to want to do this. OK. Enter your book title. Now I'm going to use my example of the Middle Eastern history of from Muhammad to Burj Khalifa and then the subtitle. This is optional and I have a crash course 2000 years of Middle East history book part of a series you don't need that publisher you can put whatever you want here. This is nice because you can just make up whatever you want. You could have it be. I don't know what your last name is let's say your last name is Chapman. Chapman publishing to a casual reader they'll have no idea that you're any different from a normal publishing house so you can make this whatever you want to be it's kind of nice. Then description you remember earlier when I talked about my description of Middle East history and I talked about what was in it for the reader. I'm going to plug this in right here. My original description for this book. So if I drag this out I just say general overview. OK. About me a little bit about this book to say why this book is important how the book is structured. And then what is the benefit to the reader. Okay book contributors. That means who wrote it. So the author my pen name is Michael ranke and then title you would select author save. And if it's more than one author you can add it here and do what you want. Language. English ISBN. You almost definitely want how this you can leave this blank. Verify your publishing rights. This is not a public domain book because you wrote it. If it is public domain it's sold for free. We don't want that target your book to customers categories. This is an important category and I'll tell you why. When you are shopping for books and Amazon's when you're shopping for books on Amazon different books are in different categories. You need your book to be in the right category not just for categorization. If I'm on Middle Eastern history I don't want it to be in American history obviously because our customers will find it. But also some categories books sell better than in other categories. If you're you don't want to put your book in a super competitive category because then you'll be pushed out. No one will see it. You don't want it to be in a dismal category because then no one will look for it in the first place. Let me explain. You wouldn't put your book in just general history because it'll be buried you don't want to put it in 19th century history of Wyoming because that's so obscure. No one will check it out. Let me show you how to choose what category to put your book in. You how you actually go back over to Amazon.com and go over here to kindle and just look for different categories of books. I'm just going to type in history and this will show me all the different subcategories if I go over on the left hand side of the screen there we are. Now if I look at the top one here 13 hours this is probably rank super high. OK so this is number two 90 in Kindle store that is insanely high. What we want to do is want to have a page that's pretty competitive maybe between five and 10000. And then the book at the bottom of the page. Let's look at that one and see where that is ranked. This is Can number 2000 in the Kindle store. This category is too competitive. We want the bottom one to be somewhere between 20000 and 100000. The bigger the number the less it's selling between 20 and 100000 if we launch our book right. And I'll talk more about how to launch your book right later than you can get on the first page. You want to be on the first page because people usually don't go to a second page. So casual browsers won't find your book if you're in a category it's too competitive because you'll likely push the fifth or tenth pages and then your book will sit in obscurity. So United States is too competitive. We have to niche down a little bit like what they say the riches are in the niches. That's a cheesy little line there. OK. So I'm just going to click down to this one here killing Lincoln Bill O'Reilly whatever you think of Bill O'Reilly he has a big audience so that one might be OK 4000 Kindle store. This one is also too competitive. Military history. So we have to drill down even one step more let's say civil war OK. This is the bottom of the page years with Jeb Stuart 11000. All right. So that one is better. It's still kind of competitive but we've drilled down and I think we have a better chance of finding what we need. If you want to drill down even further let's say we go into regimental histories. This one might even be a little bit too niche. This the one of the bar on the page is called Under the Red Patch 450000. OK. So this page is a little bit too uncompetitive. But you see the idea that when you're choosing your category you have to drill down. OK so do that and then find two categories that you want your book to be in. So let's hop back over here. Let's just say hypothetically that whatever my right categories are I decided that I wanted Middle East. That makes a lot of sense. I'm have Middle East General and it fits into a subcategory of military history also so I could say military strategy OK. Age range Don't worry about that. That's really only important for children's books. Key words general key words that would match your books so people can find it on Amazon. Think of the most general thing like google friendly possible you can find Middle East Middle East history Islamic Islamic history Crusades Mongols OK. Select your book release option don't worry about this. Upload a cover. Now remember where did I go to get my books for only $5 and that is our wonderful website fiver. OK so if you just look at something like ebook covers then you'll find loads of people who can design ebook covers for you. Fine artists will not be a problem. I will design a professional ebook cover. This could be one book design. Let's click on this person ok. Really. Any of these people will be fine. Now it's not enough to just click on someone who's designed lots of different ebook covers. You have to give them really specific instructions. These people can do a great job but if you don't tell them what to do then you can get a terrible book cover like the lumberjack romance I showed you earlier. So here's what you do when you're ready to order. You click on procedure order and this will take you to check out. You usually pay by Pay Pal it's only $5. Again how do you let them know what to do. Here's what I've done and this works well for me. When I'm thinking about Middle Eastern history books maybe I'll hop over to Amazon and type in Middle Eastern history and I'll look at some of the best selling books like A peace and peace. It's a good book and all the Middle East by Bernard Lewis and a look at some ebook covers that I like the fall of the Ottomans. So when I find some titles that I like I'll go back to my person and when I'm ordering I'll say hey here's a link to two book covers. Can you make it similar to that. Now I want to be clear I'm not saying to copy the book cover. I'm not saying that at all. All I'm doing is saying I like this design. Can you make the designs similar and that's fine. My sister is a graphic designer and they're following artistic trends in the industry all the time. If they know that a particular color color combination and or design is popular they will make changes around that. So you're doing your artists a big favor by giving them a general guideline about what they like and if they're good they'll know how to tweak it and personalize it to fit you so they're not copying they're just using someone else as inspiration. OK. So you have your ebook cover then you browse for your image and you upload it. I'll do that real quick. There it is cover uploaded successfully enabled digital rights management. I just say don't because the people who are trying to copy will probably get it anyway and the it will hurt your buyers more than hackers so I just say no. Say this is the final version of my book released then your book content. This is the file that the other person on fiver sent you when you gave them your Microsoft Word document and they gave you back a document that could be uploaded to Amazon. This is what you use. So again click on browse. So again click on browse and upload that document. OK. And if everything uploads successful you'll see this message and said uploading conversion successful. Good. You can also click to preview your book to see how it'll look like on the inside just to see if you like the format and everything. Then click save and continue ok verify your problem territories worldwide. So what your pricing now when you're first starting out I like to make it to 99 and here's why. If it's 299 your price must if it's between you don't you. I mean ninety nine ninety nine you get 70 percent royalty. And we want more royalty. You might think well why not make it more money. Well you typically sell more copies at this lower price point and you actually make more of it being cheaper than he wanted a higher price point. I have done endless testing with prices and if you want to take my word for it this is the best way to go. If you don't you can play around with it. But that's what I found works ok. Kindle matchbook that only works if you have a print on demand book. So don't worry about that Kindle book lending. Long story short people if they're Amazon Amazon Prime members they can write your book and you get money for this so I like it. So if you click on submit for preorder then you are done. It will take about 12 hours. And once the book is published you will get a message that is available. People will be able to publish it and you are good to go.