STEP-BY-STEP E-BOOK PUBLISHING WITH AMAZON’S KDP JUMPSTART
Amazon introduced a new simplified step-by-step publishing guide called KDP Jumpstart.
It’s designed for new authors, but could help anyone who needs Kindle formatting help.
A nice feature is that the 12-step program is available directly on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) help page. You can find a link below (or visit Amazon KDP’s help pages and look for KDP Jumpstart near the top left).
Following the guide, e-book formatting for most books is done through Kindle Create (Amazon’s free reflowable book conversion software). There are two ways to do this:
- Open Kindle Create and then open a .doc or .docx file.
- Install the Kindle Create add-on and run it from Microsoft Word. (This option is intended for authors who plan to publish both print and e-book versions through Amazon KDP.)
Kindle Create offers a convenient way to apply paragraph styles without having to learn how to modify and apply styles within Microsoft Word, and without having to learn HTML.
Here are a few things that I like about KDP Jumpstart:
- It makes self-publishing a Kindle e-book appear relatively quick and easy. The number of steps to follow is kept to an absolute minimum, and the information is very concise.
- Everyone should take a look at Step 6, which provides a cool visual introduction to book design. Note, however, that the labeled diagrams specifically show paperback designs.
- The Kindle Create plugin for Microsoft Word is designed to let you design a paperback interior in Word and quickly create an e-book from the paperback file.
- KDP Jumpstart covers important topics like writing the book description, cover design (review Step 6 before you read Step 9), and how to choose categories and keywords.
- The guide includes insider tips as well as helpful activities. For example, one activity gives you specific author pages to check out, while another helps you learn how to research browse categories.
I’m not saying it’s the perfect publishing solution, and I’m not saying that all authors should switch to this method. It does look like a good place for new authors to start, and anyone who could use help with Kindle formatting (or who may be looking for a convenient way to go about it) should at least check it out.
Following are a couple of possible cons to consider:
- Maybe it’s a little too short and simple. There are usually many pitfalls for new authors to learn regarding Kindle formatting. New authors tend to have a few habits that usually cause problems with Kindle formatting, like using the tab key to indent, not using paragraph styles, typing two spacebars after a period, using the Enter key to create blank lines, etc. Perhaps Kindle Create helps with a couple of common habits, but it doesn’t seem like it would be foolproof. I’d like to see the guide mention more common issues for new authors to avoid.
- I still recommend CreateSpace (Amazon’s original self-publishing company) for paperbacks. It’s convenient that Amazon KDP now offers paperback publishing, but it doesn’t yet appear to be as fully developed as CreateSpace. At CreateSpace, you can order a printed proof (which every author should do), you can order author copies, and you get wider distribution (unless any of this has changed recently).
Regarding the first point, there is more information available in the KDP help pages than what you can find in the simplified publishing guide, if you spend time browsing through the help pages (or try using the search feature). There are also some good discussions regarding formatting and publishing on the KDP community forum (especially, if you use the advanced search feature and change the date range to All Years).
Copyright © 2017
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
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