Formatting and Previewing Your Book

I have just recently made some minor edits to Revolution Earth, incorporating the changes suggested by a leading UK literary agent.

As I was making the edits I noticed that we had inadvertently given chapters 21 and 26 the same title.  Red faces all round – how could I have missed that one?! It really does go to show that even if you have a book professionally copy edited that you shouldn’t rely on the copy editor to pick up every minor proofing error.  No matter how many times you have proofed your own book somehow these minor errors still slip through.  Fortunately for us and for all of you who are intending to publish on Amazon KDP Select – making these updates is a piece of cake.

Since I last revised the book and went to update the changes on Amazon, a new and very important feature called Previewing your book on KDP Select has been introduced.  This allows you to preview your book as they appear on Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPAD and iPhone. 

If you own a Kindle you can, of course, read your book on your own device but my worry was that I have only the most basic of models and since I bought mine, back in 2011, a host of new and more sophisticated e-readers have been introduced.  And I had heard via other writers that sometimes there can be formatting problems with these new devices.

As Amazon state: ‘previewing your book is an integral part of the publishing process and the best way to guarantee that your readers will have a good experience.’ Today I looked at every single page of our book as it would appear on Kindle Fire – and I was able to experience the book just as the reader would.  And it was at this point that I really did feel like I was now a publisher rather as well as a writer.  And I can’t tell you how empowered I felt as a result.  Because when I look at our book compared with that of a mainstream published author, who has had their book professionally designed and formatted, I can’t tell the difference.

So if you asked me whether or not professional formatting and layout really do matter, I would say that with the launch of Kindle Touch and Kindle DX, yes more than ever. A poorly formatted book not only looks amateurish but it could result in  complaints from readers.  Amazon takes this sort of feedback very seriously and could even reject a book if a reader brings poor formatting to their attention.

It might sound shallow but when we first indie published – back in June 2012 we could see how competitive the market was becoming. We use the professional publishing package Adobe InDesign to format our work and just download the free plug-in for Mac users.  One of the reasons we published exclusively on Amazon in the first place was that the Kindle Publishing Programs are very user-friendly.

So if you published your e-book on KDP Select before the introduction of the preview feature on your Bookshelf – I urge you to go and read it now.  Because one thing is for sure, the format is under scrutiny as soon as a reader clicks on the ‘Look Inside’ feature for your book.  When I’m trawling Amazon for my next indie read, if it has been formatted in Word, the book has to work that much harder to hold my attention, than a properly designed one .

So make sure that your book is getting noticed for all the right reasons.  After all, you sweated blood to get it down on the page, didn’t you?

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