How to self-publish with Amazon (part 2) – doing covers, spaces & the toc in your doc.


Ok, firstly – covers.

When I began I spent ages messing with cover ideas and asking for help from my sister who works in printing. I read about ‘jpeg’ files and looked around the web for weeks searching for free images I could use as well as ideas.

In the end, I simply used Amazon’s own system.

Within the KDP options, when you upload your document and information, you can add your own file or use the Cover Creator and build one. I have used this with all of my published books. It is easy to use, gives flexibility and you can be sure there won’t be any weird sizing issues where the words don’t fit the screen.

Remember – the reader will choose their own font size.

Plus your image needs to look great as a thumbnail, the tiny oblong you preview when you browse the Kindle store.

Of course, if you can get your own unique designed cover – go for it! There are illustrators and designers who are working for people just like you. If you hire someone, make sure you are clear about your genre, fonts, ideas and read any contracts carefully.

If you get any free images please Please ensure you read the usage terms. It may be free as long as you don’t alter it (no good if you want to show your name/title) or you may be OK to add those details but be required to add a copyright reference. If you are not sure – ASK because a breach of contract can be costly 😦

If you use Cover Creator you can pick from loads of free images, change the background colours, alter font sizes and re-position both the image and your name/title. It’s good fun! And you can preview this before you ‘add it’.

If you are going to do this, I suggest you go to KDP now and have a play, once done you can simply exit and not save anything or you can save the basics and finish uploading your actual book later.

In your raw document, you need to add your Title Page, think of this as the inside of a book. It is simply the Title and your name.  You can add copyright here or on the next page. Example:

Publish a book


Elizabeth Haley-Wood

© Elizabeth Haley-Wood 2015

Now to SP ac Es

Modern software is pretty good at correcting problems as you type or telling you about them. But you want your book to look neat and professional.

So consider format and spacing.

It’s best to use a font size between 10-14 throughout your book and only use the larger size for headings.

You can add bold italics underlines without issues, be careful with any other fancy stuff.

You are best aligning all the text to the left. Maybe use centre for the title page or poems.

Also, if you want neat edges, you can ‘justify’ the text so the words are stretched over a line. Do Not do this for poems or your title/headings.

If you want specific pages, after a chapter or between items – add them using the Page Break option, otherwise the writing will just run on. It is a personal choice, I prefer some clean page breaks but in a  novel you can just use paragraphs and chapter/section headings to break the story.

Preview your work! Send it you your Kindle or use the Kindle Previewer app – then decide what you like best.

There are good guides available if you need more help, make sure you have checked any free software help too.

TOC in your DOC

Confused? Ok, if you have a Kindle, go open it now and click the MENU and select Go To…  There you see options that a reader can use to navigate the book.  If you don’t have a Kindle, they are:

table of contents (toc)    beginning      page     cover     end    location

These are shortcuts that a reader can click on to jump to one of these places. Amazon connect these.

toc isn’t something you Have To Do but it is useful. If your book is a collection (like most of mine: poems and stories) then you really need to do this. It is a list of your contents with links so the reader can jump around in any order they want.  If you have written a novel without any extra bits, you may choose not to bother and just let the reader get on with it, as if they opened the book at page 1 (and…. read).

Or you can use large sections, think of them like 5 chapters together; number them, give them a name – be creative!

You can put the toc anywhere you want, it usually goes after the Title Page (any dedication/copyright pages) but I have seen it at the end of a book – you choose.

1. Start a new page and type toc (Amazon will amend it to the fuller version: Table of Contents).

2. (however you want: left-aligned or centre-aligned) list your content: individual stories/poems; chapters or even sections.

3. Create ‘bookmarks’ to that content > go to the page where you want to jump to, so the chapter/section or story and at the top of the page insert bookmark. I use WORD and it works like this:

  • place the cursor beside the title
  • click on INSERT on the menu bar
  • go to Bookmark (in the links section) and click
  • now add a name for the link, example: Chap1
  • to make the link – go back to the toc page and highlight the related line of text, example: Chapter One
  • now click on INSERT again
  • within links click on Hyperlink
  • ensure the tab ‘place in this document’ is selected (click on it to change)
  • then find the bookmark, so Chap1 and Click (add/ok)

The text in your toc should now be underlined and blue and if you click on it you will jump to the Chapter One.

Got it?  Repeat with all your list of contents.

Check each works. Then add a bookmark only (no link) beside the letters toc. Amazon will add this link.


Don’t panic if this goes a bit wrong the first time, it gets easier with practice 😉

and finally…. Preview.

Check over your book for anything odd, too much space, not enough space?

You can tweak until you are satisfied. Don’t rush this bit!

>>>> next week: keywords, writing good blurb, extras and the upload 🙂

til then…. keep writing

Lizzie HW


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