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KDP Jumpstart Topic 6 - Introduction to Book Design

WHAT THIS TOPIC COVERS

After reading this topic, you'll know:

  • Why book design matters
  • About common book interior and cover design elements
  • About tools that can help you format your book easily and effectively
  • How to transform your finished manuscript into a formatted file ready to be uploaded to KDP


YOUR PROGRESS

You've completed Milestones 1 and 2. You've just started Milestone 3, which covers book formatting. Later, you'll set rights and pricing (Milestone 4).





INTRODUCTION TO BOOK DESIGN


Video: Why formatting matters

Why book design matters

Imagine you're shopping for a book. You notice a title that looks interesting and you take it off the shelf. But then you see a grainy image on the cover. You open the book, and the font is too small and the text has formatting irregularities. Would you buy this book? Probably not.

This is why book design matters. Reading is a visual experience and appearances are important for book customers—so important that they probably won't buy a book whose appearance doesn't meet their expectations. The effort you put into formatting could make or break a reader's decision to buy your book.

Interior design

Now imagine the inside of a well-designed book. What are all the elements that make this design appealing? See the diagram below to learn more about the pieces of a book’s interior and why they matter.



Cover design

Now imagine the cover of a well-designed book. Again, think about all the elements that make the design appealing. See the diagram below to learn more about the pieces of a book's cover and why they matter. The information about typography and imagery apply to eBooks and paperbacks; the information about spines, back covers, and bleed only apply paperbacks.



Formatting tools

Concerned that you don't have the skills or time to design your book? We have tools that can help you format your interior and cover easily and effectively:

  • Format an eBook. Use Kindle Create (PC or Mac) to transform your completed manuscript into a beautiful Kindle eBook. The tool makes creating an active table of contents easy by automatically detecting and styling chapter titles. It works with several word processing applications that can export to .doc(x) format (e.g., Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Google Docs).
  • Format a paperback. With Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word (PC only), you can format your manuscript in Word and upload the finished .doc/.docx file to KDP. The tool helps format chapter titles, first paragraph drop caps, margins, headers, and page numbers. It also lets you insert pre-formatted pages like a copyright, dedication, and table of contents. If you also want to publish an eBook, you can use the same .doc/.docx file you created for your paperback.
  • Design a cover for your eBook or paperback. Use Cover Creator to create an eye-catching cover with a stock photo from our image gallery or an image you provide. You’ll choose a layout, color scheme, and font that best captures your book’s content. The tool also allows you to preview your cover before you publish.

    ACTIVITY
    Find five books with content similar to yours and take notes on the interior design choices (e.g., font, decorative elements). How do these choices reflect the books’ content? When you format your book interior with the tools we recommend, you’ll choose from four themes: Modern, Classic, Cosmos, Amour. See the examples below and choose the theme that best fits your book.


    You just finished writing your book, and you're tempted to submit your manuscript as-is to KDP. Don’t. There's a big difference between a finished manuscript and formatted file that's ready to upload to KDP. For the best results, use the recommended tools. To learn more about why it's worth it to format your book before self-publishing, read this article.


    WHAT TO DO NEXT

    1. Take your notes from the activity above and make a list of design decisions for your own book. Knowing how you want your finished book to look will help you format it.
    2. Next you'll turn your finished manuscript into a formatted file. If you want to publish an eBook only, go to Topic 7. If you want to publish a paperback or in both paperback and eBook formats, go to Topic 8.

    Send us feedback! Complete a survey to tell us how you like KDP Jumpstart. The survey is hosted by Qualtrics, so you'll visit their site to fill it out.

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