Posts Tagged Amazon KDP paperback

Using HTML in Amazon Book Descriptions

This is a post for those of you who have self-published on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or are planning to do so.

KDP requires a Product Description for each book. This is the equivalent of the blurb on the back of a traditional book and it is very important in selling the book. These short paragraphs help readers decide whether or not to buy the book. Therefore the product description must be set out in an easy to read format. This is not as straightforward as it sounds because Amazon doesn’t provide any formatting options within the box where the the product description is keyed i.e. it’s not possible to use bold or italics or bullet points. This means the product descriptions of many self-published books appear flat and uninteresting.

But there is a way to slip formatting into the product description and thus make it more attractive. HTML can be used. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and is the standard markup language for web pages. DO NOT GLAZE OVER OR RUN AWAY! This is simpler than it sounds.

For example, to make the word ‘thriller’ appear in bold in a product description, use <b> and </b> immediately before and after ‘thriller’.

And, to make the word ‘scare’ appear in italics, use <i> and </i> immediately before and after ‘scare’.

Put ‘A <b>thriller</b> guaranteed to <i>scare</i>.’ in the product description box and it will appear as ‘A thriller guaranteed to scare.’ on the Amazon page.

It’s also possible to use HTML to underline, create lists and give other text effects. This page lists the HTML acceptable in the product description.

To complicate matters, when publishing in paperback through KDP, the product description has a tendency to lose the line breaks. Use <br> to manually indicate where the line breaks should go and use <br> <br> to create a blank line between paragraphs.

Why not experiment with HTML to liven up your book descriptions?

 

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Improvements to KDP Paperback Offering

In 2017 Kindle Direct Publishing introduced the facility for authors to self publish in paperback as well as on Kindle. This meant it was no longer necessary to use Createspace to produce paperbacks for sale on Amazon. However, there was a downside to moving away from Createspace towards KDP paperback publishing – unlike Createspace, KDP paperback publishing didn’t allow authors to order proof copies or author copies (i.e. books for the author to sell direct to the public). I blogged about this previously.

However, that has now changed!

It is now possible to order proof and author copies of paperback books via the KDP Author Bookshelf. According to Amazon, authors will pay just the printing costs plus delivery and any taxes. And the really good news? Copies for the UK and Europe will be printed and shipped from within Europe – an improvement on CreateSpace, which ships from America.

Chris McMullen has written a detailed blog post comparing Createspace and KDP paperback publishing, which is well worth a read if you’re wondering which path to take or whether to switch from Createspace to KDP. He concludes that for most authors KDP is now the better option.

On a personal note, I’m now glad I tried KDP paperback publishing for A Coffee Break Story Collection and will consider switching from Createspace when I need more author copies of Bedsit Three.

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Creating an EBook and Paperback Box Set – Part 3

In the first blog post of this mini series I talked about why indie authors should consider creating a box set of their works. In the second post I looked at the points to think about when obtaining a cover for a box set. This time I’m looking at creating the paperback using the new KDP paperback facility.

Differences between Amazon KDP Paperback Publishing and Createspace

• Createspace allows the author to purchase a proof copy of the book before it is published. KDP does not but it is possible to publish at a low price, order a ‘proof’ copy and then increase the price. There is a small chance that someone else will order at the low price and/or receive the book with as yet uncorrected mistakes.
• Createspace allows authors to buy in bulk at a reduced price per copy. This is useful for those who want to hold a stock of books to sell at author events and signings. The cost of doing this plus the cost of shipping from America (where these author copies are produced) has become higher since the UK Brexit vote in 2016. On KDP it is possible for an author to use my ‘proof copy’ price reduction method, mentioned above, to buy books for direct sales.
• A paperback published via Amazon KDP cannot be later re-published via Createspace.
• Publishing a paperback via Amazon KDP allows the author to view all the Amazon sales figures for that book on one dashboard instead of logging into a separate Createspace account.
• Createspace offers ‘expanded distribution’. According to the Createspace website this ‘offers you the opportunity to access a larger audience through more online retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and distributors within the United States’.

This blog post from the Alliance of Independent Authors offers an overview of the current pros and cons of publishing a paperback through Amazon KDP rather than Createspace .

How to create a KDP paperback

Tips on Using Amazon KDP Paperback Publishing

• Download a KDP template of the correct trim size. I used the template with sample content.
• I copied and pasted my text into the template chapter by chapter, deleting the example text as I went along.
• Think about the font. I stuck with the Garamond of the template but increased it to 12 point – possibly a sign of bad eyesight!
• Headers – A Coffee Break Story Collection is a ‘box set’ of three books and I decided to have the book title at the top of every even numbered page and the individual story title at the top of every odd numbered page. It was necessary to split each story into a separate section within the Word document to do this.
• A Table of Contents is not usually needed for novels. If needed, a Table of Contents can be created using the TOC functionality within Word or it can be done using the Cross Reference facility within Word (detailed instructions for both of these methods in the different versions of Word can be found by searching the internet). I chose this second method because my box set required three separate Tables of Contents – one for each book.
• Check the formatting of the book, using the KDP Previewer, before obtaining a cover, to ensure that the number of pages is correct. In order to do this, it may be necessary to use the KDP cover creator to generate a temporary cover. You will be able to replace this cover with your own prior to publication.
• Product description – this can be copied from the book’s Kindle product description. However, on publication the line breaks may disappear. My description initially appeared as one mass of text. I queried this with Amazon and was advised to manually insert HTML coding to force the line breaks. To do this insert <br> where a line break is required.
• Linking of Kindle and paperback editions on the same product page. This should happen automatically after publication, but may take a few days. If it doesn’t happen, contact Amazon and they will very quickly make the link.

Formatting and publishing a paperback book takes patience and an eye for detail, whether done via Createspace or KDP but it is not rocket science. Good Luck!

A Coffee Break Story Collection contains a bumper 36 stories and is available for Kindle and in paperback via Amazon and also on Kobo.

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