Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) supports a variety of ebook formats. I found that the easiest way to get your book into Kindle format is to create it in Microsoft Word, with default formatting, and import the Word file into the Kindle Create program (see: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Create/).
Kindle Create lets you choose from several different formats. It also makes formatting the different sections of your book a snap.
If you are planning to put your book into print, I highly recommend hiring BookBaby, or the service of your choice, to do a professional job. Book design and layout is a highly specialized skill. When publishing to Kindle, very little design work is necessary because the text needs to flow as you’re reading with the Kindle reader.
Your Guaranteed Google First Page book will be a non-fiction book. Non-fiction books generally have a standardized structure:
- Title page
- About the author
If you follow this format, you generally won’t go wrong. I find that many authors completely botch the order of things. For example, talking about yourself (“About the Author”) in the frontmatter will doom your book to failure. Nobody cares.
They will care once you wow them with what you have to say.
This is the easiest page in your book. Here’s the proper format:
- Copyright Holder
It’s important to stake your claim. That’s what copyright does for written work. You can’t trademark a book. You must copyright it. The copyright is your legal protection.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to go through the time and cost to file for legal copyright. In the USA you can do so using services like LegalZoom. It costs around $115 plus the federal filing fee. My recommendation is to view your book as a long-term asset. Is your asset worth protecting?
You can use your copyright page for more than just your copyright claim, and I recommend that you do so. Here are some other ideas:
- Your email address so people can contact you.
- Your website address so people can find you.
- Disclaimers about real or perceived associations or the purpose of your book’s content.
- Disclosures regarding financial affiliations, licenses, or accreditations.
Remember, the copyright page is the very first page of your book. That makes it important real estate. I was pleasantly surprised when one of the reviewers on Amazon pointed out that I correctly claimed my association with an insurance carrier.
Don’t let your reputation be soiled by not being completely honest from the start. If you represent a product, company, or organization, let people know. And let them know why, too (in your preface).
Here are the contents of my copyright page for your reference:
Copyright © 2021 David W. Bynon / MedicareWire.com
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
The author is not and never has been an employee or representative of Medicare, the Dept. of Health and Human Services, or any Medicare contractor. This publication is not sponsored by, affiliated with, or endorsed by the U.S. government nor has it been reviewed by any government agency.
At the time of publication, this information is believed to be current and accurate. Medicare policies and benefits are governed by public law and federal regulations. Changes to the Medicare program are continually made as public law and federal regulations are amended.
Information in this book is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical or financial advice. For the most up-to-date information, contact your health insurance agent. If you do not have an agent, call 1-866-237-6709 (TTY 711) to speak with a licensed HealthCompare agent about your Medicare insurance needs.
The author is affiliated with HealthCompare Insurance Services, Inc., a fully owned subsidiary of National General, an Allstate company, and may earn a small referral fee when the reader uses the call center number provided above for enrollment services. This book was neither reviewed nor approved by HealthCompare, National General, or Allstate. All opinions are those of the author.
The author is not a licensed health insurance agent, nor does he claim to be. Before making any decisions about their health insurance, readers are advised to seek the counsel of an agent licensed in their state.
The contents of this book were largely derived from articles by the author, and published on MedicareWire.com, from 2011 through 2021.
After pulling my chapters together (from articles on my website) I added a table of contents. This is easy to do in Word. The Table of Contents function is under the References tab.
Having a table of contents made finding and organizing my content in Word easier. However, it was completely useless importing it into Kindle Create. Kindle Create has its own table of contents tool.
NOTE: If you import your Word table of contents into Kindle Create it will appear to work correctly. However, in the finalized book it will look terrible.
A foreword is an introduction to a book that is written by someone other than the author. It is usually written by a prominent figure such as an expert on the subject or a critic. A foreword should lend credibility to the author and the book by praising the writer, the book, or both.
A forward is completely optional.
The preface is the introduction to a book. It precedes the main text.
A preface is written by the author and provides information about the author’s experience, the inspiration behind the topic matter, and the historical context of the material.
I highly recommend that you use the preface to explain your “big why” to your readers.
The big why is your overwhelming need to write the book. And, not, I’m not talking about your getting on the first page of Google need. What is it that you have and desperately need to share with the world?
That’s your BIG WHY.
In my own case my big why was helping people not make a big mistake with their Medicare health insurance. It just so happens that I was able to combine my big why, honestly and with compassion, with getting on Google page one.
And you can, too!
Don’t underestimate the difficulty of writing your preface. For me, it was far more difficult than writing the chapters. The reason being, you must make it impactful. It may be your first and only chance to connect with a shopper and get them to buy your book. Or get them to act without buying your book
Your preface is an incredible opportunity for a call to action. Add your email address. Invite people to contact you with questions. Add your website address. Invite people to use your website’s resources. Then watch your Google Analytics and see how many referrals you get from Amazon.
The point is people don’t need to buy your book for it to generate traffic from your page one Google presence.
If you followed along from the beginning, you know I started my Guaranteed Google First Page journey by taking one of my top articles, Why Medicare Advantage Plans are Bad and turning it into a book. I used that article from my website and turned it into my introduction.
To me, it made sense that a 1,500 or so word article makes a fine introduction to the topic, but it probably does not answer everything in detail. So, I changed the language to first-person present tense, remove all but one reference to my website, removed all links, and added a summary.
In the summary, I invited the reader to visit my website or call if I answered their questions or continue reading (buy buying the book) if their questions have not been answered. In other words, I made my introduction an opportunity for a second call to action.
This works because Amazon gives readers a free peek at your book. The free peek ends at about the 10% mark. Which is perfect for a book with 10 chapters.
Your chapters should back up everything you said in your introduction. They should also fulfill every promise you made in your book’s description on your book page.
The fastest way to shoot yourself in the foot with Amazon readers is to over promise and under deliver. Solidly deliver on every promise. You don’t need to go on ad nauseam to do it, either.
I make fun of the Medicare for Dummies book in my book description by telling people they don’t need a 400-page book for dummies. I got the job done in 100 pages.
Don’t waste people’s time.
The format I use in my chapters is very simple:
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them (key takeaways)
- Tell them (point-by-point under skim able subheadings)
- Tell them what you told them (summary)
One of my reviewers commented that I was repetitive in my material and then praised me for it. The praise was given because the complex topic is difficult to explain and difficult to understand. You can be repetitive if you are using it to explain a topic from multiple angles.
You can also be a little repetitive between chapters. Do this when a person might go from the table of content to a topic that needs an explanation of a topic in a previous chapter. This is a better experience than telling your reader, “see Chapter 4”.
Before I wrap up this topic, let me mention one thing. Most people skim reading content, they don’t fully engage until something important catches their eye while skimming.
For this reason, I make my intro a bulleted list of what they will learn (key takeaways) and smart subheadings followed by short two to three-sentence paragraphs. It’s the easiest way I have found to make content skim able.
So many non-fiction books I read end without a conclusion. What a letdown.
Your conclusion, or afterword, is your chance to both wrap things up for your reader and let them know what they need to do next. Have you ever read a book filled with great tips and advice, but the author failed to tell you your next steps?
It’s frustrating because any reader who gets all the way through a book’s chapter is obviously interested in what the author has to say. Your conclusion is as easy as telling your readers the exact steps they need to take next.
In my case, I wrapped the book up with a story about my friend, Roxanne, and how she made bad choices. Her bad health insurance choice, which was making no choice at all, has put her tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
I saved this story for the end because it highlights the importance of acting as soon as possible. I literally tell my readers, “Please don’t be like Roxanne and make no choice at all.”
Do you have a Roxanne story that you can relate to your readers?
After telling them about Roxanne I have the sub-title “Next Steps”. It doesn’t get clearer than that, does it?
Under “Next Steps” I thank my readers for buy and reading my book and give them a phone number to call to speak with a professional. After that, I drop links to various resources on my website that will help them.
That’s it, you’re done. And just like that, mostly from content you already have on your website, you have a Guaranteed Google First Page book.
Now it’s time to publish your book.