The first time (and honestly even the fifth time) I tried to format my manuscript into an eBook for Kindle was a COMPLETE HEADACHE. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) requires your eBook manuscript to be pretty specific. And even if it looks good in a doc on your computer, it might look like a complete disaster once you get it uploaded to Kindle.
Save yourself the headache and use this super simple plug-n-play template. It’s the ideal Kindle eBook template, already formatted to display perfectly on Kindle.
Just a heads up, this post contains affiliate links—that means I get a small commission of any sales made from the links below, but the price is the same for you whether you purchase via my link or directly from the merchant 🙂
Get your FREE Kindle Publishing eBook template here:
Once you’ve downloaded the template, save it to your computer as a master doc and then “Save As” for every future eBook you write.
This template is designed for fiction books, specifically Amazon Short Reads (check out this post for the 7 ways Amazon Short Reads can really skyrocket your writing career), but it can be used for novels and nonfiction as well.
How to create an eBook in Word using my KDP eBook manuscript template:
Get your free KDP eBook template here if you haven’t already.
1. Start on the Title page and enter your title, subtitle (I strongly suggest using the subtitle to insert KDP keywords to help your book rank higher in search results), and the author’s name:
2. Be very careful not to erase any of the formatting in the doc. The best way to do this is to click in the middle of the existing text and either type your info or paste your info into the middle of the existing text, like this:
**If you copy/paste, make sure to paste and match style. To do this, copy your text and then in the Word doc insert your cursor where you want the text to appear. Then go to Edit > Paste and Match Formatting:
3. On the next page insert the author name or publishing company name in the designated space. Then insert your newsletter signup link. This is important in order to collect emails and build your email list. You can sign up for ConvertKit’s free version here (this is what I use for email marketing and I really like it). If you have a website, you can easily create a squeeze page like this one. If you don’t have a website, you can use LeadPages to create a squeeze page. You’ll be thanking yourself in a couple of years when you have a robust email list thanks to your efforts now!
4. Next, fill out your dedication page. This can be to someone who helped you write the book, someone that inspired you, or to your readers! Make sure to delete the “Optional Dedication Page” line:
5. Next, insert the author name on the copyright page. You can leave the rest of this text as is, unless you have a specific disclaimer you’d like to enter:
6. Now it’s time to adjust the Table of Contents. The ToC is really important for an eBook because it lets the reader jump right to the part of the book they want to read with just one tap. The ToC has been pre-formatted and contains anchor text. That means it will jump right to that section of the document when the ToC link is clicked. To adjust your ToC:
- If you want to add more chapters, first create a new chapter in the document body. This means you’ll have to add a new page and copy/paste the Chapter header and body text from an existing chapter. I go through these steps in detail a few lines down if you want more guidance.
- After adding the new chapter(s) in the body of the doc, return to the ToC page. Type in the new chapter name in the spot that makes sense.
- Next, highlight the new chapter name in the ToC. Click the Insert tab and then choose Hyperlink:
- In the hyperlink window, select Document and then click Locate:
- Expand the Headings section and then choose the chapter you want it to link directly to (this was why you needed to add the new chapter to the body of the doc before you added it to the ToC). Click Okay:
- Click Okay once more to close the hyperlink window.
- Test your ToC by clicking the Chapter name and verifying it takes you directly to that chapter in the body of the doc.
7. To add a new chapter to the body doc:
- Insert your cursor at the very end of the last chapter. Go to Insert > Break > Page break:
- A new blank page will appear.
- Highlight the chapter title and body text of the previous chapter and copy it.
- Next, go to your new blank page and paste the copied text. Change the chapter title and insert your chapter’s text accordingly.
8. Next, it’s time to enter the body text. I like to just copy/paste each chapter into my eBook template one chapter at a time (I usually write the manuscript in a Google doc or with Scrivener and then paste the final copy into Word). When you paste the body text, make sure to paste and match formatting. You can do this by selecting all the dummy text you want to replace and then going to Edit > Paste and Match Formatting. This will make sure to keep the indentation and paragraph spacing of the template:
9. Repeat until all chapters have been pasted in. Make sure to delete all the placeholder text from the template.
10. After you’ve inserted all of your chapters, fill out the Promo and About the Author pages. These are great spots to self-promote! Let your readers know where they can find you online, on social media, or how they can contact you via email. Share an excerpt from your next eBook or advertise one of your related series. Or you could use it as a second opportunity to build your email list by encouraging readers to sign up for your newsletter. Add an incentive of a free eBook to capture even more email addresses. There are countless ways you can use these sections to build your author platform. Take advantage of it!
*Note: Do NOT include page numbers in your manuscript. The eBook pages will change based on the device and font size the customer is using. If you manually add page numbers they will get all messed up.
How to Upload Your eBook Template to KDP:
1. Once you’ve plugged your manuscript into the KDP ebook template, you’re ready to upload it to KDP! First, go to kdp.amazon.com and sign in to your account (or create a new one).
2. If you‘re creating a new eBook from scratch, click + Kindle eBook:
3. If you’ve already started a new eBook entry, click Continue setup:
4. Fill out the Kindle eBook Details section and then continue to the Kindle eBook Content section.
5. Under the Manuscript section, click Upload eBook Manuscript:
6. Find your saved manuscript and click Open.
7. You’ll see a success message confirming your manuscript’s been uploaded:
8. Next, upload your cover. Get 6 FREE pre-made book cover templates (+ 6 designer fonts) and step-by-step instructions here!
9 Once your manuscript and cover have been successfully uploaded, it’s super important to view them in the previewer. Even if they look perfect in your doc, they might have gotten wonky during the upload. Click Launch Previewer to see what your eBook will look like IRL:
10. As you look through your eBook be extremely critical. This should look exactly like the eBooks produced and published by top publishers. Customers don’t know that they’re purchasing a self-published book unless it looks unprofessional. Don’t lose a potential reader because of a poor quality product.
11. Carefully look over the Table of Contents. All text should be blue and clickable. If it is not blue and clickable, that means the formatting got messed up in the manuscript.
12. If you’ve included any links (like links to your website or other books in the Promo page or About the Author page make sure they work and go where they’re supposed to.
13. That’s it! The best thing to do is to judge your final product off of an existing eBook published by a reputable publisher. This is the standard. If you keep this mentality in regards to your eBook empire, you’ll be successful!
Ready to make your eBook look like it’s from a professional publishing company? These pre-made KDP covers will add that final touch to your book and 10x your eBook sales.
They’re completely free and come with a detailed instruction book that shows you how to create and edit the covers as well as how to upload them to KDP. Get them here:
If you’re dreaming of writing your own book but haven’t figured out how to actually get those words down on paper, you have to check out my guide How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing. It’s completely free and can be a literal life-changer if you let it. I know that sounds dramatic, but these are all my secrets that led me from being a wannabe writer with no books to a prolific writer with over 100 books written.