Adding the finishing touches to your first novel or are you an experienced author looking for tips on how to better suit the structure of your eBook to better engage your audience? This article is written for you.
As an author, you have spent the weeks and months (and sometimes years!) writing your masterpiece. Do not make the common mistake of being sloppy when handling the structure and formatting of you work as although this might be the last thing on your mind after writing, it will leave the lasting impression of your work on your potential client.
Make sure the impression you leave with your customers is a good one.
Perhaps you were lucky enough to read this article before you started or completed your eBook, if that is not the case don’t despair, this recommended layout can easily be applied to a book that is already completed. This article is geared towards authors who are looking to enhance their eBooks published on social sales platforms such as Amazon and Smashwords however the content is definitely applicable to printed books too.
Let’s first look at the recommended layout for your eBook.
(thanks to my good friend Paul Salvette whose article helped me in this section.)
Overview of Recommended eBook Layout and Structure.
- Cover Page
- Copyright Page
- Marketing Blurb
- Reviews/recommendations (if possible)
- Dedication (if any)
- Foreword (non-fiction only)
- Preface (non-fiction only)
- Also by the Author
- Table of Contents
- About the Author
Book Layout Explanations
Have a look at the respective bestseller list from Amazon.com, does your eBook cover look anything like theirs?
This is the first page of your eBook that the customer will see and is one of the most important factors for a customer considering whether or not to purchase your eBook. A poorly designed cover will push customers to your competition and I would absolutely recommend using a professional cover design service that can be hired for very little.
Don’t be tempted to do this yourself or have a friend do this for you (unless they are in the business of cover design) an eye-catching eBook cover with neat, clear text can be the difference between average sales and success.
Have a look at these example eBook covers to give you an indication of what you should expect from your designer.
This is one of the more complicated pages in the front matter and includes the copyright notice, information on the edition, the publisher’s address and ISBN.
eBook TIP: ISBNs are not always needed for eBooks, however it is still better to include this as some eBook stores such as Smashwords will need this for their premium publishing option.
All that is required for a copyright notice is:
- The word “Copyright” and/or the symbol © (most people use both)
- The year the work was first published (if subsequent editions include those years too in chronological order)
- The name of the person or organization.
Self Publishing Tip: To make the little copyright symbol © on your keyboard press Alt+0169.
Typical Structure of a copyright page.
- The copyright notice
- An ISBN (optional for eBooks)
- The type of edition (e.g. Kindle Edition, Smashwords Edition, Print Edition, etc.)
- Credit to contributors who worked on the book (eBook Conversion company, editor, cover designer, etc.)
- An “all rights reserved” statement
- A disclaimer if your book is risqué and only suitable for an adult audience.
- An website/mailing address for you or your organization
This is a paragraph or two of marketing text that is absolutely vital to your book sales.
I f this paragraph does not compel the potential customer to purchase or at least sample* your eBook, you would have lost the sale and the customer is likely to not come back for any future releases.
* Sampling is an Amazon feature allowing users the ability to view the first 10% of your eBook before purchase.
A Good eBook Marketing Blurb can be reused for the following purposes;
- As part of a proposal for a publisher.
- For your eBooks online sales page on Amazon, Kobo, B&N etc.
- As content for your website page or your blogs’ “About” page
- For your submission for a contest
- Editors or journalists need a blurb for an article on you and your book
Include as many positive reviews of your work as possible from only reputable sources such as Journals, other authors, Book Bloggers, and fans. These reviews are an indispensable tool to lend credibility and authority to your written work.
This is a short, heart-felt note from the author to someone close to them who assisted or inspired them in some way. This should not be longer than one line and should be typed in italics.
A display of gratitude for any people who helped you in producing the eBook for example, your editor, beta reader etc
A few pages of review not written by the author, make sure to include the credentials of the writer!
Remarks written by the author, typically seen in works of non-fiction.
The preface adds a very personal touch to the work.
Also by the author
A list of your other publications found at the back of your eBook for customers who would have enjoyed reading your eBook. This is essential if your eBook is part of a series.
I would also encourage authors to include an appeal to those readers who enjoyed the eBook and purchased through Amazon.com to leave a review on the Amazon website.
This tip alone can add many valuable reviews to your Amazon page.
Table of Contents
The table of contents (or ToC ) is non-essential in eBooks as all eBook reading devices will typically create the ToC dynamically (on the fly) and if included this will only add unnecessarily to the front matter of the eBook which might frustrate some Amazon customers who make use of the sampling feature to browse an eBook before purchase.
If you must have this consider rather consider moving to the back of the eBook.
About the Author, including promotional hyperlinks.
Include a professional photograph of yourself here.
Also include any material on your background especially information that will lend credibility in your readers minds. Don’t forget to include a link to the author’s website/ blog and social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook .
Before you go!
Worth a mentioning again are the guiding principles in laying out your eBook.
All of these principles are intended to increase your eBook sales and as a result your profits or exposure.
Make the front matter as little as possible to help those readers using Amazon’s sampling feature to browse the actual content of your eBook, move all non- essential front matter to the back of your eBook.
Make sure to link to your other publications’ at the end of the eBook as this will make it easy for readers who enjoyed your work to quickly purchase the next eBook from Amazon for example.
For those authors publishing from Amazon, make sure to ask your readers for reviews at the end of eBook as positive reviews will always help encourage those readers on the fence to purchase your eBook!
Make sure to include your social links at the back of your eBook as it will give readers who enjoyed you writing an easy way to find out about you or your other work. This could include Twitter Links, Google+, Facebook etc
I hope that this has helped those authors looking for clarification on professional layout of their eBook, please let me know what you think of the article or suggest any items you included that helped your sales via the comments section below.