Blog > Copywriting > 10 Kindle eBook Writing Mistakes to Avoid

What Not to Do in Your Next Kindle eBook

May 20, 2024
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13
min read
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These days, the only thing standing between you and your status as a published author are a few simple steps.

eBooks can be a great, convenient way to get published and, thanks to sites like Kindle, publishing an eBook has become easier and more accessible than ever. But just because the publishing process is easy doesn’t guarantee your book will be successful.

In fact, having the publishing process be so straightforward can often lead authors to overlook little details and rush their decisions, unintentionally compromising their book’s quality and leaving them with egg on their faces when reviewers and readers bring these mistakes to their attention.

So, how does one avoid this potentially awkward situation?

If you want to create eBooks that are error-free and well-written, eBooks that are set up for success from the get-go, then today’s blog is here to help you get it done!

Here are 10 of the most common Kindle eBook writing mistakes for you to avoid in order to make your book’s journey to the best-seller list as smooth as it can be!

Why Publish on Kindle?

Many writers choose to self-publish on Kindle rather than go through the process that a traditional publishing company would require.

Here are a few common reasons why:

  • Wide Reach — Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is one of the largest eBook retailers out there. It offers access to a huge global market, meaning tons of exposure for your eBook.
  • Convenience — Publishing on Kindle is a relatively user-friendly and straightforward process. KDP allows authors to upload their manuscripts, set their own prices, and start selling their books (in eBook or printed book format) all within 48 hours. This ease of access is a big draw for both new and established authors.
  • Higher Royalties — KDP offers up to 70% in royalties on sales, depending on the pricing and the territories the books are sold in. This is much higher than traditional publishing royalties, which typically range from 10% to 15%.
  • Control Over the Publishing Process — Self-publishing on Kindle gives authors complete control over every aspect of the publishing process, from the cover design to the pricing and marketing strategies. A particularly appealing choice for authors who have a specific vision for their work or who have had creative differences with traditional publishers in the past.
  • Speed to Market — Unlike traditional publishing, which can take months or even years to get from manuscript to bookshelf, publishing on Kindle takes only a matter of days. This quick turnaround is perfect for authors looking to seize opportunities or capitalize on current topics and seasonal promotions.
  • Flexibility in Pricing and Promotions — Authors can immediately adjust the pricing of their eBooks according to market demand, promotional strategies, or competition. KDP also offers promotional tools like Kindle Countdown Deals and the option to provide books for free for a limited time, which can help attract new readers.
  • Niche Markets — Kindle allows authors to publish niche books that might not attract traditional publishers due to the potentially small market size.
  • Analytics and Feedback — KDP provides authors with detailed sales data and allows them to receive direct reader feedback through reviews. This information is invaluable for improving writing, pricing, and marketing strategies.
  • Long-term Earnings — eBooks on Kindle can provide long-term passive income as they remain available indefinitely, instead of being pulled from the shelves and replaced with newer content like they would in retail stores.

10 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Next Kindle eBook

A yield sign for the 10 mistakes to avoid in your next kindle eBook.

However, saving time and money by publishing on Kindle means that you have to take on many of the responsibilities that a traditional publisher and editor would normally handle.

But if you’re up for that challenge, then we’re here to make sure that your next eBook sells well and gives your readers what they want!

Here are 10 mistakes to avoid that could hamper your sales or affect reader satisfaction so you can be sure that your next eBook is enjoyable for your readers and successful in its sales!

1. Missing the Mark

You can have a flawless manuscript with a great cover and intriguing summary, but if you haven’t done enough research into your target audience, you might miss the mark anyway.

Before you write your book, it’s important to understand who your audience is. What do they want to read about? Where do they spend their time online? What kind of language and messaging is likely to appeal to them? Knowing this can not only influence your content and writing styles but also the way you go about promoting it.

Already wrote your book? That’s fine! Research your audience, see what they’re looking for in the content they read on Kindle, and make the adjustments you need to tailor your approach and make sure you have a book that’s written for those most likely to appreciate it!

2. Not Spending Enough Time Editing

Unfortunately, typos happen. 

And sometimes they happen a lot.

For this reason, it’s best to get your book in front of another set of eyes to catch mistakes or unclear phrasing that you might miss by being so familiar with the writing and phrasing.

Even better, instead of just getting any set of eyes to look over your book, invest in the eyes of a professional editor. Pro editors will know exactly what to look for and can find not only mistakes in your spelling and grammar but also more complex things that affect your writing like your syntax, style, phrasing, and overall structure.

Their unbiased opinion can significantly improve the clarity and flow of your work, improving the chance that readers won’t be put off by silly mistakes, and making sure that your book is polished, professional, and ready for publication.

3. Formatting Woes

Formatting can be a nightmare, we know, especially when you unknowingly did all of your hard work on a platform that doesn’t play nice with Kindle.

Books written in Google Docs or other writing tools like Apple's Pages can leave you cleaning up formatting woes for hours, especially if your book contains things like tables or charts. 

To avoid any problems, remember these steps.

  • Use Kindle-Friendly Software — Begin by writing your book in software that plays well with KDP in the first place. Software like Scrivener is specifically designed for writers and offers export options especially for Kindle. Microsoft Word is another reliable option, as KDP supports direct uploads of Word files (.doc and .docx). Just be sure that your formatting is correct in Word to avoid any problems.
  • Clean Up Your Manuscript — Before exporting your document, remove any unnecessary formatting that might not translate to eBook format. This includes extra spaces, tabs, and special characters that might throw off your layout.
  • Use Styles Consistently — Use styles in Word or formatting presets in Scrivener to ensure consistency throughout your document. This makes it easier to maintain a uniform appearance and solves many common formatting issues upfront.
  • Be Careful with Tables and Charts  — For content that includes tables, charts, or images, consider the following:
    • Resize Images and Tables — Make sure they fit within the typical Kindle screen size (usually around 600x800 pixels).
    • Test Readability —Check to make sure any text that’s inside images or charts is legible at smaller sizes.
    • Use High-Resolution Images — High-resolution images will look clear and professional on all devices.
  • Convert Files Appropriately — Convert your document into a Kindle-compatible format like MOBI or the newer EPUB file format using a tool like Calibre or the Kindle Previewer tool provided by Amazon. These tools also let you preview how your book will look on Kindle devices and apps before you publish.
  • Test on Multiple Devices — After converting, test your eBook on different devices (like smartphones, tablets, and e-readers) using the Kindle app. This helps ensure that the formatting looks good across all readers' screens.
  • Consider Professional Formatting Services — If your book is particularly format-intensive and you're not confident in your ability to manage it, there’s no shame in hiring a professional eBook formatter. They have the expertise to handle complex layouts and keep your book meeting KDP formatting guidelines.

4. Not Optimizing Your Listing

The key to getting readers to look at your book is making it visible in the first place.

To do that, spend some time researching the keywords your target audience is using (while you research them to avoid mistake 1 above!) as they search for what they’re looking to read.

Using the right keywords cannot be overstated. These keywords are what help your potential readers find your book amongst the thousands of others available on Kindle, so make them count. Choose keywords that are specific and relevant to your book’s content, industry, or genre so you can tap into what your readers are looking for. A tool like Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush can help you do that.

Another way to find the right keywords is to take advantage of Amazon’s autofill suggestions. When you start typing in the search box, Amazon automatically suggests filling in your query with the most commonly searched-for keywords and phrases. Find the ones that readers are using to find books like yours and put them in your book description or categories.

And speaking of categories, Amazon lets you select two of them. Pick the most appropriate ones that will let you reach your target audience and compete in your genre. Don’t be afraid to go for more niche categories too if the shoe (book?) fits.

This will help reach the readers that are most likely to be interested in your book and, therefore, most likely to buy.

5. Boring Cover Design

A yellow Designity blob asleep beside a stack of books. Boring cover design should be avoided!

We’ve written on the subject of boring eBook covers before.

And for good reason!

For the same reasons companies invest in the design of their packaging to help them sell products, you’ve got to do the same for your book. Potential readers will only see a thumbnail of your book cover, after all, so you’ve to make an impression and make it quick.

A “meh” cover isn’t going to get it done. Instead, hire a graphic designer to ensure that your cover design is stunning enough to stop the scroll, appeals to your target audience, and looks good at any size.

6. Lackluster Book Descriptions

Even if your cover design is good enough to warrant a click, the battle isn’t over.

You’ve still got to hook your audience and a lackluster book description isn’t the way to do it.

A boring or poorly written description will have readers clicking away. Instead, aim for an intriguing and compelling eBook description that captivates your audience and urges them to read a sample or add your book to their cart. And humans aren’t the only ones you have to impress. Good book descriptions also have the right keywords for search engines to pick up on and show users searching for content relevant to yours online.

Just be sure not to go overboard and make your description so SEO-heavy that it doesn’t read well to your human readers. Aim for a good balance to leave your audience wanting more.

7. Weak Openings

So, you’ve got your optimized listing, an eye-catching, scroll-stopping cover, and your compelling book description.

Friends, if a reader is still on the fence about buying your book, you can guarantee that the last thing they’ll do before making a decision is click and read a sample.

Kindle allows readers a sneak peek at the first 20 or so pages of your book, so if your potential readers have gotten this far, this is your last chance to hook them! 

Do your book a favor by starting strong. You want a well-written and intriguing opening that leaves your reader wanting more. Make those first lines unforgettable — showcase your value right off the bat, use vivid descriptions, an enticing hook, or a question they want answered so badly that they can’t resist clicking that “Buy” button.

Your book’s opening is your make-or-break moment and affects how many downloads your eBook gets, so make it count!

8. Inappropriate Pricing

The price point that you set for your book can affect your sales in a big way, so do some research before you decide.

If you’re not sure where to even start, we recommend looking at what similar books in your genre are going for and working from there. The key is to strike that sweet spot between being competitive and making sure you’re selling your book for what it’s worth.

Consider the length of your book, how niche it is, the level of expertise it offers, and how much value it could bring to your readers to help you decide.

Kindle does offer some pricing guidelines that detail the minimum you can charge (Amazon still needs to make a profit), as well as giving you options for 35% or 70% royalties. The latter usually requires pricing your book at a certain price point, which can be an incentive.

And if you set a price and it doesn’t seem to be working (or it’s working too well and you’re losing out on royalties!), then no worries. Kindle makes it easy to change pricing whenever you like, so experiment if you wish to see what works best for you and your readers.

9. Not Using KDP Select Wisely

KDP Select is an Amazon program that requires you to be exclusive to Kindle but offers you some nice promotional advantages in exchange, like marketing assistance and enrollment in Kindle Unlimited.

Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if this is right for you: 

Pros of KDP Select

  • Increased Royalties in Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library — By enrolling in KDP Select, your book is automatically included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL), where you earn royalties based on the number of pages read.
  • Access to Promotional Tools — KDP Select grants access to promotional tools like Kindle Countdown Deals or the Free Book Promotion, where authors can offer their books for free for a limited time, which can significantly boost book visibility and increase reviews.
  • Potential for Higher Visibility — Books in KDP Select may receive higher visibility in Amazon's marketplace and more favorable placement in recommendation algorithms, potentially increasing your sales and reach.

Cons of KDP Select

  • Exclusive Distribution — While enrolled in KDP Select, your digital book must be exclusively available through Amazon and cannot be sold or distributed digitally anywhere else. This limitation extends to eBooks given away for free on other platforms, blogs, or even your website.
  • Potential Revenue Loss from Other Platforms — Exclusivity means you cannot sell your eBook on other popular platforms like Apple Books, Google Play, or Barnes & Noble. This could limit your audience and potential earnings.
  • Need for Continuous Enrollment — For effective use of the program, continuous enrollment in KDP Select is necessary, which means committing your book exclusively to Amazon for at least 90 days at a time. This can be restrictive if you want to explore other opportunities or if the program does not meet your expectations.

10. Lack of Promotion

Now you’ve got your book written, polished, and ready to sell with a striking cover, optimized listing, and killer opening sentences.

You’re not done yet, friend.

Once your book is out there, you’re going to have to market your eBook effectively in order to get your book in front of your potential audience and maximize your sales.

And, luckily for you, if you need some help with your Kindle eBook marketing efforts on Amazon, social media, or any other platform, we have just the Kindle eBook marketing resource for you.

Where to Find Professional eBook Writers

A location pin and a question mark. Where do you find professional eBook writers?

Admittedly, writing, publishing, promoting, and designing your eBook is quite a bit of work.

But there are resources out there to help you get it done. Whether you need a professional writer, a good editor, a graphic designer for your cover, or a marketing expert to help you boost your sales, there are places to go to get the support you need.

Let’s go over them now:

Freelance marketplace

This is perhaps your most cost-effective and easiest option. It’s not too difficult to find a writer, editor, or graphic designer on websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or even a more complex platform like PeoplePerHour.

Just be aware that the expertise and skills of the person you’re hiring cannot be guaranteed. PeoplePerHour does put their freelancers through a 3-month trial, but there is no vetting process for Upwork or Fiverr. You’ll also have to take the time to manage any freelancers you hire on your own, providing access to tools, software you need them to use, and any creative direction you want them to take.

Agencies

This option will guarantee access to the talented folks you need to help you get your eBook published and on the market.

It is, however, your most expensive option, depending on the agency you choose, costing on average between $3,000–$10,000. You’ll often be required to pay an expensive retainer on top of that, as well, so make sure you have room in your budget.

Creative as a Service Platforms

If you’d rather avoid retainers and, instead, operate on a more predictable subscription-based platform, then Creative as a Service (CaaS) platforms might be what you’re looking for.

They’ll give you the credibility and reliability of an agency, while also having the benefit of being more affordable and convenient since most of these platforms operate remotely.

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Or You Can End Your Search Now

And if a CaaS platform is checking your boxes and you’re wondering where to start your search, maybe you’ve already found your perfect partner.

Designity is made up of the top 3% of all of the top talent that applies each year, meaning that our creative community represents the best of the best in their respective fields. This gives you access to top-tier professionals for content writing, editing and proofreading, graphic design, and digital marketing, everyone you need to get your eBook on the market and flying off the digital shelves.

And with the added benefit of a Creative Director, a project manager who handles every aspect of your account from sourcing the perfect talent to keeping all of your projects on schedule, you can have all of this done sooner than you think.

Why not take a look at some of our eBook-related portfolios and see how we’ve been able to elevate the content and cover design of eBooks just like yours?

When you’re done, come on back and book your demo call, so you can get started with a two-week, no-obligation trial and see firsthand how Designity is the answer to all of your eBook writing and selling needs.

Let’s get your eBook to market together!

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Sara, a Designity content writer.
About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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