Finishing and Publishing

Finish Up Your Book and Get It Live and Published for The World to See So You Can Launch Right

Getting your book description loaded in Amazon
When people land on your book page on, they’ll see your cover on the left, any best seller (or “hot new releases”) tags nearby, your name, the book title, and then some basic information about your book. Right below that will be the description for your book, which is what will convince people to buy or not buy.

The good news for you is that you should have everything you need for this text, because we will use the same copy you put on your back cover. The catch is that Amazon’s description input is based on HTML and not what you copy/paste or type in there. Not to worry, though, as there is a couple of easy-to-use and free tools to get it done right.

Format your back cover copy into Amazon’s description language
First, pull up the document you used for your back cover text and copy it. Next, head on over to Kindlepreneur’s Description Generator and make sure “Book Description” is selected. Then, simply paste in your text into that box. The first thing you’ll notice is that you lose some formatting when you drop it in there. That’s no big deal as it’ll only take a minute to get it back.

I like to make the first line, the offer, and the “How to” in “Heading 4” as that’s the biggest font allowed at this time. For the rest, you can choose to make bold, italic, or underline as you wish. I always keep it to two different format additions, though. So if you use italics and bold, stick with that and don’t add in underlines. It makes for a slightly cleaner look.

Finally, you’ll see that your bullet points are gone. No big deal here - just highlight these and select “Bullet List” towards the top and they’ll come right back. Finally, I like to have an extra space or break between the last part of your cover copy and the “About the Author” blurb at the bottom. Regardless of what I do above, I do underline the words “About the Author” to separate it as another section.

Now, how do you know it’s right? Great question! When you think you have it the way you want, select “Generate My Code” at the bottom and copy it to your clipboard, and move on below.

Testing your description
There’s a high likelihood that once you saw the description code you saw a jumbled mess! We’ll want to make sure that looks right before pasting it into the dashboard.

The best way to confirm you have it all as you want is to Google “HTML Viewer” (this is the one I use: All you’ll need to do is select all the text on the left side and hit “Delete” to clear it out. Then paste your formatting on the left and hit “Run” about 1/2 way down the middle. What you see on the right is what it’ll look like on Amazon.

If it all looks good to you, you are set and can go ahead and copy that information into the KDP dashboard (below). If you need to make some edits, head on back to the Kindlepreneur Description Generator, make the tweaks, and then come back and check.

Loading to KDP’s dashboard
Once you have it, you’ll head on over and log into Click either the “Continue setup” for your book or the three dots and select “Edit book details.” Towards the bottom of the page that loads, you’ll see the box for your description. Simply paste the code in there and you’re set!

Of course, if you haven’t started your book yet, there’s more to do. Let’s go ahead and get your KDP Dashboard all set up now.

Get your publishing dashboard set
By now, you’ve set up your account. That means it’s time to start loading your book information and content into Amazon. Don’t worry - you’ll have several opportunities to approve and review before going live.

If you haven’t created your book project inside of KDP, now’s the time. Once logging in, click the plus sign for creating a paperback book. As you do that and go through the menu, you land on three different pages: Paperback Details, Paperback Content, and Paperback Rights & Pricing.

We’ll dive into a quick overview of each below, but if you haven’t landed on a title and registered your book, now is the time. Head on over to Bowker and get it done (as you’ll need it for the next steps). If you use this link (, it’s $25 off, thanks to Amazon. (Here’s Amazon’s explainer page

Paperback Details
The first real edit you want to put in is your book title and subtitle. Make sure they match what you’ve registered for your ISBN. You can change both, but it’s best to get it right from the start. For most folks, you don’t need to worry about the “Series” and “Edition Number” inputs, but you will want to put yourself down as “Author” (of course!) You also have the ability to add contributors if you’d like. If someone helped you write your book or shared a chapter or a lot of value, you can add them under the “Contributors” section. (This can be great if you have some input from big-time people in there!)

For Publishing Rights, as long as it’s true, and it probably is, you want to select the “I own the copyright…” button. Then, for your Keywords, you want to drop in the seven words/phrases that you researched earlier. If you didn’t pick up Publisher Rocket to research (or confirm) your keywords, you can still do it.

When you choose your categories, don’t worry too much about this. There will be broad ones that are likely very different from what you researched with Publisher Rocket or own your own. That’s OK, but try to pick the two that are near what you want. You’ll add the ones you researched a bit later.

Then, click “Save and Continue” and you’ll move right on to the next section.

Paperback Content
For the “Print ISBN” section, I strongly recommend getting your own ISBN per above. (Amazon locks your book into their system and you’d have to republish if you ever wanted to sell it anywhere else). If you have, select “Use my own ISBN” and fill it in. Your “Imprint” is simply the publishing name. Usually, it’s your name, but you can change this in the Bowker/ISBN registration space under “Imprint” there.

“Publication Date” - don’t worry too much about this. It isn’t a commitment, so just put the estimated date in there and you’ll be good.

“Print Options” gives you a lot of choices. I almost always select black and white interior with white paper. I’ve done books with the cream interior and it’s still very easy to read, just doesn’t look as “crisp” as the white paper. Trim size should be what size you chose for your book when doing your cover. In most cases, you’ll want “No bleed.” If you’re not sure, there’s a good explanation right there from Amazon. A matte cover finish is usually best unless you have a photo-rich cover.

Next, it gets fun! If you have your book completed and ready to go, you can upload your manuscript as a PDF. (If you’ve written it and formatted it in Word, you can simply print as PDF or save as PDF and you’ll be set). If you don’t have this done yet, no big deal, just know to come back to it. The cover is about the same. If you don’t have the interior done, you can’t finish the cover because it’s page-count-dependent. You can come back to this too. Once done and loaded, though, you can select “Launch Previewer” and (after about 10 minutes it seems!) Amazon will load your book for you to check out the fit and format. (More on this as we finish up later).

Then, it’s another “Save and Continue” and onto pricing.

Paperback Rights & Pricing
Here, you can read through as much of these as you want. I tend to use “All territories” and select as my primary marketplace. Pricing is a bit tricky, but as long as you stay in the range suggested, you’ll get 60% royalties on your book. (Amazon takes out the cost to print your book, then gives you 60% of what’s left).

After you get this part done, you’re just about ready! You can choose “Save as Draft” if you’re still working on your cover and interior, or, if by chance you’re done…you can hit “Publish Your Paperback!” Of course, you may want to wait until you can run a best seller campaign as described below.

First, let’s get your draft wrapped up, edited, and formatted!

Review your draft progress
By now, you should be plugging along with your draft, compiling your content, and getting things “on paper.” Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect at this point, it just has to be getting down on your master document. You’ll edit it later.

As you’re finishing up gathering your content into your first draft, think about getting the right sections within the chapter in the right place. Since you’ve expanded your outline, it’s possible you’ve shifted some things around or expanded on areas ahead of schedule. That’s no problem, but if you do need to shift any sections around, now’s the time.

Call to action pages
Finally, as you're finishing up your draft, I’d strongly recommend having a “Call to Action” page (CTA page) in the front and back of your book. This is in addition to the “little” calls to action you’ll have throughout the book.

To do this, simply create a page in a bigger font, centered, that directs them to a bonus website or email where 1) you can bring them into your world and 2) they can get something extra for you. If you’re struggling with what the extra might be, don’t think too hard about it. It could be a free, short video series, an additional checklist or document, or even a coaching session if you wish.

Whatever you choose, drop it on a page by itself in the front and back. For our Realtor sales book, it could look like this:

Get your FREE one-page key to unlocking massive sales here!

Don’t miss out - get it own and start closing more deals without feeling salesly now!

That’s all there is to it!

Last steps on your draft
As you finish up your draft, make sure to have placeholders for any copyright page, disclaimer, dedication, table of contents, about the author, and acknowledgment pages. You can simply take a look at a professional book you have on your bookshelf to determine the best order. While most fall into the order above, there’s no “rule” that you have to follow. (And if you purchase a template for formatting, you’ll likely have those sections in there. More on that below).

Finally, it’s best to have your final draft in Microsoft Word format. If you’ve used Pages or Google Docs up to this point, that’s great (we do, too). Downloading or exporting to Word will make it a lot easier to work with your editors and formatters while preserving your final draft.

Now, let’s get your book all polished up and ready to go.

Time to edit your document
Now that you have your draft finishing up, it’s time to think about getting it edited. There are two types of editing you’ll need to get your book out: content editing and copy editing.

Content editing
Content editing is having other people read through your draft and provide generalized feedback on the content, flow, clarity, etc. You’ll want to ask questions like these:
  • What did you like about it?

  • What didn’t you like?

  • Was anything unclear?

  • Was there any area I should expand more on?

  • Does it feel like it flows?

  • Etc.

As you go through this portion, remember two things. First, those closest to you may not always provide critical feedback out of fears of discouragement. Because of that, let them know that you have thick skin and your main focus is to make the book great. Second, you’ll probably receive some critical feedback. This is a good thing! Don’t let it knock you down - everyone goes through it and it will help you create a better book in the end.

Copy editing
Once you’ve incorporated any of the appropriate content changes and suggestions above and you feel like your draft is done (or 99.99% done), it’s time to have it copy edited. Copy editing is simply another term for proofreading and making sure the right version of “your” and “you’re” are there, commas in the right spots, etc.

I come from the “done is better than perfect but not done” school for sure. But I will say, with a book, you want it right. You don’t want disjointed formatting (we’ll cover that soon), misuse of words, poor grammar, etc. as it does reflect back on you. Especially if you’re in a professional service business where clients focus on attention to detail.

With that said, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. So long as it’s not a complete mess, people always remember the content of a book over anything else. Keep your focus on making sure it’s great and then have a copy editing session or three to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.

Three ways to get your book edited
The good news is editing is easier than you think. For both content and copy editing, you could go a few different ways. First, you could have a couple of friends, family, or business colleagues review it. For copy editing and proofreading, just make sure it gets a few eyes on it that are qualified, of course.

Second, you could hop on over to and hire an editor. Most of the time, you’ll get through it for pretty cheap, generally well less than $1,000. Fiverr is great, but it’s one of those “you get what you pay for” and “reviews matter” situations. Look for many good reviews and someone whose primary language is the language your book is written in.

Third, you could hire professional editors. You can do this through connections, by asking who other authors you know have worked with, or through our team. We have multiple people do a content review for clarity, suggest changes, and edit for you while proofreading several times over. That’s what the best editors do, so make sure you ask what all they’ll cover.

Of course, you can always combine the above. I’ve had luck in the past with having several people close to authors do content edits and reviews and then hiring a same-country editor on Fiverr for the copy editing and proofreading. The important point is to make sure it’s done and done right and you’ll be set!

Getting your book properly formatted for print (or eBook)
Getting your book properly formatted is one of the most overlooked areas of polishing up your draft. Once you have your finished copy and are done with both the content and copy editing and you feel you’re ready to go, it’s time to make sure your text looks the part and every bit as good as classic and traditionally published books.

There are plenty of options to format your book for cheap, and all it takes is a close eye for detail. What does formatting mean? Simply put, it means consistent spacing between paragraphs, no “left alone” sentences on blank pages, consistent chapter titles, formats, headings, and subheadings, and correctly spaced out fonts that go together.

If you’re going to publish as an eBook in addition to print, formatting also includes the ability to scale with screen size and orientation. The quickest way to scream “I’m not professional” is to have a hard-to-read book, especially in digital.

So how do you do it? There are three ways: buy a template and “DIY” it, hop back on, or use a dedicated full service (we use for many of our clients). In all cases, you’ll want to get formatted for print and digital.

Do it yourself with templates
You’ll notice that most books are formatted in a similar way. Fonts may be different, headings changed, etc., but by and large, there’s a lot of similarities. That’s because most places start with templates. The best I’ve found (and have used frequently for myself and other authors) is I like the Inspire and Achieve formats the best, and all include the copyright page, table of contents, and everything you need.

The advantage of doing it yourself is you have a bit more control and, of course, some cost savings. For control, I always like to include a bit more whitespace, such as a space between paragraphs. With a template, I can simply change the standard for that style in Word and it automatically applies to everything else.

Depending on the length of your book, 5-6 hours is a good estimate of time spent on formatting. One last advantage to DIYing is that it’s A LOT easier to make changes if you find errors or things you want to switch around on your final review before publishing. Of course, being 100% ready with your draft before formatting it solves that. In that case, having someone else do it for you is a time saver and not much additional cost.

Back to Fiverr for formatting is as good of a place to find formatters as it is cover designers. You’ll want to search for Amazon or KDP formatting when looking for individuals to hire. I’d recommend separating out the print designer and eBook designer, too. It may seem like they’re just about the same, but there are a lot more intricacies between the two that some specialization addresses.

Most people on Fiverr ask for Microsoft Word format, which is ideal. NEVER let someone format for you based on a PDF. If you run across that, look for another designer/formatter. They will also likely want to know your title, subtitle, and ISBN/registration numbers. That’s normal as they will make sure it’s embedded into the document, so be prepared to have those ready. (The same goes for professional formatting below).

Using a dedicated full-service group
If you have more tasks than time, it’s best to use a full-service group. In any of the packages I’ve done for people where we cover all the costs of cover design, formatting, etc., we almost always tap high-end professionals to get the formatting right. Most eyes won’t pick up on the differences, but those that do will be impressed. (It’s things like no hyphenated words on the right side, proper placement of sentences, etc.)

So who do we use? More often than not, the amazing people over at or! They are more expensive than what you’ll find elsewhere (with being the cheaper of the two), but I believe they are the best and easiest to work with. (There’s a reason we still use them even though we could do it cheaper when we offer a launch package for our clients, and it’s because they do it right and don’t mess up). Typically, they only work with publishers and publishing programs, but if you tell them we sent you, you’ll get one of the best project management teams around.

If you decide you want someone to take care of all the design, formatting, packaging, editing, publishing, etc. for you, just let us know.

Whatever route you choose, having a nice and professionally formatted book will speak to your readers, establish your professionalism, and set you apart.

Final reviews of your book before you’re ready to go live
Once your book gets back from formatting, you should be just about set. You’ll wrap up your cover next, but for now, it’s time to review your final product several times. I always read the entire book five or six times and have someone else do the same. It sounds like a lot, but once you’re done, you’ll be completely confident in what you’re about to put out to the world.

As you go through, you’re going to find things you want to tweak and change. You may want to switch a word here or say a little more there. Don’t worry about it - you’ll always find things you want to change. If there’s nothing wrong, proceed as is. There was a reason you had it like that up to this point, so I’m willing to bet you have an incredible book in front of you.

Time to request the final cover
Now that you’re reviewed and have your formatted interior in hand, it’s time to finalize your cover. To do so, you only need to update your designer on a couple of different items: page count and page color.

Page count
You’ll want to tell whoever you have working on the cover the total formatted page count, including blank pages in the back and front. That makes sure the cover fits perfectly so that when it wraps around the book, it’s even and balanced and consistent. This is especially important if you have text on the spine of your book.

One of the great things about publishing through Amazon/KDP is that you get notified right away once loading your draft and cover if there is an issue. It’ll even tell you what the issue is and suggest how to fix it (cover designers love this if there’s a problem).

Page color
Once you have your countdown, you’ll just want to let your cover designer know the page color here. For Amazon/KDP, you have the choice of white or cream. Both are good, but white is a bit crisper and probably the best option. You can find out more here (

Loading it all up
If it hasn’t felt real before, it’s going to now! That’s because we’re going to actually load your book into Amazon’s KDP Dashboard and get it ready to publish and go live to the world. We’ve already taken care of the first page on the dashboard (“Edit Paperback Details”), but it’s worth a check to make sure all still looks good.

Once done, it’s on to loading up the content and details, review the proof, and set your pricing.

Loading up content
On the “Edit Paperback Content” tab, you’ll see your ISBN and imprint from above, as well as the publication. We also talked a bit about your size and paper type, as well as whether it will be black and white or color. You’ve probably also selected the bleed settings and cover finish. If you missed or changed any of this, now is the time to update it.

Now, it’s time to get your manuscript and cover uploaded! Note: Make sure you upload both the manuscript and cover in PDF form. Amazon will accept a Word doc for the interior, but that’s risky because it can be manipulated by the publishing system. For the PDF, what you see is what you get. So upload your manuscript/draft in PDF form and let it load. (It’ll take a couple of minutes).

After you have your interior loaded, click the “Upload a cover you already have” option. You’ll be able to click a button and upload a PDF of your cover. It really should be at least 300 dpi, but I have yet to run across a designer that doesn’t provide that or higher in PDF form.

Done right, you should see “Manuscript “PDF name.pdf” uploaded successfully!” and “Cover uploaded successfully!” Then, click “Launch Previewer.”

The final proof
It’ll take several minutes for the previewer to load. For me, it’s always about 90 seconds after I think it’s frozen that it loads, so truly give it a few extra minutes. Once loaded, you’ll see your entire book in proof form! You can click the right arrow as many times as you want to scroll through the pages.

Before you do that, though, check out the left and you’ll see if there are any REAL errors. There’s often a cautionary error there, but if there’s a true error, you’ll know it and Amazon won’t let your book pass muster here. If that’s the case, don’t fret. It just means that something needs to be fixed, and, nine times out of 10, it’ll tell you exactly what to do.

After you’re free and clear on the left, click on through each page and make sure everything looks good. Keep a close eye on the paragraphs, spacing, chapters, etc. If you have charts or pictures, make sure they still look right.

Once it all looks good, head up top on the right and click “Approve.” After that? You are almost there!

Setting the pricing
The last step you have before you click “Publish” is to head onto the next tab “Edit Paperback Rights & Pricing.” It’s possible this part will feel a little scary, but don’t let it. Just about everything on here is changeable and it only takes a few hours (usually) to update.

The first thing you run across is “Territories.” For most people - including you and me - it makes sense to select “All territories” unless you truly don’t have the rights to your book elsewhere.

For Pricing & Royalty, generally, you’ll want to select as your primary marketplace. The list price can be anything you want within the range right below the input box. You’ll see it’s a pretty large range.

As long as you’re in a reasonable range, you’ll see that you are at a royalty rate of 60% (with Amazon getting the other 40%). It’ll also show you what you’ll make per book. (Amazon takes out the print cost of the book - under “Printing” - and then gives you 60% of the gain).

Unless you know something about the other countries Amazon operates in, I’d let Amazon price those based on currency conversion, which they’ll normally do for you. This is what you see under “other marketplaces.”

Finally, you can either “Request printed proofs of this book” or “Save as Draft” or…. Publish!

Whatever you do, immediately click “Save as Draft” first. You can come right back to this page to publish, but please save the work you’ve done.

While you don’t necessarily have to request a printed proof of your book, it’s kind of cool to have it if you’re not in a hurry to publish. It can add about a week and around $30 to your launch, but it’s pretty neat to have a copy with “PROOF” written across the front of your first book!

With all that being said, if you’re ready, it’s time to publish!

Here you go! Time to publish
If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a massive “Congratulations!” I’ve heard many different studies over the years, but they all point to the same thing: the vast majority of Americans want to write a book, but only a small portion have or will. This puts you in an elite group, and if you keep on, you'll be in an even more exclusive club of BEST-SELLING authors.

So what happens when you hit “Publish” on the KDP dashboard? Simply put, it goes into review through Amazon and then, once approved, goes live on During the review, however, it is possible that Amazon sends it back to you and asks for changes. If that’s the case, you’ll get an email with specifics. Not to fret, though, because they are generally easy fixes and then you hit “Publish” again and you’re back on track.

Once it is live, though, you can start your progress towards your launch and best seller campaign (what we’ll talk about next). You can also order plenty of “author copies,” which are copies of your book purchased at cost (generally around $2.15 - $3.00) and shipped to you. These don’t count towards your sales numbers but are great for handing out and using to get on stages such as podcasts, speaking events, etc.

You can also start the process to get reviews and prepare your list for the launch date. As you’ll see next, I like to have the book go live - meaning published - about a week before the launch. This allows Amazon to index your book in the categories and let their search algorithms kick in. It also gives you time to check the formatting, make sure the description and page look right, see up your Author Central account and bio, get a few reviews, update your categories, and test out the order system.

Now that it’s live, though, take a moment to celebrate! Next, we’ll put the final touches on your profiles and update your categories. Two things you don’t want to get wrong!

From live to launch day: finishing up
Right about now you’re probably feeling a combination of excited but nervous. You’re a published author (or will be as soon as Amazon releases your book), but also a little nervous about having your work out in the world. Don’t worry too much - everyone feels this way. And once it passes, that’s when things get fun and profitable.

Now that your book is live and showing on (which you’ll see on your KDP Dashboard with a green “LIVE” next to your cover), it’s time to update your categories and picture and bio, as well as create your Author Central profile. The good news is this part is easy because you’ve done much of the work already.

Setting up your Author Central Account
Your Author Central account is a great place to put a little more about you and your books, as well as connect with future readers. Once you have multiple books out, it’s even more important as it serves as a hub of sorts on Amazon.

To set up your Author Central profile, your book has to be live and available on Once it is, though, go to and login with the same credentials you are using for the Amazon KDP Dashboard site. Once there, it'll either have your book listed and ask you, “Is this your book?” or to search for your book. Follow the prompts and, once loaded, you’re all set and should be returned to the home page.

Take a bit of time now to click the “Profile” link at the top. Here, you can add a photo of yourself and a brief biography. To make it easy, you can use your “About the Author” text and photo from inside of your book. Of course, you could add or expand it, but that’s the quickest way to get it running. You can also add more photos and videos (and probably should) as time goes on. This will help make a connection with your (future) readers.

One neat thing about your Author Central profile, which spills over to, is that you can put links in your bio. I’d recommend linking to your website or landing page for your back-end offer in there to capture people who may be interested, but may not buy and/or read your book right away. While you don’t want your profile to be salesy, you can make it a bit about what you do and why to attract people.

Next, it’s time to update your categories, so don’t log off of that page yet.

Updating your categories
If you remember from before, when you first go to publish your book, Amazon allows you to select two categories out of a list of a few thousand options. You can actually have 10 total categories out of over 16,000, though. The more categories you’re in, the more people that will see your book. And the lesser populated categories will allow your book to reach best seller easier and stay on the “front page” of results.

The first thing you’ll want to do is go back to the categories that you found either through searching or with Publisher Rocket and make sure you have all the paths organized. (As a reminder, the path is what looks like this, for example: Books > Business & Money > Management & Leadership > Strategy & Competition).

Once you have that list of 10, and while logged into Author Central, click “Help” in the top right. Then, you’ll see “Categories and Search Terms” on the right. Click that followed by “Categories and Browse Paths.” You’ll see three sections, with the middle one for your print book and the bottom one for your Kindle book. (Note that if you haven’t launched one version of your book yet, you won’t see the option to “Contact Us” and update the categories).

When you’re ready, you click on “Contact Us.” This will take you to another page where you can select “Amazon Book Page” and then “Update Amazon categories.” (You can also do this through the “Help” button on the top right on the KDP Dashboard. Just click that, then “Contact Us” at the bottom left.

Next, “Manage your books and series” followed by “Enter book details or upload book content.” You can click “Send us an e-mail” and you’ll be set. (You can also have them call you with the middle button - sometimes that’s a bit quicker, but I find emailing only takes a couple of hours to get it done and you eliminate the risk of any reading-copying-typing-updating errors via phone).

From there, all you’ll need is your title and your ASIN or ISBN. The ISBN is the same as what you purchased before, and the ASIN is specific to Amazon. You can find this on your KDP Dashboard right next to the picture of your book.

Finally, you’ll copy and paste your categories below the ISBN/ASIN listing and hit “Send message.” That’ll do it!

I typically have a message like this:


I would like to update my categories for my book, ISBN: xxxxxxxxxxxx / ASIN: xxxxxxxx to the below

[List out the categories with the full path]

Thank you,

[Your name]

That’s all you need to do!

Now, it's time to launch right and reach best seller status.