You might think that getting your book off the ground requires you to fulfill the hardest part; writing. However, you’d be surprised to know that it is, in fact, a relatively easier part of the process. While writing a book is no small feat, getting your book published through a real publisher is even more difficult. A publishing deal not only takes time, years, in fact, but also requires plenty of behind-the-scenes red tape to play out that rarely ever gets noticed. Even then, success isn’t guaranteed.
So, for most indie authors, self-publishing is the way to go. It is by no means any easier, but it certainly gives you a chance to make a difference in your career sooner rather than later. It can also be a great alternative for certain authors to self-publish a few books while waiting for their magnum opus to be published by a real publisher. Still, self-publishing itself requires plenty of knowledge on their part, and here, we will inform you on how you can get your book self-published on Amazon.
The best place to get started in self-publishing is Amazon, but even before that is to make sure your book is in an eBook format. That not only means having your book in a digital format, but also having it in accordance with the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon KDP) format required for all eBooks.
This guide is mainly focused on the publishing part, so you can continue on and familiarize yourself with how to self-publish a book on Amazon now, and look at the formatting aspect of it later on.
One important thing to note is that while you certainly can get your book published tomorrow, the best thing to do is to take your time and not rush into things. It can certainly help against overlooking certain critical aspects you might not notice while in a hurry.
To self-publish on Amazon, you will first have to visit www.kdp.amazon.com and Sign Up to create a new account. If you already have one, hurray! Simply Sign In and you can continue on with it.
Once your account is created and you are logged in, you can view your author dashboard in your account.
At this time, your listed title screen will be empty, as you haven’t published anything yet. Simply click on the ‘+ Kindle eBook’ box to add your first eBook and be on your way to becoming a self-published author.
You don’t have to do everything all at once. If you want to save your information that you have entered and continue later on, you can simply select the ‘Save as Draft’ icon at the bottom and continue where you left off later on.
This is the language your book was originally written in. For example, if your book was written in English but also has translations of Spanish and French available, you will select English as the primary language.
There are several supported languages on Kindle. Click here to learn more about Amazon Kindle's supported languages.
Yes, you might have already selected your title and subtitle, but give it a once over when you reach this section. Readers will judge your book by its cover, and the name of it matters just as much as the cover art in the front. It has to hook the reader and ensure that the title is coherent with the rest of the story.
Your subtitle is just as important. It can be longer, or it can be just as short, but it should be an extension to the title.
This is the name that will be on the book cover. As you are self-publishing on Amazon for the first time, why not give using an alias a try? You don’t always have to use your full legal name. You can just as easily use a pen name which writers often use.
For more than one author, there is a Contributors box where additional authors can be added.
The KDP policy to self-publish on Amazon is that your book description must be 4,000 characters. That is roughly ~600 to ~700 words, a number that can vary based on the spaces between words.
Make sure to treat your book description as a sales hook. You want your readers to be intrigued by what they are reading. You want them to be fascinated. You want them to buy the actual book!
Here, if you are publishing as the author, you can click on the radio button that indicates that you are in full ownership of the copyrights for the written material as well as anything else in the book, such as images and pictures, and that you hold the publishing rights for the material as well.
If you have written your material, then you own it under the US Copyright Law.
People search using keywords. They want romance, they type in that keyword. They want something thrilling, they search for a thriller. Choose your keywords carefully. You want to capture as broad an audience as possible but also stay within your book’s genre, which leads into the next step.
Your category essentially determines your target market. Here, you are choosing if your book is for everyone, children’s only, teen, adult-only, young adults and adults, etc. Once you self-publish on Amazon, the category decides where readers will find your book.
The higher up the age demographic your book goes, the fewer categories it will have to sell to, which also means it will be even more difficult for your book to get a bestselling flag.
You will also get to choose your age range, in which you normally only have to make any selections if your book is for young readers, children, or teens.
Chances are that you have not thought about how exactly to market your book once you self-publish on Amazon. You might think to yourself that once it is in the store, you are done?
Not exactly. Even before you publish you need to have a marketing plan. That means pre-sale reviews, email listings to email to potential buyers once the book is ready for sale, book blurbs, and any other media coverage that you can muster.
It is very important that you figure out your marketing plan before you set a publishing date, so consider this a good place to save your draft and continue later, if you haven’t already set up your marketing.
DRM is essentially your digital copyright. It allows people to buy your book without being able to resell it themselves. It essentially cements the book as your product, and protecting it via a DRM encryption is necessary.
All digital goods that can easily be replicated or copied use a DRM system so that it cannot be resold, copied, or illegally sold on any other markets. This means people can still loan your book to others using the Kindle borrowing system, but they cannot sell it.
It is important to brush up on your DRM knowledge and set it now, because you cannot change it once it is published.
The KDP format is there to ensure that your book looks good in every e-reader. The KDP format is also exclusive to Amazon Kindle’s publishing, meaning that if your eBook is published anywhere else, you will need other formats.
However, this is the stage where you upload your eBook in a formatted .epub file. You can also upload the book and preview it to see how it will look as an eBook beforehand.
Unless you are already really good at it, it is recommended that you don’t take a crack at designing your own eBook cover. Unless you have a really specific vision that you know you can get across, it is better to get a professional designer to do it for you.
A professional design makes sure that you are taken seriously as an author, too.
This is the testing phase, meaning that you now have a chance to make sure that it is ready for publishing.
Here, you should not use the ‘Launch Previewer’ button, and use the ‘Preview on Your PC’ button instead. This will allow you to download and install the previewer app, which you can use to upload and preview your eBook through the ‘MOBI’ link.
This process is reserved for editors when you are publishing it through an institution, but as you are doing it yourself, you will have to read it and test it. That means checking every single page, every single page number, image, design, word, and more.
It is a hectic process, but it is better than having to redo everything once you notice a small mistake later on, or even, dare I say, see it after publishing.
If you are self-publishing only on Amazon Kindle, and do not wish to expand into other websites or formats – ever – then you can simply skip this step, which is not recommended.
However, if you do, you will need an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that is 13-digits in length, and a publisher later on.
You can also choose to include your book in KDP Select, an Amazon exclusive service that provides you with a swath of additional marketing opportunities, deals, and more. That means you might get higher royalties (in supported countries). However, this means your book will be with Amazon for at least 3 months, and it makes it exclusive to Amazon. If your marketing plan requires it, you can select KDP Select, but most will recommend that you don’t, and skip this service for now.
Unless you have a specific reason against it, you should most probably choose ‘All Territories.’
However, if your book contains sensitive material or something political that might get your book banned elsewhere, it is best to decide beforehand where you will be releasing it.
Royalties are payments paid out to the author (you) for each sale of the book. You can choose between a 35% and a 70% royalty plan, but there are limitations and caveats to the latter.
For once, you need to be in Amazon KDP Select to get the full benefits of the 70% royalty plan. You also are paying for file delivery, and a limiting pricing mechanism. You do, however, allow your buyers to lend their owned copy of the book to others if you select the higher royalty plan.
This is the step you need to ensure that everything other than your eBook is complete. That means your profile must have your bio, picture, and everything else to seem like a real author set and ready to go.
Save the draft. Return to it later. Do everything else you need to do and double-check before you click that ‘Publish’ icon.
There it is. It is done, and you can now wait for those royalties to swarm in. You should note that Amazon Kindle pays 60 days after the first sale is made, and on a monthly basis after that.
Well, self-publishing certainly isn’t easy, but it takes a lot to get an eBook out there, doesn’t it? I hope you enjoyed reading our blog, and don’t forget to share yours as we always appreciate the active participation of readers.