If you’ve ever wanted to be a published author, but dreaded the thought of sending your manuscript off to publishing house after publishing house, and waiting for those inevitable rejection letters, take heart. Self-publishing is not only hotter than ever, it’s easier than ever, too, thanks in no small part to platforms like Amazon Kindle. Do you have a book in you, but just don’t know where to begin with getting it published? Here is everything you need to know, so you can get your book published and seen by thousands of Amazon shoppers.
Step 1: Write your book.
This step is pretty simple. Have a great story? Write it down, preferably in a word processing software program such as Microsoft Word. This will make it easier to format your book for publishing, but if you use a different word processor, that’s okay, too. Just write your book, and make it as good and professional as possible. This may mean you have to spend a little time polishing it up, having someone else edit it, or rewriting any parts that don’t make sense. Self-publishing is no excuse for poor grammar or weak story-telling, but perfection isn’t necessary. Just tell a good story, with as few glaring grammatical and spelling errors as possible.
Step 2: Format your book for Kindle.
Amazon has a set of formatting guidelines that are long and that can be confusing, but if you take the time to read through them and implement them step-by-step, you can achieve a perfectly formatted book that won’t look like garbage when it’s published. If you’re asking, “what is formatting?”, it’s simply putting your book in a format that Amazon’s publishing system can understand and display properly. Properly formatted books look nice on the page, don’t have odd spaces stuck in between paragraphs, etc. You can find the Kindle formatting guidelines on Amazon’s Kindle formatting page*.
If you aren’t confident formatting your book yourself, you can try paying someone to do it for you. Freelancing websites like oDesk and Elance often have freelancers who will format your book for a fee. Fiverr is another platform that has people willing to do this service for you for the princely sum of five bucks, but be sure to read the reviews of anyone you hire to make sure that they have done a good job in the past.
Step 3: Upload your book to Amazon.
Once your book is formatted, you can go to the Kindle Direct Publishing page and begin publishing your book. This can be exciting and nervewracking, but be sure to take your time when doing this bit. You need to accurately fill in every piece of information when submitting your eBook so that it will be approved and listed properly.
Among the things you’ll have to consider when publishing your book, you’ll need to choose whether you want to publish under your own name or a pen name, you’ll need to choose which category and subcategory your book will appear in, and you’ll need to set your price for your book. Amazon has two royalty tiers, so it’s a good idea to learn about each one, and the Kindle Select program, which makes your book available exclusively to Amazon, before you publish.
Make sure you put your name and title information in exactly as you want it to appear on the book, and on Amazon, or you could have trouble finding your book once it’s published. You’ll also need to choose a way to get paid for your sales, so make sure you put that information in accurately, too.
Upload your book, and decide whether you want to use a book cover created by you using Amazon’s cover creator, or whether you want to use one that you upload. Fiverr is a great place to get cheap covers, but make sure you are specific in your requests and only use photos that you have the right to use.
Covers are important, since shoppers will only get to see a small version when they’re shopping online for books. Bright, bold, and professional covers get more attention than messy, DIY versions with poor graphics and too many words crowded in the title. If you need inspiration, take a look at the best-sellers on Amazon and see what their covers look like.
Step 4: Submit your book, and wait for approval.
Once you submit your book, Amazon will review it and let you know if there are any formatting issues or other problems that would prevent your book from being made available. The review process usually takes between 24 and 48 hours, and once it’s done, you’ll receive an email notification that your book is available for sale.
Step 5: Celebrate, and promote!
Once your book is available for sale on Amazon, tell everyone you know! Ask friends and family to read and review for you, and offer free copies to unbiased people for honest reviews and critiques. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback, because you can always make changes to your book and resubmit it if there are major problems.
Market your book on social media, build a website to promote it and your future books, and generally tell the entire world about your book in order to garner interest and sales. Most importantly, be proud of yourself. Not everyone get around to publishing a book, and you have something pretty cool to celebrate.
You may want to consider putting your book into a paperback version for people to buy and have a physical copy. Amazon’s Createspace platform can do this for you, too. It’s a great way to offer your readers more options, and build a bigger fanbase by selling the book locally in bookstores.
Now that you’ve published one book, don’t stop! The most successful self-published authors have several books available, so their fans can enjoy more than just one great read.