After self-publishing two books on Amazon, along with a handful of short stories published separately as eBooks, I’ve had a few questions thrown my way in regard to the whole process. Just how easy is it to publish your own work? Where do you start, and is this the correct route for you?
I will offer my personal opinions on these questions based on my relatively new experience in this area throughout this series of articles.
For the first article, I really wanted to focus on Amazon publishing as this is what I’ve done the most of currently, and I feel somewhat more clued up on the subject than any other publishing platform.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Firstly, I have experience using this service in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, there may be differences depending on the location where you log into your Amazing Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.
Once you have your Amazon KDP account set up — which is relatively easy if you already have an active Amazon account — you can select the ‘Create’ button from your dashboard. For me, this gives me four options to choose from: Kindle eBook, Paperback, Hardcover, and Series Page.
Regardless of whether you are looking to publish your work directly to a physical copy, digital copy, or both, the process for these three options is reasonably similar.
Creating your Manuscript
Before you can get your book out there to the world, you’ll need to have a few things before you do. The first and most apparent is a manuscript for your book. It’s also worth noting here that you are publishing the book yourself, so make sure to add all your title pages, contents, forewords, afterwords, and dedications, among other items already added to your document.
If you are having trouble with this process, Amazon has a free-to-use tool called Kindle Create, where you can upload your base document and correctly add each section. This tool is super easy to use, and I have been using it to ensure that each chapter, breakpoint and reference is always sitting correctly on the page by pressing on the Preview.
Creating your Book Cover
There is another big one that you must do — and yes, I know they say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” — which is to create your sexy book cover to really entice potential readers (and new fans) to your latest work.
If you publish a Paperback or Hardcover book, I’m still trying to figure out the best methods to get an all-around great-looking copy. However, with eBooks, I’ve found using the free-to-use tool called Canva a dream. There is also a paid version, which I’m currently trialling out and will update here when I have more knowledge on this.
Take a look below at some of the covers I have made through the Canva tool.
Creating your Book Details
There are a couple of questions that Amazon will ask you about your book, which I have reluctantly left out of this article as they are very self-explanatory, such as the book title, author authors, etc.
However, making sure you have a killer book description is paramount for drawing your potential readers in when they come across your book on the Amazon application or website.
Personally, I believe that how descriptions are used on the Amazon KDP service varies depending on the type and genre of your work. However, I am sharing a few examples of my descriptions below.
Click here to see the Description for First Name Only on Amazon.
Click here to see the Description for One Dark Collection on Amazon.
Click here to see the Description for Forgive Me Lord on Amazon.
Another thing to note here is that Amazon allows you to format your descriptions with HTML code, or you can use their basic text editor on the setup page.
Creating your Books Categories
I’m hoping by this point in your writing journey, if you are ready to think about publishing, you have already written most, if not all, of your story. In this case, you should clearly understand your book’s genre.
Use this section wisely, as you can set up to three categories.
Setting your Book Costs
Now that the other stuff is out the way, you are ready to get your book out there to the world. You need to set a price and prepare your readers to start flooding in.
Should you publish a Paperback or Hardcover version of your work, you will be shown the estimated costs of each print.
You won’t be able to set a price lower than the cost you Amazon use as your base price.
Another benefit to using Amazon KDP when publishing paperback or hardcover copies of your work is that should your book meet Amazon’s requirements, you can enable other retailers to purchase and sell your books. However, this will come at a lower royalty fee than if you sold your books directly from the Amazon store.
I could explain many other things and tools, but these are the basics of setting up your book for publishing through the Amazon KDP service.
If you’ve already published through Amazon KDP, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the process and how your books have faired on their website.
I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about using this service. However, as I’ve mentioned previously, I’m relatively new to this process and doing my best to get a better understanding.
Good luck on your writing and publishing journey, whether self-publishing or publishing through a publisher.
Next Route to Self-Publishing
In the following article on the Route to Self-Publishing, I will dive deeper into the world of advertising and marketing.
Now that you have your book out there for the world, it’s time to make sure that really see it!