How to Publish your EBook on Amazon
Kindle Direct Publishing
Whether you have a book idea or niche you have explored or a full manuscript, it’s common to wonder “how you might publish your work” when it’s ready. After all, why go through all of that effort if it’s something a publishing house is unlikely to accept?
The key to publishing your work regardless of the publishing houses opinion is a process called “independent publishing”.
The most popular independent publisher is currently Amazon.com and Createspace.com (an Amazon-owned company).
The most important first step is to review the manuscript to ensure compliance with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) guidelines.
These include important things like:
- Use the proper headers in MS Word so users can select them in the table of contents and go directly to that section.
- Dynamically generate your table of contents without manual edits to ensure the best eBook performance.
- Use an editor capable of saving your document as an “HTML” package. I prefer MS Word, but OpenOffice and others are perfectly capable of achieving the same result. It’s up to personal preference.
- If your manuscript is still an idea, you can implement the KDP guidelines from the beginning and save yourself a lot of time.
The guidelines change very little, if at all, over time. If you follow them from day one, you’ll minimize or eliminate time spent re-formatting for Kindle.
If your manuscript is complete, you’ll need to go through and make the required changes. It’s well worth doing so.
While you can upload a document that doesn’t meet the fine details of the KDP guidelines I advise strongly against doing so.
Even if you don’t notice an issue, Kindle readers expect to get a consistent and seamless performance from book to book. They’re used to the way eBooks look and perform.
It’ll be awkward for your reader if your book works differently. For example, if you can’t select an item from the table of contents and go directly to it.
Why do so many independent authors publish through Amazon.com
The guidelines are consistent and easy to follow. It costs nothing to upload your book, and you have unlimited access to the large pool of readers who use Amazon.com to find their next reading material.
If you provide Amazon.com with exclusive rights to sell your eBook, you’ll earn 70% of sales in royalties. Even without exclusive rights, you’ll still receive 30% of sales.If your content inside ebook have power to let reader mesmerize well that one of the best tactic to get great sale.
Another great reason to publish through Amazon.com is that the same file that you uploaded for Kindle, can be uploaded to Createspace to produce your book in print.
The way your book is delivered is called “print on demand.” Createspace takes single orders and creates your book one by one instead of using economies of scale like traditional publishing houses.
You can still place bulk orders, but customers have the option of ordering your book directly from Amazon.com in print and having it delivered.
It takes a few more days than if the book was printed in advance but those who want to have a print book instead of an eBook don’t seem to mind the wait.
After all, if they did they could read the eBook instead.
Both Amazon and Createspace make tools available to maximize the quality of your work. Take advantage of their preview functionality to see what your book will look like in eBook and almost exactly what it will look like in print.
The way the test eBook displays its content is identical to the way the customer’s Kindle will do so. In my experience, Createspace’s physical book preview tool is similarly reliable.
Digital reading is important in this day and age. Print books are heavy and can cost a fortune to ship. eBooks provide a way to read that requires only an internet connection and a computing platform.
Anyone with access to the web can download and read books. It’s changed the way the marketplace works in the United States and globally.
Now anyone can publish a book and earn money from selling it almost anywhere in the world.
- Speaking of making money, publishing a book through Amazon is an excellent way to earn passive income online. As readers buy your book, you make a percentage of the sales paid as a direct deposit.
- You don’t have to do anything to receive your payments and there’s no minimum payout amount. If you’ve earned cash, it’ll be sent directly to your bank account.
When you set the US cost of your book, KDP will automatically populate comparable prices in all of the other marketplace currencies.
- Simply take the recommended value to keep the cost of your book consistent across all markets.
- If you hear about any significant currency value changes on the news, you’ll also want to go in and verify your prices are consistent with what you want to charge.
Currency value changes can make your book significantly over or under-priced in different countries depending upon the adjustment of the currency market.
To sell an eBook or physical book it needs to have a great cover. Your cover is the main source of advertising for your book. It’s plastered across the internet and will be visible on library shelves as well.
- Consider this book as an example, “Becoming a Medical Mom”. The cover itself is dark with striking yellow text and a bright flower in the middle to “catch your attention”.
- If you put it on a shelf with a bunch of other books, you would notice it and possibly even pick it up instead of completely skipping it over.
Designing a cover isn’t as simple as picking out a photo. Both KDP and Createspace have specific guidelines for the size of their covers.
- KDP’s are a little flexible and if you love something you already have you can check out how it looks in their preview tool.
However, Createspace isn’t flexible at all. Physical books need to have particular size cover for the size of pages they print.
- The Kindle guideline is an 8:5 ratio (8 pixels high for every 5 pixels wide) with at least 1,000 pixels on the long side and at least 625 pixels on the short side.
- The best results will be with a long side of 2,500 pixels.
- No images over 10,000 pixels can be accepted, and your cover’s file size must be less than 50 MB.
Createspace’s requirements are significantly stricter. There are two options to create a cover. One is to build the entire cover in PDF by yourself. The other is to use one of their templates to create it.
I highly suggest using one of their templates as that avoids needing to calculate the spine width. If you’d prefer to take care of the whole thing yourself, you can find the equation for spine width on their website.
Creating just the front cover won’t ultimately save you from having to perform calculations, however. You still need to calculate the minimum cover height and width to determine the size of the front cover required.
Covers take a significant amount more work than you would initially think if you’ve never done digital design before.
Determining the proper dimensions ahead of time will save you a lot of headaches. Images with lettering, which is what book covers are, don’t re-size well. Changing the height or width in the same ratio can cause “distortion”.
If you need to modify the ratio itself, you’ll run into all sorts of problems with your text.
Depending upon the dimension, when you adjust more, your cover text might look tall and lanky or pudgy.
Both aren’t the intended appearance and depending on the severity the adjustment may make your cover difficult or impossible to read.
It’s common for writers to hire someone to do their cover art. Hiring someone ensures this time-consuming and sometimes difficult task can be completed fast.
I highly recommend this if you’re short on time or if you don’t know how to add formatted text to an image. It’s not a simple thing, and professional cover designers tend to have expensive software packages which make the process easier and faster in addition to the benefit you receive from their experience.
By now you’ve written your manuscript, formatted it to KDP’s specifications, and created your cover. You’re all ready to put everything up on the marketplace! One last big thing to do, use the KDP and Createspace tools to preview every last piece of your book on both platforms.
Now would be a perfect time to preview your book on all of the Kindle versions just in case. As I’m working on the eBook, I preview on the most up to date Kindle, but it’s good before publication to go back and make sure there are no “glaring issues” on previous versions as well.
The previous Kindle versions are still in wide circulation.
Now, you submit your work and fill in all the fields both Amazon and Createspace request. You’re still not done! You still need to do the following:
- If this is your first book, you need to create your author page on the Amazon marketplaces.
- Notify Amazon that your eBook and physical book are the same books, so they can display them together on the same page.
- Add editorial comments on the eBook’s page and submit the editorial comments to Amazon for addition on the physical book’s page.
- Read the entire page of both your Kindle eBook and physical book to make sure you catch any “errors” right away and fix them.
- As soon as possible, you’ll need to encourage people who read your book to leave (hopefully positive) reviews.
- If someone tells you, they love your book immediately point them to the review section on Amazon! Ratings, especially positive ones, “sell a lot more books” than even the best marketing techniques.
You want to make sure the readers who love your book leave some ratings before you get a poor rating. A one-star rating on a book with no four or five-star ratings can stop sales in their tracks.
If you’re a new author, you’ll need to do a significant amount of research on how to market your book. This process includes finding people willing to review it and recommend it to their readers.
Be aware, most reviewers won’t guarantee you any positive review. If you have typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors in your book you absolutely must fix them before having it reviewed.
This statement should go without saying, but there are eBooks out there with all three of those. A professional reviewer will rip you up, down, and sideways for writing mistakes and say very little about the book itself.
Unfortunately, all authors get bad reviews or negative feedback from time to time. So, what do you do about it?
Well, some writers don’t read their reviews.If you can’t handle reading them without significant upset, tears, and “emotional agony” then that’s for the best. If you can handle it, reading them can give you some insight into how people are experiencing your book.
Remember, bad reviews aren’t personal. The person is only saying what they think about what they’ve read. They don’t know you and probably haven’t had more than this one experience with your work.
How seriously to take the review depends on how informative it’s written.
For example, “this book was bad,” doesn’t tell you anything. Professional reviews tend to be more accurate and say what about your writing style or method of storytelling made it difficult for them to follow.
Plot holes, errata additions, and substantive input on writing style or technique are good to take to heart.
You might be able to make significant improvements to your next publication by improving your writing technique or thinking more critically about your plot-line.
Also, if you keep track of errata changes, you can update the eBook and physical book. eBooks are update-able on the Kindle for everyone who’s downloaded it if they agree to the upgrade.
“Print-on-demand” physical books can be updated to fix errata entries on all future orders.
Good luck in as an independent author. It’s a tough market, but if you work hard and take feedback seriously, you can be successful.
The residual income that comes from multiple independent book publications is a great supplement that’s good to have around.