If you’ve ever wanted to become a published author but were afraid to send your manuscript after publishing to publishing and waiting for those inevitable rejection letters, then take heart. Self-publishing is not only hotter than ever, it’s easier than ever, thanks in no small part to platforms like Amazon Kindle. Do you have a book in you but don’t know where to start to get it published? Here’s everything you need to know so you can get your book published and seen by thousands of Amazon shoppers.
Step 1: Start writing your book.
This step is quite simple. Do you have a great story? Write it down, preferably in a word processing programme such as Microsoft Word. This makes it easier to format your book for publication, but if you’re using a different word processor, that’s fine too. Just write your book and make it as good and professional as possible. This may mean spending some time polishing it, letting someone else edit it, or rewriting parts that don’t make sense. Self-publishing isn’t an excuse for bad grammar or weak storytelling, but perfection isn’t necessary either. Just tell a good story, with as few noticeable grammar and spelling mistakes as possible.
Step 2: Prepare your book for the Kindle.
Amazon has a set of formatting guidelines that are long and can be confusing, but if you take the time to read through them and implement them step-by-step, you can get a perfectly formatted book that won’t look like trash when published. If you ask, “What is formatting?” simply put your book in a format that Amazon’s publishing system can understand and display correctly. Well-formatted books look nice on the page, don’t have strange spaces between paragraphs, etc. You can find Kindle formatting guidelines on Amazon’s Kindle Layout page*.
If you’re not sure about formatting your book yourself, you can try paying someone to do it for you. Freelance websites such as oDesk and Elance often have freelancers who will prepare your book for a fee. Fiverr is another platform where people are willing to do this service for you for the palatial sum of five bucks, but be sure to read the reviews of anyone you hire to make sure they’ve done a good job in the past.
Step 3: Make your book available on Amazon.
Once your book is formatted, you can go to the Kindle Direct Publishing page and start publishing your book. This can be exciting and nerve-wracking, but be sure to take your time when doing this. When you submit your eBook, you must fill out each piece of information correctly so that it can be approved and put on the right list.
Among the things to look out for when publishing your book, you must choose whether to publish under your own name or a pseudonym, you must choose in which category and subcategory your book will appear, and you must set the book. Amazon has two tiers of royalty, so it’s a good idea to learn more about each, and about the Kindle Select program, which makes your book available exclusively to Amazon before publishing it.
Be sure to enter your name and title information exactly as you want it to appear in the book and on Amazon, or you may have trouble finding your book once it’s published. You also need to choose a way to get paid for your sales, so make sure you enter that information correctly as well.
Upload your book and decide if you want to use a book cover you made with Amazon’s cover maker, or if you want to use one that you uploaded. Fiverr is a great place to get cheap covers, but make sure to be specific in your requests and only use photos you’re entitled to.
Covers are important, as shoppers only see a small version when purchasing books online. Bright, bold, and professional covers get more attention than messy, DIY versions with poor graphics and too many words in the title. If you need inspiration, check out the bestsellers on Amazon and see what their covers look like.
Submit your book and wait for approval.
Once you’ve submitted your book, Amazon will review it and let you know if there are any formatting issues or other issues preventing your book from being made available. The review process usually takes between 24 and 48 hours, and once it’s ready, you’ll receive an email notification that your book is available for sale.
Step 5: Celebrate and advertise!
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 as you can always make changes to your book and resubmit it if there are major issues.
Market your book on social media, build a website to promote it and your upcoming books, and generally tell the world about your book to generate interest and sales. The most important thing is that you are proud of yourself. Not everyone gets around to publishing a book, and you have something nice to celebrate.
You may want to consider making your book available in a paperback version so that people can buy it and have a physical copy. Amazon ‘s Createspace platform can do this for you too. It’s a great way to give your readers more options and build a bigger fan base by selling the book locally in bookstores.