From time to time people have asked me how to self-publish a book on Amazon. I think it’s worth writing a blog post about it, especially for people who don’t know where to start.
First of all, if you’ve completed a book, congratulations! It’s exciting when you’ve taken the first step to getting published. I have great news for you: It costs nothing for you to upload your manuscript and book cover on Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon’s self publishing service). It’s free and fairly easy to use/navigate.
Step #1: Edit, edit, edit!
You’ll want to do at least a few self-edits before publishing your book (I personally do at least 10) and if it’s a novel length book, you might want to have it edited or proofread by a professional as well. There’s no shame in hiring an editor and in fact, every novel that’s traditionally published goes through an editing and proofreading process. The reason for this is that it’s your own work so you can develop blind spots to errors or typos. Even after rewriting and editing it several times, there’s still a chance you might miss something. It’s also a good idea to have another set of eyes look over your work as they might be able to see things you don’t see that could be improved or fixed.
Editors can be pricey, so be careful when doing a search to make sure you find someone who’s within your budget. If money is tight, you can always opt for a student editor or a freelancer who’s willing to do the work for less. Experience has taught me that sometimes you do get what you pay for, though, and sometimes it’s better to save up so you can invest in someone who can really help polish up your book!
Other indie authors prefer not to hire an editor at all and prefer to have their work untouched by another hand. That’s totally fine and up to you.
Step #2: Create a great cover
If you’re decent with photo shop and enjoy creating book covers, this is something you can do for free. If you’re not inclined to make your own book cover, there are many good quality designers that don’t charge hefty fees for covers. Be sure to find someone who can create both an ebook and print book cover if you want to publish your book in both formats. There’s plenty of pre-made book cover websites you can choose from as well and the designer will message you directly for any changes in the cover’s colour, design, or text after you’ve made the purchase.
Step #3: Book formatting
Once your book is professionally edited (and looked over by you one last time!), you’ll need to format your book so it will meet publishing specifications. Generally, you won’t need to format the ebook as it usually converts pretty well from a Word document. It’s the paperback edition that will take some time to set up so it’s printable. You can search out resources to get the guidelines on how to format your book based on word length, the size you want it to be, etc. Kindle Direct Publishing also has some handy forums that can help get you started.
You can also hire a formatter. Some editors can do this for you at an extra fee, streamlining the whole process.
Step #4: Create your account on KDP
Once you’ve created an account on KDP, you can select “Publish A New Book” and upload your story’s file, the book cover, etc. This is also where you’ll write the book description, select the copyright you want, categorize your book, choose the price, etc. It’s all done in a step by step manner that’s virtually pain free!
Step #5: Upload your book!
Once all of the steps are created, your book will be uploaded and within 24 hours, it will be live on Amazon! You can check your “Dashboard” to view sales stats and payouts. In the “Bookshelf” you can re-upload any files, change the price, run a promotion, etc. at any time.
Step #6: Market your book
Create some buzz a month or so before your book releases so that people can anticipate its arrival. KDP allows you to create a pre-order so you can earn sales before your book is even published! Post about your book on social media and contact a few book bloggers who will promote and review your book to interested readers (You can purchase blog tour services or ask some blogger friends if they can help you on your book release day). Pay for some ads on Amazon or social media to gather more traffic to your new book.
As you can see, it’s pretty straight forward once you get started. I find the publishing process to be fun overall. For me, the hardest part is always the formatting. I admit it’s probably something I should just pay someone to do in the future, because it can take me the better part of an hour to get it right.
There’s no feeling like hitting “submit” and releasing that book out into the world. 🙂
So, bloggers, have you ever published a book on Amazon, or plan to? Is there anything you’d like to add to my list?