Publish Your Own Books on Amazon
Edited by Jan Margery Castillo, Lynn
You can put your ideas into words, and make them intertwine in vivid stories to form incredible masterpieces. As you flip through the pages of your portfolio, you can't help but smile and be proud of what a great author you've become. Question is, where do you publish it?
This is the dilemma of many people who are passionate about writing. Little do they know that they can publish their work online through Amazon in just a few easy steps. Read on to know how to get your stories recognized and chase your dream of becoming a world-renowned author.
There are different ways you can make a name as an author. The traditional way is to have a literary agent who will help your work be published by huge publishing houses like Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Random House and HarperCollins. This is a long and tedious process to have your work accepted though, especially if you are a newbie writer. More often than not, you'll get many rejections before ever getting a chance. This is why many writers skip the conventional way to publish their book and opt for self-publishing instead. One of the most convenient and popular online publishing sites is Amazon.com.
Amazon enables writers to publish their own work through different ways. One is through CreateSpace which allows you to publish your book in print, as an Audiobook with ACX, and as an eBook with Kindle Direct Publishing. This article will focus more on self-publishing through Kindle. Before anything else, though, you need to know the basic processes on how to write your own book. Here are some guidelines.
How to Write a Book
- 1Title.Think of a topic you want and develop a title. Whether you are writing out of passion or for the mere intention of generating cash, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you want to write. It could be a novel, short story, testimony, autobiography or any specialized topic. Find inspiration from things you are interested in. It may not be your final title because you might think of something better along the way, but it's good to have a guide or context when writing. Some people start writing the content first and think about the title later on.Advertisement
- 2Outline.This is the part where you pour out all your ideas on paper. Write things you want to cover within the context of your topic. Create an outline with headings, subheadings or chapters. You need not think about grammar and proper sentence construction yet because it's just a draft. However, in this part, you need to be decisive about how you want your story to flow. When researching, too many ideas may come up, which could cause you to lose track of your story boundaries. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader to determine what should or should not be included in your outline. Be creative and resourceful when looking for inspiration.Advertisement
- 3Write.After writing the outline, you are now ready to write your book. This could take weeks, months or even years, depending on your context and the amount of time you allot for writing. Compose and stitch together stories and research information that you have gathered. Make sure you have helpful tools with you, like a dictionary, spell checker and thesaurus. Be conscious of your sentence construction and grammar too. Your aim is to make readability flow naturally. When writing non-fiction, ensure that your facts are credible enough. And when writing a fiction story, remember to make a plot that is full, alive, and full of twists to catch the attention of the reader.
- 4Proofread.Print your book and read it from cover to cover. Double check everything you have written and see if there's anything you missed. This is the period when you will realize what is a better word to use on a particular sentence, which character is the best to do a certain task or what parts need to be tweaked. Check grammar and spelling. Make sure you don't proofread in just one day, as it could consume you. Rest from time to time to refresh your mind. Remember to be as objective as you can when you proofread your own work. If there are parts that you think are not necessary, don't hesitate to remove them.
- 5Hire an Editor.You can ask your friends or family to read your book, but hiring a professional editor is a better option because you'll get an objective touch to your work. Be careful, though, when choosing an editor because not all editors are the same; there are specialized professionals for certain genres or topics. Your English professor may help you out in polishing your book. You can also hire from the Editorial Freelancers Association. Make sure you check their site first to know which editing package suits you best.
Why Choose Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing?
When your book is ready, it's time to publish it via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). An eBook is more advisable, especially for beginners because it's easiest to manage, in many different aspects. First, it is more affordable in terms of creating a cover page, design and royalty fees and tax. Second, it's easier to sell at a much cheaper price, making it more accessible to potential buyers. It is basically more practical than getting a publisher for print. It is very easy to work around Amazon's Kindle because it is user-friendly. There are many other eBook publishing platforms, but Amazon stands out because of the following reasons:
- Amazon is the most popular book search engine. Amazon towers over other book shops online. Many people have accounts on Amazon and they directly go to this site when they want to buy a certain book. Internationally, Amazon is known to list almost every book there is on the planet so you are certain that your market reaches almost every corner of the world.
- Kindle App is available to all Tablet devices, smartphones and personal computers. It is always readily available to any book lovers. This app is easy to operate too, with just a few clicks and taps. On the writer's or publisher's end, Kindle Direct Publishing is very convenient to use because there's no in-depth computing or programming skills needed to be able to publish using this platform.
- Amazon is a trusted book reviewer. One of their marketing techniques is to make worthwhile reviews on books.
- Amazon promotes your book once you start making sales. They refer your book to potential buyers or to users who haven't heard about you. This is truly an advantage because it's like having a backbone in marketing.
Steps on how to Publish your Book on Amazon
If you are confident enough, you may start the publishing process any time. Here are the steps on how to publish your book on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.
- 1Sign up for an Amazon account.Create an Amazon account first, prior to signing up for a Kindle Direct Publishing account. If you already have one, you can go directly to KDP page and sign in using your existing account. Be prepared to enter some personal and banking details for financial settlements.Advertisement
- 2Kindle Dashboard.Your dashboard is where you manage your books, from the cover to the format to the publishing process. Make sure that your manuscript format is ready for Kindle upload. Check Kindle's Simplified Guide for proper formatting.
- Fill out book details. Go to the "Bookshelf" tab and click on "Add new title". Enter your book title and start filling out your book details. ISBN or International Standard Book Number is not required when using Amazon. Don't forget to type in keywords too, for search engine visibility.
- Enter your book categories. Choose up to two categories for optimization. If you are not certain of which category to choose, find a certain book that is somewhat similar to yours and get an idea from its category.
- 3Upload a Cover.Although it's a cliché not to judge a book by its cover, it's still essential to create a catchy one, especially if you are a newbie in self-publishing. You want to make a name for yourself, so be creative when choosing a cover. Refer to Amazon's guidelines when creating a cover image to be able to make it the right size or format. This is something you need to invest in too, since it will serve as your official book cover. Hire a professional Photoshop artist and work with him until you get the desired cover.
- 4Upload your Book.Now there is an option before uploading your book of whether you want to enable the Digital Rights Management (DRM) or not. If you do, there's a limited chance that your work would be shared by others, making it more difficult to make sales. It's recommended to disable it for the meantime to generate more sales. Your book format can be as a Word doc or docx, PDF, HTML, Text or ePub. This might seem a delicate process, but it's not, because you can preview your book before publishing.
- 5Preview your book.Test if your book looks right through Amazon's online viewer. They have their own formatting service, but if it doesn't look quite right, you can always re-format your manuscript according to how you want it. There is a downloadable Previewer tool that will allow you to check how your book will look on an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung phones and tablets and more. Take note that if you put many graphics, it may not look exactly the same because it has different dimensions.
- 6Save and continue your work, and then move on to the "Rights and Pricing" section.You need to set your book price and royalty options. There are two royalty options available, you can go with 35 or 70 percent. For higher returns, opt for the 70 percent rate if your eBook price is between $2.99 to 9.99. However, if you choose the 70 percent royalty, Amazon will charge you with a small delivery fee for wirelessly delivering your book to different countries.
- 7Save and Publish!Once you click "Publish", you have to wait for 24-48 hours before Amazon makes your book available for sale. You will receive an email from them when your book is ready. Once your book is published, you have the option to do the following:Advertisement
- Create an Amazon Author Page. This enables you to link your book listings to your Author page. This will make it easier for your readers to check your other books. This is a free service.
- KDP Select Program. The way KDP Select works is quite similar to how a library does. Under this program, your book will be available to borrow within 90 days. Amazon will pay you an amount close to your royalty fee every time someone borrows your book.
- Promote your book. There are many ways in which you can promote your eBook. The first thing you can do is spread the word to your friends and family. Then, let your contacts from your email know, by sending them a launch email. Social media platforms are also powerful tools for marketing.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.