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I have tried my best to put this together, as I have not used Amazon KDP myself.
If any part of this process is wrong, please let me know!
To the best of my knowledge, this is the process you are going to follow if you are interested in publishing an eBook with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
Here we go!
Fiction - Nonfiction
First and foremost, you’re going to have to decide whether you’re more comfortable with the idea of writing fiction or if you want to head into non-fiction territory.
Non-fiction would probably be easier, since you can use other books as source material.
Check out the Best Sellers
Next, you are going to do some research to find the best selling books in your niche.
What are your personal areas of interest? Check on those first to see if they sell well.
Check to see how many books within each category are within the top 50k bestselling books. You’re looking for at least three books. Any less and it won’t be worth your time.
What do you do then? Consider finding a more popular niche.
Purchase & Read
Purchase those books, read them and make some notes as you read.
What’s the purpose of this? Learning.
Ultimately, you’ll probably write your own book based off what you learned from those three.
Note: I said BASED OFF, not plagiarized. You need to add your own unique ideas, personality and stories.
Your book doesn’t have to be long per se. Some bestsellers are short.
A recommended length is 125-175 pages.
If this seems like too much, keep this in mind: one page in a word-processing program is about 2 Kindle pages.
Does it seem a bit more reasonable now?
Read Your Book
Okay, I realize this might be a “DUH!” suggestion, but it’s important.
When you’ve finished your eBook, go back and read it thoroughly.
Look for ways to word things differently or enhance the work.
Note: if you’re a perfectionist and you find yourself doing a complete rewrite on every page as you’re going through it, take a break from it for a day or two.. then go back and read it.
Hire An Editor
Consider hiring someone else to edit your eBook for you, even after you’ve read it over. You might miss some things so an extra pair of eyeballs might help.
Why should you do this?
A few reasons:
- Readers will be turned off by spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
- Bad reviews will greatly reduce the likelihood of someone purchasing any of your future works.
Trained editors (or your fave grammar nerd) will ensure your eBook stays error-free.
Kindle books require special formatting. You can find templates online.
Amazon has a great article HERE about formatting templates.
- Be careful about using images. Always insert an image, don’t copy/paste.
- You will be charged a download fee for each book you sell. The fee is based on the size of your eBook’s file, so that right there is a good reason to avoid using a lot of images.
- Using lots of images might seem like a good idea, but it will just increase costs and decrease profits. Compress them into smaller file sizes to limit expenses.
- Include links back to your website or email list. That will help you sell additional items to them in the future. Capture emails for future marketing purposes by offering a free report (maybe a sneak peek of the book?) in exchange for their email address.
Use numbered lists in your work, as bullet points are a problem on older Kindle models. You can also use an asterisk or a dash as well.
Good Book Covers
“Never judge a book by it’s cover” is a great phrase, but let’s be honest: the cover can make or break your work.
Simply put: bad covers won’t sell. Take your time to secure a great cover.
Check out Fiverr and find an artist who has experience with covers.
- Fiverr will probably be the most cost-effective option and you just might be pleasantly surprised by the quality, even if you keep your expectations in check.
- You might have to pay a few different people on Fiverr to find a cover you like. With affordable options, it might be worth it.
- Visit Go On Write and check out those covers. They are a bit more pricey than Fiverr, but once you purchase one of their covers, it is removed from circulation, so there is a bit of exclusivity there.
- 99 Designs, a branch of Vista (VistaPrint & VistaCreate). It’s debatable whether it’s worth the expense, but if you have the budget, go for it!
- Warrior Forum is also a recommended source for cover art. You’re sure to find someone on there to create the cover and a variety of price points to compare.
Of course, you could always do your own cover. Canva has some great templates.
If you decide to use a photograph for your cover, make sure you have the legal rights to use it. High-resolution photos are a must to ensure your book looks professional.
Ivory Mix allows you to use their stock photos in your eBooks, with some restrictions. Kayla and her team have some gorgeous photos that I use all the time.
Consider all of your options and make the choices you feel most comfortable with.
Uploading your book will require a KDP account.
You can find complete creation and uploading steps HERE after you have formatted your cover and manuscript.
- Enroll in KDP Select. It’s free for 90 day, which will allow you time to promote your eBook in various ways.
- You’re allotted a 4,000 character limit for your book description, so don’t squander the space. Longer descriptions look more professional and give potential readers more info so they can make a good buying decision. Your goal: to pique their curiosity.
- When choosing publishing rights, you might not want to choose to allow your eBook to be a public domain piece. It would give others the right to sell your work as their own.
- Categories: choose the two most closely related to your topic.
- I hate to sound dramatic, but your keywords are critical. You can add up to seven, so use all seven.
Need to find keywords? There is a list of recommended and ones to avoid on Amazon.
It’s advisable to set the eBook price between $2.99-$9.99. Within this price range, Amazon allows you to claim 70% of the price as commission.
Higher or lower? Commission drops to 30%.
Buy it.. or have someone else buy it immediately after posting. They are more likely to promote your book if they see quick activity on the listing.
Yes, now it’s time to market your book.
KDP does allow you to offer your eBook for free, so schedule a few days for that. Aim for around 2,500 freebie downloads. Tweak your work along the way.
- No downloads? The cover might need to be changed. If you spent good money on the cover and believe in it, try the description. Is it boring? If it leaves potentials with less of a desire to read the rest, they won’t spend the money on it.
- Good reviews are key! Tell your friends or fam to buy a copy and review it.
- Ask for reviews in the book itself. A simple sentence or two in the beginning and end of the book should do the trick. Thank readers in advance for their help.
- If all else fails, bribery just might work. Offer a freebie, then strongly suggest they leave a review. You can’t offer the freebie in exchange for a review, but you can give something up front, they request one.
- Use social media to advertise. Post the cover on your profile with a brief description and tell your friends to pick up a copy, then leave a review. Ask friends and family to like and share you post, whether they purchase the book or not.
- Create a page. Create a page/profile for your eBook. Do your research and see what other authors have done. Use their posts as inspiration for your own. You can give away free chapters to hook readers too.
- Join groups. You can easily find groups based on your topic. Some might allow you to share and promote your work.
Remember: whenever you can, post as your book page, not your personal page.
Blog About It
Simply put: create a blog/website dedicated to your writing.
This allows you to offer freebies on your own and not have to be worried about the ridiculous algorithms on social media.
- Post info about new, upcoming or future projects
- Collect names for an email list
- Dedicate a page to each book/eBook/project
- Create links to buy your work
- Update once a week to keep readers/fans hooked
Create a social media hub on your website. Link to profiles, pages and stores.
Create a book trailer. Describe the book, share quotes and maybe read a page or two.
An Alternative Approach
I get it. This sounds like a lot.
It’s a ridiculous process, in some ways.
I’m not a fan of ridiculous, so I’m going to offer you a suggestion if you don’t want to go through Amazon.
Turn your eBook into a COURSE!
I know, I know. It sounds nuts, but hear me out.
You’re going to have to purchase one of their paid levels in order to use coupon codes.
You have several options on how to proceed, so here are my suggestions:
Add each chapter as a module.
You can allow buyers to unlock a new chapter each week or every few days.
Add each chapter as a module.
Allow access to the entire book all at once.
Add just the first chapter.
Set the price at $5.
If anyone wants to read more, add a link to your book with a coupon code for $5 off.
You also have the option with the course platforms to add an audio version of the book. You can record any chapters you want, then use your cover as the visual.
The possibilities are endless on this.
You can add sneak peeks to other works and make sure you add links back to your website.
Are you excited about this process?
I hope so!
Best of luck to you 🙂