Recently in Part 1 we have discussed the main features of Kindle Direct Publishing system and made sure that entrusting your book draft to it can prove really worthwhile if approached rightly. And now it’s time to find out how you can self-publish your title on KDP so that it does bring you noticeable revenue.
Publishing your book, your brainchild, independently online, actually with any existing platform designed for such an undertaking, can be compared with setting up your own business. (By the way, if we dug somewhat deeper, we could claim with confidence that successful publishing that brings an author some money is a business of its kind.) That said, as an author and entrepreneur, you must always be ready to put up with failures, probably take risks sometimes, and regularly promote your work and yourself. Because nothing is as simple and inoffensive as it may seem at first time.
Step #1: Prepare Your Book Properly
So, your book is ready. Congrats! Your emotions are messed up, but you definitely can feel slightly joyful and satisfied, realizing that you have created a thing which is destined to make your name famous. However, don’t hurry to upload it to KDP.
Just once again make sure that you are really 100% ready to do it. Remember what you have written about and what or who you dedicate your masterpiece to. You see, the thing is that although Amazon Kindle claims that you can choose any topic you like, this fact can’t inform millions of people that a new book has been published. Amazon advises to browse through the title categories and find best-sellers if you want to stay confident of your topic’s popularity. However, it’s more beneficial to define keywords you’d like to use in your title and search for the most frequent Google requests, using special online tools.
You remember that according to the Kindle’s regulations, a book which contains mistakes will be withdrawn from sale. That’s why you should ask someone who you think you can trust to read your draft slowly and carefully and edit it. Yes, you do need a good and reliable editor badly. Because you know that two heads are better than one. In case you don’t have anyone who would do editing for you for some chocolate, you can hire a professional editor. By the way, KDP provides editing services for books written in English language too, but for them you should pay USD 0.016 per 1 word (the number is right if you get curious), and your work must contain not less than 10.000 words if you want to apply for this service.
Technically Amazon KDP supports many different formats, but these two free programs are recommended just for easier conversion: KindleGen plus KindlePreviwer. Download them in advance and you’ll be able to convert HTML into mobi with the first program, and preview your book in different versions of Kindle with the second one. And you’d better not include the cover when formatting the whole text.
And don’t forget about a book cover. We were told somehow not to judge a book by it, but still we can hardly escape comparing a book with an attractive and bright cover with the one which doesn’t have it. We’ll return to this issue below.
Step #2: Register Yourself and Your Book
If it’s going to be the very first time you publish the book on KDP and if you don’t have an Amazon Kindle account, you should register first and then go to Bookshelf. There you’ll need to click on “Create new title” and start entering information on the book. You’ll see that there are fields for required and optional data, so be careful to fill in all of them appropriately.
Step #3: Publish and Do Preview Your Work
Obviously, this stage isn’t very difficult. Real campaign with all its challenges starts after it. If your book doesn’t have a brilliant cover, Amazon KDP can offer you a free cover creator or a professional design service, which will cost you about USD 99-399. So, if you have a good friend who can craft a beautiful book cover for you, you’d better ask them. As for the rest, publishing is free. Promotion doesn’t count. We’ll talk about it later.
Besides, it’s recommended that you upload your title a few days earlier than you plan to launch officially. This can help you attract some audience if currently you have zero fans. Also, it’s your chance to gain valuable reviews which can significantly improve your ranking.
What About Previewing?
As you’ve uploaded the book, check how it will look after being downloaded to different Kindle devices as well as to iPhones and iPads. This is to make sure that the format you’ve chosen is convenient and flexible on any gadget.
Step #4: Set the Price and Royalties
After you confirm your copyright, you’ll have to set the price and vote for the desirable amount of royalties. These two issues are quite complicated, so let’s consider them in more detail.
The allowed price can range from USD 0.99 to USD 200. Logically, you can’t set a very high price because it’s never attracted people too much. But naturally you don’t want to set a very low price because you expect at least some income. What you should remember is that your income will be determined not by the numbers you set, but by the ranking of your title. So, this is what you need to concentrate on. And you already know that ranking depends mostly on reviews.
Experienced KDP publishers recommend that early and loyal audience should be rewarded by a discount or other nice things. In this way you can gain reviews much easier, and a large number of purchases at a time helps with the book promotion.
In the case of Amazon, you’ll choose between 35% and 70% royalty, depending on your work meeting special KDP’s requirements. On their official website Amazon provide more details on author’s revenue. Also, we have commented on the issue in Part 1.
Step #5: Keep Calm. Promote. Update
You should remember that you need to keep promoting as long as you want your book to bring you some revenue. Here are a few ways how you can do it:
- create and submit the so-called guest posts to support your title;
- don’t forget to link all your blog posts with your book on Amazon;
- share quotes (preferably with nice images);
- develop a habit to plan your promotions.
Updating can be actually as vitally essential for your success as promoting. You’re welcome to make changes to the book content, description and cover. Just don’t forget to inform your readers about the updates.
That’s quite a short guide on self-publishing under Amazon KDP, but I hope it was helpful. Follow the links and find more interesting info on the issue.