I recently read an interesting article in Writing Magazine about publishing your own ebooks. I put it to the test and I can now say my manuscript Antarctic Affair is successfully selling on Amazon.com. I’ve tested the ebook and it looks good, the formatting is perfect and I’m happy with the results. So much so that I’ve decided to highlight the process here, on Marketing for Romance Writers, to assist all our readers who would like step-by-step instructions to putting their books on Amazon Kindle.
Before you start, make sure your manuscript is properly edited and formatted. This is important for a variety of reasons, the most important being that a shoddily edited book will not do your reputation as a writer any good, and if the formatting isn’t correct, it will be unreadable on the Kindle and you’ll lose fans as a result.
Register with Amazon.com. You need an Amazon account to sign in to KDP and Author Central (for your author profile). If you already have an account with Amazon, you can log in to KDP with the same login and password.
If you haven’t got a Kindle, download one of Amazon’s free Kindle apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android and download some free samples (in the line your book is aimed at) to study layout and the opening pages.
Create your own book cover. An attractive and well designed book cover goes a long way to attracting readers on Amazon and can add to your credibility as a writer. Even though they say never judge a book by its cover, people do! If you don’t want to pay a professional designer to create a cover for you, then create one yourself using a program like Photoshop. There are also resources online which create covers for you, but bear in mind that you do need your cover to be professional, attention-grabbing and clear (to show up in thumbnail size). Cover images need to be in jpeg or tiff format and dimensions are 720 pixels high by 500 pixels wide. This is according to KDP’s Product Image Guidelines which you can download on their site. [Our resident designer, Bronwyn, specialises in Kindle covers. If you're considering paying for a cover, she's about as good as they come - and she's affordable too.]
You will need to download the free Mobipocket Creator from www.mobipocket.com/en/downloadsoft/productdetailscreator.asp. KDP suggests using this software to correctly format your book for uploading onto the KDP platform. Mac users will need Kindlegen instead (instructions on the KDP Help Topics).
KDP offers lots of free and essential advice in their Help Topics and I would recommend reading through it prior to uploading your manuscript.
Create your Author Page at Amazon Author Central. You will connect your book with your author profile after you have uploaded it to the KDP platform.
How to use MobiPocket Creator
1. Save your Word document as ‘Web Page, Filtered (*HTM & HTML)’ (nder Other Formats in Word 2003 and later).
2. Open MobiPocket Creator.
3. In ‘Import from an Existing File’ choose ‘HTML Document’.
4. Browse to the htm/html version of your book. ‘Import’; this opens a book editing interface.
5. Select ‘Cover Image’ > Add a Cover Image > browse to your book cover > Select > click ‘Update’.
6. Optional: under Metadata select the subject (genre) of your book and add a Description. Click Update.
7. In the icon menu at the top choose ‘Build’. On the Build page leave ‘Standard Compression’ and ‘No encryption’ selected. Click the Build button. When it says ‘Build Finished’ select ‘Open folder containing eBook’ then ‘OK’. Of the files created it is the .prc file you will later upload to KDP.
TIP: MobiPocket Creator’s Preview function is poor. If you have a Kindle use it to preview your pre-published book: Turn it off before plugging it into your computer’s USB port. The computer will recognise it as a separate drive and open its file structure in Windows Explorer. Drag or copy and post the .prc file into your Kindle’s Documents folder. Disconnect your Kindle then turn it on normally to preview your ebook. If you don’t have a Kindle, use KDP’s option to preview your book at the book upload stage.
You are now ready to register wtih Kindle Direct Publishing and start the process of getting your ebook onto Amazon. Go to KDP’s home page and sign in with your Amazon account.
* (Steps taken from ‘Join the E-volution’ by Lily Childs for Writing Magazine.)
The KDP Bookshelf
This is where your books that you have published to Amazon are listed. You can see the list price, the date published and other information like author and title. You can also edit your books from here, by clicking on the book title. Under the Reports tab you can view your Month to Date sales and Prior Six Weeks Royalties. You can also view your royalties for the past 12 months and download reports in Microsoft Excel format.
Add Your Book to KDP
Click the Add New Title button on the KDP home page.
Ignore KDP Select for now. First make sure you book is loaded properly before you decide which additional programs to add your book to.
Enter your book details in the fields provided. Be sure to read the side notes (What’s this?).
Points to note:
The contributor is you the author, or in the case of a non-fiction title, the illustrator or anyone else who has contributed to the book.
The Edition will be 1 if it is the first time you’re publishing to KDP.
Enter your own author name as the publisher if you do not have a publisher.
You do not need to purchase an ISBN. KDP will automatically allocate an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) to your book.
Read the notes on Publishing Rights and choose the right option for you.
When targeting your book to customers, choose two categories that best describe your genre. Add up to 7 keywords that people might use to search for your book in the Kindle Store, such as romance novel, erotic romance, romantic ebook and so on… Have a look at the Kindle Store yourself and search using relevant terms.
Upload your book cover making sure it’s clear enough to be seen when in thumbnail size. Follow the Product Image Guidelines if you’re unsure.
Digital Rights Management gives you control over unauthorised distribution of the Kindle version of your book and is recommended.
Book Content File is where you upload your book to the platform. Please make sure you’ve read the KDP Content Guidelines and Help with Formatting before you do this.
Amazon also has a handy guide called Building Your Book for Kindle which is freely available for download and I recommend reading this before you load your book. Download your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007URVZJ6.
Browse for and upload your book. This process takes a while but once it’s done you can Preview to see how it will look on Kindle.
Save and Continue to go on to section 2, Rights and Pricing.
Here you will verify your publishing territories, choose your royalty rate and opt in for other Kindle services like Kindle book lending.
A note on Royalties… There are two choices, 35% and 70%. Chosing the higher band limits your book to a price range between $2.99 and $9.99 which is fine for most romance novels. However, if you’re publishing a short novella or ebook, then $2.99 may be too high a price for you. In which case you will have to drop to the 35% royalty band. Many writers report increased sales in the lower band, but it is a complex topic so be sure to do your research before you choose an option for your book. Read KDP’s Pricing Page and their T&C before you proceed. There are also many useful blog posts on ebook pricing out there, and a Google search will help you locate many.
Save and Publish your book. This can take up to 24 hours to process, and you will receive an email notifying you when your book is available on Amazon Kindle. Congratulations!
Note: For any changes to your book, you’ll need to wait for it to appear on Amazon and then go into the KDP bookshelf to make any edits.
- Kindle Direct Publishing – https://kdp.amazon.com
- KDP Product Image Guidelines – https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2J0TRG6OPX0VM
- Amazon Help Topics – https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help
- Amazon Author Central – https://authorcentral.amazon.com
- Building Your Book for Kindle (Kindle Guide) – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007URVZJ6
- Ebook Cover Design Services – http://www.facebook.com/ebookcoverdesignservices