It is now possible to publish your ebook or print a book on demand on Amazon’s KDP platform for free. This is a great deal since Amazon sells 70% of e-books and 50% of print books, plus royalties go to authors. However, setting up an account, formatting the book, and uploading your manuscripts can be a daunting task. “How to Self Publish a Book in 10 Easy Steps” offers guidance and reasoning on what to put in all those little boxes. Knowing why and how makes the process a viable and rewarding experience.
What makes this book worthwhile is the fact that the author formulated this book when he uploaded an older version of the discontinued CreateSpace to the new KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Thus. Beth Whittenbury found and solved the same problems that she will face when uploading her book. And her roadmap lays out the process in an orderly fashion, beginning with the decision: do you want to be your own publisher? There are pros and cons and you have the information to make a rational decision.
Next is getting the ISBN, which not only identifies your book but also its format and publisher. This section also identifies the author, page size, format, and medium, whether it’s an e-book or paperback. Other classifications are main topic category, target audience, and, if known, publication date. ISBN numbers are obtained through myidentifiers.com and prices range from $125 for one to $29.50 each when you buy ten.
The next step is to register your book with the Library of Congress for a PCN (Pre-Assigned Control Number) which helps libraries locate where your book is stored. This chapter also covers how to cross-reference your PNC with your ISBN and the process for submitting a copy to the Library of Congress. Beth also discusses whether she should get the copyright to the book from her.
When setting up your KDP account, it suggests keeping Amazon KDP as your printer, not your publisher. This keeps your rights. This section also identifies the country where you work, your tax information, your bank routing information for royalty payments, and your Social Security Number or EIN.
Once you have set up your KDP account, you can start uploading your manuscript to the KDP system. The book provides instructions on what information goes in which boxes. For example, you may have other collaborators, such as an illustrator or co-author. There are boxes for that. Other boxes include language, book title, keywords, subject category, and publishing rights. One of the most important entries will be the description box, as it will appear on the Amazon book page and is used by potential readers to rate your book and make purchasing decisions. Look at similar book descriptions to help write this sales article and select strong keywords. This description and its keywords are also part of the search parameters that buyers use to find a book on a particular topic.
Once you have completed the boxes in the Print Options section, you can begin uploading your manuscript. First, you’ll need to upload a free Word template for the crop size you’ve chosen. This is a complex procedure and Beth guides you through this process with detailed step-by-step instructions. She also cautions about choosing a font size and that using Garamond’s default font of 11 points when writing her manuscript will probably save you formatting work later.
The next section explains how to format your title page, colophon page, dedication page, and acknowledgment page. The colophon page is also known as the copyright page or the edition notice. While the KDP template gives you the bare minimum of what’s included on the colophon page, Beth suggests. adding the Library of Congress number, a disclaimer, and your fingerprint. This will make her book look more professional.
The author’s biography is at the end of the book. Here you can add links to other books you’ve written or a link to Amazon’s “Write a Review” page. When you’re happy with the manuscript, you’ve entered the KDP template, consider converting that word file to a pdf file. This is especially careful if you have photos or illustrations, or if it’s a really large file.
Now we have come to the book cover section. Here Beth discusses whether she should opt for a free cover created by KDP or pay a designer to create one. The free path is discussed in detail, from selecting a photo from the KDP Image Gallery to designing the graphics for the title, subtitle, and author name. She also scans the information on the back cover, including the book description, the author’s image, and the barcode based on her book’s ISBN. The spine design is also covered and includes the book title and author’s name printed vertically.
The final section is “Paperback Rights and Prices.” Here you will choose which territorial rights you own, your primary market, your book’s list price, and any extended distributions such as bookstores, libraries, and online retailers. Beth suggests that when selecting a price, you look at other books in your category and don’t price it above the average. Basically, royalties are calculated at sixty percent of the list price minus the cost of printing.
Another consideration is pricing in foreign countries. Foreign sales through Amazon receive a 60 percent royalty and those sold through other channels are calculated at 40 percent. Before publishing your book, please obtain a proof copy, as some errors will not prevail in the electronic preview, but will appear in the actual physical proof copy.
Once you’re happy with your proof copy, you can click the Publish button and your book should appear on Amazon within seventy-two hours. Of course, now begins the hardest part of being an author, promoting your book.
ELECTRONIC BOOK EDITION
If you also want to publish an eBook edition, Beth’s book takes you through those steps as well. While basically the same as the paper book process, they differ in a few ways. As such, she walks you through them in Appendix A of her book. First, sign in to her account and, just to the right of her book cover, click the blue words “+ Create Kindle eBook.” Many of the boxes have already been filled in for you. Make sure they have the correct information. His book goes on to explain where the information would be different. These include the age and grade range box and the pre-order box.
The Manuscript Box has several options that need to be addressed. One consideration is to limit sharing this book with others. You will also need a new ISBN for your e-book edition. Also, the options for your cover are fewer than for your print book with respect to font type and color.
Once you’ve uploaded your manuscript and cover, you can preview it on your computer or Kindle device. Your text may not look the same as it does on a printed page. This depends on the digital device used to read the pages of your book and some devices may cut off in places you didn’t want.
If you want KDP to be your exclusive eBook publisher, join KDP Select. KDP Select benefits include being available on Kindle Unlimited and receiving a 70 percent royalty versus 35 percent royalty. The book covers additional benefits.
Pricing your book follows the same principles as the print version. Check prices on similar books. Foreign sales and price conversions are made based on the country’s daily exchange rate.
The Matchbook arrangement allows paperback buyers a discount on the price of their Kindle edition. Beth highlights the pros and cons of this option. Another optional program is Book Lending, which allows buyers to lend their e-book to friends or family for up to fourteen days. If you opt for the KDP Select program, the seventy percent royalty, you are automatically locked to a “Yes” on these options.
The last item is the terms and conditions box and must be accepted before submitting your e-book. Once you’re happy with your answers uploaded to all boxes, click the “Publish Your Kindle eBook” button and your book should appear on Amazon in seventy-two hours.
The final section of the book covers the next steps, tips and tricks. These include how to order author copies of your book, determine the number of books sold, and royalties received. It also covers how to change the text in your submitted book, creating your central author account and your author profile. With your Author Central account, you can track the sale of your book. Customer reviews are also covered in this section and you can comment on them,
When your book ranks one hundred or less in your book navigation category, you earn the honor of an Amazon bestseller. Beth shows you how to choose the best search category for her book and how to navigate this maze to get on this list.
This review covers a portion of the instructions offered in this book. It gives you an overview of the process. Beth writes on a variety of topics and consults with authors who wish to self-publish her work. More information is available on her website, bethwhittenbury.com.