Step-by-Step Introduction to Kindle Publishing
It’s important if you want to be a successful published author that you deliver something to your audience that they already want. The next thing that you must concern yourself with is organizing your book properly. Once you do those things, publishing on Kindle is a piece of cake.
What Should Your Book Be About?
If you know your audience, researching topics won’t be hard. One way to research topics is to go straight to your audience and ask them what they want to know. Almost any “How to” or informative idea can be turned into a book.
- Researching Topics – Ask your audience what they need to know. Ask them what their burning questions are. Any question that they have can be made into a book. If you have yet to build your own audience, you can also use your competition’s audience to conduct this same research by participating in discussion groups, attending webinars, and even by reading their emails that they send to their audience. You can find ideas everywhere.
- Picking the Right Topic – Once you’ve conducted your research, determine what’s most important for your audience to know based on whether you want to start with beginner information or advanced. If you start with beginner information, you’ll have a lot more to work with for more books down the line. The best way to choose is to find out where most of your audience happens to be in their learning process.
Write down a list of questions from your audience or your competitor’s audience. Figure out where most of your audience is in their process, and start with a book at that level, about a topic that people are asking about often. It may take a couple of weeks watching what your audience says in groups and polling them to find out what they really want to know more about. But, once you find your topic it’s important to get to the important part: writing. After all, if you don’t write the book, you can’t publish it.
Organizing Your Book
Writing your book well takes some extra time up front but if you do these things before you start writing, you won’t have to worry about it while you’re writing, and it will be easier on you after you’re done writing, enabling you to get published even faster.
While there are writers who claim that outlines are a waste of time the fact is, in most cases, outlines will make your book better. Making an outline doesn’t have to be hard. It’s simply a matter of writing main headings with sub-points underneath until you cover everything you want to cover. It will help if you also write a summary of what you want to cover in each heading so that you don’t leave anything out.
Formatting Your Book
The great thing about writing a Kindle book is that the setup is not that difficult because you actually use less formatting than you probably do when you publish a blog post or if you were going to make your book into a PDF file. This is the down and dirty way to format your Kindle book using MS Word.
- Save your document in .Doc or .Docx Format.
- If your book has tables use either an image file or use Insert Tables.
- Use the default MS Word settings other than special fonts, headers, footers, page numbers and so forth. In fact, don’t use anything special. Make your document as plain as possible.
- Do use MS Word styles such as normal paragraph, headings, and title settings so that you can insert a table of contents after everything is done as a table of contents is required.
- Insert page breaks when you want to go to a new page, especially at the end of a chapter, or else it will appear on the same page. If you want a blank page inserted, use the new page but state that the page is blank.
- To insert images properly use JPG and use “insert” with only center alignment. Never copy an image from another source and paste it into your document. Images can be in color and will be shown in color on other devices outside of the regular Kindle, such as Kindle Fire.
You must have a table of contents, choose justified alignment, include page breaks after a chapter is done, follow the rules about the dimensions of images and resolution. Do not use tabs for indenting – use hard indents and put your book in the best format depending on your book. If you have a picture or graphic book, use .mobi, if you have a very text-based book without anything fancy, it’s fine to upload a Word document in either .doc or .docx format.
There is software to help you format your book, but you honestly don’t need it. If you follow the instructions above you can upload your book in Word format to Kindle and publish it easily. But, if you are doing a special type of book, such as a kid’s book with a lot of illustrations, this software can help.
- Kindle Textbook Creator – You can download this in KDP Tools and Resources and get can it for both Windows and Mac.
- Kindle Kids’ Book Creator – Also available to download in KDP Tools and Resources for both Windows and Mac.
- Ebook Converter – This software enables you to convert your books into many different formats including EPUB, PDF, MOBI, Kindle, AZW, TXT, you can find this software on this website.
- KDPublishingPro – This software makes it really simple to make sure your manuscripts are formatted properly, plus helps you submit it to your KDP account. It even helps you add your copyright pages and more. You can find KD Publishing Pro at this website.
Now that you have a good outline and an understanding of setting up your manuscript in MS Word using as little formatting as possible, you need to start writing your book. Set aside some writing time each day. Whether it’s an hour or five hours, it doesn’t matter. If you devote to a set writing time each day that works with your schedule, you’ll get done.
Publishing Your Book on the Kindle Platform
Let’s look at how your KDP account will look from the back end and go through the uploading and publishing a book on Kindle.
Sign into your normal Amazon account, then go to the KDP link, then sign in as you. Or if you don’t have an Amazon account at all, create one.
When you sign into KDP you arrive at your Bookshelf. This is the area where your books are listed. You can check your stats, upload new books, book covers, create book covers, get reports, and join the community and more.
To upload a new book, click “Create New Title”.
On this page, you’ll be asked to choose if you want to enroll in KDP Select. This program has some benefits such as marketing, earning higher percentages, reaching more readers via Kindle Unlimited and more.
Read the instructions to figure out if you want it or not. There are pros and cons to both. In short, if you want to market your book on other platforms, do not choose KDP select. If you want KDP Select, so you can promote your book via Amazon, be included in Kindle Unlimited, and more, tick the box.
Just go through and answer each question.
Your book should be completely finished and ready to publish prior to going to upload your book:
Book Name – Choose a name that tells the readers what’s inside. Don’t be tricky.
Subtitle – It’s a good idea to have a subtitle, as it gives you more ways to let the consumer know what’s inside.
Whether This Is a Series or Not – Whether it’s book one or 80 they need to know in order to organize the inventory.
Edition Number if You Have One – This is helpful if you plan to make updates to the information in the future.
Publisher Info if You Have One – Consider starting your own publishing company, even if it’s only for your own books.
A Great Book Description – You have 4000 characters for this and you should use them all as creatively and accurately as possible. Consider hiring a copywriter.
Book Contributor Names –You’ll get to pick the type of contribution each person made whether it’s an illustration, editing, or author.
Language – This is the language your book is written in.
ISBN – You can purchase your own ISBN’s from ISBN.org but it’s entirely optional.
Publishing Rights – Check whether or not you have the right to publish this material.
Book Categories – Choose up to two options that are relevant for your book.
Age Range — If you write Young Adult novels or any age-related books, then you should choose this option.
Grade Range – If you write specifically for a grade level, choose which one, but this is optional as well.
7 Keywords – Don’t reuse keywords that are already in your title or elsewhere that shows up. This is a good place to use additional keywords that help your book get noticed. You can use long tail keywords and keyword phrases, too.
Book Release Date – Choose a date for your book release or choose to publish it immediately upon approval. It’s a good idea to pick a publication date because if your manuscript looks wrong in the preview phase you can save it and upload the corrected version by the date specified.
Note: Don’t miss your upload date, which is usually about 10 days before the date you choose to publish your book. If you do, they’ll disable your ability to offer preorders for an entire year.
Upload Book Cover (or Use Cover Creator) – One of the most important parts of your book is the cover. Spend some money getting a professional cover created when you can. This will make your book more salable. You can try Fiverr.com, Upwork.com and other online places to find a graphic designer.
Upload Your Book File – Upload the book file whether it’s .mobi or an MS Word document. This might take a moment. Kindle will check your spelling and alert you to any issues.
Don’t forget to save your work.
It’s highly recommended that you take the time to preview your book. The online version or the downloadable versions are available right inside the system. If you look at the preview and it’s not working right, save “as a draft” and then you can fix the manuscript and upload it again without having to re-do all the other work you did. If it looks good, save and continue.
Now you’re on the next page of things to do to finalize your book publishing on KDP.
Verify Your Publishing Territories – You can choose individual places of relevance or you can publish worldwide. It is recommended to choose the individual territories where your audience is. This takes more work but will help you get more sales.
Set Your Prices – Pricing can be hard to do but has to be mostly personal preference. If you want a 70% royalty you’ll need to price your book between $2.99 and $9.99. For 35% royalty, you can set your price between .99 cents and $200.00.
Note: Kindle has a service where they can help you price your book based on other books like yours. It’s free and highly recommended to help maximize your earnings.
If you’re going to have a print version, then you can choose to “Kindle MatchBook” which will give your Kindle book to print buyers for free. You can also click to allow lending for the book, which means that a buyer can buy it, and then lend it to a friend for a few days.
Click to agree to the terms and then click either save as draft or you can go ahead and submit. You can always come back and edit things later via your KDP Bookshelf.
After you click, you know you’re on your way to being a Published Author.
Marketing Your Book
After your book is approved you’ll need to start marketing your book. There are some tried and true ways of doing so that you should know about.
Book Page – A page for your book can have its own domain or you can add it to your blog or website. You can list review types that aren’t allowed on Amazon, such as paid reviews which are actually somewhat standard in the publishing industry.
Author Page – To create an Author’s Page on Amazon you’ll need to create an account on Amazon’s Author Central. This is essential in order to claim your books when they’re published. In addition to the typical profile and headshot, you can include video, feeds for your blogs, a Twitter feed, and social sharing. You can also include any events you will be attending or hosting.
Getting Book Reviews – Getting book reviews will help you move up in the ranks on Amazon. But, don’t use shady methods for getting reviews. If they are doing the review with a free book they should state such. Do not pay people to write Amazon reviews for you.
Building an Audience – Use your blog, social media, your author’s page, and website to build an audience for your book by writing about, and talking about the things your audience enjoys, needs or wants that are related to your book. Share with everyone. Advertise on Facebook or other social media and in the back of relevant print publications.
Chances are if you’ve done a good job with the title, description, and book cover you’ll make at least one sale. It really is that easy with Kindle Publishing.
Now you have the low down on publishing your book on Kindle. It’s a lot easier than you may have thought. Though, with all the details to pay attention to it, can get confusing and feel daunting. But, the very best place to get started is to start writing your book. You can’t worry about the details until you actually write your book.
When your book is finished, and you gather all the information, you’ll be published within a day or two of starting the process of uploading your book to Kindle Direct Publishing. Don’t hesitate to get started today.