In 2016, Kindle Direct Publishing paid out nearly $200 MILLION to authors. That's money on the table for anyone with the knowledge and ability to reach for it.
From manuscript formatting to listing your book in the Amazon store, this guide will walk you through the process of Kindle Direct Publishing, and ultimately, to becoming a self-published author.
This course includes:
Ebooks are no lie.
Ready for me to explain why?
Do you remember the very first Kindles? They were roughly the size of a refrigerator and had maybe two functions -- page forward and page back? Those beasts?
They're still out there.
And when Amazon sells an ebook, it has to fit the programming of EVERY Kindle device stretching back to those dinosaur Kindles and stretching forward to Kindles that haven't even been made yet.
So what's their plan?
Make their files so simple, so bare bones, so few options, that they'll work on any device. Oh yeah, and take as many different types of Kindle files as possible and smash them together into these huge files we call a Mobi.
So why wouldn't the files I copy/pasted from manuscripts work?
Because they came from word processors. And word processors are intended for...oh...WRITING. They're meant to make our lives as WRITERS easier, not our lives as PUBLISHERS.
What does a writer want? Bells and whistles. Auto-formatting. Spellcheck. Grammar-check. All kinds of other invisible bits of code that hide on the back side of a document that non-code speakers never see.
What does a publisher NOT want? All those pieces of code hanging out in their words when they attempt to make an ebook file.
All of this is a very long way to bring you full circle.
Many people will tell you that self-publishing is soo easy. Anyone can do it.
This is true to some degree.
But it's also a malicious untruth.
Not many people can self-publish and do it well.
Now, if you want to do it well, you can take my long and circuitous route, fumbling about in the dark and trying to figure out what the hellfire I was doing. Or you can learn from my mistakes and do it right the first time.
My other advice is this:
The internet is forever.
Never publish something you don't want floating around out there in fifteen, twenty, or even fifty years. If it's not work you're proud of creating, wait. Work harder. Edit. Outsource if needed. But do not hit "publish" until you're ready.
The great thing about writing a Kindle book is that the setup isn't that difficult because you actually use less formatting than you would publishing a blog post or making your book into a PDF file.
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 text-based book without anything fancy, it’s fine to upload a Word document in either .doc or .docx format.
Your cover image is uploaded separately from the rest of your book file.
Basically, you want a high resolution, crisp, clear image that doesn't load too slowly.
If it's too small, you'll get a warning message.
DO NOT stretch your image to make it fit. Go back to your imaging software (Photoshop, iPhoto, Preview, whatever you like best) and RESIZE the image to the correct format.
The lowdown here is use stock photos that are either copyright free and have a commercial use license attached or that you've legally bought a license to use. Or use your images. Hire an illustrator or professional cover artist.
DO NOT Google search and randomly use any image you like. Grabbing random pics without permissions is a copyright violation and can land you in hot water, not to mention, it'll get you banned from Amazon. It's also stealing intellectual property and a giant No-No.
Don't put a price on the cover because you'll eventually want to change it. We're not in the old days where you can peel off the sticker during slow times in your shift. Nor can you stick another price tag over it. Just leave the price off. Price is entered elsewhere and is easily changed without having to upload a new cover.
Your file must also include a cover image.
What? You thought you could just type up a quick Word document, upload it, and never learn how to insert an image properly?
Your internal cover image must be a large and high resolution as well, or Amazon will fail your quality assurance test.
Let’s look at how your KDP account from the back end and go through uploading and publishing a book on Kindle.
Anna Yeatts is a professional publisher, editor, and author. Her short fiction literary magazine, Flash Fiction Online, reaches over a half million readers every year.
Her own fiction has appeared in multiple magazines and anthologies including Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, Mslexia, Daily Science Fiction, and Penumbra eMagazine and has been translated into multiple languages.
Anna's newest publishing project, NASTY: Fetish Fights Back was recently launched from a successful Kickstarter campaign and features top fiction writers like five-time Bram Stoker Award Winner Lucy A. Snyder, New York Times Bestseller Selena Kitt, and Shirley Jackson Award Winner Gemma Files.
Anna has read tens of thousands of stories, spent countless hours in the editorial slush-pile, and knows what sells and doesn't sell in today's fiction marketplace.