Guide to Self-Publishing Your E-Book on Amazon Kindle - How to Self Publish
A Book for Every Soul
It's been said that everybody has a novel somewhere inside them, waiting to come out. Unfortunately, publisher's aren't interested in the inner literature of most of the world's population. Authors have been struggling to gain recognition for centuries; for every big name author you hear about, there are 2,000 other people falling into that guy's shadow.
Self-publishing used to be sort of a last resort measure – You can't get your book published, nobody wants to read it, okay just self publish instead then. In the literary world, self-published authors were the kids that never got invited to the party.
But oh, the times they are a-changin'!
Self publishing is becoming more and more of a common practice these days thanks to digital publishing platforms like Kindle and others.
It costs money to put a book into print. In an e-book, there's no paper, no glue, no binding, just the words in their purest form. We've been seeing all kinds of writers coming out of the woodwork in the past year or so, from instant success stories like Amanda Hocking to lesser known authors like Eli Nixon.
Eli Nixon's Pretty Bird: A Sci-Fi Novella
The animals are gone. All of them. So why is there a parrot in a cage on my front porch? And why is it telling me I'm about to die?
How to Self-Publish a Novel on Kindle
I mentioned Kindle a second ago. Kindle is a digital reading device that's only for reading books (or newspapers, magazines, what have you), unlike the iPad for example which can basically handle all the functions as a normal computer.
Amazon.com makes it incredibly easy to self-publish your books. It's completely free and there are no strings attached. Your books go up on the Amazon marketplace and you earn a royalty on every purchase.
The Steps to Self Publishing Your E-Book on Kindle
So you have a novel that you want to get published? Great! You can go through the big name guys like Random House, but remember, most book agents receive hundreds of books each day to peruse, and while it's not impossible to get a book deal with one of those publishing houses it's still pretty darn difficult.
Alternatively, you can publish your novel on Kindle. Here are the steps to self-publishing on Kindle.
Step 1: Write a Book!
Write a book! Done? Okay great let's go to step 2.
Step 2: Make an Account to Self Publish at Amazon
Create an Amazon.com account. Simply go to Amazon.com and look for the sign-up button at the top of the screen. It's free and it takes about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Sign Into KDP Dashboard
Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/. This is the main page for the Kindle Direct Publishing facet of Amazon. On the right side of the screen you'll see an option that says “Sign in with your Amazon account.”
If you haven't made an Amazon account yet, you can go ahead and create one here as well.
Still with me? Great! Let's move on to the actual publishing portion of this Kindle self-publishing guide!
Step 4: Add a New Title for Your E-book
Once inside Kindle Direct Publishing, you'll see this page:
This is your Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard, and it's here that you'll be able to manage all of your books once they're published. About halfway down the screen there's a yellow button that says “Add New Title.” Isn't this exciting?
Go ahead and click that and wait for the next screen to show up.
Step 5: Self-published Title and Description
The first step in actually publishing your book is to fill out the basic information. Right here you can put in your book title as well as the description.
The description has a character limit of 4,000 characters, and while you don't have to use them all it's good to have a lengthy enough description of the book to entice visitors to purchase it. You want to really sell your novel here.
If your book is part of a series, click the check box there and name the series. If your book has been through several editions, indicate the current edition right below that. Pretty self explanatory. Easy enough so far?
Finally, below that you have a button to “Add Contributors.”
If you're the author, just enter your name and choose “author” from the drop down box. This doesn't have to be your real name! Many authors prefer to publish their novels under a pen name or pseudonym. I use several different pen names myself to get some different varieties of material out there.
Step 6: Publishing Rights and Category
Next we have four quick fields for Language, Publisher, Publication Date, and ISBN.
This is ONLY if your book has previously been published in print. “English” is the default selection for the language, which you probably won't need to change, and if this is your first time self-publishing an e-book you probably won't need to touch the other fields. Just leave them blank.
Below that you need to verify your publishing rights. If you've written the e-book yourself, choose the second option - “This is not a public domain work.”
PLEASE do not plagiarize content or steal information, or engage in any of that nefarious haberdashery!! I love Kindle and I want it to be free from spammers like you. I know a great site where you can post up your plagiarized work.
Below the publishing rights is the section for Categories and keywords.
There are a lot of categories. If your book is a novel you'll find everything you need under the FICTION parent category. You are allowed to choose 2 categories only, so make sure they appropriately match your book. If your self-published novel is a science fiction thriller, you might for example choose FICTION > Thrillers and FICTION > Science Fiction > Adventure. Non-fiction e-books fall under all the other categories.
Below that is a field to enter in up to 7 keywords to help people find your self-published Kindle book. I recommend using all 7. You're an author so it shouldn't be hard to come up with that many!
Some example keywords might be, using the same hypothetical science fiction thriller: science fiction, thriller novel, horror novel, horror sci-fi, full length thriller, futuristic thriller, space adventure.
Step 7: Upload Your Amazon Kindle Book Cover
Now, you do not HAVE to use a book cover for your self-published Kindle novel, but I highly recommend it. If you want to know why, go to Amazon and search something like “science fiction kindle.” There are THOUSANDS of results.
Imagine you're browsing through that list to find something to read on your trip. Would you even look twice at a book with no cover? I wouldn't, I'll be honest.
You can hire someone to make a Kindle book cover for you, or you can use a program like Adobe Photoshop to design your own. It's up to you. Don't rip off anybody else's cover, but if you're stuck for an idea you can use some other published books for inspiration. As Einstein said, “Genius is knowing how to hide your sources.” So, yeah.
Step 8: Upload Your Book to Self Publish!
This is the best part! Click the “Browse” button and search for your book on your computer. Kindle likes uploads in .doc (no need to change it to PDF or anything like that.) You can find a whole list of formatting rules if you click the link that says “Help With Formatting.”
In a nutshell, use a normal font like Times New Roman, and place a manual page break in between chapters. Kindle doesn't do well with bullet points, so leave them out.
The next page will bring up your pricing options, but since this is getting long already I'm going to put that in a different hub. Check back for the link regularly, or follow my hubpages profile to see when I publish it.
Remember: Anybody can self-publish an e-book on Kindle, but the true value in your book will lie in the writing itself. Keep writing, keep going, and never give up!