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How I Published My First Business Book on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

Updated on January 10, 2016
Carolyn M Fields profile image

Lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all around bon vivant.

My First EBook
My First EBook | Source

One of my inspirations as a writer comes from attending California Writers Club meetings. I attended one such meeting on August 8, 2015 (trust me, the exact date is relevant) at the Orange County Branch. The presenter was Dr. Flora Brown, and her topic was “How to Successfully Publish a book in the Amazon Kindle Program.” Taking the information she presented, and a series of articles I had already written for HubPages, I did just that.

Thanks to her tips (which I am about to share with you), my EBook went “live” on Sunday, August 9, 2015. Yes, you read that correctly. I published my book the very next day after her presentation. And no, I had not started to put together an EBook before I heard her presentation. I did it all in just over 24 hours.

Of course, I did already have all the original content that I needed, which I had authored in other formats. And I can’t guarantee that you, too, will be able to produce your book that quickly. However, publishing an EBook doesn’t need to take years, or even months. It doesn’t even need to takes weeks.

First Things First

First of all, you do need original content. And there needs to be some unifying thread to it all. As for me, I write for HubPages, and had already produced several “hubs” on Instructional Design and closely related topics. A hub would be roughly equivalent to a blog post. Hubs can be as short at 600 words (not recommended), to well over 2,000 words, but are supposed to run around 1,150 words. As with most things in writing, quality and covering your topic thoroughly yet concisely are more important than a precise word count.

The only reason I bring up word count at all, is that one of Dr. Brown’s eye-opening suggestions was to aim for a book of 10,000 words or less. If you have been told, as I have, that a book needs to be 50,000 words or more to be considered a “real” book, this statistic will take you by surprise. Dare I say, it may even shock you. Welcome to the world of EBook publishing.

I Have Content, Now What?

I did some really fast math, and discovered that I had published 12 hubs on the topics of Instructional Design, training delivery, learning evaluation, e-learning, and learning styles. These closely inter-related subjects fit nicely together. And, putting them all together, I had just over 10,000 words already ripe for picking. All I had to do was convert each “hub” into a chapter for my book (i.e., use appropriate titles and subtitles). After I had the chapters sequenced and the table of contents compiled, my next step was to write an introduction for the book. I also made sure I had a page of “additional resources” and an author biography.

The final touch was a book cover, but Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) made this easy with their online tool. If I had wanted to spend a few bucks, I could have had the cover designed for me, but I was determined not to spend any money on something I wasn’t sure would sell more than one copy (I could count on Mom to buy one copy, but after that, it was anybody’s guess).

Publish

The publication process is made very easy for you on KDP. If you are an Amazon customer, you already have the necessary log-on credentials. If you’re not an Amazon customer, it’s very easy to create an account. And no, you do not need a Kindle reader in order to publish (or read) a Kindle EBook. Yes, there is an app for that.

According to their website, it only takes about 5 minutes to publish. I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration for a first-time user. It probably took me 15 to 20 minutes. But it is, as they say, easy, clear, and free.

All you have to do (once your content is assembled), is write a description, pick a category or two, and name your price. Don’t worry too much about this process, as there are tips and tools to help you along. Just follow the prompts.

You can get up to 70% royalties, and your book will appear in about a day after you hit “publish.” And better yet, if you really must create a “paper” version of your book, that is available too using something called CreateSpace.

Lessons Learned

Publishing my first book the way I did was very much an impulse decision, which is not at all my “usual” style. But it was fun, and I didn’t spend a dime on publishing. My only investment was my time and talent.

One of the first things I did after publication was to promote my book with an author page on Amazon. Not immediately, but down the line, I also created a Page on Facebook, and asked all friends to “like” it. I also ran a “free” promotion on Kindle, which basically means giving your book away for free, in the hopes of creating some buzz. This minimalist approach to promotion has resulted in minimalist sales. If I had it to do over, I would have had a much more “robust” promotion plan.

It takes a few months for the royalties to start rolling in. Unless you do a better job than I did on promotion, don’t count on there being very much money involved. My Mother did, indeed, buy the very first copy of my book. Also a couple close friends bought copies, and actually read them (you get a report not only on sales but pages read as well). Also, to my amazement, complete strangers in foreign lands have bought copies. Which makes me feel like an “internationally published author.” Because I am.

Had I waited until I had more information, particularly on promotion and sales, it might still be sitting in my Documents Library, waiting for me to get comfortable. So all in all, I say “go for it.” You can always revise an EBook after it has been published. And you can use the experience on your second book (which, by the way, I am happily working on at the moment).

My Book

Instructional Design is NOT Obsolete
Instructional Design is NOT Obsolete

This hub would not be complete without a "plug" for my book. It's actually quite good. If you have any interest in employee training and development, and/or Instructional Design, it's worth the minimal purchase price. It's free if you have kindleunlimited.

 

How likely are you to attempt publication on KDP, after having read my hub?

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  • Carolyn M Fields profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Fields 18 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Originally I took down the corresponding hubs, but then put them back up. The hubs are a one at a time experience. The book is a collection that stands on it's own. It's done all the time when an author takes a series of newspaper editorials or articles, or even blog posts, and publishes them as a compilation.

  • jackclee lm profile image

    Jack Lee 19 months ago from Yorktown NY

    Thanks for the info. Also, I was wondering when you wrote the book, and you consolidated 12 of your hubs, to create the eBook, did you have to take down the hubs to avoid duplicate content?

  • Carolyn M Fields profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Fields 19 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Jack, I have to admit that sales have not been terribly impressive. Unfortunately, I have no idea how my book stacks up against the competition. What I do know is that I have done next to NO marketing, and yet the book keeps getting sales here and there. When I get around to actually marketing it, I will write another hub about that experience. Stay tuned.

  • jackclee lm profile image

    Jack Lee 19 months ago from Yorktown NY

    Just curious, how well are you doing with the sale of this ebook and how does it compare to other ebooks of the same genre?

  • Carolyn M Fields profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Fields 23 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thank you, Larry.

  • Larry Rankin profile image

    Larry Rankin 23 months ago from Oklahoma

    Great process analysis!

  • Carolyn M Fields profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Fields 23 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    John, Ron, and MsDora - thank you for your kind words of encouragement and support!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 23 months ago from The Caribbean

    Carolyn, this is very useful. I intend to follow your lead and try with some of my HP content. Thank you so much.

  • RonElFran profile image

    Ronald E Franklin 23 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

    I've just started the process of generating a book based on some of my hubs, and this is an encouragement to me to get on with it!

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

    You make the process of publishing the eBook very easy and straight forward. I have published a book of poetry on Lulu.com, but wasn't entirely happy with the process. For my next I think i will try Amazon Kindle. Thanks for sharing.