How to Self-Publish on Amazon KDP
Over the past few years, I have self-published an ebook trilogy on Amazon.com using Amazon KDP. Before that, I'd never jumped really onto the whole "ebook" bandwagon, but I realize that this is the way to go. At the least, it's serving me three purposes. One, it's giving me experience in the area of publishing, maybe even kick-starting what I want to become my job someday. Two, it's helping me get my name out there in a way I cannot do on my own. Three, it's an easy way of making a small bit of money.
So how do you do it? How does an up-and-coming author get himself/herself self-published on Amazon KDP? Well, fortunately for you, it's a fairly easy procedure. A lot of it can be explained for you through articles and books. While this Hub won't go through the step-by-step procedure, it should give you a decent overview of what you need to do if you want to join the ranks of Amazon's self-published authors.
“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”--Arthur Plotnik
The very first thing you should do is edit your novel. You have your finished manuscript, typed up in Word, just sitting there. And it'll have to sit there for a little bit longer. Editing is pretty important, and I'll admit it's something I struggle with. Who wants to read what they just spend months writing? Still, it's something that needs to be done and should be taken seriously. Editing reveals to you plot holes, typos, grammatical errors, and all the other little mistakes that make your novel less than perfect.
I have a certain way of editing and it's far from being the best method, so I suggest letting other people read your document as well. This way, a new, fresh set of eyes can glance over what you've written. They can catch the mistakes your eyes drift over. Even more importantly, they'll be mostly unbiased. They won't mind mentioning what plot points should be changed or if that supporting character you really love is being given the spotlight too much. This is a crucial first step that (as much as I hate to say it) might need to be repeated a few times. Even after you've published your novel, going through it again for any mistakes you may have missed the first time around is necessary.
Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing
The link to the right takes you to an Amazon.com page where you can download the free ebook "Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing" by Amazon itself. It costs you nothing to download, and it's a very informative tool that helps with many specific areas of self-publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP.
One of the biggest areas it helps is in formatting your Word document the proper way. 12 point Times New Roman with 1.0 line spacing isn't going to cut it. The ebook shows the proper font, spacing, and other technical matters while providing tips on how to make a table of contents and such. A very useful tool in making sure your Word document is set up in a way that will look good on any kind of e-reader.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a fast, easy and free way for authors and publishers to keep control and publish their books worldwide on the Kindle and Kindle reading apps.
Kindle Direct Publishing
So your novel is written, edited, and formatted correctly. The link is for Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, the actual site where you set up your author profile. That process will be very similar to any other online sign-up. Username, password, all the technical little details to make your profile how you want it to be.
Once that's finished, you'll be welcomed to your "Bookshelf." Here, you can see your book titles once you've uploaded them. Clicking "Add new title" will bring you into another process where pieces finally start falling into place. Now you can finally input your novel information, such as title, author, cover, genre, synopsis, and whether or not your book is part of a series. Also, this is where your novel will be uploaded. It's as easy as clicking on the "Browse" button and finding the correct file (I say "correct" because I was uploading an updated version once and selected the wrong file by accident). You can also view your novel on a virtual Kindle to see how it'll look on the real thing. This lets you see if you need to make any formatting changes to your file.
You'll have to work through prices and additional information after that, but it's only a couple of minutes of your time. KDP also gives the option of enrolling your novel in Amazon KDP Select, which can help your novel reach more readers (and, subsequently, make more money and earn more reviews). I have yet to use it for my novel (and it's upcoming sequel), but it's still an option to consider.
if you think you have everything in place--if you believe like your novel is perfect and looks good--then you can hit the long-awaited (and sometimes dreaded) "Save and Publish" button. Amazon will inform you that your novel will be on a "waiting period" for, what they say, 24 hours. Don't worry. It takes a lot shorter than that for your novel to hit the virtual book shelves.
With your novel published, people can now find it on Amazon.com and purchase it. As a beginning novelist, I recommend you keep your novel cheap. My trilogy is available as a $2.99 ebook. I say this because you're starting out, I'm starting out. Three bucks is the minimum price for which you can sell your novel. None of your first readers will likely feel too bad about forking over a couple of dollars for your first stab at novel writing. I'm not saying your novel will be terrible. I don't doubt many of you can write well if you've joined an online blogging community. All I'm saying is that, with this price, you get to make a bit of money (that, with any luck, will accumulate) while your readers don't feel the pressure emptying their wallets for your benefit. On this page, people can also leave reviews on what they think about your story (another element that will hopefully accumulate).
KDP Author Shares Story
With being a first time user of Amazon KDP (or perhaps a first time self-published author), advertising can be a little tricky. You might not have a whole lot of options. However, enrolling your novel in Amazon KDP Select is one way to do that.
Another way is through social media. I use Facebook, so I periodically post a link to my novels and encourage my friends to purchase it and tell their other friends. Heck, if you want to be really amusing, post close to holidays like Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and close to the end of the school year. See if you can drum up some business with the people who are rushing around and looking for cheap gifts for their loved ones. Tell people you run into. If the conversation turns to hobbies or occupations, you've got an open door to let people know about your self-published achievement. Recently, I was able to tell a group of people I was having dinner with that I'd published my trilogy. Not only was it a surprise to them, it opened a door for me to start a conversation about another writer's work, and I encouraged him to self-publish if he was ever interested. Killed two birds with one stone there.
It may take a while to become successful through KDP, but it fulfills the three things I mentioned above. Follow these guidelines, and you'll have experience in knowing how KDP works. You'll be connected to a community of writers who share your enthusiasm. You'll maybe make some money on the side. I know there are a lot of self-publishing tools out there, but I chose Amazon over all of them. It's fast, painless, and fun. Try it out.
Success With Amazon KDP
Amazon KDP Works
© 2014 Nathan Kiehn