Before the Kindle revolution, most aspiring authors would have to start the protracted (and painful) submission process to mainstream publishers. Waiting with bated breath and fingers crossed, they’d devote hours to managing and tracking submissions, and pine for the postman to deliver their life-changing news.
Thankfully, with the advent of digital publishing, the self-published market has skyrocketed, and writers’ angst has been turned on its head. Control has shifted from the finicky fat cats of the publishing world to savvy indie authors who take charge of their own writing destiny.
And everything comes to life so much quicker.
But, let’s not get too carried away here. Whilst Kindle has opened up many of the previously tightly closed doors in the publishing world, it doesn’t mean this is an easy ride. Independent publishing should still be handled professionally and taken seriously otherwise you’ll do your reputation as a writer no favours.
In short, just because ANYBODY can publish a book on Kindle, doesn’t mean EVERYBODY should.
So with that in mind, here’s how NOT to look like an amateur when you’re self-publishing on Kindle.
Invest in Professional Proofreading
Don’t rush through this crucial stage and don’t underestimate how important it is. Investing in a professional proofreader is never a waste of money. A good proofreader will either give you a price per 1,000 words or a reduced rate if your manuscript exceeds, say, 50,000 words. Make sure they offer to use the Track Changes facility in Word too, so you can see what they’ve altered, and always ask if they can give you a free sample of at least, 1k words – this way you can see if you’re a good fit for working together and whether the proofreader/editor is singing from your hymn sheet and not simply on a power trip with their red pen.
If you’d like some proofreading tips then check out one of my other blogs here: Proofreading Tips to Make Your Writing Sparkle
Make Your Kindle Formatting Flawless
Amazon offers easy-to-follow guidelines if you’re unsure how to format your book for Kindle. They also have a tool called Kindle Create – find out more here: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Create/b?node=18292298011
When you’re formatting your book for Kindle, remember to keep your chapter headings in the same style and font, using the ‘Styles’ options in Microsoft Word, and keep your body text uniform, too. Start each new chapter on a new page and always make sure your clickable Table of Contents works. Forget about headers and footers in your Kindle book because you don’t need them.
Design an Eye-Catching Kindle Cover
This is your readers’ first impression of your book so make sure your jacket hooks them! Balance typography and graphics like a pro to get the best results. Make sure the design and colours are appropriate to the genre – eg a chick-lit novel wouldn’t be in black and red, and a vampire novel wouldn’t have a Pollyanna kinda girl smiling at you. The cover also needs to be easy to read in both its thumbnail and larger size.
Choose the Right Book Categories & Keywords
Many people don’t even bother to put their books into categories or spend time looking for the top keywords in their niche. And this is a surefire way to be overlooked by potential readers. Rather than wade through the thousands of pages, people will narrow their book search down to, say, women’s romantic fiction, or self-help for business owners, etc, etc, and if your book isn’t listed there (because you haven’t spent time researching the best keywords and categories to use for your book) then people just aren’t going to spot your book. You can choose two categories to place your book in and select seven keywords – make sure you use them all.
Price Your Book Just Right
Don’t under-price your book because you’re a new author with a debut book. Similarly, don’t overprice your book because you have overinflated ideas that it’s better than everything else out there. Check the competition and their prices but don’t necessarily place yourself somewhere in the middle because that won’t work either.
If you’re offering valuable content that has the potential to impact/change people’s lives or businesses, then don’t sell it for £1.99 in the hope that more people will buy it. Things don’t always work out that way. Oh, and if you’ve written an e-book that’s less than 15,000 words, don’t expect someone to want to pay £10+ for it either. Try to find a happy medium.
And don’t forget. Even once your book’s been published you can still go in and change the price (and the description, your keywords and categories, the cover and even the content!) so monitor your sales, tweak where necessary, and you’ll be treating your books and your publishing career like the professionals.
As a Kindle indie author, you’ll need to master many skills to get your book looking professional. And because you won’t have all the time and tools necessary, think about calling in the specialists to help. If your budget is tight, focus on the proofreading first. Don’t let typos and grammatical mistakes detract your reader from your super content. Get it right and you’ll build your followers much more easily.
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