Self-Publishing Starter Tips Series: #2 Let’s Talk Amazon KDP
Thinking of self-publishing your book?
There are many platforms for self-publishing e-books, paperbacks and hardbacks (Lulu, Draft2Digital, Ingram Spark, for example) and whilst I think the indie author revolution is fantastic for aspiring authors (I worked in publishing in the 1990s when it was a very different world) I also consider the different options rather overwhelming when you know little or nothing about self-publishing.
If you read my blogs or follow me on social media you’ll know by now that I like to do things the easiest way possible. I don’t do complicated. I won’t bamboozle you with jargon and techy babble just to look like an ‘expert’ because that attitude hinders rather than helps.
So with that in mind, let me tell you about my preferred self-publishing platform, Amazon KDP.
I’ve used Amazon KDP to publish my own e-books and paperbacks (see my Amazon Author Central page here for a current list of my books) as well as those of my clients (you can find my fabby clients’ books here). I find it quick, simple to understand and easy to upload manuscripts to KDP and I love the results.
Now, let’s talk about you and how to start your Amazon KDP journey. Let’s assume you have your manuscript/book ready to publish (and in a Microsoft Word document) and you want to publish on Kindle for starters.
Where do you go from here?
Your Self-Publishing Starter Checklist
- Set up your Amazon KDP account here using this link: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/. You’ll need to add in your personal details plus go through a basic tax interview and give your bank details to Amazon (so they can pay your royalties direct into your bank).
- Do your research – firstly, log onto the Amazon store (amazon.co.uk) and check out the similar books in your niche/industry/genre to see what they look like, find out what the best-sellers are.
- Decide on Your Title & Sub-Title – you may already have a title in mind for your book but have you thought about adding a sub-title too? Adding keywords into your sub-title is a good SEO move – ie they will help you climb up the Google page rankings as well as your book sales rankings.
- Write Your Amazon Description – many clients ask me to write their blurbs so if this is something you just can’t get right, then don’t worry. It’s a common stumbling block for many authors. My advice? Revisit the Amazon bookstore and search for similar books to your own. Grab a book from your bookshelf now and read the blurb – that’s a great way to help you get in the blurb-writing zone.
- Upload Your Kindle Book Version – your Kindle/e-book version won’t need headers and footers but it will need a clickable table of contents (or just a straightforward contents page at the front of your book) to ensure ease of use and accessibility for your e-book readers.
- Upload Your Book Cover Design – you can either use Amazon’s ‘Cover Creator’ or use alternative software to create your own book cover (canva.com is fab, by the way).
- Preview Your Kindle Version – it’s a good idea to have your Microsoft Word document open while you go through the previewer online. That way you can make your amendments all in one swoop, rather than listing them and adding an extra time-stealer into the process.
- Decide on Your Price – if you want to receive 70% royalties for each e-book you sell, you’ll need to price your book between £1.99 and £9.99. Some authors recommend setting your price low for a launch, others choose the opposite: it’s a price reduction often feels easier than a price increase once your book is launched and the initial flurry of sales grind to a halt.
- Press Publish – once you’re happy with what your book looks like through the previewer, and you’ve decided on your price, it’s time to press publish. Amazon state they can take up to 72 hours to approve your book and make it ‘live’ on the biggest bookstore in the world but in my experience, it’s usually much less time.
- Set up Your Amazon Author Central Page – find a good headshot, write yourself an Author bio and set up your Amazon Author Central page. Once your book is published and your Amazon Author page goes live, you’ll be able to link the two together. Again, it’s great for SEO and gives your author presence a professional look and feel.
- Get Marketing – now it’s time for a whole new adventure. You need to talk about your book, share images of the cover, start a countdown to your ‘live’ date and research the many promotion options and Amazon promotion tools on offer to get your book off to the best possible start (in terms of sales).
If this process is new to you then please take it one step at a time: baby steps, mini-goals and bite-sized chunks are perfect and always a step in the right direction.
If you’d like to talk to me about how I can help with the self-publishing process, then feel free to message me.
Oh, and good luck with your book!