Our goal in this series is to help you compose a book and get it published in both paperback and ebook (digital) form in a bit over a week.
If the book is ready to go—final proofing is done and corrected, the Word layout has been modified from its paperback and pdf format into the needed running-text structure, and the cover file is finished (see #8), this final step should take only an hour or two. Even better, the book (after you approve it, which can be in minutes after it appears on the Kindle reader) will appear in final form and be buyable without delay at Amazon and Kindle websites.
Lest I forget, should you find errors later, you can simply reopen the text content (in the final xxx.doc file you submitted), make the changes, resubmit it, and give it a quick read-through on the previewer. When it’s properly corrected, you have an even better book to sell!
So here we go! Type in https://kdp.amazon.com. (Note the “s” in https.) Either set up a new file at Amazon.com or check in, and your book editing file will appear. (If you have other books there, go to NEW BOOK.)
You will see two parts of a continual file you must complete before you are published—gloating permitted! The first part is six items long, then you preview your file. The second part is where mostly the price is entered.
Let’s get going. Kindle gives you a rather quixotic opportunity even before you post your book! It asks if you want to include your book in KDP Select? Read the explanation, but probably pass up this sign-up chance, at least at the outset (if ever).
Then #1, your book’s name. The title is very important. People buy all books by their title and paper, and hardbacks, particularly, also by their cover. So the title must tell what the book is about. If possible, some of the benefits the buyer will receive should be included. A very short title is risky, although one of my earlier books was simply called Speaking for Money. On the other hand, my most recent book is a mouthful: How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days: A step-by-step guide for new or veteran publishers. Notice that longer titles are almost always double deckers, with the grabber first and the explanation next.
Following that, the form will ask if your book is part of a series (unlikely); if so, the volume # (empty); the edition # (blank), and the publisher. If you are publishing the book but you have no company name, leave it blank—but get a company name. (Avoid using your name, a geographic name, or the word “enterprises.”)
The description follows, in 4,000 words max. This is almost as important as the title of your ebook because here you sell the book’s purpose and structure and why the reader should immediately push the BUY button. Pay attention to how well the description is written, how it sells the benefits first, then explains them in greater depth, lightly introduces you (and why you wrote it), then what the table of contents include. If it’s full of errors (or has any), caution flags will rise: poor proofing, can’t spell or punctuate, not full attention to the contents. So write this description five or ten times, editing, changing, and so on in another folder, then copy and paste it ready-to-go here. (Keep that other file since you need descriptions with every book submission.) You want good examples? See the other books Kindle is selling and read their descriptions!
Book contributors follows. Here you enter your name as the author. We found that if we also enter the cover designer, an editor, and a family booster and give them titles, all of them are also included as authors! So just acknowledge them in the book itself.
In what language the book is written. (English or whatever..)
Publication date? It can’t be after today (the date Kindle will probably use if you leave the box blank).
ISBN? You don’t need one; Kindle will put one of theirs on the book. Too long to discuss here. If it’s a quick book with limited draw, we sometimes use theirs. But since we usually post our books eight times (in paperback, an ebook in pdf, and six other “open” publishers within a few days of each other), we use two of our ISBNs that we bought (at embarrassing overpriced rates from Bowker), one for bound versions, one for digital versions. We include the digital ISBN here. (By using our own, it tells all buyers that we are the publishers of all of the versions of this book.) Yes, simultaneous publishing is fine.
The second question asks if the book is public domain. Check no.
The next two merit some thinking and picking, and they are a bit confusing the way you select your choices. Just stick with it. For categories, think of where a library would stack your book. Next, the seven key words it asks you to provide are used on search engines, like Google. What descriptive or content-based word would a person use that would make your book pop up on their monitor? See the examples on the form. Use all seven opportunities to list.
Number four is critical if you want others to believe your book is professional. You need a front cover, submitted in .jpg (or .jpeg). Kindle explains exactly what it wants in the “Cover Guidelines” link on the submission page, so either follow their advice or have it done for you. Put a border around the cover and be sure the title can be read in thumbnail size. Bright colors also help, Pay attention to the number of pixels required. Submit the cover file there.
Number five is what this form is all about: this is when your book content file is submitted. Most submit it in .doc. They will not accept .pdf. (Also ask them not to enable digital rights management.)
Once that entire first part of the submission is completed, you can tell it to Save and Continue (to the second part of the submission) or to save it as a draft. IMPORTANT: any time you start this form, if you don’t save it after #6 it will be erased! So always save it.
After the info is submitted, the Kindle .mobi grinder will set your book as it will appear in print! Read it in the preview file to see if it’s ready to go or if it needs touching up. If the latter, go back to the book file and iron out any errors, omissions, typos, and faulty spacing.
You’re almost there! If you haven’t noticed, it’s free to get them to post your book in final printable form and sell it for you to anybody who contacts them and pays.
In the second section, rights, money, and lending are the issues.
Number seven asks you to verify your publishing territories. Just check worldwide rights.
Number eight lets you choose your royalties—sort of. First you must insert what you want your book to cost in the box next to Amazon.com. If it’s between $2.99 and $9.99, you can earn 70% of the sale in all areas except India, Brazil, and Japan. (In the three you will earn 35%.) If your book costs $10 or more, you earn 35% everywhere. Enter 35% or 70% in item 8.
Also enter the price in the first two boxes, then check all of the remaining boxes—and they will calculate the amount you will earn in dollars (but calculated there in euros and other currencies).
Number nine is up to you: lending choice. You can leave the wee box empty.
The last step is to check the last box [ ] on the page: Click Save and Publish.
Whew! It took some doing (Items 1-8) but as you complete #9, your book is a real thing, looks good, and can be bought by friends, family, and the rest of the world.