Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Self-publishing on Kindle

Hello all,
I've been a little heavier on the book reviews than on official blog posts lately. Every time I finish one I sign up for two more, totally my fault of course. But today I'm on vacation and my "currently reading" shelf is down to a reasonable three, so it's time for a real post, the topic: self-publishing on Kindle.

Recently, a friend of mine told me how publishing my books has inspired her to write one of her own. She also told me that figuring out how to self-publish was difficult, even with web addresses in hand. So, here's a quick run down of how to get your story published on Kindle.

1. Read Building Your Book for Kindle. This free book walks you through the process, with instructions geared towards people writing their books in Microsoft Word and, of course, publishing on Kindle.

2. Write your book, edit your book, and proofread your book. Make it as perfect as you can possibly get it. Reviewers on Amazon can be brutal. Consider asking some close friends to review it and give you comments, or, if you have the cash, consider soliciting the help of a professional.

3. Copyright your book. Technically, you own the copyright as soon as you put pen to paper, but the added protection of copyright registration is worth the hour or so it will take to register your book online. I recommend doing this on the U.S. Copyright Office's official website. Read all the guides and how-to's available on the site before moving on to register your book.

Note that if you have yet to publish your book or have only published as an eBook, you need only submit a pdf of your book and not a hard copy (or two, as required if copyrighting a paperback). This method is also quicker because your book won't have to survive the gauntlet of safeguards imposed on all mail being sent to the copyright office.

4. Download the kindle previewer (on your computer) and follow the instructions to preview the file you plan to submit to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

5. Review every page of your book in the previewer, preferably with a copy of your book close to hand on which you can make notes, and fix any issues you find before moving on. This is incredibly important because formatting can go horribly wrong when a book is converted into an eBook. It may look good in Word, but don't trust that that will translate into the final product.

6. If you haven't done so already, create an account with As an author, you'll be prompted to add your tax information and payment preferences before you can submit your work for publishing. I can't remember exactly when this is prompted, but I do remember that there were instructions.

7. Go to the KDP site and click Get Started to begin uploading your book, setting your price, and setting your distribution channels.

Once you submit your book, there is a short wait while Amazon reviews your files. When your book is available on Amazon, you'll receive an email. And now, the real work begins, promoting your work and yourself. Due to the ease of self-publishing, competition is fierce, and unless you do something to bring attention to your book, it may never be noticed. For an excellent article on attracting new readers (by an accomplished and popular independent author), check out David Estes' blog post My Dos and Don'ts for Attracting New Readers.

8. Finally, join the KDP Community where you can meet and interact with other KDP authors and discuss questions and lessons learned.

If you're a self-published author on Kindle and would like to add to the topic, please share your experience and knowledge in the comments.