I recently published my first manifesto as a downloadable e-book for the Amazon Kindle.
I had some reservations about how and when to publish my first e-book — and if you have ever published something for your blog, I’m sure you’ve dealt with the same.
Some of my hang-ups included whether I should self-publish my manifesto on Amazon, release it for free as a PDF download on my blog, or simply post it on my blog for all to enjoy.
I ultimately decided to personally explore Amazon’s service — one that I have heard many good things about over the last couple of years — and use my freshly-written, 3,000-word manifesto called Power from Within as a test-run.
What I discovered is that the process is surprisingly simple, and, outside of taking some time to understand the proper HTML formatting for the Amazon Kindle reader, you too can self-publish your own e-book on Amazon in as little as 7 easy steps.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for you to follow.
In spite of having known about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for many months, it still took me over year to finally commit to publishing my manifesto Power from Within to the Kindle.
Here are some of the best advantages to publishing on Amazon that should help motivate you to finish your book and decide on publishing to this popular platform:
- Automatically publish to Kindle stores on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de, simultaneously
- Choose from several languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian
- Set pricing for US Dollars, Pounds Sterling, or Euros and choose between 35% or 70% commissions
- Kindle apps expand your reach beyond the Kindle and onto iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, Android-based devices and Windows Phone 7
- Submit your e-book to the Amazon Kindle Singles storefront
With all these advantages, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is best described as simple, flexible and far-reaching.
Step 1 – Write (and Format) the Book!
This one should be pretty obvious, right?
I wrote my Power from Within manifesto in Microsoft Word. You can choose any word processor, but your best bet will be to choose one that allows you to save the document into a Web Page, Filtered (*HTM & *HTML) format.
Amazon provides you will a whole page full of helpful tips on formatting.
You can find that page here, or see it listed just below the option to upload your book.
Step 2 – Sign Into Amazon KDP With Your Amazon.com Account
Whether your book is completely finished or a work-in-progress, head over to http://kdp.amazon.com and sign in with ease through your pre-existing Amazon.com account information.
Otherwise, you will have to sign up for a free Amazon account to access Amazon KDP.
Step 3 – “Add a New Title” to your Amazon KDP Bookshelf
To create a new publication, click the “Add a new title” button. This will create your new project.
Above, highlighted in yellow, you can see my Power from Within manifesto approved by Amazon for publication and awaiting the 24-hour period before it officially appears on the Amazon Kindle Store (but more on this later).
Step 4 – Edit Book Details in the “Your Book” Tab
Now, it’s time to add all the necessary information about your book.
First, you’ll start by adding the book’s name, and optionally include a Series Title, Volume number and Edition number.
Most important will be investing some time into writing a strong description of the book, which is actually what will be displayed below your book’s basic information on Amazon Kindle Store (and ultimately help sell the book). This is how it will display:
Next, you’ll continue by adding your book’s language, date details and include information about a publisher or ISBN if you’ve gone the extra lengths to acquire them.
Most importantly, you will need to specify if you have the rights to the work you intend to publish. If you own the copyright to the original work that you created, select the “not a public domain work” option, which will legally entitle you to sell the book on Amazon.
Amazon makes understanding the necessary options very simple and easy with their in depth descriptions and lots of links (the right-hand column pictured below) to explore other pages in greater depth, just in case you have questions or are unsure about anything!
Moving on to the next step of your book’s details, you’ve given the option to upload a book cover, which I highly recommend.
Amazon recommends either a JPEG (.jpeg) or TIFF (.tif or .tiff) image with dimensions of 1280 pixels wide by 550 pixels tall, and a standard resolution of 72 dpi.
After you upload your cover image, you can choose whether or not you want to enable digital rights management (DRM) which intends to (keyword intends, but does not guarantee) the unauthorized distribution of the Kindle file of your book.
This prevents your customer from being able to share or “lend” your book to a friend for any period of time, and is irreversible once your book is uploaded.
I chose not to enable this service because I wanted my readers to be able to lend the Power from Within manifesto with others. The safe option is to leave the DRM option disabled for now – you can change it later, but not change it once it’s been enabled and the book has been uploaded.
Step 5 – Properly Format Your Book for Upload
Next, we will be uploading your formatted e-book to the Amazon KDP Bookshelf. Locate and upload your e-book (in Web Page, Filtered (*HTM & *HTML) format). If you uploaded the book successfully, you’re given the option to view a preview of the e-book to see how it will appear in its formatted glory:
Finally, hit Save and Continue to carry onto the final page of your book’s upload.
Step 6 – Select Publishing Territories, Price and Royalty Rates
At last, you’ll be given a variety of options for publishing territories, and selecting the price of your new e-book, as well as royalty rates. However, this gets slightly tricky. As Amazon details:
You can choose between two royalty options: a 70% royalty option and a 35% royalty option. For example, for sales in the US, if your book’s list price is between $2.99 and $9.99, you can choose the 70% option. The 35% option is available in the US for books with list prices between $.99 and $200.00.
Essentially, your location and the royalty rate you desire will partly dictate the range of price for your e-book.
For my Power from Within manifesto, I first selected a 70% royalty rate at a $3.99, but ultimately decided that I wanted to offer the book for $.99, which I could only do with a 35% royalty rate.
Step 7 – Wait for Amazon’s Approval
When you are finished with providing all of the details and price specifications of your book, your submission will take usually 24 hours for Amazon to officially approve.
If you go back to make any changes, you will need to resubmit the book for approval, but depending upon the extent of your changes, it will usually take only a few hours for Amazon to approve and update your final product.
Is publishing to Amazon Kindle worth the investment?
The only cost that publishing on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service requires is a bit of your time and a slight amount of patience, especially to get a hang of the learning curve with formatting for the Kindle.
Since the cost to you to self-publish on Amazon is essentially nonexistent, publishing is certainly worth exploring, and for a number of reasons.
- Offering a product to your readers
- Producing royalties for blog revenue
- Expanding your reach and platform
- Adding a credential to your resume
- Familiarizing yourself with the publication process for future opportunities
With the incredibly low overheard to publish to Amazon Kindle, and the ability to produce some money for your blogging and writing ventures, there are many benefits to publishing on this easy-to-use, very functional and user-friendly platform.
I would highly recommend you give Amazon KDP a shot!
Photo Credit: Kodomut
This is a guest post by Dave Ursillo – Dave is a writer, thought-leader and life-explorer at DaveUrsillo.com, a Leadership speaker and founder of the Lead Without Followers alternative leadership movement. You can find him hanging out on Twitter or Facebook.