And thanks, Alexis, for sharing! My pleasure, Sara!
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As someone hoping to put their first book out before the summer I was particularly interested in the comments on the use of Scrivener and. Scrivener made creating the. This is fantastic — detailed, organized and lots of good energy and emotion. Thank you Heater and Alexis!
This is definitely a post to be shared and filed! Nice one. Thanks, Ang! You deserve a standing ovation! Thanx a million! Haha, thanks, Xavier! Good luck with your projects! Thank you so much for this post! Creating an e-book is on my list and selling it through Amazon like this is the way to go. This really spells it all out.
Great question. Thank you! You touched on so many bases. I really appreciate the information, and will share it for sure! A question — I plan to launch a book in the fall as both Kindle ebook and as a print book. I am thinking of running a Kickstarter campaign to fund and promote it over the summer. Is there a way that I can give Kickstarter supporters some sort of coupon for a free or discounted Kindle edition to use later , once the book is produced?
Great question, Jackie. Best of luck with your book launch! It may not fit my overall plan at the moment, but once I build my title list I may come back to it. Thanks for this publishing guide, Heather. This will be really helpful for a lot of people who are starting to take an interest. Can I get anyone who can transform my manuscript into eBook.
Please help me. Really Heather, this is the best source that I have found on kdp recently. Thanks for your amazing work. It goads us to make the things a bit fast. Keep doing this. Thanks for sharing this Heather!
How To Create an Ebook - A Step-by-Step Guide
I just finished my e-book today and am in the process of having the cover made and conversion of my. I always heard Kindle Publishing, now I have quite knowledge about them. Thank you Alexis for sharing step-by-step guide for selling books. What an absolutely informative article! Wow, Kat — thanks for the kind words! Best of luck with your project! Hi there. I understand that I cannot sell my digital book elsewhere.
If, however, I wish to publish the book with a commercial publisher, am I allowed to send a hardcopy to the publisher in order for them to review? Kind regards. Vanessa Reeve. I have a full color cookbook created in InDesign. Do you think uploading the ePub file will be sufficient for the Kindle or will I need to figure out how to covert the files I have into Mobi? Is there a trial version of the Schrivner program — I wish the author had mentioned a cost to download. Or is there a program I can use other than the one the author mentions? Great information for someone looking into possibly publishing on the Kindle platform.
I am nowhere near that point bit having the information handy is extremely helpful. New to this whole concept. So glad there are people out there like you to point me in the right direction. Thank you so much for everything, one more question to add to the many. How many words or pages is the least acceptable for an ebook? Great tips and information about kindle publishing. And how frequently a book needs to be published to make a full time income out of it?
Thank You! I am an excellent writer but there was no way I could afford all the expenses by going through a publishing company. I am really excited to publish my kindle books. Thankfully Yours, Michael. Hi this is a great post I must say; but I want to find out asides the manuscript and TOC what of other pages that come before the book text itself like acknowledgement, year of publishing and all that. Your email address will not be published. Skip to content. Get the Newsletter.
April 15, at am. Heather van der Hoop says:. April 15, at pm. Susan Travel Junkette says:. April 16, at pm. Annette InAllYouDo says:. April 18, at am. Susan Stilwell says:. But it gets better. Because all the lovely stuff you did with the end material of your book means that your new one-time readers will soon turn into your committed fans. You turn that wheel and keep it turning, with book launch after book launch. If your work is strong enough to keep your readers reading, your sales will only increase from cycle to cycle. Loads of indie-publishers will aim to write and publish a book every three months.
If anything, the trend is for writers to try and bring that down to one every two months. You want a nice life, and you want to be artistically proud of your books, so where do those things settle for you? Are your current writing rhythms capable of change or are you happy where you are? That still leaves plenty of months where your book sales spitter-spatter along at the rate of a few books per title per day. Well, as I say, there are five basic add-on techniques that you will start to use as you build out your series. They are:. You can go either way on this or, indeed, vary your approach.
There are prominent voices on both sides of the fence. I strongly urge newer indies to go Amazon exclusive at the start. Till then, stick with Uncle Jeff Bezos. Most of my mailing list growth is organic: people like my books and sign up. You may feel differently. You might want to outsource some tasks to third parties. You might want to do it all yourself. Once upon a time, that would have seemed like a strange question. If you do well in English language markets, literary agents have a role to play in selling those additional rights.
Foreign language sales. Film and TV. Or maybe you want to go for the full traditional publication with some portion of your portfolio? Or in one specific national market, such as the UK? We hope! Some people. But OK. About the author Harry Bingham has been a pro author for twenty years and more. More about Harry , more about his books. Agent submission builder Get an agent in one hour. Indie marketing masterclass A self-publishing essential. How to write a novel Your free, expert tutorials. Join the list, get your gifts.
Write a succinct synopsis, the easy way Write a professional query letter, the easy way Based on over twelve years of working with agents. Quick Simple Easy. If you want more info, you can get it here. Build a strong underlying story structure Ensure your characters evolve with the plot Make the hardest part of writing that little bit easier. We will now review your request and get in touch with you. Write a perfect query letter and a brilliant synopsis. In just one hour. Redraft your manuscript like a pro, with this easy guide. If you have a book and a cover, then uploading it is: Free.
Allow hours for the book to go live worldwide. To business. Solve your self-pub problems. With these free resources. An Overview of the Self-Publishing Process. Effective self-publishing on Amazon requires: Strong underlying material. In July I launched a book in the US where my complete marketing plan consisted of: One email to my mailing list. Nothing else. My wife had her second set of twins that year and we were … busy. You want to know how much money I made?
Step 1. Write a good book. Step 2. Create a strong cover. The cover is second in importance only to the book itself. That means your cover needs to: Look good in thumbnail. Look good when compared with competing titles. Inform the reader instantly what kind of book it is.
Convey a mood or feeling. Use good quality images. Use good quality typography. So once you know what you want to achieve, how do you achieve it? So my recipe for success is as follows: Fire your Uncle Bob. Now we turn to the book itself. Step 3. What is the front material there to do? The front of your e-book probably only needs: The cover — because you need it, and readers expect and want it. A title page — ditto. Constant reminders about what your book is and what it offers. Hammer home your message, by carefully choosing formal and social proofs and other related text.
Offer a freebie. And plenty of text!
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Step 4. Create your ebook: end material. It should: Get your readers to buy another book from you. Get your readers to give you their email address. Build a real human bond between you and your reader. Encourage readers to write reviews. Make the extent and structure of your book series and other works really clear. So how to achieve those happy results? Invite participation Notably by encouraging readers to give you their email address in exchange for a free story from you.
Step 5. Format your ebook. Step 6. Want a print book? Then sort that, too. And I do nothing at all to promote those books. Once you have your cover and your text, you just upload them via KDP. Step 7. Build your website. You know you need a website, but why? What do you want it to do for you? That is its purpose. That is why you have it. Well, the primary chain is simple. That links passes the reader to a page on your website that handles that story-for-email exchange. The reader gets your free story. You get a way to contact them in the future.
The way you structure that basic exchange is critical.
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Key design points to consider are: Eliminate all in-site navigation. A few rules to follow are these: Pay that little bit extra for your own domain name. So pay for JaneSmith. Yes, janesmith. Use WordPress. Wix and Squarespace and their like are cheaper in the short run, but they have vastly less power than WordPress.
So again: think long term, not short term. WordPress needs a theme — a stylistic chassis, in effect — to hold your site together. Learn a little bit of basic tech. Step 8. OK, now listen up, because this stuff matters. You advertise the freebie in the front and back of your ebook to maximise the number of people who take you up on that incentive. You will then use the email list you build to bond with readers, launch books, boost promotions and, in general, to send you off, giggling, to the bank driving your own gold-plated Cadillac with a trunk stuffed with high denomination bills.
To secure these outcomes, your reader magnet needs to be good. Step 9. Mailing lists and other technicalities. The answer is that you will need two tools. They need to: See a link in your ebook. Click over to a navigation-free landing page on your website. Hand over an email to your Mailchimp mailing list. Be delivered a book via Bookfunnel. Put in the effort, then enjoy the rewards. Why so much? And why so much for so little?
Step Nor do you need to blog. For most of us, the big news is this: If you hate social media and want nothing to do with it, you can still sell books very effectively on Amazon. To be clear, there are exceptions. Quality posts and interactions beat quantity. Post good stuff when you have something good to say. You can also think about advertising to your FB audience to support your email and boosted post campaigns.
These are later stage tactics, though, and you can safely ignore these for now. You are choosing categories in order to sell more books. You need to read this section, on categories, in conjunction with the one that follows, on keywords. How to Choose Keywords on Amazon. So far, so easy. Those keywords let you: Choose what sub-bestseller lists to target. Choose what thematic searches to target. Take the first of those things. And something magical happens. You are looking at the left hand sidebar for this.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Formatting Your Print Book for KDP
Then actually look at the page of results that comes up. Check out the bestseller rank of the lowest ranked book. To sum up this section: Choose categories according to what overall bestseller list you want to appear on. Important Choose keywords first according to what sub-bestseller lists you want to appear on. Important Choose keywords next according to what you think your readers will be searching for.
Not important The whole exercise might take an hour or two, but can generate steady sales for years to come. Pricing is scary, but also easy. That fact is relevant, because no one is going to be smarter than Amazon at interpreting data from pricing experiments. Free books get you readers. They build your fanbase. They make no money. They make a bit of money, but not much. Where exactly you pitch your wares depends on all kinds of things.
Do you want to aggressively grow your business in the longer term while sacrificing some short-term revenues? Do you want to harvest your existing success? Are your readers generally younger, or poorer? Then price low. Are your book buyers generally more affluent? Then price a little higher. Without an existing fanbase, you have few other routes to this happy outcome. And yes, I am saying that. You need to write two books and one lengthy short story or novella to sell one book. There are four broad methods for doing this.
Method 2: give your book away on Amazon only for a limited period If you agree to work exclusively with Amazon — by enrolling in KDP Select — you will enjoy the ability to schedule Kindle Countdown promotions, which give you the opportunity to price your book cheaply, or for free, for 7 days in every 90 day period. They might or might not read your free giveaway. They might or might not go on to buy other books in your paid series. That normally involves further little free gifts and a strong series of automated emails aimed at shifting kinda-interested readers into committed ones.
Method 4: use Book promo sites to shift your work The best method, however, is to use book promotion sites to get your work out into new hands. There are two big ways to do this. How to launch your paid book on Amazon KDP. So go do it. And put those proofs up front where casual browsers can find them.
Just as bookstore browsers flip books over to look at them in quite a casual way, though, so it is with people browsing on Amazon. They are only two or three clicks away from buying something quite else. So make it clear. The shorter your other front material, the more room you have to give readers what they really want, which is a taste of your book itself. Make sure that your first chapter is strong, and let readers get there fast! If the front material in your e-book is there to persuade the browser to buy, the end material has a rather more complex set of functions.
It should:. The thinking here is simple. A reader has just finished your book. So what next? Now is the moment to reach out and build a lasting bond between you and the reader. E-books that just finish without doing that are kind of like the door in the image: they kick you out onto the street, leaving a slightly disappointed feeling behind.
Notably by encouraging readers to give you their email address in exchange for a free story from you. List out your series and other work. Make sure you do this clearly and invitingly. Either include book covers or make sure that the text layout feels really appealing. Offer short blurbs as well, with links to e-stores where readers can buy the books.
Be smart about offering those buy links. Remember that e-readers are probably reading in an online environment where they can take instant action, meaning print books are a terrible model for how to put together your end-material. Web design is a better model. You want easy-to-access links in places where your readers may want to take actions enabled by those links. Making it easy will make a huge difference to your conversions and that means making a difference to your pocket.
Writing a great book, preparing inviting front material, developing material at the back of the book that seals the deal with the reader, those things matter. The rest is a technical exercise that you can either do yourself or outsource. So first, make sure that your Word file is in good shape to be converted. Calibre is another. Apple users love Vellum. Some e-book distributors, for example Draft2Digital , offer free online tools that are very simple to use and come with no strings attached. Whatever route you take, just make sure that you preview the ebook before going live with it.
All the those conversion tools offer previews, and just go through, checking every page. Checking matters! Most self-publishers will sell work in e-form, not book-form. My own e-sales are probably about fifteen times greater than hard-copy sales. With my traditionally published work, the balance is much more even, or even leans more to print. You have much less control over the selling price. And so on. I say that to be honest, not to put you off. I sell several thousand self-published print books each year.
All I do is promote my e-books actively and intelligently via the Kindle Store and elsewhere, and that visibility brings my work to the attention of some readers who think. KDP offers a print option too. The additional cost involved is minimal. Your best bet is an outfit, BB eBooks , which is based in Thailand and combines excellent experience and quality with Thai pricing. Just remember, e-sales are likely to predominate by a large margin, and your print sales will only start to take off if your e-sales do.
National or international distribution via bookshops is basically a fantasy, unless you have a traditional publisher to take care of that for you. You need to build a platform. Most readers will surely just be happy with a the book, and b Amazon. Why do they need anything else? This is rubbish. How could it?
Yes, you will probably want a page for each one of your books. Yes, you probably want some kind of bio. Yes, you probably want a contact page. Tiny differences in set-up will make a few percentage point impacts on your conversion rates, and, when cumulated, those little impacts can make a huge difference to the success of your campaign. Your ebooks need to take people to a page on your website that maxes the number of people downloading your story.
Here is an example of a good page from my own website and see what happens when you click the buttons — functionality matters. Eliminate all in-site navigation. This page exists on my website and has completely normal navigation tools up at the top, excepting this page. On this page, I want people to click those buttons. Have incredibly obvious calls to action. Giant orange buttons on a monochrome background works for me. And it just so happens that obeying that command involves collecting an email address.
Around two thirds of visitors to my website end up leaving me their email address. Those are the people who are likeliest to buy my work again in the future, and now I have a way to get in touch with them direct. The site should communicate what you are all about as an author as swiftly as your book covers do. Your site should be mobile responsive, so that it looks as good on a phone as it does on a PC or tablet. There are other bits and pieces to get right, but any half-way competent designer should do them fine. So build it good, and get ready for launch. So be sure your story lives broadly speaking in the same fictional world as your for-sale novels.
Be sure that your magnet is well-presented and has a lovely book cover. I also recommend you make at least some of those links visual i. Text links are great, and you should use those, but visual plus text beats text alone. That story you offer does not need to be a full-length novel. Anything from 5 to 15, words is fine. One story a magnet to attract readers and collect email addresses.
The first is Mailchimp or any other mailing list provider. They will store your email list, send mass emails, eliminate duplicates, handle the unsubscribe process, and plenty more. Some people find Mailchimp hard to use and prefer Mailerlite. If you are ambitious and tech-confident, you might want to use the more powerful Convertkit. Creating a smooth path for your readers is key. They need to:. If you need help with web bits, then get this. Again: all this set-up stuff can seem boring, but so is climbing up a long flight of steps. Rushing to publish too soon is the absolutely class, 1, gold-plated mistake that most indies make.
There is, yes. Self-publishing is more complicated than regular publishing, especially at the start. Later on, it can actually seem simpler in many ways, especially if you hate giving up control. But still: a lot to take in. A lot to do. Well, yes and no. That course is super-premium, which is a fancy way of saying a really high quality, and b scarily expensive.
After all, why buy, when you could rent? For a crazy-cheap and cancel-any-time monthly fee, you can become a member of Jericho Writers — a club designed for writers just like you. Quite simply, we aim to give members as much as we possibly can. An insane amount of value for as little as we can possibly charge. Think of us as a kind of Netflix for writers. And unlimited access to a whole heap of filmed masterclasses, including some brilliant ones on self-publishing. And filmed interviews with authors and agents and publishers. And an incredibly supportive community.
And live webinars from top experts on all the topics that matter most to you. You can find out more about joining us here. We really hope you do. A lot of writers worry that self-publishing is going to be all about bigging yourself up on social media. Endless tweets, endless bragging Facebook posts. I have a Twitter account mostly because that makes it easy for Twitterholics to contact me if they want. Some of those contacts have proved of real value. I also have an author page on Facebook because a traditionally publisher once told me I had to have one.
I got one, and neither they nor I ever used it. Although I do blog here, I hardly ever blog about author things on my own website. Actual book sales deriving from those blogs are trivial. There will be categories of author where social media does really matter. If you hate social media and want nothing to do with it, you can still sell books very effectively on Amazon.
In particular, if you build a strong audience on Facebook, you will make your FB advertising life a lot, lot easier. Just forget about. For now. When a bookshop shelves your book, they need to choose where to shelve it. With romance? With crime? With general fiction? With health and beauty? Or what? When you upload your book to Amazon which is easy, and has become easier you will see a little box prompting, and you need to choose categories highly relevant to your book. Readers like perusing those lists, and Amazon likes to direct them there. Until you have a little experience of your book, your genre, your sales, you are largely guessing as to which lists to target.
If you are already published, then check out your Also Boughts to understand what kind of readers you have — what other books they like. You can use Goodreads or other online book recommendation tools to achieve the same kind of thing. When you come to upload your book, Amazon will ask you to give it seven keywords that describe your book.
Whilst categories have only one role they let you choose what bestseller lists to target , Amazon keywords have two roles to play, and they both matter. You think your book is good, but do you really want to fight off , other bad-asses? Counting the number of books allocated to Amazon categories I want, the book count — i. If you see a sub-category where your readers are likely to gather, then jump on it.
You want to explore the left-hand sidebar. That little baby is your friend. A useful pro tip here is that you can use multi-word phrases as your keywords, and every word counts. So for example, my sub-categories include options like Dark, Disturbing, Noir. So people can find books in at least four ways:. And that, really is all you need to know. Some niches may vary, though, so always check against your own genre. Now we need to do two things. Except that, as you write more over time, that one free book will start leading readers into a larger pool of paid work. Well, yes, really. You are selling a series, not selling a book.
If you understand that fully, your selling efforts will be vastly more successful over the long run. Your purpose is to attract the greater downloads, to acquire fans. Some of those older methods just look limp or expensive or awkward compared with more recent ones, so do read all of this section before you make your pick. You just do it. Look at your book page, though, and scroll down to the Product Details section. You should see at the bottom there a little rubric with contact links that looks like this:.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates to the product page? Well, yes, you would like to tell Amazon about a lower price, so tell them. Report that lower price using the automated tool. I also recommend contacting Amazon more directly via the contact page on the KDP site. Say something like this:. I would really like it if you would consider making the book free on your store as well. And, to be clear, my long-term aim is to sell a lot of work, at full price, through your store.
I very much appreciate your help. Fingers crossed. The results can be very good. I did a freebie in January using roughly this method. I notched up about 10, downloads in the first week, through Amazon alone. Other e-stores were additional.
How to self-publish your book on Amazon Kindle Direct (KDP)
Some further downloads followed though at a much lower rate. And of course, my mailing list took a terrific jump upwards and I got plenty of emails and reviews from readers telling me that they loved that first book so much, they wanted to jump right into the rest of the paid series. If you agree to work exclusively with Amazon — by enrolling in KDP Select — you will enjoy the ability to schedule Kindle Countdown promotions, which give you the opportunity to price your book cheaply, or for free, for 7 days in every 90 day period. If you are exclusive to Amazon, and I think the default choice for new authors is probably to go exclusive as you learn the ropes, then you should use these opportunities fully.
With other approaches in this section, you pay nothing or little to give your work away for free.
Ebooks, Publishing, and Everything in Between
With the Facebook approach, you pay real money to acquire each new reader. That arithmetic does not look attractive to me, but it is possible to make things work, if:.
The people who succeed with Facebook ads do tend to have a lot of work to sell and they work hard and intelligently at managing their ad campaigns — which is all fine. All the same, do you want to be an ad manager or a writer? If like me you think the business of managing a Facebook ad portfolio could quickly become wearisome, there are probably better ways to do this. The one real exception I can think of applies to new writers who do have some cash to spare who just want to get on and do it.