In this section of the site we will turn our attention to Kindle publishing tips and advice. This page will teach you what you need to do in order to take your book manuscript and convert it to Kindle for publishing on the fantastic Digital Text Platform.
Electronic book publishing, particularly on Amazon Kindle, has literally taken the publishing world by storm. Whilst many UK-based publishers rue the fact that Amazon dominates this rapidly expanding market, many writers and authors across the world are seeing handsome returns for their writing efforts. The fact that writers like you are now getting rewarded appropriately for their writing skills is, in my opinion, long overdue.
For too long writers received very low royalty rates for their work; however, the introduction of the Amazon Kindle back in 2007 levelled the playing field, which meant one thing for authors across the world – more profits and greater exposure for their book.
Publishing on the Amazon Kindle Digital Text Platform is a fast and efficient way to get your book in front of literally millions of readers worldwide.
Here are just a few benefits of publishing your book on the Kindle:
• No face-to-face selling or having to deal with customer service/fulfilment.
• Amazon will electronically deliver the eBook for you.
• There are NO customer emails to deal with.
• Amazon has millions of customers worldwide (approximately 80,000,000 per month). Publish your book once and it will reach a global market.
• There are no set up fees to start selling your book on the Kindle.
• The Amazon Digital Text Platform has a fast set-up process. Publishing takes less than 5 minutes. Your book appears on Amazon within 24 hours.
• Amazon is a ‘24/7 – 365 days a year’ operation which means your book sells whilst you sleep.
• You get very good support from Amazon.
• You still have the option to upsell within a Kindle book.
• You get to keep control, and you can make changes to your book at any time.
• You can earn a 70% royalty on every book you sell. This option is available to customers in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and a few others.
• You are able to publish in multiple languages. You can publish in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Japanese.
Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select)
Amazon has introduced what is called the KDP Select Global Fund. A share of this fund is available to authors and publishers who allow other people to read their book for free. Recently, the Global Fund was a staggering $1.2 Million.
Every time a reader borrows your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, you will earn a share of the Global Fund. What is the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library? The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a collection of books that Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle can borrow once a month for no fee.
Your books will still be available for anyone to buy in the Kindle Store, and you’ll continue to earn royalties from those sales like you normally would. What does it mean to publish exclusively on Kindle? When you choose to enrol your book in KDP Select you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP.
During the period of exclusivity you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital. From a personal perspective, I have found the KDP select worth enrolling in as my royalties have increased for Kindle books that are part of the programme – the only real issue for you is that you won’t be able to sell the Kindle book anywhere else, not even on your own website.
TIP: You can still promote your book on your website, but you will need to link through to the Amazon sales page that your Kindle book is available to buy from.
HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK READY TO SELL ON KINDLE
In order to sell your book on the Amazon Kindle DTP you will need:
1. Your manuscript converted to a suitable format for Kindle.
2. The front cover of your book in JPEG format. JPEG, or JPG, is a common term used for a common file format for digital photos and other digital graphics.
3. An Amazon Kindle DTP account.
Let’s take a look at each area individually:
Converting your manuscript for Kindle There are many companies and individuals online who will offer to format your book for Kindle, and my advice is to use one of them providing they are professional and good at what they do. Most people try to convert their book themselves using free online Kindle conversion software tools or by following Amazon’s advice and free step-by-step guide on how to do it yourself.
Whilst these tools do work, they will usually always leave formatting errors within the book. My advice is to employ the services of an outsourcer to format your book for you.
The great thing about Kindle, from a customer/readers perspective, is that Amazon offers a 7-day money back guarantee on Kindle eBooks. Here’s what Amazon says on their website about refunds:
“Books you purchase from the Kindle Store are eligible for return and refund if we receive your request within 7 days of the date of purchase. Once a refund is issued, you will no longer have access to the book.”
One of the most important aspects of publishing on Kindle is to give no reason for your customers to request a refund. Regardless of how good your content is, if you mess up with the formatting, customers WILL request a refund. What’s even worse, they will most probably then also leave a negative review on your book – and we all know what impact a negative review can have on our books!
My advice would be to get the book formatted by a professional individual or organisations. Personally, I use ODesk.com to get my books converted, and I usually pay approximately $100-$150 for a book which contains approximately 150-200 pages.
The cost for conversion when using UpWork.com will very much depend on the complexity of the book. For example, if there are lots of images or charts within the content then this will increase the price.
I have, on occasions, used UK-based companies to format my Kindle books, but they are usually a lot more expensive. If you do wish to pay a little more for your formatting, I recommend the following UK company:
You will need to send the individual or company both your completed manuscript and the front book cover image in JPEG format. For Kindle conversion you do not need to get the full book cover jacket created with spine and rear text.
You also do not need to add the ISBN or bar code to the cover; just the front book cover will be fine. If you do want to have a try at formatting your own book for Kindle please go to the following page, and in particular the HELP section:
There is a useful forum on this site where you can ask questions relating to formatting, uploading, and selling your book(s) on Kindle. There are also step-by-step guides you may want to read which have been published by Amazon on how to get your book published on Kindle – just search on Amazon. co.uk for ‘Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing’, and ‘Building Your Book for Kindle’ – you can download these books for free.
Compatible format types accepted by Amazon
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) lets you upload and convert your final draft from several formats. For best results, Amazon recommends that you upload in DOC/DOCX (.doc/.docx) or HTML (.html) format.
However, from personal experience I have always formatted my book in ePub. The reason for this is that the Apple iBookStore and Gardners eWarehouse will only accept eBooks in ePub format. Therefore, in order to save on cost it is advisable to get your book formatted in ePub, and you can then sell it through multiple channels.
Here is the full list of formats accepted by Amazon DTP:
• Word (DOC or DOCX)
• HTML (ZIP, HTM, or HTML)
• MOBI (MOBI)
• ePub (EPUB)
• Rich Text Format (RTF)
• Plain Text (TXT)
• Adobe PDF (PDF)
Using the Amazon Kindle Book Cover Creator
Amazon provides a free book cover creator. I have used it on a number of occasions, and whilst the quality is not as good as using a professional designer it is a great way to get started if your budget is low.
In order to use the Kindle Cover Creator, click on the “Add new title” button once you are signed into your account.
Next, click “Design with Cover Creator” in section 4, then “Upload Your Cover.”
The Cover Creator interface will automatically launch and instructions will then be provided on how to create your cover.
As I have already mentioned on numerous occasions, the image you use for your cover will be the first thing people will see when they find your book, so choose an image that really represents the quality and subject of your book. You can provide your own image or select from the gallery of stock images available.
Images you provide should be of high quality, and you must hold all rights necessary to use the image for your book cover. See the chapter relating to Book cover designs and book titles for more tips on how create a fantastic book cover.
Choosing a Design
After you’ve uploaded or selected your image you can choose from one of ten base designs, which can then be further customised with various layouts as well as font and colour schemes. In case you can’t find an image you’re satisfied with, Amazon has included some basic designs that don’t incorporate an image from your computer or the stock image gallery.
Customising your layout Once you’ve selected a base design you can choose from an assortment of font sets, colour schemes, and text layouts or make changes to your text and images directly by clicking on each part.
Previewing and submitting your book cover
When you have completed designing your cover, click the “Preview Cover” button to check how it looks in colour, grayscale, and thumbnail modes. Once you’re satisfied with your cover, click “Save & Submit” to submit your cover to KDP.
Cover Creator will close and your cover will be loaded in the “Edit book details” page of KDP.
Getting paid by Amazon for Kindle sales
Separate royalty payments for each Kindle Store in which you have chosen to distribute your title will be paid automatically by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Wire Transfer (where available), or cheque approximately sixty (60) days following the end of the calendar month during which applicable sales occur once the threshold is met.
Keep in mind that your bank may charge fees for some payments. If you’re not sure whether they do, you may want to contact them. How to see how many Kindle books you have sold In your Amazon KDP account there are a number of reports available for you to view at any time, and these are listed as follows: Month-to-Date Unit Sales
You can use this report to get a quick snapshot of your unit sales and transactions for the current month’s sales.
Prior Six Weeks’ Royalties
This report shows transactions and royalties you’ve earned over the six weeks prior to the current week.
Prior Months’ Royalties
These reports show summaries of previous months’ sales transactions, for the last 12 months. Reports are generated near the 15th day of each month and include sales that occurred within the prior month.
HOW TO UPLOAD YOUR BOOK TO THE AMAZON KINDLE DIGITAL TEXT PLATFORM, PLUS USEFUL TIPS
In this section I will show you how to upload a book to your Amazon Kindle Digital text Platform.
STEP 1 – Open your account In order to open your account, please go to: https://kdp.amazon.com/
STEP 2 – Add new title Once you have signed up for your account and logged in, please now click the ADD NEW TITLE button which is located in the top left hand corner of the dashboard.
STEP 3 – Consider choosing Kindle Select One of the first decisions you will need to make when you come to upload your eBook to your account area is whether or not to enrol your book onto Kindle select. If you decide to include your eBook in Kindle Select you are enrolling for 90 days, during which time your eBook must not be available in digital format on any other platform.
If your book is found to be available elsewhere in digital format it may not be eligible to remain in the program. The decision on whether to include your book in KDP Select is entirely yours. As previously mentioned, the programme has been beneficial for me.
STEP 4 – Enter your book’s details In the next section of your account area you will need to add the details of your book. – Book name Taking what you have learnt so far, input the name of your book in this field. You just need to input the main title of your book, and not the subtitle or strapline.
– Subtitle (optional)
The subtitle is your book’s strapline. Although it says ‘optional’ my advice would be to insert one, especially if your genre falls into anything outside of fiction.
A subtitle will be picked up in the search engines, which may help with conversions.
– This book part of a series
If your book is part of a series, insert it here.
For example, my books fall under the ‘how2become’ series. Once your brand becomes established and readers learn to love your books, they will start to search for your brand or series of books.
If you intend publishing more than one book, consider having a series name.
– Edition number (optional)
Providing the version number can help readers to know whether the book is the original edition or if it contains updated content. If this is the first time you have published this book, enter the numeral 1. If the book was previously published and the version you are publishing contains significant changes, enter the numeral 2 (and so on).
– Publisher (optional)
Because you will be the author and publisher of your book, you can enter your name or the name of your publishing company here.
Your book description is what customers see as they shop in the Kindle store. If you are publishing a printed version too, the description should be the same. Within the description I recommend you consider including the main title of the book 2-3 times. This will help your book to rank in the search results.
– Book contributors
Contributors are the people who have helped you to create your book. Within this field you can add and identify your book’s author, editor, illustrator, translator, and more.
If the book has more than one author, you can enter multiple authors. Enter author names in the sequence you would like them to appear in the Kindle store. To publish your book at least one contributor name is required. The first person you should add as a contributor is yourself as the ‘author’.
In this field input the primary language in which the book has been written.
– Publication date (optional)
This is the date that you are publishing the guide. Simply leave it blank or select the date that you are publishing your eBook. Alternatively, if you already have the same book published in print-format select the date that the physical version was published.
TIP: Selecting a publication date will inform customers of how up-to-date your book is – this will help with conversion.
– ISBN (optional)
As previously stated, the ISBN is an International Standard Book Number.
You do not need to have an ISBN to publish your Kindle book, but if you do have one enter it in this section. Do not use the same ISBN from a print edition for your digital edition. If you want to include an ISBN for the digital version of your book it must be a unique ISBN. You can purchase an ISBN from multiple sources on the Web, including the official ISBN body, Nielsen. www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk/
– Verify your publishing rights
‘Publishing rights’ are the rights you need to have in order to publish a book. To publish a book for Kindle through KDP you must have obtained all rights necessary to publish the digital book from the book’s author and any other content creators, or, if you are the book’s author, you must have retained all of the necessary digital book publishing rights. If you are both the author and publisher, as is the case for most of my books, you will automatically have the rights. If the book is your own and you hold the necessary rights for the content, select “This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights.”
– Target your book to customers
There are many different categories on Amazon for your book to fall under, and in this section you will have the opportunity to select up to 2. In order to select the correct category, simply put yourself in the shoes of your readers.