So you’ve got your cover art, blurb, edited and proofread manuscript and you’re ready to rock.
Pop on over to Kindle Direct Publishing and click on ‘+ Kindle eBook’
Ka-boom, and you’re onto the first page.
Kindle eBook Details.
Now, this is all one page, but I’ve had to cut it in four for lack of space and technical ability.
So, here’s where you’ll enter the Language in which the story is written, the Book Title and any Subtitle.
A little lower down this first screen, you’ll have your options for Series Information. If it’s a one-off, standalone novel, you can just leave this blank. If, however, it’ll be part of a series, this is where you note that. As the screen suggests, it will help readers find the other books in your series (when they’re out).
Okey-cokey, the Edition Number. Honestly, I’ve never bothered with this but presumably it’s most useful for non-fiction books. As further information comes out, perhaps subsequent editions will have additions or alterations to the text – as such, the reader would want to know which book they’re buying.
In terms of fiction, I know there are people who rewrite their books as their storytelling skills increase. Personally, I don’t see the point in this. Not because it’s a lot of extra work but, where do you draw the line? I’ll probably be a better writer when I’m fifty. Does that mean I have to rewrite all my novels and short stories when I’m fifty? What happens when I’m sixty? Honestly, I’d rather see some form of evolution in my writing; if my first novel isn’t what it would be if I were writing it today, surely that’s the proof that my writing is only getting better. Isn’t it?
Ah, make your own decision. Personally, I don’t think edition numbers are worth getting into for fiction unless you’re planning on rewrites.
Author: Bingo-bango – this is you. If you plan on using a pen name, this is where you’d put your nom-de-plume. Having already entered your banking information when you registered as a self-publisher, you’ll be the one who’s paid. Amazon won’t go and look for a made-up name.
Contributors: If you have a co-author, this is where you’d name them. If you want to credit your editor, again, they go here…
We’re still on the first screen and this is where it gets a bit fun.
Description: This is where your blurb goes. If at all possible, try and throw some of your keywords into your blurb as this will increase the book’s visibility – for those who are searching those words.
Publishing rights: If the book is yours, and you write and own every part of it, click the first option – ‘I own the copyright and I hold the necessary publishing rights’. As discussed earlier, in Britain, you don’t have to register for copyright and there are no associated costs. If you wrote it, it’s yours.
Now, if a book has been out for long enough, it falls into the public domain. This means that it has become so much a part of the literary landscape that, with its author dead, no one owns the copyright anymore. In most countries, according to Wikipedia, copyright dies a death on 1st January, 70 years after the death of the author.
In this way, anyone can type up a book with expired copyright, and make a couple of quid. In some ways, it feels more important to double-check spellings, punctuation and such, for a book by a deceased author. So, if you’re going to do that, go gently. It’s important to honour the work as well as the writer.
Keywords: right, now, these are pretty tricky.
The best thing is to think of words that people might search for if they were looking for a book like yours. I have heard good things about KDP Rocket – this is a bit of kit that will help you find gaps in the market and words that make sense and will drive readers towards your work. I haven’t got to that point yet, although I probably should. Whatever you do, don’t put in the word ‘book’. There are approximately two million books published every year. You’re not helping yourself with the word ‘book’.
Categories: this is easier than keywords. You’re only allowed two and they’re pretty broad. I tend to go with Fiction – Contemporary Women and Fiction – Comedy. You’ll want to pick the closest categories possible, as this will drive the right readers your way and reduce the chance of complaints from people looking for textbooks on gynaecology and finding your book of poetry.
Age and Grade Range: Some of us are in England and therefore do not understand the US School Grading System. However, if you know there’s swearing, scenes of an adult nature, violence and other bouts of naughtiness in your book, you’re best off selecting a minimum age of 18. You definitely don’t want your book of Bacchanalian naughtiness appearing among books for pre-schoolers.
Pre-order: and this is entirely up to you. If you’re ready to publish straight away, then go for the top option, take a breath, make a cup of tea. It’s all going to be all right.
If you’ve decided to build up a bit of anticipation and maybe would like a little longer to double-check absolutely everything, you can put it on pre-order. You can put books in for pre-order for as little as a week or so, and as long as months. The important thing is to make sure your file is absolutely ready on time, otherwise, people who click and buy your book, to arrive on its day of release, will wind up with whatever you put in a place-keeper.
And that’s the first page done.
You’ll note, Kindle eBook Details now has a little green tick and the word ‘Complete’ below it. Yippee.
One down, two to go.
Kindle eBook Content.
In a nutshell, if you click ‘No’ for DRM, people can share your work but not for financial gain, and it *might* help with bringing in reviews. (Equally it might not). If you click ‘Yes’, people can loan your book out to friends but only for a short period of time. Please note, whichever option you go for, you’re stuck with it for this book. It might be worth doing a bit of Googling to make sure you’re comfortable with the options before settling down and picking one.
Anywho, having got through that little minefield, you have many options for Manuscript Upload. It’s always worth knowing what type of files can be uploaded. This is the major part of why I’m doing this. So you can see what sort of files you can use on Amazon.
Personally, I tend to go for MOBI or ePub. PDF, as downloaded from draft2digital.com has pagination and that’s no use on a Kindle book. There’s no way of knowing precisely how large the reader’s screen is and they might blow up the text anyway, so random numbers dotted about won’t help at all.
So, click Upload eBook manuscript and choose the file you want to upload.
Kindle eBook Cover: If you’ve got your own, in JPG or TIFF, click the second option and let the thing load. If you haven’t got a cover, or would rather use a freebie, launch the Cover Creator. Please note: when you buy a cover from a digital artist, it’s quite usual for that cover never to be sold again. With the Cover Creator, there is no such rule. There will, of course, be the difference of your name and title, but the exact same art might appear on any number of other books.
Kindle eBook Preview: Always, always Launch the Previewer.
True, sometimes it does take a few minutes for the file to convert, but it’s really important to take a little look at it before you think of selling it. You’ll know if it looks wrong. If so, you have time to fix it. If you breeze past the previewer, should there be a problem, it’ll be out there by the time you have a chance to correct it.
Happy? Good-oh. And we’re on to the last page.
Pat on back. Well done, you. You’re doing fine. And you’ll have a second tick and ‘Complete’ for Kindle eBook Content. Marvellous.
Kindle eBook Pricing.
KDP Select Enrollment. (They spell Enrollment the American way, it’s not an error, it’s an American company. Not worth getting into an argument with anyone about it. But, if you got excited about seeing a spelling error, it’s all right. So did I.)
Again, it’s personal preference.
So, KDP. Kindle Unlimited is pretty brilliant. Especially people who read a huge amount, KDP Select can save them a massive amount of money. Rather than buy dozens of eBooks, they can pay a set amount per month, and read as much as they like – so long as it’s enrolled in KDP Select.
For readers, it looks like it’s £7.99 per month and you can read everything you have time for.
For writers, so long as the reader gets a way into your book, it’s a new reader. However, unless you’ve written a house brick-sized tome, the money isn’t huge. Unless everyone on KDP Select reads it. The money changes on a monthly basis, depending on participants in the programme, but it usually works out to around a third of a penny per page read. If you’ve got thousands of people reading you every day, it’s excellent. If not, not so much.
Okay, Territories: I just go straight ahead with worldwide rights. I have no special situation with anywhere in the world.
If you’re pricing your book at 99p, you’re looking at a 35% royalty payment. This works out to somewhere between 27p and 35p, per download, depending on the size of the file.
If your book is going to be upwards of £2.99, you can go for the 70% royalty. However, please note, this is not 70% in the generally understood sense. Again, it probably comes down to file size, but a £2.99 book should yield a 70% payment of £2.09 and it’s closer to £1.72.
With this new and exciting recognition of how little money is actually involved, you might not fancy lending the book out. Honestly, anything that brings you reviews is worthwhile, so give it some thought.
Last bit – if you’re putting the book up for pre-order, you’ll see this screen.
If you’re ready right now, you’ll have a different option, which will read – Publish my eBook, or something like.
Important – your book will be available for sale within 72 hours of your clicking ‘Publish’. That said, I’ve never known it to take longer than 24 hours.
Click the thing and start dancing round your living room: you’re now published.