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How to Self-Publish a Book with KDP

How to Self-Publish a Book with KDP

Self-publishing through your website has several benefits, but it is appealing for authors who would like to share their book with new readers to self-publish on Amazon’s Kindle store since Amazon has a massive audience. It can be challenging to publish for Kindle, especially when it comes to getting the reader to find your book. Amazon has millions of books online, and it keeps growing every day. However, that doesn’t mean that your book will be invisible.

But the good news is that self-publishing has become easy nowadays, and it has many benefits. When you have the book and its cover, then uploading is free, fast and impressive. You won’t pay anything to Amazon, though you will incur some costs in preparing it correctly. The book will go live worldwide in about 12 – 24 hours. With Amazon Kindle, your book will be available worldwide. It’s impressive considering that even the largest publishers can’t offer that unless they acquire worldwide rights.

This post should help you in publishing your book in an effective, professional and low-cost way. How effective it will get will depend on you, your genre, your books and the amount of work you invested in it.

Here is how you can self-publish a book with KDP on Amazon.

STEP 1: WRITE AN AMAZING BOOK

This is the only essential of the marketing process and writers tend to rush things. We have always seen writers struggle to get sales on Amazon. They talk about their Facebook campaigns, metadata, their permafree experiments and many other things but when it comes to their books, they are usually not good enough.

If your product isn’t good enough, your sales won’t be that big. You should remember that when you are selling a book on any particular genre, you will be competing against many other books that readers liked. You can get a lot of lovely comments from you beta-readers, but you should know that everyone gets good comments from beta-readers.

You can improve your craft with the writing course. You can also get good feedback from experts like third-party editors. Some events such as Festival of Writing can also help. You can get to know if literary agents are interested in your work by pitching the work to them.

If the agents are somehow interested, it means that you are hitting the right levels. But if they aren’t interested, then your work might not be ready for publication, and that’s okay since things take time.

STEP 2: DESIGN A GOOD COVER

The cover is very crucial as well. If the cover fails to appeal to your core reader, the reader won’t get interested in reading your book. You must work on your cover and get it right. You will need the perfect cover that will capture the readers. A good cover should:

Look good in a thumbnail

Designers like showing the hi-res version of the image. That is fine. It should look nice at scale as well. Your first assignment is to shrink that down and see if it can work when small.

Look good as compared with other competing books

When you copy the thumbnail image onto Amazon search page’s screengrab, does your book look competitive enough? If it’s not, then you need to try again.

Instantly inform the reader the kind of book it is

A rom-com cover should be easily interpreted as a rom-com, same case to a YA dystopian cover. It means that covers tend to be clichés. This is one of those rare instances that clichés are acceptable.

The first thing a cover should do is announce the genre of the book. It should show if it’s a thriller, romance, rom-com or any other thing that you are selling.

Convey a feeling or mood

Readers tend to buy a book because of a feeling or a hook. A cover can’t convey the hook, but it must convey feeling.

Use high-quality images

Some readers still use stock images. Well, they don’t look bad, but they look like stock images. Readers might have seen it before, and it might push the readers away instead of attracting them. If you must, you can pay for a high-quality image.

Use good typography

Getting the right font styles on a book can be more complicated than it seems. When you see the draft cover, and it feels like it is somehow ‘off,’ then it means it’s wrong since the feeling is always right.

STEP 3: CREATE A “LOOK INSIDE” MATERIAL

The front material converts “look inside” browser to readers who buy the book. It’s like a front door that is welcoming and tempts readers inside. If a front-end material fails to contribute to that goal, then it’s not good enough. The front of the book should have the cover, title page, formal proofs, social proofs, and freebie.

Formal proofs could be a plug from newspaper reviews, fellow authors or any other thing that show that other professional readers liked the book. Social proof is crucial as well. It let people know that other readers loved the book.

Freebies attract readers, and it is recommended to add some. You can offer a free story for readers to download.

You should make sure that the first chapter of your book is good and help readers get their as fast as possible.

STEP 4: HAVE THE END MATERIAL PREPARED PROPERLY

If the reader finished your book and liked it, you can now focus on reaching out and building a strong bond with your reader. If this isn’t the case, it can be impossible to get the reader to buy other books from you. Books that look after their reader are likely to attract many keen readers.

How do you build a lasting bond with the readers?

Have an author’s note that’s personal – it should be full of personality and your voice. You should also thank your readers directly.

Invite participation – encourage your readers to give you their email.

List out your work – you can add book cover or ensure that text layout is appealing. Add short blurbs to the titles and links to store where they can buy the book.

STEP 5: FORMAT YOUR BOOK

The things that matter are a good book, inviting front material and having a material at the back that makes the buyer buy your book. The rest is a technical exercise that you can do or outsource.

You can use online tools such as Calibre, Scrivener, Draft2Digital and other useful tools. You have to ensure that you have a Word file that can be easily converted.

STEP 6: SORT IT OUT IF YOU WANT A PRINT BOOK

Many self-publishers sell work in e-book form, and most of the time the e-books generate more sales than hard-copy sales.

Print books are hard and expensive to compile. You don’t have much control over the price of your book. Promotional methods used for e-books don’t work for print.

In general, those new to self-publishing should start with e-books and add print when e-sales exceed 10,000. However, that’s your call.

KDP provides a print option. All you need is a spine design, back jacket, and front cover. Typesetting will also be crucial to ensure that the interior is excellent. Then you will upload the book, and that’s it.

STEP 7: CHOOSING CATEGORIES ON AMAZON

When it comes to putting your book on a shelf, the bookshop would need to know where to put it. Should it be placed in a romance section, crime section, general fiction or health, and beauty?

This is the same when it comes to Amazon, except that there are very many categories. When uploading a book to Amazon, there is a small box that requires you to select categories that are relevant to your book.

You will be choosing categories not because you want to help Amazon with filing, but because you want to increase your sales.

Amazon has the best-seller list with massive sub-bestseller lists. Readers love checking the list and Amazon directs them there. If you pick the right category, your books will be seen by many, and you could get more buyers.

When it comes to choosing categories, think of the bestseller lists that you like to be on and the one that you have a chance to appear on.

STEP 8: CHOOSING KEYWORDS, ON AMAZON

When uploading the book, Amazon will ask you to give seven keywords that best describe your book.

Categories only let you select target bestseller lists, but keywords play two significant roles:

Let you choose the thematic searches

Let you select sub-bestseller lists.

In general, you should choose keywords according to the sub-bestseller list you want and according to what you think the readers will be looking

STEP 9: PRICING YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON

Pricing can be scary but easy. You will ask yourself several questions. Do you wish to grow your business in a long term? Then you should price it at $2.99. Do you want to harvest your recent success? Then price the book at $4.99. Are the readers poorer or younger? Then ensure that the price is low. Are the readers more affluent? Then set a price a little high. If you can’t decide, then set the price at $3.99.

New authors will have to offer a highly discounted or free book to get more readers to read your books.

STEP 10: LAUNCHING YOUR BOOK WITH KDP

When all the preparations are completed, and you want to launch your book, you can follow a simple strategy:

Upload your book to Google, Amazon, Apple and anywhere else

Send emails to the mailing list and let them know that your book is ready

That’s all. Enjoy a drink, take a nap and go for a long walk

Well, there are other strategies but follows this, and all will be okay long as you have good books. The reason why the strategy is good is due to the sales rank algorithm on Amazon.

Every product on Amazon has its score. The score consist of the units you sold today, plus half of the units you sold yesterday, plus a quarter the units you sold the previous day before yesterday and so on.

The scores of all the books are placed in order, and it’s called Amazon’s sales rank.

This information is crucial since it tells you that short-term changes in sales can significantly affect the overall rank.

For instance, if you want to be on top 100 lists, you can either sell 500 e-books per day for one month or sell about 1000 e-books in one day. The first option can be difficult to achieve. You might have to use Facebook ads campaign, but even so, you will spend a tremendous amount of money than you will earn.

However, the second one is easy to achieve. You can email your mailing list and let them know that you have a new book. By now they must have liked your book, so they may look forward to buying your book.

Conclusion

Huge sales will keep you up the sales charts. All the work you did with keywords and categories will pay off as your book will be visible in the right place where readers will be looking.

All the work you did with the Look Inside section and covers will mean that you will get readers from the browsers. They will be new readers. They won’t buy your book because they subscribed to your emails. They will be buying because they were browsing casually.

That’s good, and it gets even better. The work you did with end material means the new readers will turn into full-time fans. They will soon join your mailing list.

That how you self-publish a book with KDP on Amazon. You take control, and you have one book launch after another. So long as your work is good enough, your sales will keep increasing with time. All the best in your publishing.

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Just a digital sales and marketing nerd who some nice people are calling a wizzard.

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