Congratulations! You wrote a book and now you want to know what to do with it. The traditional way to get your book published is a long, tiresome journey usually fraught with endless rejection letters to the point of wanting to give up.
First, you have to find an agent willing to take you on as a client. Of course, they won’t work with you unless they feel it’s financially worth their time. They will do all the hard work of getting your manuscript in front of as many publishers as possible.
These are major obstacles any aspiring author has to make, each part of the process taking months and months only to get a rejection letter. That’s why when Amazon came along, it was a godsend for writers everywhere. Now, you can publish basically whatever you want, whenever you want and even have some control over what you charge.
Why Independent Publishing is Taking Off
Before, books were really for people who had a story to tell. Things have change significantly since then. If you want to write a short story, teach a lesson, share your life story, or write a brilliant piece of fiction, you can do it all.
Do you want a bound copy of your book or just sell Kindle singles? You have both options as your disposal. This gives any writer the option to get through any traditional publisher and still be able to have a physical copy in your hand.
This is done through a new process called “print-on-demand”. Before, publishing companies would have to print so many copies and push them out to book stores around the world. It’s a major financial risk on the publisher to pay an advance, sign a contract, print, and advertise for an unproven author.
The last thing they want to do is spend money on a project that won’t sell. These days, print-on-demand services allow Amazon the option of only publishing a book when someone orders it, or just allowing for the electronic transfer to happen from site to Kindle device. It costs Amazon virtually nothing to do.
There are four different platforms Amazon uses to provide this service to writers, giving them tools they need to hopefully become successful in their writing endeavors. Here’s what they provide:
KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing Your Book
The simplest way to distribute your books, and make the most money, is through Kindle. KDP allows authors do just that. It’s mostly a digital transaction. Someone pays for your book and it’s automatically downloaded on their Kindle device or app. There’s no printing required.
You don’t have to pay to upload your book to their service and you get to choose the type of royalties you want, usually between 35% and 70%. There are different risks and rewards for choosing the royalty price, so do it wisely.
The biggest thing about publishing on KDP is you must format your own book and have a cover already designed. Amazon doesn’t do this for you. If you submit a .doc file and it’s not properly formatted, it might not look great to the reader on their device.
The format Amazon uses is called mobi and you can easily format your book using a free software called Calibre. When you upload it, you’ll have all the tools at your fingertips to create the best listing possible. It’s very easy to use and not technical at all. At the end of the process, you can view how your book will look on the Kindle so you can make changes if needed.
KDP Select Book
This is just another option you have to get your book in front of as many eyes as possible. One of the many benefits of being an Amazon Prime member is you get to be a part of a lending library. By choosing to enroll in KDP Select, you’re giving Amazon exclusive rights to your book to be used in their lending library.
The best part is you still get paid if your book is used, so it’s not like you’re handing over your book for free. It’s just free for the Prime user, which means they’re more likely to select it. This option also allows you two different promotional activities as well.
Within a 5-day span, you can choose to give away free downloads of your book, or offer a discounted price. Both are a great way to get hundreds, even thousands, of downloads. Word of mouth will go a long way in helping your book grow in popularity.
If you wanted to get your book into paperback, this is the service for you. This is where the print-on-demand comes into effect. The only thing you need to do is format your book in the proper PDF format they outline, choose the price you want to sell it for (the guidelines being different than Kindle due to the cost of printing), and you’re done!
You can use both Kindle and CreateSpace if you want to have both a digital and physical copy of your book for sale, just like most authors out there today.
Amazon’s Author Central is the place you go to really fill out your profile. If you look at any author page, you’ll get details of each writer, photos, biographies, et cetera. Put in as much, or as little, information as you want!
At the end of the day, the only downside to publishing on Amazon is you’re in charge of your own promotion. Despite that, it doesn’t take much become a published author in today’s technological age.