Writing a book is one of the most exciting, intimidating and fulfilling adventures a person can take. But, writing your book is just the first step. Arguably, the more difficult task is to get it published and into the hands of your readers.
Whether you’ve painstakingly written each word yourself, or found a great ghostwriting company to work with, once your manuscript is finished, it’s time to figure out how to get that book published and making you money.
Amazon is by far the largest publisher of both digital books as well as print on demand physical copies, and working with their KDP platform is a straightforward way to get your book published quickly...if you know what you’re doing.
Amazon has really gone out of their way to make it easy to self publish, but there are still a few steps to make sure your book not only looks great, but shows up when and where you want it to.
When it comes to books, there are two main ways to get your writing out to the world: digitally and physically. When you’re working within the Amazon platform, that means publishing for Kindle and Print on Demand, respectively.
However you choose to publish, you should be aware that Amazon has very high standards when it comes to publishing duplicate content and high quality content. If you want to be successful as an author, one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to hire a great editor before you publish.
Create A KDP Account
Once upon a time, self published authors had to juggle between KDP and Createspace to manage both print and digital books, but Amazon has conveniently merged the two, making it very easy to get your books listed in multiple formats with relatively little fuss.
Anyone can sign up to KDP to publish their books, and it’s as easy as:
- Go to http://kdp.amazon.com/
- If you already have an Amazon account, you can use that to sign into KDP
- If you’re completely new to Amazon, just use your email address and choose a password to get started
Through the KDP dashboard, you’ll be able to set up your books for Kindle, print on demand and check all your stats from one place. This is your new publishing home base.
Edit Your Book Details
Before you upload your finished product, you’ll have to fill out all the details Amazon needs to know about your book. It’s one thing to know how to get a book published on Amazon, but it’s quite another to know how to get that same book seen as often as possible. The most effective way to show up in front of the right audience is to choose your categories and keywords with care.
You can use up to 7 keywords to help Amazon shoppers find your book. Your main keywords should be represented in your book title, category and book description, so you don’t need to repeat them when you set things up on Amazon. Instead, choose supplementary keywords or short phrases that readers might search for when looking for your topic.
You can choose 2 categories where you can list your book, though Amazon may also place it in other categories that it deems relevant. Some categories and sub-categories require certain keywords to be listed in order to get you into that section, so while you’re setting up your book details, this page can be very useful to bookmark and reference: Choose Browse Categories
One final thing to note is that you can choose different categories and keywords for your eBook and your paperback book, which can lead to double the exposure.
How To Upload An eBook To Amazon
This section is quite self-explanatory, but there are a few steps that need to be addressed before you can actually upload your book.
Before you upload your eBook, you’ll need to make sure it’s formatted correctly for the platform. You can hire this out, or you can do it yourself using Amazon’s free tool, Kindle Create.
If you’ve hired a ghostwriter, they should deliver the file ready-formatted for you.
If you choose to do it yourself, it’s a fairly intuitive process and this great tutorial will show you the ropes in under 10 minutes: How to Format an eBook for KDP with Kindle Create in 2019
If you can figure out how to publish an eBook on Amazon, you’ll have no trouble getting the print on demand version set up inside KDP as well. The process is almost exactly the same. Simply format your manuscript and fill out the details.
Unfortunately, print books are quite different from eBooks when it comes to layout, so you will have to either get your book re-formatted for print, or again, do it yourself. Amazon offers manuscript templates that you can use to make the process go a lot quicker.
You’ll have to decide what size you want your book to be, once it’s published. Here are a few industry standards:
- For travel books or novellas, you might want to consider the “pocket-sized” 5.5” x 8.5”
- 6” x 9” is most common for paperbacks, both fiction and non-fiction of almost any length
- If you’re creating a workbook, standard 8.5” x 11” is common
Once you’ve decided on a size, you can download a template here: Amazon Paperback Templates
It’s a good idea to bookmark that page, as it also has instructions on how to customize your template and save it perfectly, ready to upload.
Your final step is basically to hit publish book on Amazon, and you’ll be on your way to making money!
How To Make Money Writing A Book
There are literally millions of books on the Amazon platform, so unfortunately, making money from writing a book is not a simple case of “publish it and they will read.” Marketing your book effectively is a crucial component to being a successfully paid author.
Get A Great Cover Design
Your book cover is one of your best sales tools, and having the right book cover design can help you stand out and increase your book sales.
Amazon has a free tool called Cover Creator that will help you design a cover that meets the requirements for KDP. You can also use software like Canva, Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, if you have them and know how to use them.
Unless you’re a graphic designer though, our best recommendation for you is to hire-out for this part of your project. Browsers on Amazon spend mere seconds looking through all of their options and your cover design is one of the most powerful ways you can grab their attention. Professional book cover designers know how to make a cover that doesn’t just look great, but sells great too.
Perfect Your Book Description
The book description is essentially your sales pitch. This is your chance to prove to your readers that your book is exactly what they want to be reading right now. Most books on Amazon, frankly, do a horrible job at this, so you have a great opportunity to set yourself apart from your competition here.
You have 4000 characters to use on KDP and it’s a good idea to use most of them. Format your description well, so it’s easy to read and presents important information.
If you’ve written a non-fiction book, use bullet points to tell the readers exactly what they can expect to learn. If you’ve written fiction, entice them with a hook and sample of your gripping prose.
If you have feedback, testimonials, positive reviews and/or case studies, make sure to include them in your description.
This is another very important sales opportunity for you, and hiring a professional to write your book description could make all the difference.
Pricing Your Amazon Book Properly
There are two royalty options when you self publish on Amazon Kindle. If you want to price your book under $2.99 in order to capitalize on price shoppers, you’ll have to choose the 35% royalty option.
Books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 that enroll in the KDP Select program are eligible for 70% royalties. The choice is really up to you, but higher royalties comes with a few strings attached; namely exclusivity to Amazon and enrollment in the Kindle Unlimited program, which can vary your earnings significantly. There are, however, a few extra perks since Amazon now has a vested interest in helping you promote your book. Additional marketing tools like countdown deals and free book promotions can really help you build an audience and reviews.
Get Book Reviews On Amazon
The first thing you need to know about getting reviews on Amazon is what not to do. Specifically, never buy or trade for reviews - that is strictly against Amazon’s policies and can get you kicked off the platform. You can, however, ask for them.
If you’ve got friends, family, an email list or social media following who love you and want to see you succeed, share the link to your book and ask them to read it and leave an honest review. Tell them how much it would mean to you to hear their reviews.
It’s human nature to want to help out those you care about and respect, so if you ask, chances are you’ll get a nice collection of people responding.
It’s also a really great idea to take some time to make a list of people who are familiar with your genre or industry already. There are plenty of Facebook groups or forums that are full of people who love to read and are always looking for new material.
If you follow the advice above, you should find it fairly straightforward to publish your own book on Amazon, especially if you carefully follow the platform’s step-by-step instructions as well.
Making money writing a book isn’t necessarily easy, but it is definitely possible, and we’re here to help if you need it. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the great team behind The Urban Writers with any questions you might have about getting your amazing words out to a world who can’t wait to read them.