After an extensive rewriting and editing process, my first ebook was ready for publishing. Before launching my manuscript into the ebook ether, I had to decide whether I would go exclusively with Amazon KDP Select or to go wide and publish through multiple outlets.
I have to admit that using multiple sites such as Kobo, Smashwords, Draft2Digital and Barnes and Noble was appealing but following the advice of many authors and writing coaches that it is preferable to feature your first book only on KDP Select, I opted for exclusivity.
There are benefits which Amazon KDP Select provides the writer. These include:
- Your ebook (note: KDP Select only applies to ebook versions) will be automatically available to Amazon Kindle readers who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (KU) in the US, UK, Germany, and France;
- This will earn royalties under the Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read program, at a royalty rate lower than what you would receive for regular Kindle ebook sales;
- Your book will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) program;
- You can participate in Kindle Countdown Deals;
- You can offer your ebook for free on Amazon stores for 5 days in each 90-day enrollment period. A great promotional tool, especially for first-time authors.
The downside is that you are restricted to Amazon only for a period of 90 days, although you can still market your book through your website and social media platforms provided they must link back to Amazon. You cannot sell to the public directly, even from your website.
You can of course publish unrestricted on Amazon KDP, which does not offer the benefits of KDP Select, and on any other self-publishing sites simultaneously.
The other decision I had to make was the name of the author. Yes, I know an odd decision considering I wrote the book. The issue here was that I do not intend to be a nonfiction only writer and considering that one objective for electing to rehash, update and publish my 4 old ebooks as one revised version was as a learning experience for the publishing process. I also have one or two more nonfiction possibilities in mind.
In view of this, I opted to use a pen name. The name I settled on was AK Anthony, the surname being my full first name and the initials representing “also known as”.
With all these decisions made and a serious dose of de-stressing medication, it was time to publish.
This is the publishing process I followed.
Open Amazon account
The process is self-explanatory but there are two issues you need to be aware of especially if non-US citizen. The first is your tax, and the second is how you will be paid. Amazon doesn’t make check or EFT payments to authors in countries outside its main store locations. That means if you are not in countries such as the US, Canada, UK, Germany, you will need to have an alternative way to get your money. I use Payoneer, which Amazon recognizes as a payment gateway.
It is also worth considering opening an Amazon Associate account something Amazon recommend for authors. This allows you to be an affiliate marketer for all the goodies Amazon offer. The other advantage is that besides what you make on each book sale, you will also get an affiliate commission, even though it’s your book.
All the literature will tell you buyers are attracted initially to the book cover, so it needs to be an eye-catcher. I started by looking at covers of the top sellers in the small and home-based business categories to start, and if honest, I wasn’t blown away by anything I saw. But then I’m not artistic by any stretch of the imagination.
Hiring a cover designer was out of the question; money didn’t allow for it, so I went to Plan B and asked a web designer what he thought a design for a book of this nature could look like. His suggestion was to consider the two most important emotional messages conveyed by the book. Namely, starting a new career as a home-based business owner—a new dawn for the individual, and the impact of working from home after a corporate career.
The concept looked good. Using a rather antiquated version of Photoshop, which works just fine, I created the design you see below, which incorporated a sunrise (a new dawn career wise) and an image of a home-based working environment. I know, not award-winning stuff but almost everyone I showed it to liked it. Whom I to argue with popular opinion?
When you upload the book to KDP, it allows you to select two categories in which your book will appear. My research had shown it is possible to get included in up to 10 categories, and so a week after publishing I contacted KDP support and asked to be added to 3 more. The three categories I had found best suited the search criteria of my intended buyer market (here is a link on Kindlepreneur for the KDP Support request template). I got confirmation within 24 hours that the book had been added.
If you have had anything to do with websites, selling online or marketing your brand you will know all there is about the importance of keyword and keyword phrase selection. So, I won’t bore you with the details. If it is new to you, start at Kindlepreneur and TCK Publishing websites and YouTube videos for a detailed explanation of the importance of choosing the right keywords.
Pricing your book.
There are many opinions as to where you should pitch the price of your first book. Amazon have a pricing structure which dictates your royalty. From $0.01 to $2.98 you get 35% royalty and from $2.99 to $9.99 it’s 70%. I started out at $0.99 as a launch promotion price.
Publishing the manuscript on KDP Select
The first step is writing up a good book description, and again there are untold posts and videos on how best to do this. What I didn’t realize was that the description should be written as though by a third person and not the author!
I had already formatted by manuscript into .mobi format but Amazon accept other formats- see HERE.
What you need to have handy before you begin the uploading process is the following:
- The formatted manuscript and Amazon have strict rules on the format.
- A subtitle for the book (keep keywords and keyword phrases in mind when writing your subtitle)
- The description
- List of keywords and/or keyword phrases
- You also need to download the free version of the Amazon Kindle Previewer so you can view the layout of your book before you upload the final version.
Remember, you are uploading an ebook version first. It is worth watching a video or two on how the uploading process works. You can decide later if you also want to create a paperback version, but that’s a topic for another post.
Your ebook goes live!
As soon as Amazon has checked and verified your uploaded manuscript, you will get an email informing you of your status as a published author.
And now the hard part begins, marketing your book, but I’m not going to make this post any longer by delving into how best to do that. But watch this space, I will share my experiences soon.