“Anybody can do it.” Those were the words of a woman who recently published a children’s eBook with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing after getting one rejection letter after another — totaling more than 100 — from traditional publishing houses. The woman went on to sell more than 30,000 copies in less than five months.
But can anyone really do it? Is just a matter of the persistence to actually write the book and then use the many online tools available to get your work “out there?”
Many resources say, yes, it is that simple but hard work mixed with a little common sense have to accompany that simplicity. Getting published is easy. It’s the selling part that is a little harder. For many people, getting published on Amazon Kindle would fulfill the dream of becoming a published author without needing the say-so of a traditional publishing house. Even self-published authors have to come up with the money to get the books in print; with e-publishing, your overhead costs are pretty much eliminated.
Amazon Is a Good Way to Go
If you need to be convinced that Amazon is the best way to publish your eBook, the site itself gives you some reasons why it is the best choice for you. Kindle Direct Publishes promises:
- You can maintain control of your book and you can make changes anytime.
- You can publish one time and go global, with access to readers around the world.
- It happens fast. Publishing takes less than five minutes and is available on Amazon in just one day.
- Customers in at least 12 countries, including the U.S., Canada and the UK, can earn up to 70 percent royalties on their work.
- You can publish in seven different languages.
- Your work will be available on Kindle devices and through free Kindle apps.
If that’s the case, what’s not to like?
Tips to actually get started:
- Get an Amazon account, nothing fancy, just a standard customer account. Sign up is supposed to be fast and easy.
- Have your manuscript in either a Word or HTML format to upload to Amazon’s DTP (digital text platform) site and Amazon will automatically convert it to the correct format for the Kindle app.
- Add the pertinent information about your book: title, author, summary, keywords. The site will more or less walk you through those particulars.
- Read and agree to the fine print. You have to specifically say that you have the right to sell your book.
- Upload your book cover (should be a JPEG or TIFF file. Amazon will give you the specific recommendations for the best visual.
- Format your book.
- Price your book and select your royalty rates. It’s worth noting here that some experts recommend you sell your eBook for $5.99 or less. Books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 are the only ones that enjoy Amazon’s 70 percent royalty rate; otherwise you go down to 35 percent.
- Your submission is approved within 24 hours.
Promoting and Selling Your eBook
Now here comes the tough part, probably the hardest part of the whole process since you actually penned your book. How are you going to get the word out about it and then get people to buy it?
The wonderful world of online tools has some answers and places for you to get started, as long as you are ready to start the work of marketing.
- Your book should be a good read — and someone should start writing strong reviews to prove it. If you wrote a book that you believe people will buy, you must have a way with words. That means that someone who has read your book found it a good read and that someone should be willing to write a nice book review for you. You also need to write a pretty good summary for yourself as that description will be what potential buyers see when they go browsing.
- Publicize your books for free. MediaBistro.com put together a pretty good list of free websites and apps to promote your book. The great part of using such services is besides being free, these sites typically already have their own supporters and followers. Implementing these tools are a part of your strategy keeps your costs down while getting the number of potential readers up.
- Find your niche and market to your ideal buyer like you’ve never marketed before. You should know what category your book falls into. Who would want to read it? It’s very easy to say, “Everybody!” But the truth is that one audience could probably appreciate your book over another one. For example, teenage girls may not be interested in your rousing account of Civil War soldiers but history professors might. Take the time to learn who would really enjoy your work the most and work on marketing to that group.
- Use social media. Find neat little ways to market in 140 characters on your Twitter account, create a nice status for Facebook posts, post pictures of people reading and enjoying your book on Instagram. You can also take little snippets of the book to use as topics for regular blog posts. The great thing about social media is that you have all the power to post as much as you need, but remember that it should be in a helpful, marketing sort of way — not an annoying, please-buy-my-book-please sort of way.
- Talk it up — in person. Schedule talks or appearances in libraries, community centers or colleges around your eBook’s concepts or subjects. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can’t promote it to someone face-to-face.
It looks like anyone can definitely write a book and even get it published on Amazon Kindle, but what will set your work apart — and set you up to potentially be a bestseller — is the quality of your work and the success of your marketing.
Need an eBook?
Words You Want offers pre-written eBook packages that allow you to get started selling on Kindle right away. Our packages include a Word document version of the book, Kindle formatted book, and cover. Some books are available with images depending on the subject matter. Or, if you want to have a custom eBook written, we can do that too!
Just want to learn more about self-publishing? Check out our eBook Publish It! Creating eBooks & Marketing Like a Pro.