Wait. . .
Why would I want to make mistakes when I self-publish?
That is why I have decided to start this blog.
I went into this self-publishing journey with a lot of optimism and excitement, and oh-boy, have I learnt that I also had a lot of naivety. It is a very complicated process, and there are so many different options, and money grabbing sharks that promise the world and deliver a sheet of toilet paper.
Or worse. . .
I have literally paid for nothing to happen.
I don’t want that to happen to you.
I am in NO WAY a professional, or expert on how to self-publish, but I am living and breathing it as I write and you read, so I want to document my findings in real time for you.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
1: Write your book!
Groundbreaking stuff, hey?
There is no right or wrong way to self-publish your work. The only wrong way is to not.
Remember, someone will like your book.
They are out there.
2: Hire an editor or delegate the job to a friend or family member, but always have someone else look over your work.
You won’t see all the errors. You just won’t!
I don’t care how good you are!
I read whole sentences and not individual words, and this makes it hard for me to catch typos.
And if you are anything like me.
You will be editing forever.
Even after it is published.
I log on to my Author KDP Dashboard and upload different versions (With typo corrections, not narrative restructuring) more often than I would like to admit.
I’m still learning.
3: Decide on where and how you want to self-publish. This blog is about my journey, so at the moment you will only find reference to self-publishing, not traditional publishing.
Now, there are many reasons I choice to self-publish to start with.
a: 70% royalties. Sounds pretty good, hey?
b: Creative control!
c: Control in general!
d: Let’s be honest, it is very hard to get traditionally published when you are a “No Name.”
Now, I ‘might’ consider submitting my manuscript (MS) to a few traditional publishers in the future, but at the moment I’m having fun navigating my way through the self-publishing world.
So let’s not digress.
I chose Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP for short and enrolled in Kindle Select.
What is Kindle Select?
Basically, you give Amazon exclusivity.
Only for your e-book, though.
Not your paperback.
I did this for a number of reasons.
a: I liked the simplicity.
b: I wanted to utilise Kindle Unlimited and the other promotional, and distribution options they have for self-published authors.
c: I wanted to set up a pre-order.
4: I thought I would be able to manage and control the process better while I am still learning. So far I have found the KDP customer service useful and diligent. But I haven’t made any groundbreaking sales and am now considering divorcing KDP Select after my 90-day exclusivity term and sharing the love, that is my book, Facing Us. I will probably still be enrolled in KDP, which means I will still be distributing to Amazon through their publication tools. I will just also publish my book on another site and open up my distribution channels.
So let’s discuss Kindle Direct Publishing, and Amazon in general.
If you decide to self-publish with them, here are a few tips for you.
1: Don’t aim for perfect the first time around, you may never get there. No one is perfect, and things don’t always line up.
What are saying, Nicci?
Well. . .
-is your book done?
How many more times are you going to edit it?
Just upload it already!
-enough fluffing around.
Learn on the job!
I uploaded my first full-length novel as an e-book for pre-order on KDP to force myself to finalise it.
This way I had a deadline.
I’m so glad I did.
2: When you upload your manuscript (MS) you will be asked for keywords.
What the hell is a keyword?
Well, consider you are searching for your next great romance read, and so you type, ‘best romance novels 2019,’ into the amazon search bar.
What happens next?
Amazon’s algorithms search their database for the best possible result to that search. It takes into consideration the books description, the title, the subtitle and. . .
-that’s right ladies and gentlemen, the keywords.
Now unless you are a best-selling author, I’d suggest you try think outside the box.
You don’t want to compete with the crème-of-the-crop.
So don’t choose generic keywords.
If your keyword is ‘love story,’ you won’t even rank in the first 10 pages of results.
If your keyword is ‘college lost love story,’ you have a better chance of ranking higher.
It is all chance, unless you pay for software like Publisher Rocket.
*I’m not getting any kind of payment or compensation from Publisher Rocket for this blog. I personally use their software, so I am sharing my experience with you. *
3: Next, you will be required to choose which category you want your book to feature in.
In other words: your genre.
You will only get the choice of 2.
So here it is. . .
— some gold for you. . . you can, in fact, choose more that 2 categories for your book.
Well, you need to actually email KDP, but you are entitled to up-to 10 categories on Amazon for any product; your e-book and paperback will have different options. Visit this Kindlepreneur blog and read a step-by-step process of how to do this.
How do I know which categories to choose?
You can either research, research, research.
a: Search your competition, and look on the left-hand side bar to discover what categories they are featured in.
2: Look at the ranking and which categories they rank for.
Or. . .
You can buy Publisher Rocket, which does this for you, and it even shows you how many sales you would need each month to rank high. This software is really for people who self-publish with Amazon. It does a lot more than I have mentioned, but I will discuss that in a later post.
4: So now is crunch time!
You need to upload and format your MS for Kindle Direct Publishing to publish for you.
And it will ask for a pdf or word document.
Or. . .
– you can download and use Kindle Create, which is a super cool tool that allows you to customize your book, and watch it come to life in real time.
Once you are finished hit ‘publish,’ and it will save a copy of the Kindle Create file to your computer.
Then upload the .kpf file in lieu of a PDF or word document to KDP.
Or. . .
– I recently discovered draft2digital, which is a self-publishing platform that allows you to upload your book and then download a variety of versions (epub, pdf, mobi) without actually publishing to their site.
Your MS will just remain in ‘draft’ status.
I cannot oversell this enough!
I friggin love this platform.
It has over 12 different ‘looks’ for your book interior and is so so so so (more sos) easy to use.
After uploading my Manuscript, I downloaded my complete book, Facing Us, as a pdf and uploaded it onto KDP, and bam, I have a formatted, customized, unique e-book that was easy and quick to put together.
So now you are nearly done.
Ignore the ISBN, you don’t need one for e-books, but you will want one for your paperback.
Now pick a price.
Then, pick your commission, either 30% or 70%.
And . . . self-publish that bad boy!
Wait 72-hours (usually only 8-hours) and it will go live!
That’s it for this blog.