How To Self-Publish A Book Using Amazon KDP with Estimated Costs
Self-publishing a book could be a time consuming and hard work. This article would like to share the steps of self-publishing a book primary focusing on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform.
A few years ago, publishing a book meant seeking a publishing house inundated with several inquiries for looking at a manuscript. This was challenging in an extremely competitive market. The truth was that several publishers did not even go through a manuscript if there was no agent in between.
This made the procedure of publishing a book inefficient in terms of both time and money. Even if a publisher glanced at a manuscript, the probability of publishing the book and selling it in stores was low.
Today, this scenario has completely changed, thanks to a couple of novel opportunities that enable authors to self-publish their books. Once deemed mediocre in the industry for delivering impulsive books, self-publishing has now become a better way for those with a great outline popping in their mind.
Yes, it is not something that all authors will prefer. While many people think that traditionally published authors are more successful, the fact is that different ways of publishing exist for different authors and goals.
Going through a publishing house, indeed, has some benefits, as they know the publishing industry well, their readers, and ideal market strategies. Nevertheless, self-publishing bestows you with full control over your original piece of work and helps to earn more.
The following article will show how to self-publish a book, focusing mainly on KDP platform, which is the best for new authors.
Self-Publishing in 2021: The Motivating After-effects of COVID-19
Due to the safety measure of lockdown across the globe to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, people in their homes started reading more. Similarly, more people became avid readers for getting rid of troublesome distractions induced by the difficult time.
It was found that readers became more interested in fiction books, such as thrillers, adventures, and social justice although all genres managed to fetch more readers.
More readers found that online books were available in different reading formats that the physical stores could not offer at competitive prices. Further, more authors made their books digitally available. Thus, despite other forms of easily-accessible entertainment such as TV shows and movies, countless people have turned to reading books.
Thus, the acceleration of the digital trend across the planet is likely to last in this year and beyond. This trend encompasses not only ebooks but also Print on Demand (POD) and audiobooks. This is inspirational for authors now shifting to digital platforms.
Ways to Self-publish a Book
The simplest and swiftest way to publish your book online is to choose an online book platform such as Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Lulu, IngramSpark, Barnes and Noble Press, and Apple Books. Well, these are only a few popular ones to name here, as the list is big.
You can either choose one of these big digital retailers or use aggregators that will post your book on a variety of platforms but by taking its share of profit. A few of these famous aggregators are Smashwords and Draft 2 Digital.
Most self-publishers use Amazon Kindle, known as Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. This is because it is the simplest platform for new authors and has the biggest US market share. It is recommended to get started with it without any middleman. Just get accustomed to this platform and then publish on other digital platforms via aggregators.
Steps to Self-publish Your Book
Here it is our 8 steps how to self-publish your book.
01. Find Out Why You Wish to Write a Book and Self-publish It!
Many book authors ignore this most important step, as they do not recognize this step as a motivational one. They usually start with the topic of the book. Knowing why you wish to write a book acts as the biggest motivator to sustain your commitment to self-publishing the book.
This is the first and the most critical step that helps you become a bestseller in no time. To know the purpose of writing your book, just ask a few questions to yourself, which are as follows:
- Are you trying to test your knowledge and skills to become a paid author?
- Are you an entrepreneur with good business and are now looking for alternate sources of revenue?
- Are you willing to become a popular freelance author?
- Have you obtained a worth-sharing experience based on which you intend to build an asset? Or do you have many great writing ideas and just wish to get started with one?
- Do you have a larger number of book ideas or prompts you need to start writing?
Do: Use these questions as an outline and jot down at least five applicable reasons as motivators for yourself.
02. Write the Book (The Manuscript)
Now, you should think about the topic of the book and prepare the first draft. You start by thinking genuinely about what to write about by considering your target audience. Then, you proceed towards creating a manuscript.
You may choose to write non-fiction, fiction, or a memoir book. A non-fiction book will usually be on some how-to topic or a topic that can solve the readers’ issue. You may have to research a lot and take interviews to write.
In case of a fiction book, you will prepare some basis and develop the story upon it while including plotting and sketching characters. A memoir can be a book based on some real event or incident due to which it simply tells a story. It can also be writing about your own life.
Regardless of the kind of book you wish to write, the process of creating a manuscript remains the same. Once done, you get your manuscript proofread. In between, you may face some time-consuming challenges. For example, you may look at a blank page for hours and still unable to write something concrete.
This triggers irritation, which results in procrastination. Well, it is completely fine to experience so, as it is hard to write a book. Still, it is possible to make it easy by developing and following a small but synchronized process. This process should include the following:
- Setting your environment for writing; this should be the place where there is no interference or confusion and your head is at peace.
- Making writing a habit by doing so at the same time daily; this will help you write regularly as well as automatically.
- Splitting the book into small milestones and scheduling them per day or week using a calendar; this will ensure that you complete the book without taking much time.
- Designing an outline or a structure that gives direction to your tale; doing so keeps your writing organized.
- Finding a reliable friend who can be your partner to help you in finishing the manuscript or draft by the targeted date; this partner will give honest feedback about what you have written according to which you can revise.
Do: Strictly follow the aforementioned essentials. Above all, ensure to choose a partner who can give unbiased feedback.
Writing a book is akin to building a new skill. So, it is essential to be patient enough to give proper time and significant effort along with an enthusiasm to learn. If you wish to be an effective writer, do accept the negative feedback points first and learn by improving them.
Once the manuscript is ready, it is now time to edit it. However, it is not a good idea to do so by yourself. This is because you may be unable to objectively proofread it. So, it is ideal to hire a freelance editor who can do it for you.
Do you need some more resources and advice in this field? Check out our book collection for authors.
03. Edit the Manuscript
This is perhaps the most important step, as it can make the difference between a mediocre book or a bestseller. Thus, do not hurry at all at this stage.
Editing is an umbrella term, as it ranges from rewriting (by you) of the first draft to proofreading prior to the release of the final book.
Although you will need the expertise of a professional editor, it is wise to edit your work as much as you can before giving it to the editor. Time is money for both you and the editor.
Thus, if you can put as many sentences as possible in proper form, you will save the editor’s time and effort as well as your money. Otherwise, you will end up paying for those rectifications that even you could have done.
If you are writing a novel, self-editing would include going through a couple of drafts to settle the characters and fix a storyline. In case of a non-fiction book, you would have to share the manuscript with an interested group and fix it as per the feedback.
Once you edit your manuscript, it is best to show it to an ideal editor. To find such an editor, begin with your network of friends and office colleagues. If you know a qualified editor, try contacting her or him. If you know someone who can get you an editor, reach out to her or him too.
If none of these ways works, consider hiring a professional editor from websites dedicated to freelancers. You can do so as per your budget. However, you should always go through the work portfolios and references of the promising freelance editors.
Regardless of how you get your editor, ensure that the professional is interested in your topic and is a suitable fit prior to hiring them and then paying a small amount for editing a couple of pages. You should also ensure that the book gets edited in a month including a few rounds of revisions and fixes.
In case you find that the chosen editor is not doing good or is not meeting the deadline, do look for another editor. This is why you should never pay fully in the beginning.
Do: Never quit the editing procedure. Get the best editor for your book to get the English, Grammar, and flow right!
Once the book content is error-free, it is time to format it. For this, it is essential to have consistent fonts, proper spacing, uniform indentations, and clear illustrations (if any). The formatting should be done keeping the publishing platform in mind, which can be preferably Amazon KDP.
It is vital to note that formatting will be different for non-fiction and fiction books. A non-fiction book will have no indentation but spaces between paragraphs. On the other hand, fiction books will have an indentation for each new paragraph.
Do: Use a professional to handle the formatting tasks for different book formats (Kindle, paperback etc.) There is a lot of freelancer platform (like Fiverr) where you may find good on budget gigs for this purpose.
05. Design a Book Cover
A cover is perhaps the first feature that converts your book viewer into a customer. Thus, a high-quality, attractive, and a legible book cover is essential when it comes to self-publishing. After all, the cover design is what a viewer will glance at first. This will help the viewer decide whether to read the book or not.
It is said not to judge a book by its cover but this is forgotten at the first glance. Thus, you need to create a professional cover that shall make your book in that genre stand apart from the rest.
The blend of the title, visuals, colors, and typography should give you a cover that captivates the mind of others, promises a clear and interesting story, and adheres to the genre’s practices. You should start with the title.
Once the writing is done, give considerable time to decide a captivating title. It should not only sound good but also capture the eyes of the intended audience. At the same time, the audience will see the cover while shopping around.
Even if the title is captivating, the book does not sell without an interesting cover. So, it is essential to get a professional and captivating cover design that can attract people to your book from amidst the assortment of other covers.
You may choose to design a cover for yourself if you are skilled or hire a professional designer for you to do the same. You can find such designers on websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, 100 Covers, and 99 Designs. The charges will differ as per the service and cover you need but the outcome will be worthy.
No matter how you get your book cover, you should know what goes into making a good cover. Clear and easy-to-read title and subtitle, professional touch for conversion into sales, simple styling without any overdo, and a look that appeals to your intended audience.
Do: Ensure to have a cover that will get your book a competitive edge!
Do: Always use a professional cover designer for this purpose (Some of our recommendations: Rebecacovers, Nskvsky, or Design9creative)
06. Choose the Platform for Self-publishing as an eBook
Some years ago, self-publishing a book meant making it print and paying directly for those many copies. That said; the author usually ended up with unsold copies. Fortunately, modern publishing has removed this issue.
The easiest way to self-publish your book is to publish it with Amazon KDP service. It is a platform for the authors wherein you can upload your book and get it listed without paying a penny.
Interested readers can buy that ebook or convert it into a print version with a single mouse click. There is no need for you to have some prior publishing knowledge; Amazon has made it so simple that even a naïve author can publish a book.
KDP is where you create and handle Kindle ebooks, paperbacks and hardcover (currently in beta state 2021). With the acquisition of a famous printing company named CreateSpace, Amazon stepped into the big market of self-publishing and it is the most advanced platform for this purpose.
Through the KDP forums and other resources, you can easily learn how to publish on your own and start selling quickly. KDP offers maximum royalty and that ebooks are typically priced lower than the printed ones. This attracts the readers who do not wish to pay $20 for a book whose author is unknown.