Publishing on Amazon

If you are like me, you’ve come to realize that publishing with traditional publishers is time consuming and costly. You send queries to publishers and agents (sometimes shelling out money!) and you only occasionally hear back from someone. It is a fact that traditional publishers are competing with the wave of digital authors and are extremely picky these days. You have to BE someone, or you have to KNOW someone, or you have to have an incredibly compelling story to even get their attention. Impossible to publish with traditional print publishers? No. But very, very difficult.

KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has taken off in the last year. It has quickly become the number one venue for writers and publishers looking to get their work out to readers (and maybe make a few bucks in the process).

I am asked frequently to help writers convert their works for KDP. While I could charge them, I try to assure them that they have no need for me – Amazon makes it extremely easy to self publish! Of course, I am more than willing to help out those who just don’t want to deal with the process.

It is free to sign up and upload your book. Again, FREE! The program is user friendly and walks you through the process. Answer the questions regarding title, author, book description, upload your cover and your book, and you are published!

Some Tips for Uploading

Take your entire manuscript and remove ALL formatting. You can do this quickly by copy and pasting it into Notepad and then back into your Word program.

Turn on the Show/Hide button. It looks like this:

Your document should now look like this:

Doing this is very helpful because now you can see where line breaks and page breaks occur. Why do you need page breaks? Because when the book is uploaded to Kindle, you want to tell it exactly where you a new page started. This formatting step is the NUMBER ONE essential part of getting your book ready for Kindle publishing.

Once you are satisfied that you have line breaks and page breaks where needed, save the document as Web Page Filtered. Now, there may be an easier and faster way to do this, but I haven’t found it yet. If anyone knows, please let ME know! After you save as Web Page Filtered it will look like this:

It will show up in your documents as a web file, so you need to now save it as a Word file. You CAN upload the web file, but it doesn’t come out as well. It is now ready to be uploaded to Amazon.

After you upload the book, be sure to take advantage of the PREVIEW button. A window will pop up that looks like a Kindle screen and you can page through the book to catch any formatting issues. If you find problems, simply go back to your document and fix them, resave, and upload it again. Repeat the process until your book looks just the way you want it.

Royalties

Amazon pays 70% royalties on books in the U.S. priced at $2.99 – $9.99. Books from other countries and books priced lower or higher than that, receive 35% royalties.

The KDP Select Program

If you enroll your book in this program, you are now allowed to offer your book free five times in a 90 day period. This is a great promotional tool, especially if you have a series. The downside? You cannot offer your book in any other venue (B&N, Smashwords, your website, etc.) during the 90 days it is enrolled in the program. You can, of course, promote your book with a link to the Amazon sales site, but you can’t sell it with another vendor or in another form while it is enrolled.

Personally, I start out with a 90 day run in the select program and then unenroll it. I am then free to continue selling on Amazon, but now I can also sell at other venues.

Learning

I am still learning the ins and outs of publishing online. My husband is the writer of fiction in our family. I am the one who cleans up what he writes, adds to, deletes from, and sometimes suggest he change whole plot lines. This works well for us. We’ve found much greater success in self-publishing than in traditional publishing, as have many other authors.

As I wrangle through the web of marketing strategies, I’ll share my experiences here with you and hopefully we can learn together. I would love to hear from you!

About Karen Y. Hamilton

Karen leads workshops in Creative Writing, Poetry and Journal Therapy, and Memoir Writing. She has studied genealogy and personal histories since 1987, lecturing and leading workshops on Memoir Writing and Journaling to the community since 1998. Karen holds a BA in English and has studied Literature, Business, and Education at the graduate level. She is a former college instructor of English Composition and Reading. In the past, Karen has worked as a high school & middle school teacher. She currently works as a Curriculum Specialist and is an MFA Creative Writing student at Florida Atlantic University.
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7 Responses to Publishing on Amazon

  1. Sally Malkowski says:

    That was awesome info as I have been considering Amazon but was told it was too high tech! Thank you SO MUCH for posting.

  2. A very helpful article, empowering to the nervous. Thank you.

  3. I really love this and I am about to post a great mystery short novel up on amazon so wish me luck!

  4. I’m not against self-publishing, but an author should never have to shell out money to agents or publishers looking at their manuscripts. Only editors, publicists or consultants should be charging and if I plan to self-publish, I will certainly be paying a professional editor before I send it out to the world.

  5. Thank you. Helpful as I’m considering this and just started reading information about. The formatting sounded like the really hard part. Glad to know it’s not so bad.

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