Step 7: Self Publishing your eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing

I published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This is a great service offered by Amazon that allows you to self-publish your work.

Why would you want to self-publish? Well, if you want complete control over your work then this is a good option. It is also good if, like me, you felt completely overwhelmed by the idea of trying to get someone to publish for you.

If you have not done so already, create an account by clicking here. They have a tutorial for formatting your eBook that goes into detail, but here we will just give a brief overview.

After you create your account you will be able to start to fill in the basic information about your book, including the title, author, and series information.

You will then want to include a brief description of your book. This will appear on the webpage for your book, so make sure to write something catchy that would give the reader an idea of what your book is about.

You will next have to pick a few keywords which will help people when searching for your book. There are suggestions for these here, but the basic idea is to pick words not already in your description, that someone who was searching for them might be interested in your work. You can always change these later if you feel that they are not descriptive enough.

For the cover of your eBook, they have a built-in cover creator that is fun to play around with. If you are good with a camera you could also snap a photo for your cover, but you will have to make sure that it is a JPEG or TIFF format and less than 50MB.

Now to uploading your eBook! KDP has a wonderful program called “Kindle Create”. It is an app you download to your computer and it will take your file and convert it to the correct “.kcb” format.

Simply take the file you created in the Step 6 and load it into the app. Once it is loaded you will find that the app is able to automatically create a Table of Contents complete with hyperlinks to each chapter. Talk about saving time! So take advantage of the Table of Contents creator. Once you are happy with the look of your eBook use the app to create the “.kcb” formatted file and then upload it to your KDP account.

After the files have been checked for accuracy, comes the difficult task of deciding what to price your eBook. Luckily there is a handy graph available to you that will let you know what ballpark you should be in.

For me, I also registered for KDP Select. In exchange for keeping my eBook only on the kindle format I was able to get a boost in royalties. It is definitely a program to consider if you are just starting out. The enrollment can be canceled if you later decide to publish in other formats.

You have come this far, you might as well make the paperback version too. Check out Step 8: Publishing Your Paperback Through Kindle Direct Publishing!

Step 6: Preparing For Publication

If you did the last steps, you have now read through your finished work about three times and are likely happy with it. Now for the fun, fun task of putting it all together for publication through Kindle Direct Publishing.

Create an account by clicking here. They have a tutorial for formatting your eBook that might want to take a look at as well as a tutorial for formatting your paperback book.

Now would be the time to take all your individual chapter files and combine them into one document. A final word count of 75,000-100,000 is generally recommended for publishing fiction books.

The proper format would be:

Page 1: Title of Book with your name underneath

  • Feel free to use fancy fonts here that reflect the personality of the work. It is up to you if you would like to include the copyright on this page as well or on the back of this page

Page 2: Copyright information

  • The Copyright should be formatted: 

Copyright © 2019 AUTHOR’S_NAME_HERE.

All Rights Reserved.

ISBN#

  • If you have not done so already and live in the United States you can apply for a copyright of your work at the U.S. Copyright Office. The copyright currently costs about $55 (as of 2019) and will take several months to be approved. For certain work it might not seem necessary, but on the other hand if you can afford it, why take the chance of publishing without it?
  • Kindle Direct Publishing offers the option of assigning you an ISBN or you can buy your own through the U.S. ISBN Agency. If you only plan on marketing your book through Kindle Direct Publishing, then buying your own ISBN might not be necessary. However, if you plan on marketing your book to libraries or bookstores it might be something to look into. For more information click here.

Page 3: Dedication

  • This is your chance to acknowledge in a small way what kept you motivated. Pick something special to you! You can also leave this part out entirely if you are a boring person.

Page 4: Blank page

  • This will be the back of the Dedication page if you have one. Otherwise leave it out.

Page 5: Table of Contents

  • Do not fill in the corresponding page numbers into your Table of Contents yet. For now, just put in the chapters as follows (or however you would like it to appear):

1 NAME OF CHAPTER

2 NAME OF CHAPTER

3 NAME OF CHAPTER

Page 6: Blank page

  • This will be for the back of the Table of Contents. If your Table of Contents is two pages (or any even number of pages) then you don’t need to put a blank page here.

Page 7: Acknowledgements

  • Don’t forget to thank your mother!

Page 8: Blank page

  • This will be for the back page of the Acknowledgement. If your acknowledgement is more than one page go back and make it shorter. Nobody’s going to read that.

Page 9 and beyond

  • Put the text of your book here! Be sure your chapter names appear in the same format for all of the chapters. The page numbers should start here as well with the first page of chapter one being page one.


Next, you are going to make sure your text is compact, but readable. Once you publish, you will be responsible to pay for the cost of printing from your royalties, so the fewer pages the book requires, the more of the royalty you will keep.

Make sure to remove any double spacing. There should not be extra lines between sentences or paragraphs. The start of each new paragraph should be indicated by a TAB. You are going to want to set the TAB to 0.25 inches. To do this go to the ‘Paragraph” section under “Home” and click on the little arrow in the lower right corner. Then under the TAB option set the “Stop Tab Position” to “0.25”.

The font should be Times New Roman size 12 or something comparable. Avoid fancy fonts that might be hard to read except for in the title page.

Make two copies of the resulting document. One is going to be further edited for your eBook and the other for the paperback version.

For publishing the eBook, go on to Step 7: Self Publishing your eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing, or for the paperback skip to Step 8: Publishing Your Paperback Through Kindle Direct Publishing!

Step 5: Edit!

Editing is an arduous task! I lost a lot of sleep wondering if I had used the right word or mistakenly used a word that was similar to the one I was thinking, but not quite right. I’d had friends offer their help, but in the end I was perhaps too much of a control freak to take their advice.

First, you are going to want to read the whole thing cover to cover to check for any obvious mistakes. This might include things like punctuation, but likely you have been correcting those errors as you went along. For this read-through pay attention to the overall story arc. Make sure that it makes sense and that everything is in order.

I get that there are just natural breaks for chapters, but now is a good time to check how long each chapter is. I’ve found about ten pages per chapter (that’s about 4000-5000 words) is a good fit. My first draft had chapter one being fifty pages! That was about 1/5 of the book. Breaking it into smaller pieces just made sense.

Next, I bit the bullet and bought a subscription to Grammarly Premium. It is an online grammar checking service that found hundreds of mistakes that my word processor had not. You upload the files (each chapter individually, there is a 60 page limit to each document) and then the software will flag each error one by one.

Besides checking for spelling there are checks for punctuation, clarity, and even repetitiveness. If you enjoy writing, these are likely things you really want to avoid! I didn’t take all of the advice offered, but having the software flag things that you might have just read over (like having “fare” instead of “fair”) was really helpful. I’d definitely recommend it as a first check on your work.

Just a note on Grammarly, you will see a lot of your formatting missing in the program. That formatting is still there, and will come back once you move the files back into your word processor. So don’t waste time putting in “missing” tabs or breaks.

Grammarly will then allow you to download a corrected copy of your work back to your computer. Be sure to save these files in their own folder and change the names of the documents to indicate that they have been through grammar check.

The third and final step is to use your word processor’s “Read Aloud” function. In Microsoft Word it is under the “Review” tab.

This will take a while, but it will flag many little mistakes (like using the word “it” instead of “in”) that you as the author would skip right over. Listen carefully, and be sure to read along. Whenever something doesn’t sound right go back and correct it. For example, if you used the word “chose” instead of “choose” you’ll hear it.

You are getting close now! Go on to Step 6: Preparing For Publication!

Step 4: Write!

Every writer is different, and so how you write is different. I think of writing as art, so it is okay to draw outside the lines sometimes! Styles will be different, so opinions will be different. That is okay!

For me, I tend to get an idea, and I will then play the scene in my head repeatedly until I’m sure I have it right. In that regard a lot of thinking goes into it before I even start to write. Then I’ll make a rough draft of the scene that I’ll come back to the next day to reread with fresh eyes

If I am ever stuck on a scene, I’ll pray and then just start writing. I’ll let the characters tell me what they would do. I listen carefully to hear what they would say. I try not to let my own desires get in the way and just let what the scene is meant to be, be. It’s surprising sometimes when the story then begins to go in a direction you hadn’t thought, but is better that way.

Just as you are carefully maintaining the outline, you are going to want to carefully manage your files. File names should include the date they were written such as: “Title_ChapterX_31719” where 31719 would indicate March, 17 2019.

I usually have one folder for the files I am currently working on and additional folders (marked “Completed Work”) for work that is done. If you are going to make major changes (like deleting an entire section) it is a good idea to make a copy of the file as a record of what used to be there. Move that copy into a folder marked “Deleted Scenes”, then rename the old file you just copied with an updated name to indicate the date you changed everything.

For now, keep each chapter in its own file. You won’t combine them until you are almost ready to publish. This will make working with the files easier.

Be sure to back up your work carefully. I use OneNote to back up my files every week or so. You might also email each file to yourself each time you complete a chapter. The last thing you want is to lose all of your hard work because your computer died!

See how easy that was? That only took a few years, right? Now on to Step 5: Edit!

Step 3: Make a Thorough Outline

A good outline is key in helping to save time. I didn’t do this at first, and so I ended up having to go back frequently to read what I had already written, just to remember details or to see if a detail had already been mentioned.

I’m not saying don’t write down a scene if it is speaking to you, but before you write too much make sure you have a basic idea where you are going and when certain things are going to be revealed. Since I am a bit of a free writer, I’ll sometimes start a passage only to have it end differently than I expected. That’s because I want the outcome to be organic and not contrived.

That’s okay! After you are done with a passage be sure to update the outline to include a little bit about what the passage is about, and any important information revealed during it. This is just so you can find the information quickly when you are writing the next piece.

For the type of writing I do (fantasy fiction) I also wrote down a list of all the characters with notes on their appearance, age, and background. Keep the list in alphabetical order so you can reference it as needed.

You might also need a list of all places mentioned, with notes on where they are located. I drew a crude map so I could make sure the geography made sense. If I ever get better at drawing I’ll include the map someday!

Finally, I made a timeline noting when different things happened including all events mentioned in the book, even if they went back 20 or so years from the start. This is an additional way to organize your thoughts and make sure that there aren’t any glaring mistakes. You don’t want to end up with a character who is twenty-seven forever (or maybe you do!).

These are things you will be updating as you go along. Before any major changes, you might want to copy the files and tuck them away in a folder, just in case you want to go back to see what they used to say.

Next will be Step 4: Write!

Step 2: Pray About It

I am a Christian, and my faith permeates every facet of my life (or at least it should!). When it comes to my writing there is no exception. My faith in God has everything to do with what I write.

The first thing I do when I begin is to pray that the work that I do will be pleasing to God. In the end, I am His and my work will in a small way be a reflection of Him. So I hope it would please Him, but also that it would not offend.

That will affect not just what I write, but also what I won’t write. My characters are still flawed creatures, but there are certain situations that don’t need to be spelled out in a crude way. I also try to avoid inappropriate language while still staying true to the characters.

As Christians our work often becomes part of our sanctification, no matter what we are doing. The same discipline it takes to see a task through, to keep your calm, or to press hard when necessary will mold us into better disciples.

When it comes to writing there is an added layer to it. In Genesis God speaks and the world is formed. From thought comes substance. In that regard we ought to use our words carefully, recognizing a bit of the divine in what we are trying to achieve- creating something out of nothing.

It is not we who are divine, but our desire and work is a reflection of Him who is. So we must choose our thoughts and words carefully and with much prayer that they are pleasing to Him.

So take a minute to get yourself in the right mindset, and then on to Step 3: Make a Thorough Outline!

Step 1: Stop Talking About It

If you read my last post, then you already know that the difference between wanting something and actually having it is making a plan. In this article I’ll go over the plan that I used to self-publish my work through Kindle Direct Publishing.

I think we all know at least one person who just talks endlessly about something they are trying to achieve. Let’s be honest, you are that person! At first, people are supportive, but after a while they begin to wonder why you aren’t making any progress. In a weird way, just talking about it makes you think you’ve achieved something. Don’t be that guy!

This is true of anything in life you hope to achieve, but the first thing you need to do is decide that you are not going to brag, mention, or even hint about what you are up to until you are done. This requires a great deal of will power, but you’ll need that same will power to keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough. Besides, most people don’t really want to hear you talking endlessly about how cool you are going to be when you achieve your goal.

Instead, to keep motivated think of things that would be nice rewards as you go along. I’m a writer so for me it meant watching my favorite movie after I finish a chapter, or sitting down with a hot cup of tea and just staring out the window. I know it looks like I am wasting time, but more likely than not my mind will soon be wandering through the next chapter.

Waiting to tell people will also make it that much more rewarding when you do have some positive results to announce. That will look different for everyone depending on what your goal is, but for me it was when there was a link available to my work and not a moment sooner (unless it was for some reason absolutely necessary).

Ready for Step 2: Pray About It?