Step 9: Marketing Your Book (Coming Soon!)
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.
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!
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.
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.
- 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!
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?
For several decades now I’ve wanted to be a writer. It became one of those dreams you have that you never really expect to achieve, because it seems too great a thing to ask.
Besides, achieving it is not its purpose. Rather it is what drives you to keep going even when you’re emotionally and physically exhausted. Let’s face it, life is mostly full of an endless list of unpleasant tasks. Everyone needs something, some dream to aim for.
I wouldn’t consider myself artistic. I had a short stint drawing portraits in High School. I tried to learn to play the flute. I can dance the macarena. I know, impressive. Add to all of that the fact that every once in a while, I write.
Okay, not ‘every once in a while’; more like anytime I had more than a few minutes, my mind would wander back to Arden. Thoughts of far off places would replay themselves over and over again until I wrote them down. It was like they had a life of their own, so writing was more to save my sanity than anything else.
I wonder if art is supposed to be that way, that an artist doesn’t create so much as gives life to something that is already out there looking for a voice. In that sense I feel like a bit of a fraud. I’m no artist, just someone trying to give a voice to something I don’t really understand, but I digress.
That is why finishing my book, or even dreaming of doing so, was something I decided to just stop talking about. It wasn’t that I had given up, per se, but if I was never going to achieve the dream, then expecting praise from people for not actually having done anything was likely counterproductive.
So, for several years I worked quietly on ‘The Myth of Arden’. I found that as I got further along, I began to get in my own way. Was it any good? What if no one liked it? What in the world was I even bothering for? Overwhelmed with doubt, I began to consider just giving up.
For some reason, just when you decide not to do something is exactly the moment it happens. For me, that pivotal moment occurred over a year ago when I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child. I was scared and elated all at the same time. It was something I had wanted for a very long time, but it was also not meant to be. I lost the child, and it was so painful that I am still unable to really talk about it.
Even though I had never met my fourth child, I still had a relationship with them. I promised them that I would finish the book. This journey had been cut short, but another was beginning. One dream ended, but for another it was not too late. I had to keep going. Every little step felt like my heart was being ripped out, but there was no other choice but to walk through the pain. Letting go is often harder than holding on.
I still remember the moment I finished the first draft of the book, I just sat there surprised. I’d just been plugging along, not expecting there to ever be an end, yet here I was. It was only the beginning though, there was still a lot of work to get the book ready for publication.
Publishing what had, until then, just been in my mind was a humbling experience. It isn’t as glamorous as I expected. Who knows if anyone will read what I have to say or even care, but to me being a writer, even a terrible one, is the fulfillment of a promise. It seems better to have people say, “Gee that is awful” then to say, “Well she only spoke about it and never did it.”
What is your dream? What is that thing that you never expect to achieve because it is just too great a thing to consider? As cliché as it sounds, the first step is to just stop talking about it. Don’t tell anyone. Make a detailed plan, and if that doesn’t work make another one. Research, reevaluate, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Don’t do what I did and wait for something catastrophic to get you going. Even being a failure at your dream is better than successfully avoiding failure.