Sunday, 12 May 2013

Getting started with Kindle Direct Publisher

Kindle Direct Publisher

Having just gone through my first self publish adventure using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing programme I just thought I'd jot down a few of my lessons learnt along the way.



Writing

This part is obviously pretty crucial. I opened up my Kindle Direct Publisher account at the point where I thought my book was very close to being finalised.

Register for Kindle Direct Publisher

This step is pretty straightforward, and if you already have an Amazon.com account you can sign in with that.

Adding your new book

KDP Select

I was surprised that the very first thing you have to think about is whether you want Amazon.com to have exclusive rights on your book or not, even before you've put in your book title.

Basically, KDP Select is a promotional tool offered by Amazon that lets you list your book for free for up to 5 days if you commit to making your book exclusive on their platform for 90 days.

There are lots of blogs out there discussing whether being solely listed on Amazon was a good thing or not. There are even more blogs discussing the advantages/disadvantesg of giving your book away for free so I'll leave you to research that debate further yourselves.

In my case, I did opt into KDP and during my first free promotional week I did see a sharp increase in sales, which was very exciting to watch but obviously this yielded a very low return. However, since the promotional period ended sales have been quite steady so overall I think the programme is a good idea. At the moment though I think I'll open my book out on other platforms like Barnes & Noble and Ibookstore as soon as my exclusivity period with Amazon ends.

Basic Details

To begin your publishing process you need to add some basic information about your books such as:

  • Title
  • Edition 
  • Publisher
  • Description
  • Contributors
  • Categories
Out of all of this information the description was the only bit that took me any significant time.

I think it's important to write as good a description as you can as this is what people will see before they decide to buy your title.
The world is in the midst of the worst financial crisis in recorded history. The 24 hour rolling news stations are struggling to keep up with the number of banks collapsing, companies going into administration, and the wider effects these issues are having on the public. 
Many experts are trying vainly to explain just what is going on, but in London's Canary Wharf district computer specialist Kate Meer understands all too well the cause of these seemingly unconnected problems. A new artificially intelligent computer system called C.A.R.L that she designed is out of her control. 
As events in the world continue to spin out of control and the global financial markets embark on a roller-coaster ride, Kate has to join forces with James Gold, a notorious hacker, to try and regain control of their renegade system before it’s too late.

Cover design

Once you have the basic information entered about your book the next step is to create your cover. At this stage you have the option of uploading a cover that you've already had designed or use the Cover Creator Tool.

I opted to go with the Cover Creator tool and found it really easy to use. I spent a bit of time on free image websites such as Morguefile, and IStockPhoto before I finally chose one that seemed appropriate for the book.

One big watch out about any images you use on your book - check that the licence type gives you the right to use the image.

Upload your book

Once you have a lovely cover designed the next step is to simply upload your work into the platform.

Before doing this, it's worth reading through Amazon's formatting guidelines to ensure that your Word document has the best chance of uploading smoothly.

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2RYO17TIRUIVI

You also need to ensure that your book will display ok on the Kindle and that might involve altering your margins, font size etc to give your digital readers the best experience.

I found a really useful article on formatting for kindle here: http://www.ehow.co.uk/how_8095332_format-word-file-kindle.html