Have you always dreamed about becoming a writer? Do you pour over books on your Kindle and think “I could write this”? Do you spend all of your free time thinking up different possible stories? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, publishing your own novel on Kindle might be the right way to make your dream of becoming a published novelist come true.
Many first time writers become discouraged with the publishing process in general. Trade publishers rarely work with individual authors, instead choosing to accept submissions through the hands of a reputable literary agent. While even new authors can work with a literary agent, agents tend to be swamped when it comes to manuscripts and are often very choosy about what projects they will accept. Because of this, many writers find that sending large numbers of query letters and receiving rejections is often overwhelming. Independent publishing with Kindle removes that anxiety and offers writers the chance to see their work in print immediately.
Kindle offers writers two primary ways to publish: through their online Kindle platform for eBooks (KDP) and through CreateSpace, Amazon’s sister site for print publishing. CreateSpace offers writers the chance to print their Kindle books for customers who want a hard copy of a manuscript.
Unlike traditional vanity presses, however, CreateSpace does not require payment from the author and does require that authors purchase a specific number of books. Instead, CreateSpace waits until a book is ordered through Amazon.com and then prints the book. The customer may have to wait a few extra days for the book, but this is an incredibly cost-efficient way to have paper copies of your book.
The first step in publishing your novel with Kindle is to write your book! Seem like a silly step? For many writers, actually finishing that novel can be a huge challenge. Completing your novel means it must be fully fleshed out, error free and edited. While many writers self-edit their works, others enlist the assistance of a professional editor to make sure their novel is as flawless as possible.
Once your novel is complete, create an Amazon.com account or log in with your existing account to the Kindle dashboard. You’ll select “Add new title” and follow the steps to upload your book, create a fantastic description, and select eligible keywords to help readers find your work. Remember not to skip any steps as each one is very important. Since readers cannot browse through your book before they buy it, as they could with books in a traditional bookstore, your description, cover image and keywords are very important.
Make sure to create a professional-looking cover for your book instead of using the automatic placeholder image from Amazon. You can create your own cover for free using Gimp or Paint Shop Pro, but many authors choose to purchase an image from a graphic designer. There are a variety of online designers who specialize in book covers. The important thing to consider is that book covers can be very expensive when designed especially for you. Make sure you consider the costs before you shell out a hundred dollars or more for a book cover. While it may look fantastic, there is always the possibility that it may take a bit of time for your book to make back that money.
Another option for book covers is to use Kindle’s new book cover designer. Kindle now offers a variety of royalty-free images and book cover templates for its authors. You can select an image or upload your own and get to work creating a fantastic, catchy book cover. The only downside to this is that you have less freedom in choosing the colors and image placement than if you used photo editing software on your own.
Once you have your book ready, you’ll need to decide how much you want to sell it for. Kindle offers two royalty options: 35% and 70%. The royalty varies based on how much you sell your book for. Perhaps the best way to determine a reasonable price for your book is to browse other books in your genre and see what other authors are selling their novels for. You don’t want your book to be overpriced, but a book that is priced too low can be just as dangerous.
Finally, upload your book to Amazon. The initial publishing process can take anywhere from 12 hours to a few days. You’ll receive an email once your book is live on the site. Once your book is on Amazon, you’ll have the option to enroll in KDP Select. This is Amazon’s exclusive program that basically means you won’t sell your book on any other website for 90 days.
If you opt for KDP Select, you will also be able to offer your book for free to readers for 5 days. This is a fantastic form of advertising since it will boost your book’s appearance on the Amazon website and may even get you some positive reviews.
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Remember, becoming an author is a lot of work but well worth the effort. If you’re tired of rejections from trade publishers or literary agents, you can self-publish your novel independently on Amazon and become the writer you always dreamed you could be.