The Ultimate Guide to Publishing Your eBook on Amazon’s Kindle Platform

image of amazon kindle

I have returned from the fiery abyss of writing my first eBook and uploading it on Kindle, and I bring you this message:

It’s not that bad.

But why write and publish an eBook? If you’re an online marketer, entrepreneur, writer, blogger, or maybe a chef, what’s the point? Here’s what I’ve found:

  • It’s time to prove your authority. You have an incredible, life-changing idea? You won’t find a better time for your words to spread like wildfire to inspire and empower, if executed correctly.
  • eReaders nearly doubled from December 2011 to January 2012. 1 in 4 Americans are now using some kind of tablet (iPad, Nook, Kindle) that is capable of reading eBooks (The Kindle reading app is also available on nearly every smartphone, more on this below).
  • If you already have an established platform — or want to build one — this eBook will fortify all your other online marketing efforts.

The opportunities to grow and expand your business or ideas through publishing an eBook are limitless. With a insightful, compelling eBook, your words can instill valuable wisdom, actions, stories and ideas that can build trust and relationships with your audience.

If you follow the seven steps below, you’ll never have to read another article on publishing to Amazon’s Kindle platform ever again.

Let’s get started …

Step 1: Define your target audience

This is business and marketing 101, baby.

Without a target audience, an eBook is useless.

Without a target audience, you will not see an increase in subscribers, traffic, or any building of trust whatsoever.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What do they like? Feel?
  • What will they learn?
  • What am I offering them for their time?
  • How can I make this eBook build a relationship with my readers? Is it a character they fall in love with? A story? Are you motivating or inspiring them with ideas and examples? What is the main purpose?

When Stephen King wrote, he wrote to his wife.

When Steven Pressfield wrote The War of Art, he wrote to writers and creatives alike.

When John Locke wrote How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months, he wrote to most of the people reading this article right now.

Before you even think about putting a letter on that blank page, stop and ask yourself: Who am I writing to?

Step 2: Do you have a platform?

Writers have an obligation to their audience — to respond and listen to their feedback, to build a relationship, to keep them as readers forever. Why would anyone want to miss that opportunity?

That’s why we have blogs and Twitter.

Let me fix that: That’s why you should be publishing to your own blog and using Twitter.

Your blog can benefit you and your eBook in many ways:

  • Your readers can find you, support you, and give feedback.
  • You can build … and build … and build, to the point where you have thousands of subscribers waiting to read your next eBook.
  • You can continue the conversation. Say your eBook was motivational and inspiring; you could provide blog posts on that topic and have your readers coming back for more. This can get big … it might even get fun.
  • A blog is your portfolio: it has your work, your info, credibility — almost all of you. Coming from someone who used to be on the other side of the fence, it’s really wonderful how reader can now connect with author; it makes the entire experience feel … special.
  • Now that your blog has a face and examples of your work, you can meet like-minded individuals; networking is fruitful and the lifeblood of growth.
  • Guest posting for other blogs allows more visibility to your eBook, or at least, your blog. From there, your newfound readers may be interested in your writing.

Twitter is a great platform for your eBook and yourself:

  • Your readers can follow you; and you can respond to them.
  • Find people with similar passions and interests.
  • Hashtags help brand your eBooks; then, when fans click on the hashtag, they will see other people giving feedback about your eBook and that may spark interest.
  • Promote your eBook amidst sending relevant, valuable tweets.

You’re ultimately shorting yourself by not having either platform. It doesn’t matter what genre you write for, your audience needs a place to find you, get to know you, and stay updated.

Just remember … don’t be a digital sharecropper.

Step 3: Write your eBook

You have your target audience in mind, and you have a blog and/or social media platform of some kind. Good.

Do you want to know how I started my eBook after I delayed it for a few months? I woke up one morning, opened Pages for Mac, typed the title that I had in mind, and wrote.

That’s what you need to do. Just start.

Whatever time you read this, just know that if you don’t start tomorrow morning (or whenever you are comfortable writing), then you will never write an eBook.

The easiest way to do this is either use Microsoft Word or Pages for Mac. (Kindle suggests you write it in Word because if you decide to format this yourself, you must save your file to a filtered .html or .htm format, which translates on the Kindle very well.)

A few things you will have to keep in mind when writing:

  • Create a Table of Contents (TOC).
  • Insert a page break when you’re finished with your chapter to eliminate unnecessary white space so your reader can immediately scroll to the next page. Finished with your TOC? Page break. Finished with your copyright page? Page break. (To insert a page break go to “Insert” at the top menu bar, then find “Page Break”).
  • Do not use headers, footers, or any sexy font because it will not translate on the Kindle; they have standard fonts.
  • Bold, italicize, and headings translate well.
  • Images are allowed and should be inserted as .JPGs (more on formatting your eBook below).

Once you have finished writing the eBook, start the formatting process.

Step 4: Tools to download before formatting

You will need to download a few things to preview and format your eBook.

Kindle Tools & Resources
You will see four options: KindleGen, Kindle Previewer, Kindle Plugin for Adobe InDesign, and the Kindle PC/MAC application.

If you haven’t downloaded the app already — and you don’t have InDesign — you will need both KindleGen and Previewer.

KindleGen is a program that will convert your saved file into a format used for the Previewer (.mobi); when you have that file in place, just drag it into the Previewer.

With the Previewer, you get to preview your eBook to ensure it’s formatted to your desire. When on the Previewer, you can go up to the top menu, and click the option to view your eBook on the actual Kindle App (make sure it’s downloaded).

Step 5: Formatting your eBook

You have two ways to format:

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Pay someone to do it

In order to format your own eBook, you need a good understanding of HTML.

Most people I spoke to about formatting their own eBook said it was tedious, so here are some eBook conversion services to think over if you wish to save yourself the hassle. (I used 52Novels, paid $100 for both Kindle formatting and an ePub format. The price will vary depending on service and the amount of words.)

The final format of the eBook should be a PRC.

If you wish to format it yourself, use Kindle’s Simplified Guide to Formatting Your eBook or Publishing for Mac Users.

Step 6: Before you upload, think this over

By this step, you should have your eBook finished, formatted, and ready to go.
All you need to do is upload it, but before you do, you have two ways of uploading:

  1. Go the KDP Select route
  2. Or don’t

What is KDP Select? (Kindle Direct Publishing)
When you enroll in this program, your eBook is locked in for 90 days. During these 90 days, you have 5 free promotional days to give your eBook out for free. After those 5 free days, your eBook will be back on the market for a price. During this 90-day period, your eBook will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Library.

What is Kindle Owners’ Library?
This option is exclusive to those who are Amazon Prime Members. Borrowing eBooks is only available on Kindle devices, not Kindle reading apps.

Members of Amazon Prime can borrow a eBook for free for a whole month with no due dates. When someone borrows your eBook, you earn money. (Note: Only eBooks enrolled in KDP Select will be available to Kindle Owners’ Library.)

How is it calculated?
For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000, the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 300,000, and if your eBook was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 0.5% (1,500/300,000 = 0.5%), or $2,500 for that month.”

If you don’t enroll to KDP Select
You can still upload your eBook to Kindle, but it will not be in the Kindle Owners’ Library.

If you enroll in KDP Select
First, lets get this out of the way: Your eBook cannot be free on Kindle.

(Note: You may have heard or seen a few titles that were free for a long time. Those publishers may have worked with a company that works with Amazon. For example: Seth Godin’s The Domino Project).

It will be available for free for 5 days of your choosing when you enroll in their KDP Select program. Even if you do not enroll, you must have a price tag on it for a minimum of 99 cents.

But there’s more.

If you decide to enroll in the KDP Select program, these are the restrictions Amazon places on your eBook:

  • It cannot be on your blog as a subscription or email newsletter opt-in bonus
  • No iBooks
  • No Nook
  • No PDF version with your specific formatting and sexy fonts
  • It cannot be distributed anywhere else for 90 days. Keyword: Exclusive.

You may, however, opt out of the KDP Select program before your 90 days are over. When you do opt out, and the 90 days are over, you can distribute your eBook anywhere you like. Your eBook will still be up on the Kindle market — you just won’t have all the promotional tools.

If you do enroll, and stay opted-in, your 90 days will renew and you will be given 5 more days of free promotion.

So you have a few things to think over …

Not everyone has a Kindle. That’s true. But the Kindle App is free to download and is available on the following systems:

  • Windows PC
  • Mac
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Blackberry
  • Android
  • Windows 7 Phones

And, they have the Kindle Cloud Reader, which acts as an app but enables you to read eBooks on your browser: Safari, Mozilla, and Google Chrome.

So is it possible to mix this pervasive and free app into your strategy for marketing your eBook? Possibly.

Step 7: Upload your eBook

You made your choice. You have your eBook. It’s time to upload.

Watch this simple video to guide you through the process.

After hitting Save & Publish, it will take about 24 hours for it to be on the Kindle store. Within 48-72 hours, the remaining details will be visible on the detail page, such as product description and links related to the physical edition.

Your eBook cover
Your cover is everything. If the cover is gross and lacks a clear message, the readers’ eyes will scroll right over it, and your opportunity may be lost forever.

Think of it as a blog design: you go to a blog and have — in my personal opinion — less than 10 seconds to attract the reader. After that 10 seconds and they still don’t know what you’re about — they’ll X out and be gone forever.

As your personal guide through this process, I highly recommend you hire a designer. As an avid reader of Kindle eBooks, I’d say 85% of the covers out there are garbage — this is an opportunity, it’s your time to shine.

Can I un-publish at any time?
Yes, you may withdraw your eBook at any time, but remember this: Once enrolled in KDP Select, that ”exclusive” rule still applies for 90 days — so even if you un-publish, you will not be able to publish your eBook on any other platform.

Royalties
As the publisher, you determine the price. KDP offers two royalty options: 70% and 35%.

In order to receive 70% royalties for your eBook, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The price of your eBook must be between $2.99 and $9.99.
  • This list price must be at least 20 percent below the lowest physical list price for the physical book.

You can read more about it on the Pricing Page.

Do I need an ISBN number?
No.

An ISBN number is not required when publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing; what you will receive is a 10-digit AISN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), which is unique to your eBook and found on Kindle Amazon.

If you have an ISBN number, you may enter it in the publishing process.

Congratulations, you’re finished!

You defined your target audience and have an idea of how to market it. You wrote the eBook, formatted, and uploaded. You have a great cover, detailed product description of what your eBook is about, and now it’s on the market.

Congratulations, you self-published your eBook; you should be ecstatic.

Just because your eBook is up doesn’t mean the journey ends now — it’s time to write your next eBook. Don’t stop your momentum. Keep it going. Promote your eBook, keep up with your readers and blog, and begin your next project.

Content marketing, self-publishing, eBooks — this is our future.

There really hasn’t been a better time for people who want to spread his or her ideas.

Enjoy, I hope you found this insightful. Let me know about your questions and experiences regarding publishing to Amazon’s Kindle platform in the comments below …

About the Author: Paul Jun is a writer and recent self-published author. You can pick up his eBook, Building An Empire With Words, today, for free. He also writes on his blog, Motivated Mastery, about simplifying your life to make room for what’s most important, and harnessing the effectiveness of free will. Show some love on Twitter @PaulJun.

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Comments

  1. This came at the perfect time – thank you so much!

    • You’re welcome, and glad to hear

      • Great post Paul, thanks for that! Quite insightful.
        I had a question, are you able to see your ebook to Amazon (after the KDP period expires) at the same time to iTunes? If not can you then re-format the ebook, so that internally context is different but with same illustrations/pictures? Hope thats clear.

    • Paul, I have begun writing my first e-book. I have so many ideas for other books, but I know getting started and publishing the first is the most difficult. I have to admit that I am a little overwhelmed, lacking in confidence and intimidated by the formatting process, uploading the book, etc, etc. Formatting the TOC alone made my head spin! Also, trying to figure out how to promote it, which way is best with Amazon…my gosh, it is a daunting endeavor…but I know worth it!
      A couple of questions:
      1. How much would it cost to have someone publish it on Amazon for me? I honestly don’t know if I can do it myself…I feel so dumb.
      2. How much does a cover designer costs? Do you know any reasonable designers? Like everyone, I am short of cash and cannot afford to pay an arm and a leg to have a cover designed, although I agree with you that it is what catches the reader/buyer…
      Oh boy, so much to think about! I would love anyone’s help and input!

      • Hey Rachel,

        Try and take it all one step at a time. My first time doing all of this was daunting as well. I’ll help you as best as I can — and don’t worry, you aren’t dumb. Once you complete this first process, I’m sure you’ll be able to teach it to others.

        1. I don’t know how much it would exactly cost. I paid roughly $100 to the company that I mentioned, 52novels, and they formatted the eBook for me in both Amazon format and ePub. With that, you can publish very easily. You fill in all the data about your book, the keywords, title, etc., and then you simply upload the file you were given. Then you set the pricing. Then you’re finished. Maybe try the website smashwords; I’m not too familiar with them but I know they have a service that helps you upload your eBook to various places.

        2. Designer’s cost varies depending on what you want. You don’t have to pay an extravagant price. Also note, the cover doesn’t have to be extravagant. It has to be clear. Simple. Attractive. Sends the right message about what your book is going to be about. I would recommend a dear friend of mine who is both fair in pricing and excellent in her work. Her website is http://doublestopdesign.com/

        I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. If I don’t answer soon enough, try the Amazon forums. I actually received a lot of help through there.

      • Thank you Paul, This is for Rachel. Professionals (www.alexanderbecker.com) are asking $5000+
        for every thing like cover design, formating and etc. but I know a guy who can do the same in $400 to
        $500.

    • Marie Montgomerie :

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks for sharing your information. It’s my first eBook and money is thin so I wanted to clarify whether if we publish an ebook on Amazon there has to be a physical hard copy version out there in the wide world of self publishing as well?
      Cheers
      Marie

  2. Great post, Paul. I have a couple of PDF e-books for sale on my website. Could I combine those with extra text into a Kindle e-book and still make KDP select?

    • Good question, are you talking about an “enhanced” edition that’s Kindle only? Not sure how that works in with KDP select.

    • Anything you put on KDP cannot be on your blog or any other platform such as iBooks and Nook (according to their rules).

      You can upload it, not have it on KDP, and still have it on both your blog and Amazon, but you will not get the promotion tools such as the 5 free days and for Amazon Prime members to borrow it.

      • Thanks for clearing that up, Paul.

      • I’m confused! I’m trying to upload a clients converted book (he has a printed version available) and it looks like I can ONLY upload the kindle version through KDP select??? How do I upload it, not using the KDP select option….?
        Thanks
        Alexa

      • I talked to Amazon who told me you can have your books on your website while in the Select Program only if you are in their affiliate program and the book is available via one of their book widgets or a text link generated by their affiliate program. So you can have them on your website or link to them in articles, ect., as long as the links are part of the Amazon Associates Program. Hope that helps!

  3. Well done Paul! While many people are bemoaning the fact that it is now much harder to charge double digits for an ebook as we could just a few years ago, others are seeing opportunity.

    Just a few short years ago, the people who were most familiar with the ebook format were either internet marketers or their regular customers. It was a limited audience in many respects. Now, the general public knows what an ebook is and may be interested in having/buying it. Pricing is a lot lower because they’re now usually compared to print minus printing costs, but the audience is much much bigger I think.

    The steps you lay out here are right on target. There are so many businesses that can benefit from ebooks. I hope people will be inspired to open up their Pages or Word and get going!

    • Thank you, Cheryl. I can definitely see the rise in eBooks and people using the technology they possess to access these eBooks. More readers. More reading. More ideas spreading — I’m all for it.

  4. Formatting the ebook can and is tedious, but you don’t need that much html knowledge doing that. I have an ebook out there and it was kind of easy to format it to Kindle. The biggest hurdle comes with images you have attached, since they kinda need to be in certain format and for me reformatting all of them required the most effort.

    • Yes, I still had issues with my image. Sometimes it came out too blurry and other times, well, it just didn’t work.

      Did you format your book on the Kindle site? Or did you use a certain program?

  5. I recently downloaded Scrivener, a popular application among writers for its ability to generate a variety of e-book formats. I’m still undergoing a bit of a learning curve with it, but apparently it can generate MOBI, EPUB, PDF and other kinds of files. (Kindle e-books use MOBI format.) Hoping for the best!

    • Scrivener is pretty amazing for keeping organized and converting text. I would recommend it to any writer.

    • Calibre will allow you to convert a an epub file to Mobi or other formats and to also set a cover, and meta data – it will generate a complete ebook file you can upload to Amazon in a few moments – you can generate an epub file from Word using Aspose.WordsEXPRESS. You must know what settings to use in Calibre to generate an ebook from the resulting epub file. I will send you a free copy of my ebook about this called “Word to Kindle and Nook: How to Publish eBooks using Word” which details the settings and shows screenshots of the entire process. It takes just minutes to get a Word document ready for Kindle or Nook publishing using the two free programs. My ebook is not in Kindle Select now, so it has fallen greatly in sales on Amazon – in fact, I don’t do much writing, anymore. I am focusing on my abstract paintings since moving permanently to Hawaii – so anybody who wants a free copy of my book just let me know where to send it and I will give you a copy. You can use Fiverr.com to have someone design an ebook cover for you, too! I have formatted a word based ebook with 77,000 plus words in it and tons of images using these two programs and my special settings with perfect results. For the curious, this book is “Aliens in Egypt”, by Xaviant Haze.

      • Victoria Gray :

        Hello David! Thanks for putting this out there. listening to how this all works out sounds so very challenging! This sounds like a wonderful plan! I would like to learn more about how I can make this happen with your idea. I would love it if you could send me your ebook on Word to Kindle and Nook!

        With Warm Regards,
        Vickie~

  6. A really great article, full of ideas and tips. Thanks. You have saved me a lot of time with this info.

  7. Adrian Mairosi :

    Thanks a lot. Words can hardly express how grateful i am for this piece of info. I cant wait for the 21st of March to read your ebook.

  8. Great post, Paul! I wish I’d had some of these resourced prior to publishing.

    I published my novel (“Never Smile at Strangers”) in November 2011 and two weeks ago it hits the bestsellers list in the Kindle Store. The sales have been wonderful (& I’m selling MANY more ebooks than paperbacks).

    What’s extra great though is Kindle’s lending library. I believe the fund for March (as was February) is $600,000. I find that a lot of people get it under loan, then end up either buying the ebook or paperback for their libraries.

    These last few months of publishing digitally has taught me a lot and I’ve reaped much more fulfillment, satisfaction & money than ever before from my “fiction” writing career.

    This is book #1 of many.

    Best,
    Jennifer

    • Hey Jen, that’s incredible and cheers to your success.

      Have you seen a great number of borrowers? My eBook has only been out for 20 days (which is still very new), but I haven’t even seen one borrow. There may be many underlying factors, but have you seen an increase in borrowers?

      And congrats, thank you for sharing your story.

    • Victoria Gray :

      Congradulations Jennifer! That is wonderful news!

      Many Best Wishes!
      Vickie Gray~

  9. Thanks for this article. I found that publishing my first book to the Kindle was a fairly straightforward process. However, I my self made cover does not appear to be doing me any favors at this point. I’ll have to look into replacing it with something a little more professional looking.

  10. Great guide.

    I like the idea of the Kindle Owners Library. Readers just pay a subscription and they can borrow those books for no extra cost. It means that the writer can advertise to Amazon Prime subscribers, and they can check his book out without risk. Sounds like an interesting system.

    • Yep, I love it. Although, the borrowing is only for people who physically own a Kindle device. You cannot borrow books through Kindle Reading App.

  11. @Paul: Thanks. I’ll keep this in my back pocket for when I need it.

  12. To the readers: I apologize, I had a mixup with KDP promotion so my eBook is not free today; however, I will make it available for free tomorrow (3/13/12). Thank you and I’m glad to see that people are enjoying the post. :)

  13. Paul,
    Yes, the topic and details are great. And I’m glad you’ve had success with your e-publishing venture.
    However, I have to comment about the book you used for art at the top of this post. Paula McLain’s critically acclaimed novel, The Paris Wife, a New York Times best seller and winner of many awards, is NOT a self-published e-book. Nor, is it your book. Yes, Paula’s novel — still selling well in hardcover — is available on a Kindle. But it is misleading to include it next to a declaration that you’ve just finished writing your first e-book. As artists, we all need to guard against even the appearance of appropriating others’ creative work as our own. Or, of using others’ art without credit. The post didn’t explain why you used her book as an example. And neither she, nor her novel, were identified, despite being featured prominently.
    -Becky Gaylord
    see my entire social presence here:
    http://xeeme.com/BeckyGaylord

    • You make a valid point there, Becky. I’ll see what I can do.

    • Becky, the post image is a promo graphic put out by Amazon to advertise the Kindle Touch, not an image from the Amazon page for the The Paris Wife (which you can see is completely different). They chose to feature Paula McLain’s book on the device. We’re just using their supplied media graphic. Sorry for the confusion, but I’m not sure this is much of an issue that requires correction.

      • Hi Brian,
        Thanks for the reply. No, I wasn’t seeking a correction. And I understand this is the image Amazon put out to advertise the Kindle Touch. If I were writing this post, I would’ve just probably added a line to clarify authorship of the book being shown on the device. That’s all. (In full disclosure, Paula is a good friend. I am in the acknowledgements of the Paris WIfe.)
        As I said in the initial post, I am thrilled for Paul and wish him much success with his e-book.
        -Becky

  14. Paul — thanks for this advice. You put a lot of work into this post which I appreciate as a fellow blogger. I have an ebook in my head but now I have to get out and write it. Question: what is your advice on pricing? The 35% or 70% option?

    • That’s tough because a book that is priced at $10 has to deliver 10 times the value than a book that is $0.99. Honestly, when it comes to pricing, I say go with your gut feeling. To me, it wasn’t about the money but more about getting my writing and ideas out there. It was my first eBook so I wanted to be fair and I wanted to test the waters. I could have put this as a newsletter subscription to my blog, but I wanted to experiment with different avenues.

  15. venus andrecht :

    Hi Thanks for your amazing article! I am a book writer getting ready to do e-books. How does BookBaby compare to Amazon? If I do my books through BookBaby am I still able to do the KDP through Amazon and also get the best that Amazon has to offer in the way of promotions, etc? Thank you.

    • I’m sorry I haven’t heard of BookBaby, but I know Amazon is very serious about their KDP program. If you enroll in KDP then you cannot have it anywhere else — not even on your blog. If they do find it, I think the punishment is them banning you from Amazon — definitely something I wouldn’t want to do.

      I’d say go with Amazon because their audience and their foundation really is number one — plus it’s growing and expanding, so the future can be very promising. I hope this helps.

    • Venus,

      BookBaby is a formatting and distribution service. You send them your file, and then they format and distribute it to the major players for you (Amazon, iTunes, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.).

      BookBaby charges for this service (giving you much wider distribution), Amazon does not charge to upload a book to the Kindle store directly.

    • Venus,

      I use BookBaby for my own eBooks and those that I don’t care to have in the Kindle Direct Library. Though I love the library, fiction are the most lended genre and if I’m expecting my eBook to sell more than 50 copies, listing with BookBaby is worth it due to the massive amount of distribution they offer. They currently charge $99 per title and $19 per year to keep it in distribution. I’ve also had several clients choose to go with their distribution service and they’ve been very pleased with the increase in sales.

      One thing, though, I’m not sure how good their formatting service is and it doesn’t look like you can proof read your eBook on a reader device (I proof all my eBooks on my Kindle prior to sending them to BookBaby), so it’s kind of a shot in the dark if you don’t have a level of quality control there. I’ve seen people hire professional eBook programmers and due to a lack of quality control they ended up with a whole section of their book poorly formatted and nearly unreadable.

      But for distribution, if you expect to sell a lot of copies, BookBaby is worth it!

      • Thanks for that Kristen, I’m going to look into that myself. And also interesting point when you said, “fiction are the most landed genre.” I thought about that myself because I haven’t gotten one borrow yet. Also my eBook is short so it may not be necessary, and most books allow the preview of the first few chapters. Thanks for this added insight.

        • **lended. Total spelling fail. 8:30 Am and no coffee, don’t judge.

          • LOL :) No judgement here! Yes, I’ve heard that shorter eBooks do better in sales and longer fiction books do better in lending. I know I buy non-fiction but borrow fiction myself. Can’t warrant the price tag for only reading fiction once, but non-fiction usually is referenced over and over again, so it’s better just to buy it.

  16. Great article! You left out one very crucial step — editing. If you want to assert your authority, hire a professional editor to make your book as flawless as possible.

    • Definitely an essential step. Shame on me for not adding that.

      If you can’t hire an editor, use your resources (friends, mentors, coworkers, blogger/writer friends, etc). A lot of my editing in my last book was a lot of teamwork and open brainstorming/openly editing. I was also fortunate to have a friend with great editorial skills, but mainly it helps to have a fresh pair of eyes read over your work (and usually being right next to them to hear what they read).

      Thank you for adding this tip, much needed.

  17. I literally surfaced from a 60 minute writing burst on my ebook to see this post, Copyblogger needs to stop reading my mind!

    I’ve read several books on self-publishing (both free books and paid for) and this guidance is certainly rather more easy to follow than some books I’ve read, thanks for the great post :)
    I’m currently wavering on exactly how to publish it – yes you can get Kindle apps on all devices but some people have different preferences (such as Stanza, or iBooks) and want to be able to read books there, there’s also the issue that some people have ereaders which are not Kindles (I used to be one of them, and I have many friends who own Sonys or Nooks), I guess it partially depends on what kind of book you’re publishing and the target audience :)

    • Thank you that’s very flattering. Yes, I agree people do have different preferences, but I do believe that Amazon is dominating in their market. People buy iPads and don’t even really use iBooks — they use Kindle reading app. It does depend on the audience and what not, but overall, with the right marketing, the right target audience in mind, as well as a strong platform, your eBook should get into the hands of your audience. One thing that really has helped me was guest posting for other sites; it still is the most highly effective way of marketing, building relationships, attracting new readers, and spreading the word of your eBook.

  18. As a recent ebook author, I appreciate your post. Let me just add a couple points.
    In addition to knowing their audience, writers need to have a clear idea of their expertise and how it relates to their market. I’m amazed at how much advice I’ve read about finding a topic. You should have a topic, and a working title, before you begin. And you’d better have enough passion to carry you through all the hard work.
    Let me also suggest that writers also publish in paperback, which Amazon also lets you do through Createspace. There will always be people who prefer reading this way. Plus you can sell them at speaking events. It’s all about giving readers choice.
    I published my ebook . Write Like You Talk–Only Better, through both Kindle and Smashwords, because I wanted to make sure it was easy to download for all e-readers. They convert to all formats and distribute at no charge, though they do take a slice of the revenues, like Amazon does. I was also be offer free downloads, which are resulting in more reviews.
    As e-publishing pioneers, we should support each through advice like you did in this post. .Check out my blog if you want to hear more about my experience..
    I’ve downloaded your book and look forward to reading it this week. Let me know if you’d like one of mine. Thanks, Paul.

    • Barb, this is why I love the comment section because there is so much value down here as well.

      What you said is absolutely essential and important to consider, so thank you for that. And thank you for your support, let me know how you like it.

  19. You packed a ton of great information in this. Thank you so much. I will use this post carefully to weigh my options and figure out where and how I am going to publish my book. Thanks Paul and good luck with your book!

  20. Great info, Paul. Thanks! An e-book is in my near future (probably this year) and I will definitely be referring to this article!

  21. I have a couple e-books in mind and this article will assist me in making decisions.

    Thanks for the valuable information.

  22. Crikey! I’m sooo impressed with this article. Was doing just fine – all geared up to go with an ebook in mind… until I got to points 5, 6 and onwards. That sounds like real work, the writing bit is easy! Think I’ll hang on to this post and work my way through it verrrry slowly. Thanks :)

  23. I’ve only published short documents (crochet patterns) on the Kindle Platform, but really want to write and publish an ebook. This article will help get me started. I also need to look into the Kindle Select program more deeply. I remember when it was announced, but didn’t pay too much attention to it because I didn’t want to give my patterns away for free. But 5 free days over a 90-day period isn’t bad at all, and the potential to earn via the lending library has really got me interested. Thanks for sharing.

    • Good to hear, Patrice. Definitely weigh your options and see what is best for you. It’ll sound strange for me to say to not listen to anyone when picking a price or enrolling in KDP because what I really want people to do is experiment and learn on their own. It’s not like you’re only going to be writing one eBook for the rest of your life, so I find it important to test, experiment, and measure your results and play to your strengths.

      I enrolled and used 3/5 free days. My eBook has been up for 21 days and I have a total of downloads and purchase: 650. Not bad. 0 borrows though, which is a bit strange.

  24. Good timing, thanks. Three thoughts:

    1) How does Amazon define book? Is it a word count? A page count? Some combination of both?

    2) The “Define your target audience” section is helpful. However, I would like to suggest someone devote a full post on vetting an idea for a book.

    3) Finally, how about more on the process of pulling those loose ends into focus? Perhaps it’s just me but the publishing part seems to be the easy part. Worst case, as you noted, it can be outsourced. However, the process of shifting from blogger to book author is probably underestimated more often than not, yes?

    • 1) it can be any length. A kindle eBook is an eBook, period. It can be poetry, short story, how to’s, a long list of blog posts consolidated. Anything, really, in my opinion.

      2) That’s a great point, and maybe I’ll do one in the future. Good food for thought. :)

      3) I don’t know if its underestimated — I personally felt that as a blogger going the eBook route was just expanding and being more diverse with my writing, as well as adapting to the change in the online world. Also, many people have different motives to write. But, it is still very fairly new. I realized that PDF and newsletter subscription was a great way to sponsor and to attract subscribers, but for some reason I feel strongly about Kindle eBooks and reading apps readily available on multiple platforms (cellphone, tablet, etc.). I’m thinking we’re going to be seeing a lot of bloggers self-publishing their eBooks; however, the increase in the number of published eBooks has been consistently rising, so the power of free and the power of $0.99 cents will eventually have a new meaning (in my opinion).

  25. This is probably the most comprehensive Kindle article I’ve ever read. As someone who’s been in publishing for many years and seen eBooks grow from internet marketers to the general public, and therefore being abused by authors who don’t know any better, I thank you for posting the importance of audience, a decent cover, and especially proper formatting.

    I’ve done a lot of eBooks that started out as nice print books with “sexy fonts” and my eBook programmer has been able to make those eBooks look just as nice as their print counterparts. Pretty fonts stay intact by embedding them as images within the code and complex graphics, bullets, bolds, italics and other formatting issues that come up with anything besides straight plain text look fabulous when a proper eBook programmer converts it.

    I personally use an eBook programmer for all my own books and all my client’s books. Outsourcing isn’t that expensive when it means you can avoid negative reviews on Amazon from people who can’t read a poorly formatted Kindle book. Negative reviews and a soiled reputation as an author are much harder to pay for in the long run than a proper eBook programmer, so if you have bullets, italics, bolds, headings, graphics or other complex formatting I’d recommend not skipping that crucial step.

    Thanks for the fabulous post, Paul!

    • Thank you for those kind words, Kristen. I love hearing that this article is in-depth because I truly focused on being informative — I could get used to hearing this ;)

    • Kristin, will you share with me (for a friend who’s too stressed right now to research these issues), who you use as an ebook programmer, and some ball park costs? Your’s was a post that added more answers to things I hadn’t even formulated questions for yet.

      Thanks, Nancy

  26. Hi Paul, Thanks for this guide. Do all these steps 9esp uploading, payment etc) also work internationally, do you know? The reason I ask is because Kindle doesn’t work in Pakistan (where I am) and I can’t access the browser/web kindle app either. Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed post. Writing my first-for-Kindle ebook and hoping to work out the kinks soon!

    Salma.

    • Hey Salma, I believe this process should be usable internationally. If they formatted their site differently, then I wouldn’t see the point in that. I just checked the UK version of Amazon and if you scroll all the way down the “Self-publish with us” option is available. Let me know if you still run into problems, I’ll do my best to help you out.

  27. Perfect timing for me as well as I am putting together my ebook on how to crowd fund a project on Kickstarter!

    • I’m working on my second ebook and have recently started using Jutoh as the means of auto-creating ebooks for multiple formats. It has a learning curve, but is really good for moving chapters and sections around (which requires a different TOC, which is automatic in Jutoh), automating cover creation, internal and external links, fixing formatting issues, and auto-compiling and producing books for multiple formats – Kindle, Nook, iPad, others. Worth a look. A bargain at $38. There is a free trial copy.

      You can find it at Jutoh.com

    • Awesome. Good luck, let me know how it goes. Good topic as well, I keep hearing that name everywhere.

  28. Paul, Thank you so much for this valuable content, you have just saved me a LOT of time and made the consideration of producing an eBook a lot more doable. I keep thinking I must start work on an eBook and have had thoughts about Amazon, but didn’t really believe it would be possible or that I would run into too many issues. Hearing this from someone who has been through the process is so valuable….now to decide what would be of value to my audience. Thinking time :)

    • That’s awesome to hear, Jessica, and thank you for your kind words. If you have any further questions, I’d be happy to help out.

  29. Hey Paul,
    So which one you chose for your ebook (and recommend), KDP or otherwise?
    Btw, you’ve answered so many things that were popping up in my mind since I planned to self publish… but due to ridiculously busy schedule, I think i’ll need a few weeks before I can write even the first word.

    • Well, seeing as how it was my first book, my objective was to promote it as much as possible, to spread my writing, get people to like me, and to see where I stand with my audience, as well as inspire and enrich one’s life. I could have stuck with PDF format (because it looked simply amazing) and used it as a blog subscription, but I wanted to try something else.

      So I enrolled in KDP. The few free days I’ve used up has resulted in great numbers, but only because I used guest posting and my relationship with other writers and bloggers to promote my work. If I didn’t do either of those two, then I don’t know what the results would have looked like.

      As for writing your eBook, I recommend you take it a day at a time, even if it’s for 1 hour. Get something down. Create the outline. Brainstorm and write down notes. Ask around. It’s important to start, no matter when, where, or how.

      I hope this helps, Ali.

  30. Great, informative, and straight-to-the-point article Paul. Thanks! I’m gathering a lot of information about e-publishing on the Kindle platform on our ‘Write2Profit’ Writer’s Website, and this is really helpful. As a Kindle ‘newbie’ I’m also hoping to publish some e-Books on Kindle shortly, so again – thanks for a really useful and informative article. I’m off to get your free e-Book now, so thanks for that, too!
    PS. The subject of how to publish on Kindle is also a great e-Book subject in itself, as you probably know, and we promote some of the current ‘How To’ publish on Kindle e-Books on our ‘Write2Profit’ site.

  31. Excellent guide, Paul. Loved watching you learn all this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeff, thank you my man for everything you’ve done. By the way, guys, Jeff wrote my foreword to my eBook and he starts it off magnificently. More of a reason to read it. :)

  32. Hi Paul, thanks so much very helpful post. I am in the final stages of preparing to ship to Amazon. I also have recently acquired a Kindle touch for my birthday, NICE!!

    Ok to my questions.

    So after 90 days you can sell your eBook through other avenues – blog, smashwords etc?
    If you decide to opt back in after 90 days, can you sell through other avenues?

    • Congrats Barry, you should be ecstatic to ship soon.

      After 90 days, if you opt out, you can publish/sell anywhere you like. My advice is to opt out before the deadline. In the KDP option you will see it under your dashboard/menu area once you’re situated.

      If you decide to opt back in, you’re locked in the 90 day program again, and therefore cannot publish on blog or smashwords.

  33. As someone who helps self-publishing on a daily basis, my advice is simple — pay for someone to convert your book. It is a service that we offer our writers, but only on their insistence. We resisted offering it for months, but after many conversations it was clear that many writers were making mistakes they could have avoided.

    I also feel that since self-publishers ‘have something to prove’ it is their duty to make their book the best it can be. Self-publishers face immediate suspicion and extra attention from writers, they must, therefore, be amazing. This means a great cover, professional editing and, if you can afford it, professional ebook conversion.

    We are now regularly seeing writers selling between 500-1000 books a month. This might not be a huge number but it is a great base line number from which you can work out how much you can afford to spend on pre-production (editing etc.).

    Gary Smailes

    • Gary,I agree. I actually got my husband to get really really good at this and now he is doing the formatting and publishing for others, and of course he is doing all of my books. It helps to do a professional publish because as you say,it is very important to make the right impression with our books. I am so happy that Amazon brought us the Kindle store. It is an amazing platform!

      • Yep, I agree. Either take the time to master the tools and skills necessary to successfully format an eBook, or pay a professional to do that work for you so you can focus on other tasks.

        I have a friend learning this for me as well, and luckily, it came very easy to him. This is definitely an essential part of writing and self-publishing an eBook. Thank you both for your insight.

  34. “… Write it in Word because if you decide to format this yourself, you must save your file to a filtered .html or .htm format, which translates on the Kindle very well.” This is not true. My ebooks looked like TOTAL CRAP after converting from Word. I cannot sell books looking like that so I pulled them from the program. I will probably have them professionally formatted at a later time.

    Question: When I previewed my ebooks on the KDP select site, they only looked halfway indecent. But when I then viewed them on the Buy page at Amazon.com, they looked totally different, and much worse. Any idea what’s up with that?

    • Regarding your question, I have no idea. I stuck with the Kindle Previewer tool they provided.

    • Mollie, I hope you discovered how to format your own ebooks from Word to Kindle and Nook, too. This can be done using a couple of free software programs so that your Kindle ebook looks exactly like it did in Word – I wrote a guide about this that is for sale on Amazon right now – but you can discover how to do this by searching YouTube, as well – there are some tutorial there that explain the process!

    • Molly, you can have perfectly formatted ebooks from Word using two free programs: Aspose.wordsEXPRESS to turn your properly formatted Word document into an epub file, then Calibre to set the meta data and add an ebook cover. Calibre will convert your epub file to Mobi (and many other formats) and give you a file that can be uploaded to Amazon very easily. The process takes minutes. No Htlm fussing around – you can download Kindle for PC or Mac to preview your book. If you see errors, just edit your original Word document and run it through the process again! I will send you a free copy of my short guide about this (it has screenshots) if you tell me where to send it?

      • Victoria Gray :

        Hello David! This is great information…If you don’t mind, I would truly appreciate it very much if you could share this information with me as well. My email address is: graysfamily2001@yahoo.com

        Thanks so much!

  35. Wow! A very comprehensive guide for self-publishing. Thanks for sharing this informative guide.

    Thanks.

  36. Thanks for sharing, this is a great post!

    But I would add, there’s more to finding a target market than just “finding” it. Once you find it, you then have to figure out what angle you need to come from to make them interested in what you are writing and in some instances that can be tricky. You have to understand what is selling in the marketplace and then what about that HASN’T been tapped into yet.

    Also, actually writing an ebook can be difficult for some people. You need to create an outline to stay on track. And you need to get really clear about what is going to be in the ebook and what is left for other ebooks down the road. And, if you find that you want to judge while writing, talk it instead!

    • Good points, Ellen.

    • One of the ways we have built our blog up to reaching 111 countries and 60,000 hits between our 2 sites is to leave the article hanging when we write it.. they read the article and get the gist but we leave it open on the end. The rest will be in the upcoming book. I don’t know if we have enough to publish yet in interest what do you think? I found it interesting that men don’t come into our tipsforlove.net site but they will come in and read the same articles on my projecttroops.org site. It’s macho and means it ok to read..but tipsforlove? I think they think it’s to female oriented to read. This is important to know if starting a blog.. will you get the readers in with your title? Thanks Tamra Lynn Smith and best of luck to you all.

  37. Hi Paul,
    I’ve been thinking to do this, but I’m wondering if I can include hyperlinks to additional resources. Would kindle format allow it?
    If you’ve read Darren Rowse 30 Days to Build a Better Blog, you will know what I mean. Or do we have to include all content in that book?

  38. Paul,
    Great to see you here and awesome post. A great mix of the high level and details. Great timing too as I’m debating whether to convert my amazon book to kindle and also planning on writing a new one for kindle. I’m going to come back to read the comments because I see that there’s a lot of great info in there as well. Thanks again for the great post!

  39. Thank you for this very helpful website. We are trying to get all our ducks in a row to publish our new book by May 2012. This process is a bit confusing and you have helped me a lot on this. I was dissapointed to see how much droid and apple apps are to create. This was going to be a critical step in jumping ahead. We have our blog and hitting 60,000 hits a month since Jan 2012 so I think we have a good base for our new book on relationships. Professor Thomas Nagle has been trying to get this book together for 15 years lol. Visit us on tipsforlove.net Thank you so much for writing this. What do you think? Is 60,000 hits a month on a blog good enough to publish? I have not paid for advertising but instead used facebook and twitter to market this idea?
    Thank you kindly :From Tamra Lynn Smith

    • Well, the hits certainly help, but I’d suggest not to worry about that so much. Deliver the value in your eBook, guest post to many places, spread the word of your work, and let the rest unfold; if your eBook is remarkable, then your readers will talk about and tweet it and so forth. It’s an eBook so it’ll be around for a long time.

  40. Everything I’ve read about writing an eBook has been about DIY and How-To’s instruction books, does the same apply if your writing a storybook? And if you’re writing a storybook, should it be published in hard copy before turned into an eBook?

    • No, the beauty of self-publishing an eBook is you can do it without having to get it in print first. This allows you to control when and how you publish the eBook. So no, don’t wait for a hardcover. Get that storybook out in digital form, then if the opportunity arises, get it in print as well.

  41. Hey Paul,

    A very informative post, Thanks! I wanted to find out if there are any risks as far as licensing and copyrighting if one published an ebook on Amazon. I mean, is it possible that someone might purchase your ebook, copy it and have it published and copyrighted under their own name?

    I hope I’m making sense?

    Thanks and looking forward to your feedback!

    • What you’re saying makes sense, but if you were to find someone who did do that, I’m sure you can report it and have it removed.

      When uploading the book, you can claim it to be public domain work or not, and claim all the necessary publishing rights.

      Hope this helps.

  42. Hi Paul,
    Another great, detailed post, packed with really useful information. Thanks! Meanwhile, I was wondering if we could use part of your article on our ‘Write2Profit’ Writer’s Website – providing we include your Bio/credits at the bottom, of course!
    Would much appreciate your reply. Either way, keep up the great work!
    Andy.

    • Sure Andy, whatever helps writers get their ideas packaged and sent out. :)

      • Thanks Paul
        - that’s great to hear. And thanks for replying so quickly! Much appreciated. I’ll send you a link later, when we’ve updated our site.

        Thanks again. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
        Andy

  43. Hey Paul, I gather from what I read that you are charging 99 cents for your ebook. The most likely reason that people are not borrowing the book is the price. Customers who are involved in the lending program get to choose the book they borrow each month. They usually choose a higher priced book to get for free. If you were going to get 2 books in one month and one was 99 cents and one was $9.99 you would likely choose to get the $9.99 book for free and buy the 99 cent book. This is what KDP members are doing – choosing the books they borrow by looking at the books they want and choosing the more expensive book as their borrowed book and buying the less expensive books.

    My partner and I have been successful with our Kindle books, the latest being The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Lover’s Recipe Book.. Good luck with your book!

    • Hey Carol,

      Thanks for the info. That’s something I realized over the past few months, and it makes tons of sense. I appreciate you providing this so it can help the readers understand better on how the borrowing system works.

      Wish you all the best on your book :)

      • Hey Paul, Thanks for posting the comment and your reply. I hope it helps your readers. Thanks too for wishing us the best with our book :)

  44. Paul, Could you explain how I can have a main blog and 3 additional bogs all on the same website. and SEO would work to optimize. Could this be a child relationship? Thank you, Boyd

    • Boyd I apologize but I don’t have any experience in that. What I have seen is a website have the image of a logo on their site — maybe on the footer or the sidebar — that redirects the audience to that site. Other than that, I wouldn’t know how to combine them together.

  45. All the sites say that to make your eBook a success, you should start marketing before you publish. Create a site and start blogging before your work is published to get a head-start on getting readers. Does that make sense? I wouldn’t know what to blog about if my work hasn’t been published yet and you wouldn’t want to give too much away.

    • Christina, That is what I am doing right now. Establishing a website blog and loading it up with info. Some from my book and some that I may use later. What type of book are you writing? Boyd

      • Great, thanks. I wrote a few short books about easy baking, 52 tips for Teens and a few other craft ones. I’ve started writing for teen fiction fans and because this is a whole new area for me I would have to use a different approach and that’s where I’m having most of my problems.
        My short books were basic enough so I never felt the need to connect with my readers but my latest teen fiction has become very popular online so I’ll have to reconsider.

    • I believe building a platform first and then using it to launch your book is an excellent and well-thoughtout idea.

      It all depends on what you’re knowledgable in. If you’re writing about a specific craft that you’re well-versed in, your blog is used to educate your audience on useful tips and insights that you learned and used through your own experiences. For example, Copyblogger provides insight on publishing, writing, blogging, marketing, and so forth. Their product varies from WordPress themes and tools used within.

  46. Paul, so much great information here like others said. I find out that even though I have paid WSOs and diff paid ebooks on amazon kindle publishing, I find out that this free guest post is enough for anyone to get started in the kindle publishing system.

    While many things has changed, there are still many things working in making high sales on Amazon. If you have a long term plan for your book (like I have for my upcoming trilogy) using the KDP select will be a good thing – if you need your money so fast then you use the normal way, sell and make money.

    If one has a platform as well, it is going to be a good avenue to always make good sales like Armanda and Jeff has done with their blogs.

    So Paul, do you have any new figure as to how your ebook went? I will like to read your latest experience.

    Sheyi

  47. A million thanks for the article and all the commenting. There is enough in here to keep me reading and researching for a month (when I have the time.) Right now I’m looking for information for a friend who’s nearly finished writing and illustrating her book, but is no more computer savvy than I am, and as I read all this, I realize I’m going to have to scramble up a steep learning curve to understand Kindle publishing and so much else.

  48. Paul,
    There is such a wealth of information that you have been willing to share. This helps me to realize that writing my first ebook is a real possibility for me. I wish I found this months ago, it’s very motivating!!
    Thanks for sharing.

  49. Hi Paul !
    I want to know that when i will sell my ebooks online say in PDF format, will i have to send it to the customer’s residence or other address given like in a cd? Or, will this all happen online by accepting payments and giving the download link? I want to sell my ebooks on Amazon.

    • If you want to sell as a PDF, say, on your website, then you probably have to use a third party website or program to automatically send out your PDF to the customer when they purchase it. I’m not too familiar with that because I’ve never done it.

      As for selling it on Kindle, you have to get it formatted for Kindle. That’s a totally different avenue.

      • If you want to sell an ebook seamlessly on your website you can use eJunkie.com which will handle all of your payment processing and digital delivery very cheaply! They also have a marketplace where your ebook is featured. If you don’t want to pay the small monthly fee, you can create a Paypal button that will deliver the ebook on a landing (Thank You) page you create before the sale. After a successful sale on your blog or website, Paypal will send the purchaser to your landing page where the download link is located – you can upsell the purchaser on this page or use it get get them onto your mailing list – show them videos, or give them free bonuses, ask them to follow you on Twitter or Facebook, etc. Hope this helps!

  50. Hi Paul,

    I’d like to ask are there any exclusive copyrights if you want to see your ebook simultaneously to the likes of Amazon & itunes?
    Love your posts by the way!

    • As long as you don’t sign up to the KDP program, you can have your book anywhere you’d like (as far as I know right now. Maybe that might change.)

  51. From my experience of publishing two fiction books on kindle, actually writing them and publishing them was the easy part. Trying to publicise your work, get sales and push your books up the rankings is a very hard slog. Perhaps it may become easier the more books you publish because then it becomes a numbers game like having more chance of winning a prize the more entry tickets you buy.
    For anyone contemplating self publishing, it is hard work but on the up side, very satisfying

  52. Good stuff. I’ve converted several of my own books and a few for others authors and find that Jutoh works really nice. I’ve had success promoting my book using KDP Select and doing the promotion for several day in a row. I went to #2 in Web Marketing after the book came off promotion. But just like anything you have to keep trying and be open to trying new things.

  53. Not sure if this is correct: ” When you do opt out, and the 90 days are over, you can distribute your eBook anywhere you like. ” – If I remember correctly, you can opt out, but the exclusivity remains till the end of the 90 day period…

  54. Thank you for he wonderful step-by-step, Paul! I’ll certainly be using this in the future. First, I have a question, and a problem.

    My question is regarding the section where you say you can’t publish on nook as well. Does that mean you can’t publish via nook the first ninety days, or not at all? My plan was to publish on KDP, wait out the ninety days, and publish other places. I now wonder if that will be an issue?

    And as for the problem, I’m a fourteen year old (aspiring) author and I’m looking to self-publish my novel through KDP. But I really feel like it’s a sort of cop-out– just slapping it up on the internet and advertising. Like giving up without trying. I really want to share my work with others, but I don’t want just a few people to see it, I want it to be more than that. I’m not saying I will be disappointed with anything less than J.K. Rowling-worthy sales, but it would be comforting to know that it isn’t just uselessly floating around on the internet. Does any of that make sense? Furthermore, my current plan is to be a novelist for a living, and I feel like I might as well get myself out there sooner than later, right? Get started while my parents will still support me, build up my own little army of people wanting another book, and be set for a while?

    If you actually end up reading this long-winded nonsense, thank you. :P

    • Sorry for the late reply Faye.

      You can publish it on Nook AFTER your 90 days are over. During the KDP promotion that you sign up for, no, you cannot publish it elsewhere.

      As for the second part of your comment, it’s a process. Build your platform and audience. My first self-published book sold, to date, about 3500. To many that’s not much, but for someone who picked up writing only a few years ago, I’d say that’s a big first win.

      Seth Godin said something awesome to me, and I’ll say it to you: “Think journey, not destination.”

    • As a new author, you will not receive much in the way of promotion for your traditionally published book. In fact, they will ask YOU how you intend to promote it. You will have a small press run and you book will be tied up contractually with the publisher for years. With Amazon, or simply publishing for Kindle on you own – you will still have to face the giant hurdle of promotion but with the Select Program you will at least have Amazon’s huge promotional system giving away your ebook to a wide audience and they hope is that this will build an audience and sales. What happens is people download tons of free ebooks and don’t read them! You have to stand out in some way, ask for reviews, and promote your book via social mediums, blogs and in any other way you can think of – you are not just a writer when you become an author, you are a self-promoter, too! But as young as you are – you will master all of these things over time and have every chance of becoming a working published novelist and writer. Nothing is stopping you but your own willingness to jump and work at it every day. My friend Steve Hayes is a professional writer in his 80′s who writes every day at 4:00 am when his house is quiet and has done this for decades. He was a young actor in Hollywood turned screenwriter in the 40′and 50′s and beyond and now is retired but is a writer ever really retired? His books are published every year in all sorts of genres, including ebooks versions. Nothing is stopping your from becoming another Steve Hayes!

  55. Thank you for a great article. I am in the process of writing my first book and this helped alot. I will be saving this page and coming back to it again and again.

  56. David:
    I enjoyed browsing your blog. The information came at a great time for me and was just what I needed. Your reader comments and your responses to them proved even more helpful.
    Thanks for the good work.
    Charles Webb

  57. Just uploaded my first eBook and it has been accepted, thanks a lot for all the info.

    One question though, on Amazon it says my book is a Kindle edition, does this mean that people with iPads and so on can’t read it?

    • First, congrats on shipping.
      People with iPads can read it because the Kindle reading app is available on many (if not all) operating systems. As long as a person has an Amazon account, the Kindle reading app on their phone or tablet or computer, they can read it.

  58. Thank you for a well-written and well-formatted post. I’ve tried to scan all 182 comments and answers (!) but forgive me if this has already been addressed… I’m going to publish with KDP then opt-out @ 90 days so I can sell via my own site. I believe Word play better than Pages with KDP due to conversion issues to .mobi. My content will consist of stories, photographs and recipes – so I anticipate formatting nightmares.

    Do you recommend any recipe formatting templates or rules of thumb? If I can find a service for $100 that may well be a bargain, but I’d like to take the material to the first level – edit, format as much as possible to reduce risk of typos and such.

    Doesn’t seem to be much out there (save for iBooks – incompatible/compeitor, and some subpar templates..)

    Any help is much appreciated. I have most of the content done, have the platform, and am eager to put it all together!

    Cheers,
    Jacqueline

    • Jacqueline,

      I’m not well versed in this because I didn’t include any recipes or photographs in my book. What I would recommend to you is that you see how other authors have successfully done it, take certain elements that you like, and tell the designer, “Here, this is how I want this page and this page to look.”

      There really is no right or wrong answer here, I don’t think. As long as it’s easy to read, navigate, and see, then it shouldn’t be a problem. So if it’s a cookbook, I’d say maybe have a picture on one page, then when someone hits next on their Kindle or slides their finger, the recipe is on the following. Something like that. Or have it so the picture fits on the far left or right, and the recipe in say, bullet form, on the opposite side.

      • Scrivener has templates for a cookbook! I use Scrivener for my writing and Kindle formatting! It’s perfect! Think it cost me around $50. There is a free trial. You should be able to Google and find it. Hope that helps someone!

  59. I came here from a Google Search myself. I downloaded my first “enhanced edition” book and I LOVE it! The author included embedded video, etc. So, I can NOT find any help anywhere that tells me how to include such in my own books. I know the bandwidth surcharges with Amazon etc – but I still would like to explore doing that in future books. Anyone know how to include – what the format is for Kindle to include the video, enhanced content, etc?

  60. I’m wondering…

    Are hyperlinks, graphics, tables, jpg images, etc, retained when creating an ebook for kindle…?

    I’ve been searching for a while without an answer to that question.

    • As for as hyperlinks, yes I’m sure they’re retainable. I have a few in my first one.
      As for graphics and tables, I’m pretty sure (not 100%) that they’re allowed in eBooks. I don’t see why not. Because I don’t format the book myself most of the time, I would ask the designers if they provide such a tool. I’m sure they would know, as they format hundreds of varieties of books.

  61. Great Article! Thank you.

    Forgive me if this was already asked, but I’ve been searching online for hours for an answer…

    How do you set up business licensing for selling ebooks online through amazon/kindle, et al AND your own personal website? Are we sales tax exempt since we are selling a digital product to an international market? My business revenue will be primarily digital products but also “consulting” and “public speaking/training”.

    I am based in California, USA. Setting up my business as a sole proprietor to start out with an EIN, DBA and business bank account linked to a merchant Paypal account. BUT what sort of licensing do I need to sell digital info products and ebooks?

    Thank you for clarifying how to best funnel the dough into my bank account and help me set this up right from the get go!

    xo ~Scarlet

  62. Hi Paul, thanks for all the info. I’m a published writer/columnist who has been out of sync with all the new ‘e’ stuff so it’s all Greek to me. Your article has given me comfort and hope that I’ll be able to negotiate the shark invested waters of self-publishing…I’m secretly hoping to find dolphins in these waters instead!

    Thanks again!
    Linda

  63. Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for everything, one more question to add to the many.
    How many words or pages is the least acceptable for an ebook?

    Regards