The popularity of e-readers and devices like Nook and Kindle have made it easier than ever to publish a book. What once took months, even years to accomplish, now can be done in just a matter of weeks, or even days.
In addition to the (undeniable) thrill of seeing your name on the title page, a Kindle book is a good way to support your other ventures by directing readers to your website, asking them to download a white paper or suggesting they subscribe to your newsletter.
This is also one of the most powerful things a person can do to increase their perceived authority, and improve their personal brand.
Publishing an e-book on Kindle isn’t difficult, but it does take a little more effort than just writing the text. Unlike traditional publishing, where the publishing house does all of the editing, graphic design, marketing and pricing, Amazon requires/allows the writer to be more involved with the publishing process.
Steps to Publishing a Kindle Business Book
1. Define your audience. Before you even write the first sentence, you need to know who you think your book will appeal to. As with selling any product or service, you need to know who your customers will be before you start producing the book.
2. Choose a Kindle program. Amazon offers several options for authors. Their Kindle Select program gives you some marketing help by including your book in their Kindle Lending Library (for Kindle Prime members) and giving you five free days (for which you still get paid.) However, for this, you agree to give Kindle exclusive rights to your book for 90 days. (That means you can’t sell it directly on your website or upload it to Nook.)
If you don’t want to give Amazon exclusive rights to your book for 90 days, you can still publish on Kindle. Your book just won’t be available in the Kindle Lending Library and you won’t have the free days.
Amazon offers two royalty programs for Kindle authors–70 percent and 35 percent. While that may seem like a “no-brainer,” there are a couple of strings to the 70 percent program. You must price your book between $2.99 and $9.99 and the Kindle edition of your book must be at least 20 percent lower than the physical book price (which likely won’t apply to you if you’re only publishing on Kindle.) Note: even if you don’t select the 70 percent royalty option, you must price your book at least at 99 cents.
3. Write your text. Now you’re ready to begin writing your book. Keep in mind that Kindle readers are hybrids of traditional readers and web readers. You want to aim for an easy-to-read format, similar to how you’d write a web page, with short paragraphs, lots of bullet points and lists, and plenty of white space.
Write your text in Microsoft Word and save it as an .html file. Don’t get too fancy, such as using a non-standard font; it won’t translate into the Kindle platform. Also, remember that in addition to your text, you’ll need a table of contents and a book description for the “Details” page.
4. Create or contract the cover art. Although your text may be brilliant, it’s your cover art that potential readers are going to notice first when they are browsing through screens of available books on Kindle. If you’re not an artist, this is an area where you want to invest a little bit of money. Although Amazon offers several cover templates for free, to make your book stand out, you really need a dynamic cover.
5. Proofread and then do it again. To me, the major difference in the quality of self-published Kindle books vs. books produced by publishing houses is in the proofreading and editing. Many, if not most, self-published Kindle books contain typos. Not only is this distracting to the reader, but it can compromise the authority of everything else that you are saying in your book. This is another area where you may wish to invest a little money and have someone else proofread your text. Another set of eyes can catch little mistakes that you, as the author, may overlook.
6. Format your book. Your finished ebook needs to be in a PRC format before you upload it to Amazon. Although you can do this yourself if you have some computer programming skills, you may want to outsource this step, too. Poorly formatted books (with page breaks and chapter headings in odd places) are difficult for the reader to navigate. If you do decide to do this step yourself, Amazon offers a tutorial to get you started.
7. Upload your book to Amazon. Once your book is properly formatted, it’s type to upload it to the Kindle store. Your book will be available in the Kindle store about 24 hours after you hit “save and publish.”
8. Market your book. e-books offer a great opportunity for unknown and first-time authors to get their books read by a large number of people. However, to be successful, you have to market your book aggressively. This means blogging about it, promoting it on your social media pages, participating in giveaway programs on sites like GoodReads and LibraryThing, and making books available to people who agree to review your book. Remember: with a Kindle book, you don’t have a publishing house media representative hawking your book for you.
The good news is that, with a Kindle book, you can see a direct relationship between your marketing efforts and your sales figures. Unlike traditional publishers who pay authors their royalties six months or more after the sale, Amazon gives you daily stats so you can monitor your progress.
However, you can also just use the fact that you are a “Published Author” be a branding point you use in other marketing. I personally have seen far more return on the fact that I’m a published author, than I actually have from book royalties.
Writing a short book on Kindle is a great way to add a new layer to your overall Internet business marketing plan. Just keep in mind that with a Kindle book, you have to do a lot of the work that traditionally was done by publishers.