Sunday, 16 September 2012

How to publish an ebook on Amazon.

Publishing your ebook (or kindle) on Amazon is very easy. Some would say too easy. Here's how I did it for Paint Me a Picture. Try at your own risk!

1. I wrote the book. It took ten years and many, many rewrites. Taking that long isn't necessary but I do think you should take as long as you need to get it as good as you can.

2. I had help. When I started I was attending writing classes run by June Hampson and I belong(ed) to several online and one 'real life' writing group. All these people helped me a great deal. Although you needn't take a course nor join a group if you don't want to, I do feel it's very important you get at least a couple of people to read your book and give feedback. You don't have to do what they suggest, but you should consider their opinions.

3. I had it proofread (by Helen Baggott). If you're sure you can spot and correct every single typo, extra space, spelling mistake, inconsistency and missing or surplus punctuation mark then you can skip this stage.

4. My husband created the cover. Marrying a brilliant and amazingly good-looking, enigmatic photographer with excellent computer skills and artistic flair* is a good idea if you intend to self publish. If you're already married to someone who doesn't fit that description you'll have to create your own cover or pay someone to do it for you.

Make sure you have permission to use any images you select and that the title and your name can be read on screen at the size the image will appear on Amazon. Save it as a JPEG or TIFF. It needs to be at least 1000 pixels on the longest side and have a ratio of 1 to 1.6 (or 1000 x 1600). You don't need a huge file size, 'medium' quality is fine.

*I'll be writing more books so I need him to know his efforts are appreciated ;-)

5. Next you need to format the document. That's slightly fiddly.

If you've used Word, Neo Office or Open Office then any italics and bold should work fine and if you've used the return key to start each paragraph they'll be OK too. Most other formatting might not work. Tabs and spacings will need to be replaced. Do this by using the software's formatting menu to insert an indent at the start of every paragraph and a space after each (assuming of course that you want your paragraphs indented and a small space between each).

Remove page numbers and other headers and footers - they won't appear where you want them.

I found it helpful to remember that ereader users can resize the font and therefore what is one page to one reader could be half a page or two pages to another. That means if you want something (a chapter for example) to start on a new page you need to insert a page break.

Use that funny shaped backwards P thingy to show any spaces between paragraphs you've put in so you can remove them. It helps for showing missing or extra spaces between words and sentences too.

If you're going to have an index you'll need to insert tables and use bookmarks but ensure you don't rely on page numbers. I skipped that bit.

If you're adding photos, diagrams, tables etc. you can't just copy and paste them in. You'll need to insert them and compress them into a zipped file that you upload separately. I skipped that bit too.

Once you're done, save the document as an HTML file.

6. Now register on Amazon and upload the files. There are plenty of help features in case you get stuck.

You'll probably want to add a 'blurb' (as a product description). Good luck writing that, they're a nightmare.

You'll have to decide if you want to register with KDP Select (if you intend doing a free promotion you'll need to), pick a selling price (VAT at 3% will be added for UK other tax as appropriate elsewhere), tell them how you want to be paid and fill in personal details.

The cover is uploaded separately as are inserted images etc.

7. Check the book once it's uploaded. There's an app thingy to download for that. Note I said check 'the book' not 'skim through a couple of pages'. Go back and fix anything you're not happy with and upload again.

8. Click the button to publish.

9. Wait for the cash to roll in.

10. Realise No. 9 is never going to happen all by itself and start promoting your book. I've had help with that too! The Terrific Teresa, Super Sue, Devine Diane, and Scintillating Shannon have all, very kindly, interviewed me to help spread the word.

I'd like to help others just a tiny bit in return. If you've self published an ebook yourself feel free to give the title, brief description and a link to where it's available as a comment. If you ever decide to offer it as a free promotion let me know and I'll try to post the link in a blog post.

I hope you found these 'instructions' useful. If you did, please tweet or share on facebook (using the little icons under the post if you like) post a link somewhere or, you know, buy my book. *flutters eyelashes*

35 comments:

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    1. I'm sure every writer hopes No 9 will work, Alex.

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  2. Thanks, Patsy - hope I can find this to refer to in ten years' time when I've finished mine!

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    1. Hopefully yours won't take quite so long, Linda.

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  3. Thanks Patsy, will follow your instructions for our Colchester WriteNight anthology and let you know how we get on x.

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    1. Good luck - and please do let me know how it goes.

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  4. Thanks so much, Patsy, for nice easy instructions on how to do this!!

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  5. Thanks for the helpful post; generous as always.

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    1. Yeah well you've never seen me with cake or chocolate, L!

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  6. Great post, Patsy - it's all very daunting when you set out to publish on Kindle and it's nice to read some straight forward, understandable advice :-) x

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    1. I'm having a 'do daunting stuff' year, Teresa!

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  7. I agree with Linda - though I might try to copy this for future reference!

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    1. It'll still be here when you want it, Lizy - although I can't guarantee the system will stay the same on Amazon.

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  8. Thanks, Patsy. I will keep this for reference purposes.

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  9. This looks like a really useful post, thank you! I have read quite a lot of self-published ebooks and hate it when they are badly formatted. Haven't read yours yet but have just bought it - looking forward to it!

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    1. Thanks so much for buying it, Womag. Hope you enjoy it.

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  10. A good overview, Patsy - one of my writing friends shared the info too and I put a little short story collection last year on as an experiment!

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    1. I'm going to be doing a short story experiment soon, Rosemary.

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  11. Wow, great info Patsy! Will bookmark it to use as future reference ;)

    Xx

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  12. You make it sound so easy, Patsy! Thanks :-)

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    1. It wasn't difficult, Annalisa - just a bit fiddly.

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  13. That's been really useful, Patsy. Thanks for the information.

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  14. Well done marrying someone who can double as a cover artist! Why didn't I think of that. ;)

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    1. You have to take these things into account, Rachel!

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  15. Self-publishing success is in the details. You've covered the most important steps very well in this post. Thanks, Patsy!

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  16. Details and publicity and luck, I suspect, Sandra.

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  17. Like most newfangled technology I suppose it's easy once you know how, but it's the learning part that takes so much time and effort. Think I'll stick to my Plan A for a while and try my luck with traditional publishers. But if that doesn't work I'll be back!

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  18. Thank you for this post. As a person who might be self-publishing down the line, depending on how my next round of submissions go, this will be a really helpful guide.
    Fiona

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  19. Linda, if you can get published by a traditional photographer, that's still the best bet I think.

    Fiona, I wish you luck whihever route you take.

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Thanks so much for commenting!