How to Publish a Kindle Book: A Quick Guide
Kindle is a gold mine for voracious readers. I read two or three books per month on a regular basis and listen to audio books as well.
New books are released every day and every reader can even find thousands of really good books by many established writers for zero dollars; everything from Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” to the New International Version Bible are free for a particular period of time. For those who wish for a bigger selection, get ready to spend—although not as much, because e-books are more cheaply priced than the physical ones. It’s certainly no wonder more and more folks are opting to just purchase e-books because they get a big library of fantastic reads without having to dedicate physical space for storage.
The alternative experience provided by e-books is becoming more preferred by many; therefore, if writers want to quickly get their work out there and earn faster, publishing on Kindle is something to seriously consider.
Everyone has a story to tell. The main advantage of publishing on Kindle is that it’s willing to take in a new writer’s work—unlike most publishing houses that make the process quite difficult for newbies. If you’re such a writer and you wish to publish your stories and other written material digitally first, but you’re clueless when it comes to the process, here is a step-by-step guide on how to publish a Kindle book.
Choose between KDP Select and Kindle Direct Publishing. While both options will make your book available on Kindle (and you get 70 percent royalties for books that sell anywhere between $2.99 and $9.99), with KDP Select, your e-book cannot be sold anywhere else—it’s exclusively for Kindle or Amazon. With such conditions, along with several others, you really need to study the two options and determine how far and wide you want your book’s reach to be. See below for more information about KDP Select.
Come up with a good e-book cover. Just like a traditional hardbound or paperback book, your e-book also needs a good cover because that’s going to be one of the sales elements of your work. Don’t have design skills? MGR has a team of designers that can help you with this. We can come up with a variety of options and concepts and take care of book cover design for you.
From the original format of your text, convert it to mobi because it’s specific to Kindle. You can learn the process online or get technical help, but it’s best that you learn if you intend to publish more books in the future. For this, you will need to download KindleGen and KindlePreviewer; the former will convert HTML files to mobi while the latter, on the other hand, will show you how your cover will display on different versions of Kindle.
Open Scrivener to find KindleGen; the Compile function will take care of the conversion. All you really need to do is customize the format according to your preference and follow it up by heading to KindlePreviewer to see if you like how the text appears.
Publish and set the price of your e-book. Uploading is easy: Select two categories or the sections of the Kindle bookstore where buyers can find your work. Afterwards, add a maximum of seven keywords that will lead readers to your book (keywords basically are search terms potential buyers will use to get to books that share your genre or topic). Upload your cover, and you’re ready for the actual upload for which you’ll head to “Browse” and select your mobi file. The moment it has loaded, check it one more time with the Online Previewer, then “Save & Continue” to move on to the Pricing section. Voila! You’re now a published author.
Book publishing and authorship –when done right- is a great way to grow your business. You can also use your books as anchors to capture new leads. Combined with the power of Amazon’s own marketing power, you can potentially reach out to an audience of millions of shoppers and readers that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
KDP Select Explained
KDP requires you to sign up for the program. When you do that, you agree to the fact that your book will be “locked in” for 90 days. During this 90 day period, you receive five free promotional days to give away your eBook for free. After the five days, your eBook will be listed for sale for all visitors for a pre-set price. Also, during the initial 90 day period, your eBook will be available in the Kindle Owner’s Library.
The Kindle Owner’s Library is an exclusive option for Amazon Prime Members and it allows them to borrow eBooks for their Kindle devices. It does not apply to Kindle apps running on non-Kindle devices (iPad, etc.). Amazon Prime Members can borrow your eBook at no cost for an entire month. When someone borrows your eBook, you still earn money. The amount you earn is calculated based on the Monthly Global Fund Amount which varies from month to month as well as the total number of pages read in the month.
Here’s Amazon’s explanation of how KPT Select Royalties work.
The share of fund allocated to each country varies based on a number of factors, such as exchange rates, customer reading behavior, and local subscription pricing. Author earnings are then determined by their share of total pages read.
Here are some examples of how it would work if the fund was $10M and 100,000,000 total pages were read in the month:
- The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
There are other important conditions when you enroll in KDP Select.
Apart from the assigned five days that your book will be distributed free, you must have a price amount for your eBook that is at least 99 cents. Amazon has additional restrictions with this program placed as a condition to take advantage of their promotional tools.
You cannot sell or distribute the book on your blog, website, or any other type of online source or given away as a promotional bonus.
You cannot make it available on any other platform or format, including iBooks, Nook, PDF, etc. In other words, you are giving Amazon EXCLUSIVE rights to your eBook distribution for the first 90 days.
At the end of the 90 days, you have the option to renew your enrollment and at that point, you will automatically receive five additional free promotional days.
Amazon does give you the option to opt out of the KDP Select program before your 90 day period is over. If you do so, you will be able to sell and distribute your eBook anywhere you want, and it will still be available on the Kindle store, however, you will not be able to use any of Amazon’s promotional tools.
Here are some Useful Links:
Sales Royalties FAQ
As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave me a note below and I will reply to you. Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR).