What to learn how to publish your ebook on Amazon Kindle? Here is a 9-step guide to get you started, complete with screenshots. Use this guide as a slightly more than a checklist for your Kindle publishing project. Going through all the steps will help you plan it and fit it into our schedule.
It will also alert you in advance to steps you may find especially time consuming or just not up your alley, allowing you to plan for, find and hire the correct outsourcing contractors to complete these particular modules.
Step 1. Write Your Book
Lots of people talk endlessly about writing a Kindle ebook: Not so many do it. If you are writing non-fiction, you need to come up with a hot topic. Checking out magazine stands, best seller lists and the Amazon marketplace itself will help you get an idea of what people are looking for nowadays.
Discount books written by celebrities. Those will be heavily promoted and subsidized, and won’t give you a true picture of what’s currently in demand, topic-wise.
Narrow your topic down to specific Kindle book categories. Come up with a dynamic Title if you can. (Don’t get too hung up on that, however: You can change it later. It just helps you get a feel for the character of your book, if you come up with a strong title at this stage.)
Write an outline. It will help you stay on topic and produce a much tighter, more focused book that feels professional and reads clearly.
Then sit down and start writing.
The Secret to Writing – and Finishing – Any Book
Schedule it. Don’t wait for inspiration. Ruthlessly put aside your feelings. Just give yourself a minimum word count per day that you have to write: Then stick to that minimum.
That’s the magic formula that published authors the world over have discovered.
(The real secret? If you make yourself do this every day, and turn off your Inner Critic, it soon becomes a habit. And that’s when you suddenly catch the wave and learn to surf!
And what a high it is, when you can’t wait to sit down at your computer in the morning (or evening, if that works better for you) and get started.
That’s how books are made.
Step 2. Proofing and Editing
Writing your book is a huge accomplishment for many, but it’s just the raw bones of your finished product. Put the book aside for at least a week if you can, and then come back to it and begin the process of proofing and editing.
Spell-check first, then proof it again for readability. Then proof it again for consistency. Then proof it again for flow. And run the spell checker a final time.
If you’re new to writing and have the budget, hiring an editor at this stage can free you up to continue with other projects and get the book ready for print a lot faster.
Step 3. Create your Ecover Image/Have it Created
Your ebook’s cover image is one of the most important components to getting your book approved by Amazon, being taken seriously as an author – and inspiring people to buy.
If you do not have solid art skills, don’t waste time or cut corners here: Hire an artist experienced in creating Kindle ecovers to produce a polished, vibrant product.
If you do have artistic experience, you still need to be totally familiar with ecover formatting for Kindle. Here are the requirements:
- Your cover image has to be in .JPG or .TIFF format
- Resolution: 72 D.P.I.
- Minimum size: 500 pixels wide X 1,000 pixels
- Maximum size: 1,250 X 2,000 pixels
- Maximum file size (interior photographs): 127k
Don’t use black and white photography for your Cover unless it is an essential part of your cover photo’s statement and enhances the book’s mood and premise. Your interior photographs will display in black and white on older Kindle versions, but your cover will always be competing with other richly-colored covers on Amazon’s Kindle book site.
Your cover photo should be 100% original. If you hire an artist to produce the artwork only (as opposed to producing the entire ecover) make sure she signs a “work-for-hire” clause, ceding all rights to you. Do this also if you hire a photographer to produce a photograph.
If you outsource through oDesk, perform due diligence to make sure the artist is not using improperly licensed stock photos. This is the sort of risk you take when you outsource through abnormally low-priced sites – but it can also help you unearth great talent.
If you purchase an image from a stock photo company, make sure you also purchase the correct commercial license. But original is always preferable.
Step 4. Do Your Own Formatting for Kindle/Have it Formatted for Kindle
So your book is ready to upload. Your ecover is also ready. You have a variety of options available as far as formatting tools go, but since you most likely created your ebook in MS Word, let’s take the easiest route – publishing it with KDP Select. Before we even begin to worry about the actual formatting process, however, you have to make sure your manuscript is Kindle format-ready.
If you don’t already know how to format for Kindle and you don’t want to outsource, download Kindle’s own Building Your Book for Kindle guide.
And before you upload your book, make sure you have created and thoroughly tweaked:
- Your Cover photo for the book
- Your Description
Research and know your keywords too, as well as the categories you’d like associated with your book. Finally, decide on a price for your book.
Step 5. Sign Up or Log Into KDP Select.
You may see a message like the one below in the upper, right-hand corner. Click on the anchor text: “Update Now”.
You will be taken to your account screen. Fill in any missing information. Put your real name. You will be able to choose a pen name later, if you’re planning to write for different niches or genres under different pen names.
Step 6. Upload Your Book
- If you don’t see the “Update Now” message, simply click on “Add New Title”.
Don’t be intimidated about uploading your first Kindle ebook. You will be able to “Save it as Draft”, and no one will see it until you are ready to publish.
When you click on “Add new title”, you’ll be taken to section # 1, “Your Book”. Beside it, you’ll see # 2, “Rights and Pricing”.
You will also see a window for the KDP Select program. Decide whether or not you want to be enrolled, and either check or uncheck the box accordingly. And if you need to find out more about it before making a decision, click on any of the anchor text links or visit KDP Select FAQs. (You can always enroll later, if you prefer.)
Next, start entering your book details…
As you can see, this phase is extremely easy and self-explanatory. Clicking on the little “What’s this?” anchor text brings up simple pop-ups explaining each step.
If this is a new book, enter “1” for edition number and if you don’t have your own publishing company (something you should definitely explore once you’re comfortable with the Kindle publishing process) enter your own name as Publisher.
Don’t skip clicking on each anchor link: None will take you away from your page.
Don’t enter an ISBN number or Publication date for now.
Notice that Amazon also offers you the option of setting up a series. (And in this screen shot, you can see how the pop-ups work.)
- Verify that you have the right to publish your content. If it is in the public domain, you cannot include it in the KDP Select program, and you must disclose its status here.
Otherwise, go ahead and select “This is not a public domain work…”
- Next, enter up to 7 keywords (single words or phrases); then click on the “Categories” button to choose the 2 main categories in which you want your work to be located.
- When you click on the Categories, a pop-up will open up.
If you can’t find the exact categories you want, you can either enter “NON-CLASSIFIABLE” and contact support while your book is being reviewed, letting them know the exact categories you’d like the book placed within… or pick a similar two categories for now. (You can always change it later.)
- Next, upload your book cover. It should be “camera-ready” – meaning all text should be in place, rather than just uploading the photograph alone.
Select “Browse for image” if your cover is ready and waiting on your hard drive.
An alternative is to use Kindle’s brand new Cover creator: However, since your cover is one of the most important selling tools for your book, careful pre-design is recommended.
- Once your image is selected and you see your filename in the pop-up, press the “Upload” button.
- Next, upload your book. If it contains images, upload it as a zip file.
IMPORTANT: While your book is being uploaded, you will see message asking you to click “Save and Continue”. Resist the urge to click “Save and Continue”, and instead select “Save as Draft”. (This enables you to thoroughly review your book before publishing it.)
- After your book is saved, you will see a green “successful” notification, just as you did with your book cover.
You may also see a notice alerting you to possible spelling errors.
Step 7. Preview The Formatted Version
Next, you will be offered the chance to preview your book. If you have prepared it in MS Word, go ahead and preview it online. If you have used formatting tools or prepared it in HTML, you may prefer the second option: To preview it by downloading one of the suggested tools. Once again, pop-ups are there to help you choose the right one.
If you preview online, you will be able to move back and forth between pages. If there are image errors, you will see them.
Since you have saved it as Draft (and even if you didn’t) you can simply go back, correct the errors in MS Word, update your TOC if you need to an re-save as “Web page, filtered”. (Remember to right-click on this file and “Send to” a zip file format after doing so.)
Once you close your Online previewer, press “Back to the Bookshelf”.
You will be taken back to where you started. You will see it displayed as your first Title, along with the status and the option to enroll it in KDP Select.
This gives you plenty of time to troubleshoot any glitches that showed up in the previewer or explore KDP Select further.
Step 8. Rights and Pricing
Once you’ve corrected your uploaded book and are ready to “Save and Continue”, do so. You will then be directed to continue on to the next page, # 2 Rights and Pricing.
Here you will be able to set your preferences for:
- Publishing Territories
- Royalty Rates
Here’s what Amazon offers you…
In other words, if you’re charging up to $2.98, you are locked into a 35% rate.
If you are charging $2.99 or more, you can choose a 70% royalty rate.
If you have decided to go with KDP Select, check their terms also. You may need to charge a different rate.
Step 9. Get Approved
Once you have made your pricing decisions and published your book, you will have 24-72 hours to wait for Amazon to review it and approve it. (Your actual book will appear for sale after 12 hours – but wait before promoting, because other approvals may not yet be in place.)
Use that time to implement your marketing and promo plan – and be ready to roll when you get the green light!
Most people get stuck when it comes to content publishing ideas. More than likely, the only content they can think of is “blog posts. But did you know there are at least 30 types of content you can publish online?
Here they are.
1. Blog Posts
We had to say it. But take note that short blog posts are going out of fashion again. Google has let it be known it will penalize blog posts that are so short, Google feels they are nothing more than excuses for ads and affiliate links. Their emphasis on “quality, original content” has all the top bloggers writing posts over 500 words long and very often, twice that number of words.
Still at the height of popularity, the latest trend is to impart information in visual format people can absorb with a single glance.
This works so well not so much because many people are visual learners, but because all of us internet-and-mobile age denizens have trained our brains to scan-and-glance digital content, to see if it’s worth spending time exploring further.
3. Slide Presentations
Social platforms such as SlideShare make it easy for people to share slide presentations. You can create these as stand-alone information modules… or as accessories for webinars you are holding.
Plus you can have people follow you from SlideShare – and share your work across other social networks.
4. Media Page
Every online entrepreneur should have a Media Page (section) on his or her blog or website. Within this tab, radio hosts, news reporters and readers should be able to find:
- Photos they can use (including your headshot)
- Archived newsletters
- Archived Press Releases
- Bio information
- The latest news about you/your business
And anything else you’d like them to share.
5. Skype Chat Text Interviews
This is a brand new, dynamic and interactive way to present Skype interviews – a live link for people to join in and a blog transcript for those viewing the post after the call has completed.
Again, you can generate shares and follows for this type of content – as well as sharing your interviewer/interviewee’s website link, as Vera Raposo of Creative Biz has done with Kristen Eckstein’s Ultimate Book Coach site.
6. Landing Pages
Short pages you send people to so they will sign up – either for your newsletter, a “freebie”, your website or blog – or a paid product.
7. Sales Pages
Not-always-longer versions of Landing pages, promoting your paid offer. Sales pages can come in many formats:
- Traditional long letter format
- Short landing page format
Pick the format that best suits your audience’s engagement style.
You can make your website more interactive by providing Podcasts — .MP3 audio files your visitors can listen to (or download, if you let them).
They can listen in real-time, if you provide a teleseminar phone link – and then enjoy the recording in podcast format on your blog.
9. Newsletter Archives
Everyone who owns a blog or website should have a newsletter – and archive old newsletter editions either on a Media page or in an Archives page.
Newsletters provide an instant history of your business. People can go through each newsletter, from your very first one, and see where you started out – and where you are now.
If your newsletters are high enough in value you can even choose to keep them in a hidden section for paid members of your membership site.
People will return again and again to your site if they know you have great resources such as templates at your site. These can be blog post templates, review templates – even HTML templates.
11. Tip Sheets
This is another desirable type of content to offer as a sign-up incentive on your blog or website. The key is to make it highly specific to their most pressing interest at this time – or to new technology that is affecting their niche: (E.g. “30 Tips For Making the Most of Facebook Changes”).
We don’t just mean “stick a picture in your blog post”. Image use should be an integrated strategy you use to brand your business and tell your story.
They should consistently support your online identity and “voice”.
13. Animated Gifs
There’s been such a prejudice against “distracting” animations; this is not a method most people think of, when it comes to content creation. Yet under the right circumstances, they can be used effectively.
There are two keys to creating a positive rather than a negative effect:
a) Choose a “loop” that looks natural repeating (e.g. a candle flame flickering, water gently tossing in a bay), rather than a moment in time endlessly replaying.
b) If you just want to catch attention, simply set the animation to repeat only once, as laid out in this Yahoo answer.
There are many free sites that allow you to create animated .gifs. Two that are easier than most are Lunapic and Makeagif, with tutorials and wizards respectively.
(Click on this link for an example of the sort of thing you can do.)
Every online entrepreneur should make videos and share them across platforms like YouTube, Pinterest and Vimeo. The real issue is what type of video best supports your business?
- “How to” demonstration
- “Talking head” update from you to your followers
- Recorded webinar with slides
- Video blog entry
15. Downloadable .PDF files
You can offer eBooks and reports in .PDF format as sign-up incentives for subscribing to your blog or website.
Another great sign-up incentive – or bonus. People love checklists – it helps make them feel organized in a world of chronic digital overwhelm!
17. Google Hangouts
You can host a meeting, interview or seminar by creating a “Hangout” within your Google+ account. Ask fellow Circle members to join you.
Better yet, choose the live streaming option to help it go viral, if it’s something you want everyone to see, and it will automatically be recorded and uploaded to your YouTube channel.
A Logo that captures in a blink the essence of your business (and helps people instantly think of it) is essential, if you’re branding your business rather than you, yourself.
19. White Papers
A “white paper” is much like a report, but is usually a formal presentation of statistics or a document analyzing something of great importance to your website visitors.
If your target market is corporate-minded, white papers are usually deemed of more value than “reports”.
20. About Page
This is one of your best pieces of online real estate. While you are talking about yourself, you are doing so to build identification and rapport with your ideal visitor, so even when talking about yourself, it should really be all about her.
Use your top keywords in your About page contest. And it’s a great spot to put a headshot, if you haven’t done so anywhere else on your site.
Bonus downloads and perks add value to your offers, blogs and websites. These can take any format – video, .MP3, tip sheets, reports…
And they can be created by you… or by a JV partner. (Pick the format your target customer or client would love best!)
A coupon can also add value to your offer or website. You can make them printable, if you have a local business… or give a coupon code at checkout to sweeten an offer.
Just be sure to set a start end date (and limit the number), to keep your ROI in the black!
23. QR Codes
Are your best paying customers avid Smartphone users? Then put QR codes on your website, blog, business cards, flyers, merchandise – and more.
You can also set this digital bar code to take people straight to:
- A telephone call (your number)
- A text message
- Your website
- A coupon or special offer
You don’t often see cartoons in digital marketing – but that’s all the more reason to consider using them, if your niche members are highly visual-oriented.
Sharing statistics can be a huge draw for many business niches. You can share them in:
- Chart format
- Graph format
26. FAQ Pages
Having a list of Frequently Asked Questions on your site is a great way to please visitors – and cut down on repetitive emails.
A FAQ page is also indispensable in your Affiliate section, if you have affiliates.
27. The Legal Stuff
If you are an affiliate marketer, you’ll know you need to provide a Disclaimer or Disclaimer Page, stating that you may receive compensation for recommendations.
Other types of “necessaries”:
- Terms of Service
Indispensable, if you’re a local business and want people to either visit your premises or see your range of service.
If you are recommending products, use a review template to provide consistent reviews.
Your aim should be to become a trusted resource for people in your niche, so that yours is the site they turn to first, when looking for product information.
30. “How to” Tutorials
These can be in video, diagram, audio, graphic or written format… or a combination of any of these. (An added bonus: “How-tos” turn your site into a resource.)
There are many more content types you can use on your website and/or social media properties – but whichever you choose, be original, unique – and tuned in to your visitors.
The best way to avoid random content publishing is to create a publishing calendar. This is a standard practice in the offline world. Think magazines and other regular publications. If magazine editors waited for inspiration or for free time, no magazine would ever get published. So how do they churn out high quality content, month after month?
By using an editorial calendar. And top bloggers have learned this secret too.
An editorial calendar is a plan for producing regular written or media content, at regular intervals (e.g. monthly) at a perfect pace. It leaves you with deadlines you can use as a roadmap. You won’t have gaps in your postings and there’s no chance for people to forget who you are or give up on your blog.
And it can help eliminate writer’s block and reactivity – the sort that leaves you realizing you forgot that your readers and subscribers were expecting Part Three of your series… yesterday!
1. Use the Method that Works Best With Your Learning Style
An editorial calendar is only useful if you use it. And if you set up a physical calendar that doesn’t work with your natural learning style, you’re more likely to forget to use it… or even, ultimately, abandon it.
a) If you are a kinesthetic learner who likes the hands-on approach, a paper calendar may be your best option. (Tip: You will most likely to be able to find plain desktop calendars with large enough slots to be useful in your local Dollar Store.)
Just be sure to put it in a place where you are likely to see it, rather than hiding it away in a desk.
b) If you are an aural learner, make an audio recording of your upcoming schedule.
c) If you are a visual learner, paper or digital will work – it’s just a matter of preference.
d) If you are a read/write learner, a dated, chronological list format will probably work better for you than a graphic calendar format.
If you want to find out or confirm your ideal learning style, try one of the free online questionnaires or quizzes, such as the VARK model.
(No sign-uprequired for the basic assessment.)
2. Create and Coordinate Monthly and Annual Calendars
Many people find that two versions of their editorial schedule work best:
- A monthly calendar (e.g. WordPress Editorial Plugin)
- An annual calendar (manual or digital)
The reason for this? On your Annual Editorial Calendar, you can enter important posts to tie in with events scheduled far down the road; or with seasonal events.
Then, every month when you sit down to fill out your monthly Calendar, a quick visual check with the Annual Calendar will allow you to transpose these events onto your monthly Calendar before you input new posts for the current month, making sure nothing gets double-booked – or missed.
(If you like the format in the example above, download it by going to Angela B.me.)
3. Use the WordPress Editor Calendar Plugin
If you use WordPress, then the free WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin can be your best post-scheduling friend. So do install it.
While you’re writing your posts or maintaining your blog, you have access to the Editorial Calendar at a click of the button. And you can log in and glance at your Calendar to see what you have to do today before writing a word.
4. Use MS Excel to Create Your Editorial Calendar
If you are more comfortable using Microsoft Excel or you are a text-based learner, you may find Excel the best tool for creating your Editorial Calendar.
Another reason for using MS Excel: If your business is highly fluid, and you know you are going to be tweaking and adjusting your Editorial Calendar perhaps more than the average blogger.
In fact, there are many MS Excel templates for doing precisely that. (You can download – without signing up; just right-click and save – a very nice template courtesy of Vertical Measures.)
5. Use Color Coding
If you are a visual or kinesthetic learner, try color coding the different cycles – then highlighting scheduled posts according to each cycle color.
This is also a fabulous trick if you have learning disabilities or any other form of cognitive impairment, as the visual stimulus and cueing helps you mentally “sort” and remember better.
You could also designate cycles by creating a Category field in your Calendar, along with corresponding two- or three-letter Category codes… or combine both categories and color coding. (Tip: Include a Legend at the top of your chart-style annual Calendar or beginning of your multi-page or monthly Calendar.)
6. Include Your Calls to Action in Your Editorial Calendar
Write down the call to action (CTA) for each item on your editorial calendar. Not only will this ensure you remember to include it in your blog post, but you will be able to more objectively judge the level of engagement your post is likely to create.
And yes: You could designate a color and highlight your CTAs too, if you wish
7. Learn to Think in Cycles
No matter what your learning style, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think in a linear fashion – I. E. A B C D E F G.
Your blog will feel fuller, richer, more organized and more enjoyable to your readers if you learn to schedule your blog in multiple cycles.
Take your Annual Editorial Calendar and go through using the following “cycles” (and any others unique to your business), one after the other:
- Seasonal cycle (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
- Holiday cycle (Christmas, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.)
- Events cycle (e.g. Annual Cycling Workshop, Victoria Day Race, etc.)
- Contest cycle (e.g. Summer Photo Challenge, Christmas Giveaway, etc.)
- Fiscal Cycle (e.g. . Your annual business quarter-years, from beginning to end)
- Product Cycle (All your scheduled, upcoming product launches)
- Sales Cycles (High and low buying trends – base these on previous sales metrics)
Learning to plan your editorial calendar in this fashion will really help ingrain your business’ “big picture” in mind – and make much better business (and editorial) decisions.
8. Formalize Your Editorial Calendar Management Protocol
It really doesn’t matter whether you alone update the calendar and distribute information, or your authors or staff are allowed to cross things off and add them – the important thing is a clear understanding of the ground rules – and a clear chain of communication.
image source: pixabay
So decide on…
a) Who will update the Editorial Calendar(s)
b) How the Editorial Calendar(s) will be updated
c) Who will notify the rest of the team of necessary changes or completions
d) How they will do this
Making sure everyone understands the system is the best way to avoid scheduling conflicts or omissions.
9. Create Other Types of Editorial Calendar too
Consider adding social media coding – or a separate Social Media Editorial Calendar. If you don’t coordinate your social media campaigns with your posts, you could be missing opportunities to allow each platform – blog and social media – to enhance the other.
Plan on the keywords you are going to use in your social media posts, as well as in your blog posts. Align these with ad campaigns, if you are planning any. (Yes. Have an Advertising Editorial Calendar too.)
You can download the Social Media and Blogging Editorial Calendar template illustrating this tip simply, without sign-up, from Eydie’s Office.
And if handling multiple versions of Editorial Calendar seems too overwhelming – start off with just one, for your blog.
10. Consider Publishing Your Upcoming Editorial Calendar
Not only will it inspire you to meet your own deadline (since there is nothing more lame than not following through to your readers) but you may attract quality submissions – leaving you with great content to use for your blog and the time to plan next month’s editorial calendar in comfort.
You don’t have to publish it in full Editorial Calendar format: You can simply make sure you create a section of upcoming stories (with Submission Guidelines) on your website or blog, just as many online magazines and publishing companies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul does.
But when all is said and done, remember that Editorial Calendars are simply tools: Only you can decide what type works best for you.
And, of course, they’ll be no use unless you use them!