With the recent changes at Amazon it is now easier than ever to self publish your own ebook.
Amazon’s programme called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is free and easy enough that most people with basic computer skills can do it for themselves.
As long as you’re able to follow simple instructions and your book is finished and in a Word format, you can upload it yourself. As for the cover, KDP requires that your cover be made as an image in a form such as JPEG or TIFF. The cover image should include the title and the author’s name.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) publishes your book directly to Amazon (US or UK). They provide the book in formats to be read on Kindles, iPhones, iPads, PC, Mac and Blackberry as well as other android devices. They’re royalty rate is 70% as long as you selling price is a between $0.99 and $2.99 and they pay monthly.
If you price your book below that you receive 35% royalties, still more than the traditional publisher’s 10-15%. For us in Botswana, they will pay us with a cheque when the royalties are above 100 USD or British Pounds. If you have a UK or US bank account, they can deposit the money directly into your account.
US tax law can be problematic, though. According to US law, 30% of the income you earn from royalties must be handed over to them. If Botswana has a tax treaty with the US (which I’ve been unable to verify) then you can fill a form and they will stop taking the 30%. If not, they take it.
Like all self publishing it is up to you how the book will look. My advice is to hire a professional cover designer because on Amazon a book is truly judged by its cover. If your cover looks unprofessional most readers will give the book a pass.
Also, as always, hiring a professional editor is important. There are millions of ebooks at KDP, you must do everything in your power to get your book to stand out from the crowd. Poor editing will not help you do that.
When your book is ready, all you need to do is open an account at Amazon to get started. After your book is up, it is now up to you to get marketing, to get people to buy and read your book.
In a study done last year by Smashwords it was found that the two main ways that readers chose ebooks they wanted to read was : first, “Recommendations from fellow readers on online message forums, blogs and message boards”; then second, “I look first for my favourite authors“. If you’re a new, unpublished author the second one is of no use to you, so you need to get people talking about your book online if you want them to buy it.
An interesting point that came out of this study was this: “…a combined total of 9% indicated that they buy a free ebook or try a free sample first, then buy additional titles if they like the author”. Although we’re groomed to believe that giving away something free makes it valueless, it looks like that may not be the case for ebooks. It might be the best way to get people talking about your book. You can always change the price later.