As I promised in a past column, I would let you know how I fare with the new self publishing arm of Amazon- Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
It is a free service where you can publish your own ebooks. I have a series of four detective/thriller novellas all featuring my protagonist, Detective Kate Gomolemo of the Gaborone CID. The first book, The Fatal Payout, is currently being reading in junior secondary schools in the country, and is the only one I do not have the ebook rights to.
The second book, Murder for Profit, is published by Pentagon Publishing but I have the ebook rights. The second, Anything for Money, is published by Vivlia Publishing in South Africa and again I kept the ebook rights. The final one Claws of a Killer has not been published as a print book. All three of these books I intend to self publish as ebooks on Amazon.
I’m lucky that two of the books have already been edited by professional editors when they were published as print books. Still before publishing, I did complete re-edits on all three books.
Although the KDP folks say you can upload a manuscript as a Word document, it must be formatted properly or your ebook will not look right. I download a free ebook from Amazon called Building Your Book For Kindle. This book explains how the formatting must be done in a simple way. I followed it and it made the process much easier.
Your book cover must be done separately. It should not be part of the Word document that is your manuscript. It needs to be saved separately as a JPEG file. Again, Building Your Book For Kindle explains all of the requirements.
My technical skills are limited so I hired someone to do my covers. I wanted them simple and in limited colours (see them above) . I hired Alastair Haggar at Kgogomodumo (firstname.lastname@example.org) to do all three of my covers. I wanted them to have a common theme as I intend to launch them all on the same day.
Once my manuscript and cover were ready it was time to upload my book to Amazon. First you must open an account which is easy enough if you have an email address. Then you go to your bookshelf page and begin assembling your book. It’s very easy. You just answer the questions as you go along. Everything on the page can be edited later if you change your mind about something except for the question about digital rights management (DRM). DRM is like a lock on your book that prevents people from sending it to others. Most people nowadays do not use DRM but it is up to you. Just know there is no going back once you choose it.
You also need to make a decision about the Kindle Select Programme. This is a lending library of ebooks. If your book is borrowed, you earn some money. I’ve read a few articles written by authors who have later made sales of their ebook after it was in Kindle Select. My plan is to let one of my books be in the programme in an attempt to get readers interested to buy the other two books in the series.
I found the process very simple. I’ve so far uploaded two of the books, and am working on the formatting and edits of the final one. When all are up, I will publish them on Amazon. That is when the real work will begin. With millions of books in the KDP programme, how will I get readers to find mine? That is what I need to learn. I’ll keep you posted.