Just a few years ago, trying to get a manuscript published was like searching for the Holy Grail, or, my favorite metaphor, emptying out the Atlantic Ocean one spoonful at a time.
Then along came Amazon.com’s digital publishing program allowing authors to upload their books to make them instantly available for sale to owners of e-book readers, smartphones, tablets, PCs and other devices. These readers of e-books buy the books, Amazon collects the money and then pays a royalty ranging from 35 % to 70 %, deposited directly to the author’s checking account. Cost to the authors? Nothing.
For many writers, the only stumbling block remaining is the mechanics of actually how one publishes on Amazon.
Author James Byrd, guest posting on social media coach Andrea Vahl’s Web site, recently did one of the better jobs of plainly explaining this simple process. He distilled the procedures into three easy steps, so painless that if you have a finished manuscript today, you might well have it online and selling tomorrow.
Step One: Prepare the manuscript
Step one is to get your manuscript ready in Microsoft Word. Keep things simple by eliminating all fancy formatting which may skew the uploading and converstion process. Forego bullet lists, tables, headers, footers, special fonts. Keep pictures to a minimum.
Step Two: Create an Amazon.com account
Open a Kindle Direct Publishing account at Amazon.com. Go to kdp.amazon.com. Either sign in with your existing Amazon account, or click a link to create a new account. Follow the instructions on subsequent pages. When choosing how to be paid, many authors choose the direct deposit option – to get their royalties quicker.
Step Three: Upload the book
Some newcomers get confused when selecting a royalty rate for the book. The rate can be 35 % or 70 %. To get 70 %, Amazon requires a book to be priced between $2.99 to $9.99. More or less than that and the royalty drops to 35 %. When you finish, it will take a day or two for your book to go live on Amazon.com.
If your manuscript and your book cover are already finished, you could get them uploaded to Amazon in perhaps just a few hours, allowing time for formatting and adding “front matter” (title page, copyright page, table of contents, author bio). Even sooner, if the manuscript is already ready for an instant upload.
For more information on all aspects of getting published on Amazon.com, see Amazon’s tutorial at kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help.
Remember, though, that publishing a book, as lofty an accomplishment as that is, is just half the work. The other half is promotion. For information on publicizing and promoting your book, see A 25-YearPublicist’s Guide to Promoting Your Book.