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How to Publish on Amazon

Are you writing your first book and considering self-publishing on Amazon but don't know how to do it? Fear not, for I am here to show you.

The first thing you'll need to do, obviously, is finish your book. Get it good and ready. Clean it up as best you can before sending it off to an editor (I strongly recommend hiring one if you can afford it). Make sure it's thoroughly proofread (hint: I can help with that).

Okay, so now that you have it done, it's time for the fun part. Head on over to kdp.amazon.com and create a Kindle Direct Publishing account. Once you do that, you'll have a dashboard where you can manage all the books you put on there. You can even save books as drafts before publishing.

Kindle Setup.jpg

Next, click on "Create a New Title" and choose "Kindle eBook." You can also choose "Paperback" if you want. More on that later. Anyway, it should bring you to the above screen. Here, you'll have to fill in the various fields. The first page is for metadata like book title, series title, category, keywords, and so forth. The second page is for the actual book content such as the manuscript itself and book cover. The third page is for pricing and royalties selection.

For the eBook version, the hardest part will be formatting it to look good on a Kindle reader. I recommend using Calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/). Alternatively, you could pay someone on Fiverr to do it (https://www.fiverr.com/). If you go that route, I recommend the seller "iamgigpower" as she'll get it done right for cheap. Now, with Calibre, you have a bunch of different options for which format to book your book in. I normally go with a mobi as that works pretty well most of the time. However, you can't preserve Asian characters in a mobi file, so keep that in mind.

The other part that might cause you trouble is the cover, although an eBook cover is a hell of a lot easier than the jacket you'll have to create for the paperback version. You can upload your own cover or use Amazon's cover creator. I've done this a few times, and while you can get a decent cover out of it, I highly recommend commissioning a custom cover. You can find plenty of artists willing to take on the job at DeviantArt. (https://www.deviantart.com/). See Amazon's own guidelines for submitting a cover: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200645690.

Once you've verified it looks good on the previewer Amazon provides for you, and the cover looks good, and you've got all the details entered, you're ready to publish. Hit that "Publish" button and the book will be sent to Amazon to be reviewed before they put it on the Kindle store. This usually happens within a day barring no problems.

Now, let's talk about the paperback version. Many of the steps are the same aside from the manuscript and cover. For the paperback manuscript, you'll want to save your Word file as a pdf. I use PDF Architect (https://download.pdfforge.org/download/pdfarchitect7). To save as a pdf, you go to print it but choose PDF Architect as your printer.

Finally, we need to discuss the jacket. This is the single hardest thing you're likely to encounter in all of this. Amazon is very strict about this. Be sure to get Amazon's cover template: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/cover-templates.

Amazon Jacket.jpg

After you submit your jacket, you have to use the previewer to make sure everything fits. See that red dotted border? No text or graphics can extend beyond that. Also, if your back doesn't include a barcode, Amazon will add one for you. Make sure you leave room for it. It can take many tries to size your jacket correctly if your cover artist can't get it right. Here's my method. 1.) Get the template 2.) Re-size image to match template 3.) In PDF Architect, go to Create --> From Any File and choose the jacket. It should create a pdf of just the right size for Amazon.

Once you're ready, hit "Publish" and the book will go to Amazon for a review. If there are serious problems, you'll have to fix them before they'll let you publish.

Whew. That took a while to write. I hope it helps!