With the rise of popularity for eBooks to read on everything from smart phones, e-readers, tablet and slate PC’s, many authors are making a lot of money from digital publishing and bypassing print all together.
We have reported last month the Top 10 ebook Best Sellers, which would be a good way to evaluate if self publishing in the ebook landscape is a good idea.
Today we take a look at the largest eBook store on the internet, and give you tips and tools that you will need in order to begin construction of your ebook to the final upload to Amazon, as well as information to consider during the entire process. This guide is based on the fact that you have already written the book in Doc or Txt format.
Part 1 – E-Book Construction
Make sure you cover is visually interesting and will captivate viewers. Many ebooks by unknown authors are normally impulse buys and in order to reel in potential sales, you have to make sure your cover is interesting enough for people to want to know more about your ebook. Most people who are writers are not graphic designers. We recommend paying a graphic designer to put together the cover for you. If you do not have much money, you can try hiring a graphic artist from sites such as Craigslist, Sitepoint, or Digital Point, where most of the graphic designers are either students, or living in other countries such as India, Pakistan and lower income countries in Asia. If you are going to go this route, make sure to ask the potential applicants to cite previous examples of covers they have done for ebooks, or past projects. If money concerns are not an option, you can deal with freelance.com or other graphic arts businesses in your city of residence. Make sure the cover is done in JPEG format, as this is one of the most acceptable formats for ebook distribution.
Table of Contents
To get published and have your ebook be arresting to the viewer, you need a table of contents. This makes sure that people can jump to specific chapters in your book with ease. This is important for a few reasons; say you have a cook book, and you want people to be able to jump to the section on Cookies or Chicken. Many other publishing companies aside from Amazon make it mandatory to have a Table of Contents in your ebook.
One of the best programs to use in the construction of your Table of Contents is the Mobipocket eBook Creator. This program will allow you to construct an ebook, implement a table of contents, and then save your ebook in a format generally accepted by Amazon, such as Mobi or AZW – which are Amazon’s formats for ebooks. You can check out the full guide on the construction of the table of contents HERE
Summary: So now you have an ebook constructed. You have the book you wrote ready and have now implemented a Cover and the Table of contents that are all hyperlinked properly to each chapter and everything looks great. Now it is time to make a Publishing Account on Amazon and start uploading your ebook.
Part 2 – Making a Publishing account and Submitting your eBook
For independent publishers:
Amazon has made a portal for you to use and manage your uploaded ebooks called the DTP or Amazon Digital Text Platform. After you have visted the link, it will ask you to create an account in order to procede. The account process is by the numbers and very intuitive, so follow their instructions during the account creation process and you will not have a problem.
Now you might be wondering what Amazon Digital Text platform really does. In short it is a self publishing tool that allows you to upload books to be sold in Amazon’s Store. Users will be able to read it on a Kindle E-Reader, a Smart Phone, or on the PC, with Kindle 2 PC. Commonly writers submit novels, technical documentations, Scientific reports, or instruction manuals. The service is completely free to use. The only downside is that you have to be a USA Resident and you need a USA bank account in order to get paid.
Amazon has just recently bumped up their payout for authors on the DTP to 70%, which means for every ebook sold, Amazon keeps 30% of the profits and you get the rest. They normally pay out once a month on average and when you hit a certain threshold of money made from sales.
Once you have created an account, you will be able to login and start uploading your ebooks. If you have any concerns about this process, you can consult the Amazon Forums or their Kindle Publishing Guide.
Once you have logged into the DTP you want to click on Add New Title and fill out all of the information included in the form. At the very bottom you can upload your ebook and then do a preview to see exactly how it would look on an Amazon Kindle E-Reader. We strongly advise you to preview it and edit it to make sure it works perfectly. Remember badly constructed ebooks – especially from a first time author – can be a blight on your record, and word of mouth will get around for people to not spend money on your ebook.
Summary – Now you have your ebook made, in a proper Amazon format, you have your table of contents, your book is properly formatted and you have made your account and everything seems to be good. Now we will take a look at Pricing of your eBook and a marketing strategy you should employ for people to know about your book.
Part 3 – Marketing of your eBook and Establishing a Price
Establishing a proper price point
Setting your entry level price is the last thing you need to do in order to submit your ebook to Amazon for manual review to start selling in their Store. If you are a first time author, we recommend setting your price between $2.00 and $5.00. This is a great entry level price for people to take a chance on you, and discover your writing for the first time. We would not recommend having your price more than that because higher ebook costs are normally reserved for authors who have a few/many ebooks under their belt, and an established track record. Think long and hard about your price. You want to have it as low as possible in order to attain a loyal following.
After you have submitted your ebook to Amazon and established your price, one of the final aspects – usually not employed by first time authors – is marketing strategy.
It is just not enough to publish an ebook and hope the money starts rolling in. There are a ton of free and low cost alternatives to employ in order to drum up attention to your ebook on Amazon.
The day your ebook goes live, you want to issue a press release in order to get the ball moving. There are a ton of Free Resources and Paid Resources.
If you have taken the time to to write an ebook, ideally you want the best press release service. Currently the ideal one you want to utilize is a paid service called PRWEB With their highest paid package ($350) it sends your press release all over the internet, including CNN, USA Today and many more. If you want to do a free press release, we suggest visiting this LINK for more information. If you want to learn how to write a press release, visit this LINK.
One of the least employed methods to drive up attention is to utilize Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. Its important to use the name of your book and the authors name for the accounts you make. Once you have made accounts on these services, start posting information, inviting people to be your friends, and include all of this information in your press release, so people can easily find you. One of the benefits of a new book is that you can comment in other Facebook Groups that talk about ebooks, and other things.
Using Youtube can be an advantage when you are self promoting your ebook. Making quick trailer videos is a sure way to get the video surfing crowd aware of your product. The first thing you want to do, is make a new Youtube video account in the author’s name or the book title. Then you want to use either a video camera or a webcam to make basic videos. You can also pay people to make videos for you. Arbutus Media is one such company that will make videos for you and handle that aspect of your distribution campaign.
Posting on Forums
Having a forum campaign is very important in letting people know about your new ebook. The two best forums normally used by idependant authors is MobileRead and our own Good E-Reader Forum. Both of these forums are patrolled by many readers and e-readers alike. This is a great source to talk to people and answer any questions that people may have.
So this wraps us up for a brief tutorial on how to self publish ebooks and also market them effectivly using the Amazon eBook Store. If you have any comments please let us know! You can easily comment on any of our stories if you have a Twitter or Facebook account! You can normally comment in 1 click. Be sure to stay tuned to our E-Reader Blog for our next story, how to self publish on Smashwords (which will also get you listed on the iBookstore)
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.