Publishing your first book on Kindle isn’t hard, but there are several pitfalls to avoid. So below I’ve listed several things you need to know and do to make your kindle project a success.
1. Keep it simple. If you know me well, you’ll know I’m a big believer in keeping everything as simple as possible. So if this is your first time publishing on Kindle, don’t try to write “War and Peace.” as a first time author because unless you’re incredibly gifted (and lucky), you’ll fail. Instead, choose a few blog posts you can edit or a small eBook you’ve written to make the process as easy and simple as possible. Later when you’ve got a book or two under your belt you can get more extravagant with your writing.
2. In your introduction, or at the very beginning of the book, let them know the version they’re reading might not be the latest version, and all they have to do to get free updates is visit your website. Give them the URL, and on the page ask for their email address in exchange for the updates. You’re now building a mailing list which is super important.
3. Make sure your sample is a juicy one. Amazon is going to offer the first 10% of your book as a sample to prospective readers. Doing the math, if your book is 50 pages, then the first 5 pages are what the reader will see for free. These pages should grab the reader and make them want to purchase your book, so if you need to move something juicy to the front, by all means do so. Best option of all: Use these first pages as an intro that explains all that will be covered in the book itself, along with at least 2 juicy bits of info the reader can immediately put to good use.
4. Proof read and edit it. Twice. Then have someone else proof read and edit it for you as well, and if you’re super paranoid like me, then proofread it again. I’m a grammar/spelling Nazi and nothing annoys me more than reading a kindle book that hasn’t been proof read correctly (and you can always tell). It spoils the whole experience for me. One of the biggest complaints about Kindle books is the lack of proof reading and editing, I suspect you want customers to come back and purchase from you again, right? If they can’t understand your writing or they’re getting distracted by misspellings, then the odds are they won’t be back, and they may even leave you a negative review. (Reviews are king on Kindle)..
5. Get your formatting right. This may take a bit of tinkering and hopefully the process becomes easier in the future. For now, I recommend copying your document into a text editing program and setting the space option to 1-space. Now remove those spaces between the paragraphs (if you have them) because they’ll create huge holes in the Kindle edition. The only place you will leave a line space is just before a headline within your text. Now save your document as a Word document.
6. Create a professional, eye-catching cover. Amazon will create a cover for you if you don’t have one, but I recommend creating your own. If you’re not comfortable using a Photoshop type of program, get someone on Elance or any of the other outsourcing websites to make one for you. It’s worth the $20 to $50 you’ll pay. Money tight? Then there’s always Fiverr.com to utilize.
7. Write a descriptive, benefit laden tag line. If you go to Amazon, you’ll notice you sometimes see a rather long tagline flowing after a book’s title. This is a good thing, since it’s likely to be read by your prospective buyer, and it’s the perfect place to showcase what your book can do for them. For example, there’s a Kindle book written by Oliver Ramsey on how to grow tomatoes. I don’t know if the book’s content is worthwhile or not, but I do know he’s got a great tagline: How to Grow Tasty Tomatoes: Best practices for planting seeds, dealing with diseases and growing amazing tomatoes including a few tasty homemade tomato recipes. Since the book is 99 cents, that’s almost all you need to make a buying decision.
8. Speak directly to your potential Kindle buyer in the description area when you load your book to Kindle. You can even place a link here to your blog or website to make them feel more comfortable (and to possibly get them added to your mailing list.) Give them a good idea of the benefits of reading your book so they know why they should buy it and what they can expect when they do. Make your description about 200 words long, and use your best keywords.
9. Write a longer description and a Twitter/Facebook sized description. The long one will be used on your Amazon author page, and the short one will be used in your social media marketing.
10. Go to here and create an account if you haven’t already done so.
11. Consider joining the KDP Select program, where you give your eBook away on Amazon in return for a share of royalties from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Fund. When a person “borrows” your book, you earn money. The big benefit here is you get more exposure and more readers. However you aren’t allowed to sell it elsewhere so weigh your options carefully.
You can also sign up for a day or two of free promotion. Your book is then free to everyone. This can give you a boost in the sales rankings, making your book more visible when it’s no longer free, thus hopefully resulting in more sales. Plus, while you’re giving it away for free you can still capture email addresses by giving them an incentive to sign up for updates inside your book. You can learn more here…
12. Upload your document and view it on the mock Kindle reader. How does it look? Did you leave spaces where you shouldn’t have? If you need to go back and correct something, do it now before you publish. You can download a reading app to your desktop as well.
13. Now you wait. Once you’ve got your file and cover uploaded, it takes 24 to 72 hours for it to appear in the Kindle store. (Often much sooner than that).
14. Once your book is online, let the world know. Email your list, broadcast it on your social media networks and blog about it.
15. Ask people you know to review your book. Amazon loves reviews, and so do Amazon buyers. Do not submit a review yourself – if Amazon catches you, you will be banned.
16. Set up your Author Central listing. Add blog feeds, multimedia, Twitter feed or even events. And don’t forget to put a link to your own website as well.
Ok I’ve given you a brief overview of what to do, let me know when your book is uploaded, give me a link and I’ll try and give you a review…
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