Cheryl Ives asked us how to publish and sell ebooks on Amazon. Since this is a large subject we’ve broken it down into a series called Publishing and Selling eBooks with Amazon. Today I’ll cover how to upload your book to Amazon.
Congratulations, you have officially finished your manuscript. It is back from your professional editor. Your beta readers loved it. The cover is magnificent. It is official: your baby is ready to be uploaded to Amazon. But wait, what does that mean? How do you do it? What is involved?
Amazon has made this process really easy, however, it is time consuming so definitely take your time. I love the saying you never have a second chance to make a first impression. Amazon has a wonderful FAQs section that gives users thorough descriptions of the questions most asked. Taking the time to ensure that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed saves not only headaches in the long run, but poor impressions and low ratings due to poor formatting.
Step 1: The page for uploading a book on Amazon can be found at Amazon KDP Summary Page.
Step 2: If you don’t have an Amazon account, you will need to set one up. Be prepared. Amazon requires that authors have tax information ready PRIOR to uploading books (editor note: See this help page on Amazon for tax details). Also, be prepared to give bank deposit information where they will deposit your royalty checks. Amazon has this area broken down by countries, so it isn’t limited to the United States. (editor note: some countries do not have this direct deposit option, check here for details if you are outside the US).
Step 3: Your next step will be to start the process to upload your book. First things first, Amazon will ask if your book will be limited to Amazon KDP Select (meaning you will sell the eBook version exclusively on Amazon only) for a period of 90 days. I have heard both positive and negative things about this program, which I will discuss in an upcoming post in this series. I encourage anyone I speak with about this program to talk to peers about it to get an informed understanding of both the positives and negatives.
Step 4: Be sure you have the rights to publish the book. Have you gone through the process to get an ISBN for your book? (editor note: an ISBN is not required to publish on Amazon but may come with benefits.) This is the page where you will enter it. Finally on this page, you will identify the genres and age groups (if applicable). I encourage the review of other books in genres that you feel your book fits into PRIOR to selecting a genre. Still have questions? Seek out fellow authors within your network to ensure that your book is classified into the correct genre(s). It’s critical that you select the appropriate audience for your book, so don’t rush through this process. It can cost you sales.
Step 5: Is your book ready to go to live immediate after upload, or are you looking at doing pre-orders for up to ninety days? I have seen authors do this section both ways. Personally, I like the pre-order option because it allows for the build up of anticipation of a book’s release with marketing events, such as blog tours or the review by a professional site such as BookPage or Midwest Book Review.
Step 6: The next step is to decide on Digital Rights Management. Digital Rights Management is the systemic approach to copyright protection and piracy prevention. For further reading, I love this article from Techtarget. Amazon will ask you if you would like to put these protections in place or if you would like others to be able to share your work no matter what. Sometimes, authors choose the no-DRM option because an author might use this piece of work as a loss leader, or to get the book into the public market no matter what.
You are almost there! Your book is almost a reality. All your hard work and due diligence is about to pay off.
Step 7: Now, it’s time to upload your book cover and manuscript! If you don’t have a book cover that is professionally done, Amazon has the ability to design a book cover included in the process. Please note that these book covers are a dime a thousand, standard font photograph cover –nothing that will give your book uniqueness to it, and this screams self-published book. Yes, I know that I am showing my bias, but work with me.
Step 8: The final step in this journey is to preview your book. What I love most about this feature is that you can do it not only on a laptop, but there is an option to send it to your Kindle. How cool is that?!? My ‘shout it from the mountaintops advice’ is this…after you do your first round of ensuring that your book has uploaded correctly and the formatting looks flawless, have a person whom you trust implicitly double check for errors and issues. You don’t want the readers finding flaws that you missed because you flippantly rushed through this last step.
Final note: I am a big advocate for self-publishers to do what they know and hire out what they don’t. If you don’t feel a high comfort level in uploading to Kindle and making sure that the formatting is pure perfection, then farm it out to a vendor.
Our own Kate Tilton does this as part of her services. I know for me that when it comes time to upload my masterpiece, Kate will get a pleading email from me begging for assistance, even though I have had numerous authors tell me that it is so easy that they whipped through the process. However, I know my limitations and uploading to retailers (or really anything that is computer-based) is one of them.
As I say above, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. The same holds true for your book. You put in a ton of work, sweat and money, so don’t you want it to have the best shot it can when it meets readers? Don’t you owe your book that much?
Next in the Publishing and Selling eBooks with Amazon series: How to Price Your eBook!
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Naomi Blackburn, owner of The Author CEO, a consultation firm dedicated to helping independent authors navigate the development of strategic business plans and the marketing world, holds an MBA and has worked in the field of business development, sales and consulting for 12 years. A former social worker, she has helped hundreds of clients meet their life goals. A top 1% Goodreads reviewer, she comes to the world of books from a reader/reviewer’s perspective. She strives to help authors achieve their goals by teaching them to think of themselves as CEO/entrepreneur of a small business and helping them negotiate the business side of selling books.