Kindle Direct Publishing is the newest trend in the writing community. It gives you the opportunity to skip the agents and publishing houses and get your books right into your reader’s hands. There are, however, some questions you may have about using the service.
This post is going to look at some of the questions I had while publishing my own short story, Parasite. For a step by step guide of the logistics of using the site, check out this post. I won’t focus too much on this, as I feel this is pretty self explanatory, and the linked post explains it very well.
The first thing to note is that going through this program will automatically put your book on amazon. If you want your book to appear in other marketplaces, you may want to consider other options.
What is KDP?
Kindle Direct Publishing is amazon’s self publish service. You can upload your manuscript, create a cover, and even get a free ISBN, which is like the social security number of your book. This is a free service to use, but for every sale, you only get a small percentage of the sale in the form of royalties. You can choose either 35% or 70%, but note that you must choose certain prices for both of these percentages. Make sure you don’t overprice your book for the amount of content you have. Adversely, don’t sell yourself short. Research what other books in your genre and length are selling for, and price your book accordingly.
Do I need an agent?
No. Publishing through KDP is a self service, which means that everything from the start of the process to the end of the process is up to you. You create your book. You market your book. You sell your book. You will have no help from a publishing house, which means that if you do not have an established reader base or if you are new to marketing, it may be more difficult to sell your book.
What’s the difference between self publishing and going through a publishing house?
A publishing house will help promote your book to increase sales. After all, they will be getting a part of the profits, so they want to sell your book in mass amounts. Some choose to go through an agent in order to query their manuscripts with more ease, but you can also query yourself. A query is a sort of resume where you sell yourself and your book to the publishing house. If accepted, you will be on board for book signings, public talks and tours, and the publishing house will put your book in stores as well as offer you professional editing services. The downside to this is often that publishing houses can make you change things about your book that you may not want to change. The product that comes out of the publishing house may be totally different than what you originally submitted.
Self publishing means you can bypass the “job application”. You don’t have to send query letters or face a rejection on your beloved manuscript. However, you will be responsible for marketing your own book via social media and word of mouth.
You also have full creative freedom with your manuscript, but you also have to make sure you edit and spellcheck your own work to the point of exhaustion. Nothing looks worse than releasing a book with spelling errors, poor grammar, or incoherent thoughts. Be careful, because if you release a subpar work, those readers who have experience with your work might stay away when you release more.
You also want to be careful of the content in your book. Your name will be attached to your book, so use swear words and inappropriate content at your own risk. Make sure nothing in your work is copyright, as this could get you into legal troubles. Since you won’t be going through a publishing house who will catch all of these things, you are going to have to do a lot more work to ensure your book is untouchable. I cannot stress this enough. Do you research!
Can I get free copies of my book to promote?
No. You cannot get free copies. However you can get discounted copies, known as author copies. This option will become available after your book goes live on amazon. In this case, you will pay printing costs only. This is how I made most of my profits, as you can sell these for full price in person.
How do I create a cover for my book?
KDP offers a cover creator. There are limited creative options in this collection of templates, but they are great for starting out. I suggest looking at book cover examples to see what aesthetics attract you, and then base your cover around these. Keep in mind that your cover stretches front to back. You want to make sure you include the back of the book in your creative design.
Do I need a copyright?
Copyrighting your book through the U. S. Copyright Office is a great idea, although not necessary (via Writer’s Digest). Research your laws and find out what you need in order to move forward with your book. Your book is copyright as soon as you write it. However, most books have a written copyright message and disclaimer in the front. You can find templates for this online, as well as more information about what is within the realm of public use and what should be stricken from your work. Find more information here.
Is there any other way to advertise my book besides word of mouth?
Yes. KDP offers a promotional option, which will display your book in searches performed on books similar to yours. This does, however, cost money.
Once you upload your manuscript and cover, it will go through a processing period before going live on the site. You can check the status via the KDP bookshelf, and when you make sales you can keep track with the reports feature. You will be required to enter your bank and tax information upon signing up, but if you want to get paid, that’s only to be expected. Once you make a certain amount of money, they will send you a check or deposit into the account of your choice.
It’s that easy!
Are you ready? Go publish your book!
That’s all for today’s post. I hope you enjoyed reading! Head on over to Amazon to pick up a copy of my debut short story, Parasite. Do you have experience with KDP? Share your thoughts!
For more posts on writing, check out:
Successful Authors From Fiction
How To Write A Story
Dialogue Versus Conversation | The Difference Between Good Fiction And Bad?
9 Tips To Be More Productive