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Friday, February 26, 2010

How to Publish on Kindle Part Four

Now that the RTF Word document of your book is ready, it's time to upload and publish!
First, go to home page. On the left hand side check out the menus. Under the one marked "Features and Services," hit the "publish on Kindle" tab. You'll be taken to a page marked Amazon Kindle's Publishing Program. Hit the tab for "Digital Text Platform (DTP)."

On the right top of the page is the sign in button. Hit it and/or change the ID to the one you want to use for Kindle pubbing.

On the next page, there are several tabs at the top. Start by completing your account information ("My Account").

Next, go to "My Shelf." Hit the "new book" tab. There are four areas you'll need to complete before you can publish your book on Kindle.

The first one, "Product Details," is straightforward. You have to put in a 4000 character description of your book, which is in the range of 600-650 words. For mine I did the back cover description, a brief author bio, and 3 endorsements. NOTE: the description was run together without paragraph breaks for my print book listing. Therefore before publishing this one on kindle, I divided the sections by putting an asterisk after each part. Also, make sure that every period has a space after it. You'll be OK then if you end up with one big text block.

You'll also have to decide whether you want to enable DRM (Digital Rights Management) or not. Amazon is singularly unhelpful in assisting with a decision. I wrote about this in Part One, but basically the DRM means how easily your book can be downloaded to other devices once it's been bought. I decided to disable the DRM, therefore making the book easily transferable multiple times -- in the argument of obscurity versus theft, I'm erring on the side of theft. (Like anyone's going to want to steal my deathless words anyway :-)

The second section, "Confirm Content Rights," simply affirms that you have the rights to this manuscript to publish it.

The third section, "Upload and Preview," is where you upload your beautifully formatted RTF file. Go for it. When it's finished (it took me about 5 minutes), take a look at the preview, and check it carefully. If you notice something glitchy, figure out why and fix it in your manuscript, then reupload your manuscript. I did this about 4 times before I was completely happy.

Finally, in section four, "Enter Suggested Retail Price," you put down what you want to charge. I already discussed viral (free) e-books in part one, but unfortunately you can't do this on Kindle since the minimum price you can charge is $1. NYTimes bestsellers go for about $10. Check out the prices and figure out what you want to charge. For what it's worth, I chose $4.99 but have no data yet to see if that was a good judgment call. I figure, I can always change it.

And there you go! When you are completely, 100% happy with what you have (especially the preview), hit the publish button.

If you have any questions or problems with listing on amazon, rotsa ruck -- when I had my print book put up, I found it notoriously difficult to have amazon resolve problems in the listing. The bad part is they don't have phone numbers easily available, so you'll drive yourself batty sending an email and getting a canned response that doesn't really address the problem. Still, if you're persistent, eventually you should be able to get someone to pay attention. Amazon has a special email for the kindle: You also can email the Digital Rights people -- they normally aren't involved for indie publishers, but it doesn't hurt:

It'll take a few days (for me it's been about a week and it's still not up) for amazon to process your ebook and actually put it on the site so that it can be purchased. In the meantime, you've done a great job! Now, get back to writing the NEXT Great American Novel.


jenny milchman said...

I'm new to your blog, but am very interested in the brave new world of publishing, of which this seems a part. I'd love to read more about how this process has gone for you--will peruse your posts! I've met a couple of writers for whom the Christian element is a big focus...Peg Brantley and Kelly Irvin. Peg has a wonderful writing blog, and Kelly a debut novel just out. Anyway--I like to get the word out about like minded authors so I hope you don't mind my posting it here--perhaps you'll all connect!

Carol Parsons said...

Many thanks for giving a step by step guide to publishing on Kindle. It isn't as easy as it seems and I have not found a better guide on the internet.
I actually found your site through the Lost Genre Guild in answer to a "help!" question.
Again, many, many thanks!
Carol Parsons