Maybe you've browsed the Amazon bestseller lists a million times.
Or maybe you've even purchased and read books both by well-known authors and even by lesser-known authors who happened to be writing a book on a topic you love.
Now, you're ready to get into the writing and publishing game for yourself.
There's just one problem–you don't really have a clue where to start!
When I started my book publishing business in 2014, I had no idea where to start either. All I knew is that I wanted to write books (both fiction and non-fiction), and that I wanted to publish them online.
I started devouring articles about the self-publishing book process. I studied blog posts, purchased related books, and even took 2 popular online courses about it. I really dug in trying to figure out the publishing process.
At first, I was on a mission to write a 50,000-word novel…because that's what I thought it would take for me to be in the book publishing business. But then, I was introduced to writers like Joanna Penn, S.J. Scott, and Kristen Joy just to name a few. These writers produced shorter works and were earning good money for them!
I realized that it was less about the number of pages in your books and more about providing quality information that your readers will love. This information was liquid gold for me and basically gave me a license to start writing and publishing shorter works packed with valuable information.
I've learned a great deal about the self-publishing process since 2014. After publishing on other platforms like Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, I decided to focus my publishing efforts on Amazon (at least for now). Why?
First, Amazon is one of the top 3 search engines in the world (Google and YouTube are the others). People searching on Amazon are looking to make a PURCHASE.
Second, 65% of all ebooks published online are sold on Amazon.
Pretty important stats to know, right?
So, with that said, I wanted to give you a simple outline to get your self-publishing business up and running as quickly as possible.
I've put together the following 5 steps to give you a sense of direction in the process and motivate you to get started.
These 5 high-level steps have more detail to them, but it's important to grasp that it's not extremely hard to get started.
5 Steps to Publish Your Book on Amazon
Step 1: The Book Writing Process
If you already have a book written, well that's great! You can skip to Step 3. But if you haven't started the writing process, I suggest using a writing program such as NovlR, Reedsy, or even Scrivener to help you with your writing progression. These amazing platforms really help you to organize your book writing and keep track of your writing metrics.
I've used NovlR in the past and loved it. Now I'm trying Reedsy's free writing tool.
If you want a book design template with formatting already setup, I recommend these templates used by many self-published authors
Step 2: Finding Keywords for Your Book Title
Do a little Amazon Research. You are going to need a compelling book title and book description using keywords that apply to your book. It's a good idea to use Amazon's search bar to check out which keywords are frequently being typed into the search by book purchasers.
For instance, if you are writing a self-help book, you want to use the Amazon search bar to see what phrases populate as you begin to type certain keywords that are important to your book. For instance, here's what happens when I start to type “self-help”.
As you can see, several phrases pre-populate. These are popular search phrases that real purchasers have previously typed into the search bar. It's a quick high-level research technique you can use to find keywords for your titles and book description that you will need to add to your Amazon book page.
Amazon's current algorithm picks up on keywords in your title and book description which helps you to show up in searches of potential buyers. You can also use a program like Merchant Words or Kindle Samurai to find great keywords for Amazon.
Step 3: Getting Your Manuscript Edited
Get your manuscript edited. I know it is tempting to self-edit, but you absolutely need another set of eyes to glance over your work. Even if you can only afford to pay for basic editing or proof-reading, it's better than nothing.
Try finding an editor on Reedsy, Fiverr, or Upwork.
Step 4: Creating a Book Cover
Create a book cover. Here are 3 great options.
1) You can save money by creating your own cover (Tip: I use Canva for my book covers!)
2) Purchase a pre-made cover online. This can save you time and money. A premade cover means that the artist has already spent time creating covers for certain genres. You just need to browse through the pre-made selections, find a cover you love and pay the artist a fee to have your book title, subtitle, and author name added. Here's my favorite designer for pre-made covers.
3) Purchase a custom made book cover. This option can be more expensive, but places like Fiverr.com make it easier and more affordable to get a custom cover created. You can also find a cover designer on places like Upwork.com and 99designs.com.
Step 5: Signing up for Kindle Direct Publishing
Create a Free Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account. Thankfully, Amazon does not make us pay to get started with this platform. It takes just a few minutes to get access. Click here to go straight to the KDP Sign-Up Page.
Upload your finished book cover and your manuscript (here's a tip: you can actually upload your manuscript as a Word doc if you like). Be sure that your manuscript is edited and properly formatted. Next, set the price of your ebook (here's a tip:$2.99 is the sweet spot). Then hit publish!
If you follow these steps, you can have your book live on Amazon in no time!
Want to go from blank page to written book in 7 days? Here's the process I use. Check it out here.
The most important advice I can give you is to JUST GET STARTED! You don't have to wait until everything is perfect to publish a book on Amazon.
Don't hold yourself back because you think the process might be too tedious. Just start! Start where you are and get a little bit done each day.
The writing and book publishing process can very rewarding. If you want to make your book(s) available to the world. You have to take action!