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Publishing on Amazon is the Likely First Choice
Put your mind at ease. My book, a children’s book for 7-11-year-olds, was published on Amazon less than a month ago, and my experience uploading the manuscript and book covers for both the eBook and paperback, was a positive one. Here’s why:
- Google the question,“Can I have my book formatted and cover created at Amazon?” and you will see several companies offering these services. Or you can go to kdp.amazon.com/prepare your book, and see that your eBook manuscript can be formatted with Kindle Create, and cover designed by Cover Creator. Free tools are also available for your paperback.
- Since I already had illustrations for the book’s cover and interior, I chose to go to professionals to format the book and create the cover, and I’m glad I did. I’ve received compliments on how professional my book looks. I purchased a combination deal with Formatted Books and 100 Covers to do the work. I sent both companies the documents for the manuscript, interior illustrations, and for the covers for the eBook, the paperback, and now a square cover for the audiobook, which is in the making. For formatting, I sent my manuscript in a Word file. All for one low, reasonable price.
I went to Amazon KDP and looked over the material—lots and lots of material—and tried not to be overwhelmed. I decided to print the explanations and put them in a 3-ring binder so I could study them at my leisure. That cut down on screen fatigue and actually gave me reassurance, something to hold in my hand, I suppose.
- First order of business: obtaining an ISBN number. Amazon offers ISBN numbers for free. “Amazon will auto-generate an ISBN number for your print book and an ASIN number for your digital book, register it with Bowker and www.booksinprint.com and even generate the appropriate EAN barcode for the back of your printed book.” (Google, May 28, 2019)
- I chose to purchase my own ISBN numbers so that I own them, and went to the source: Bowker.com. I purchased ten ISBN numbers for the rest of this series, including the audiobook, and for future books. Note: Ebooks don’t need ISBN numbers. Bowker offers other services which are worth checking out, including getting on their mailing list for self-published authors. Lots of helpful information there.
- You need to decide how much royalty you would like to receive, 35% or 70%. I couldn’t find an explanation to help me decide, so I went for it. I chose 70%!
- Obtain an RSS URL. For a thorough explanation, go to https://zapier.com/blog/how-to-find-rss-feed-url/.
- Be careful how you price your book: I had the bar code made, also from Bowker, with a nice, low price on it. Then when it came time to price the book while filling out the Amazon questionnaire, my price was lower than the minimum Amazon requires. So, I had to ask 100 Covers to change the book price on the bar code located on the paperback back cover to a higher price.
- Insert the correct imprint (trade name) for your book. My attempts weren’t accepted, so I called Bowker, a gentleman answered right away, and he told me to go to Bookwire.com and plug in the ISBN number. Voilà! There was my imprint!
Once your information is accepted into the system, Amazon says your sales page will appear in 72 hours. Mine appeared in 24 hours. Then it’s time to take advantage of all Amazon has to offer.
- Apply to Author Central to create your Author page.
- Apply for “Look inside,” a feature that Amazon creates and displays in about five days.
- Order author copies right away. I ordered ten, which took about two weeks to arrive as books are Print on Demand. I’ve used five of my copies to send to reviewers (with a gift, or swag, that I created as a thank you--more on swag in a future post), and have kept five to give away or sell. I included a note to the reviewers to ask them if they would pass the book on once they’re done with it, and have gotten a positive response on the desire to do that. I reminded them about leaving a review on Amazon (that’s the only place my book is sold right now). Also, I’m taking Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s advice in her terrific book, How to Get Great Book Reviews, and am sending thank you cards and thank you emails to my reviewers.
- Karen Cioffi, award-winning author and creator and owner of Writers on the Move, posted her review of my book on Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s very helpful website, https://thenewbookreview.com/. Check it out!
- My first newsletter was emailed to my email list that I’ve been cultivating.
- Swag (author gifts) was made, which I’ll cover in a future post. Hint: recipients have liked my swag because I have made it useful.
- An audiobook is on the way from Findaway Voices. If you think you had fun writing your book, wait until you hear a professional narrator read it!
- For my final hurrah, I have purchased Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Ad School to take the next step in selling my book. And when I find time (uh huh!) I plan to register for the free program to distribute my paperback at IngramSpark. My eBook doesn’t qualify because I signed up with KDP Select, which I think authors need to consider. Try this terrific SPF Community on Facebook for help with deciding whether to go with KDP Select or go wide, meaning you can sell your book in any market. KDP Select is a 90-day commitment to sell only on Amazon (with lots of benefits), and is renewable.
- A note about Amazon Prime: Having your book included in Amazon Prime is by invitation only.
- A note about KDP and Author Central's Help Desk: It is great! My questions--and there were many--were answered politely and quickly. Knowing this gave me reassurance.
- Check out my May post "Help for Self-Published Authors" for more tips on getting started on your self-publishing journey: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/05/
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter, and is working on several projects for children. Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, is available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor. The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. Follow Linda on https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com.