- 0.1 Why you should self-publish
- 0.2 The steps in writing and releasing your first book
- 0.3 1. Determine your book’s purpose and intended readers.
- 0.4 2. Start writing!
- 0.4.1 Create a personalized writing environment.
- 0.4.2 Make a writing schedule.
- 0.4.3 Make a book outline.
- 0.4.4 Do not try having multiple book projects at once.
- 0.4.5 Do not edit while you write.
- 0.4.6 Research later.
- 0.4.7 Exercise your typing speed.
- 0.4.8 Try using talk-to-text software.
- 0.4.9 Have an accountability partner.
- 0.5 3. Receive feedback and comments.
- 0.6 4. Set the book title.
- 0.7 5. Hire a proofreader/editor.
- 0.8 6. Give the book an attractive and convincing cover and format.
- 0.9 7. Create an account on online publishing services like Kindle Direct Publishing.
- 0.10 8. Upload and publish your book!
- 0.11 9. Create a launch team or Advanced Readers Copy group.
- 0.12 10. Receive reviews and continue marketing.
- 0.13 11. Celebrate your success and plan for the next book!
- 1 Frequently asked questions
Book Publishing Process Step-by-Step
Many include becoming an author on their bucket lists, but their hopes get squashed by how difficult it seems. Researching, telling a story, and conveying ideas seem like a steep challenge, but writing a book worsens because of publishers’ gatekeeping. Even before aspiring authors write their first sentence, they feel discouraged because they do not know the agents and offices to contact. Worse, many readers have millions of competing books to choose from, not to mention that they either read with physical books or devices!
Fortunately, you have come to this article. We can teach you how to reach this ambition if you yearn to author a literary masterpiece. You will now discover the proven steps and strategies that can guide you from crafting your ideas to having thousands and millions of copies sold. This article will guide you to the testimonials and discussions by accomplished authors. Here is your chance!
But first, you must discover the power and potential of self-publishing.
Why you should self-publish
The problems listed earlier—looking for publications and agents, the declining physical bookstores, and getting lost in the competition—are solved by self-publishing. Once you finish writing your book, you no longer need to look for companies to release it. Instead, you can control where and how to market your piece. There are no barriers to limit and overwhelm you!
Self-publishing saves your time as well. You can focus on writing your book and planning on your next release instead of pitching your piece to publishers and searching for contacts. If the book you launched by yourself has beautiful content and excellent reach, it might even surpass traditional books!
Are you excited to publish your first book? Here is a roadmap to guide you!
The steps in writing and releasing your first book
To reach your destination, you must have a trusted list of directions to bring you there. Since this article provides everything you need to know to become an author, ponder on these steps:
- Determine your book’s purpose and intended readers.
- Start writing!
- Receive feedback and comments.
- Set your book’s title.
- Hire a proofreader/editor.
- Give the book an attractive and convincing cover and format.
- Create an account on online publishing services like Kindle Direct Publishing.
- Upload and publish your book!
- Optional: Create a launch team or Advanced Readers Copy group.
- Receive reviews and continue marketing.
- Celebrate your success and plan for the next book!
Writing a book requires creativity, discipline, and passion. Following these steps, like the thousands of iconic authors and writers, you can tell the world your stories and ideas.
1. Determine your book’s purpose and intended readers.
Before you even set your pen to write the first word, reflect on why you want to publish a book. Brainstorm and list down your reasons as you answer these questions:
- Do you want to inspire, entertain, or engage with readers?
- Do you believe that your story can make an impact on the culture and gain popularity?
- Do you aspire to convince other people to believe in your ideas? Will this help readers solve their problems and reach their goals?
- Do you want to receive passive income through this book continually?
- Do you seek to propel your career by having this book in your portfolio?
- Do you want to become a coach, speaker, or established businessman?
Guaranteed, you will face challenges and obstacles in the coming months you will spend writing the book. Enduring writers’ block and distractions might keep you from completing the chapters you seek to finish. Worse, you may even feel unmotivated and doubtful about your future success. Remembering why you want to write the book will help you stay determined and inspired to continue. It will keep your hope strong during difficult times.
After deciding on your goal, select your target audience as well. What are the readers’ age, occupations, and backgrounds? Creating a persona or an imaginary person who will enjoy your book will keep you grounded. Do not write on your terms alone—think of their interests and preferences. This way, you can choose the right words and themes that will become appealing and relatable to your future fanbase.
2. Start writing!
Writing a good first paragraph is hard for most writers, even accomplished ones. Here is where many aspiring writers stare emptily at the page and start questioning their plans. But the driven ones who get to finish the first chapters soon lose their narrative direction and bumble their way to a dead end.
This tragedy does not need to happen to any writer. It is avoidable and preventable! Following our strategies, you can have a robust writing process from the first sentence to the first book draft.
Create a personalized writing environment.
To become an author, you need words to flow seamlessly from your mind to your hand. Achieving this requires concentration and focus; you must completely immerse yourself as you write. Choosing and creating a writing space can help you enjoy writing.
These are the features your personalized writing environment must have:
- Choose if you want complete silence or some background noise.
- Keep your surroundings organized. Make sure that your desk is tidy, even if you prefer clutter. This way, the place you will write will not become a distraction. It will also help you find the necessary tools without brushing through the mess.
- Post motivational images or quotations on the wall. Reading inspirational remarks on determination and persistence can help you when you start to feel discouraged.
- Make a playlist if you prefer having background music as you write. Some writers like playing instrumental tracks (like LoFi and classical music) because songs with lyrics distract them. On the other hand, others can focus on rock music in the background. Discover which choice works best for you. Maybe, silence would be the best option for you! Nonetheless, streaming sites offer playlists for reading and studying.
- Remove digital distractions by removing unnecessary apps and keeping your phone silent.
- Ensure that you will stay comfortable sitting and writing for a long time. Apply ergonomic techniques, so you will not feel tired and strained after your session. For example, do not recline, hunch over your desk, nor keep your arms bent. Instead, sit up straight. You may even try using a standing desk! Always remember that your posture does not only affect your writing productivity and comfort—your health also depends on it.
However, you can explore different writing spaces. A change in scenery can give you eureka moments along your writing journey. Try writing in a cafe, a park, or a garden. But make sure that the ambiance will not distract your creative process.
Make a writing schedule.
An average book requires more than 50,000 words, an overwhelming statistic that makes authorship exceptional and daunting. But do not let this stop you. Most writers fail because they do not turn writing into a habit. Without a schedule and target word count, they fall into procrastination and delays.
Do not become a frustrated writer—take action and make writing a part of your life. Set aside dedicated minutes or hours for these tasks. Also, determine how many words you must write every day. Then, keep your target milestones on a calendar to help you stay committed to your progress.
Having a quota helps you compute how long it would take before you can finish your first book draft. But since you are a first-time self-publisher, do not overwhelm yourself. Keep your writing schedule feasible and realistic so that you will have fun in this literary adventure.
Before you start your writing sessions, you can prepare your mind through the following:
- Say affirmations or positive remarks about yourself and your tasks. Motivational quotes and encouraging self-reflection in the morning can inspire you to stay productive and lighthearted throughout the day.
- Physical training can increase your brain’s blood flow and oxygen. Therefore, you will feel sharp and energetic in writing your book.
- Do the “Free Flow” exercise taught by Julia Cameron. After waking up, write anything in your mind for ten minutes on paper without following any rules. Jot down your random thoughts during this routine. According to Cameron, this will clear your brain from any mental junk.
- Determine what can distract you and make a resistance plan. Avoid anything that triggers these temptations. If they come, you should be ready to beat them.
As you fulfill your writing schedule, here are the strategies you can take to make your helpful session:
- Resist and remove anything that can disrupt your concentration and attention. Distractions can break your momentum and hold you back for several minutes.
- Do not mind people who discourage you or comment on your writing time. As long as your session does not ruin your relationships and other responsibilities, do not feel insecure or regretful.
- Consider your writing schedule as a dedicated daily appointment. Do it with discipline and consistency. Also, do not make excuses to miss it.
- Try applying the Pomodoro technique in your writing schedules. This time management approach divides your task into 25-minute chunks with brief pauses.
- Install a task management app on your devices. This software can remind you of your daily responsibilities and priorities.
- Try the Seinfeld Strategy or “Don’t Break the Chain” technique. Post a calendar on the wall. When you finish your writing session, mark that day on the calendar. Seeing how you completed rows on the calendar can make you feel satisfied and motivated. Check your streak before you miss a day. If you did, repeat the process and try to beat your former series.
- Keep your phone silent. Turn it off, if possible. If you use a desktop computer, turn on “Do not disturb” or turn off notifications.
These strategies can help you not just in writing a book but in your everyday obligations as well. They can increase your productivity and help you finish more tasks quickly.
Writing every day provides incremental growth for your literary talent. As you practice conveying your ideas and telling stories, you will become quicker and wiser in producing your book. Your muscle memory and mechanical writing skills—typing on the keyboard or transcribing on paper—become faster and more natural. Then, you will notice that you will become faster in writing articles, letters, and posts. You will also think quicker and more precisely.
Make a book outline.
Ben Shapiro, one of the most controversial conservative political commentators in the United States, is known for his critiques and arguments. Known as a genius from his youth, Shapiro published a book charging universities of brainwashing when he was twenty years old. He has already written sixteen books since then, discussing themes from morality to the collapse of his nation.
Whatever your opinions about him and his beliefs may be, one fact is sure—he has written so many books. What is his secret? In one of his book launches, Ben Shapiro revealed it: make a book outline.
Here are the reasons why keeping an outline is powerful:
- Outlines keep your writing organized and clear. Having one also helps you write with directions and transitions. Even if you can write thousands of words daily, they will become useless if they are incoherent and disorderly.
- Outlines can help you write faster, look at the book’s overall picture, and reach the publication’s finish line. They can help you determine the word count and emphasis for every chapter. Moreover, outlines break the project into smaller, more productive segments.
- Your creative process will flow because you have already planned. It lessens the risk and impact of writer’s block because you no longer have to take interruptions to think of what to write. Outlines give you the path towards your destination—publishing your book—like how maps provide directions to where you should proceed. Hence, making one is a small investment with huge returns on your productivity. Spending some minutes preparing the outline can save you hours or days in writing the book.
- You can proceed to research even before starting to write because the outline already laid out your primary arguments and ideas.
There are different kinds of outlines to map your book’s content, like the traditional sticky note and mindmap methods. Here are the steps to help you organize an effective outline:
- Brainstorm and write all of the ideas and topics you want to discuss.
- Connect and link the related ones together.
- Organize them into ordered sections and parts.
- Label with headings that would become the chapters.
- Constantly revisit your outline before you write. Make revisions if necessary, but do not reinvent it every time. Instead, aim to make it reach its best version, so your writing will follow.
- Assess where you can do more research to solidify your claims much later. Select points where the chapter discussions can go deeper.
Do not try having multiple book projects at once.
It feels incredible to have an idea that you think can turn you into a bestselling author. At this point, many writers start imagining making franchises and sequels even before beginning to write! They feel so excited to write two books at once, thinking that they can make the process—and potential revenues—much quicker.
However, dividing your energy and concentration while writing your first book will undoubtedly make you fail. Stay patient with your first idea project. You can build on that achievement to expand your book brand if it succeeds. So focus on this task and strive to finish it.
Being realistic is crucial to avoiding false hopes and bringing your book to life. A concrete action plan helps you achieve this by dividing the project into feasible segments and deadlines. In the meantime, do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle.
Do not edit while you write.
If you want a polished and beautiful book, stop the urge to edit or be perfect while you write. Iconic writers like Ernest Hemingway let their creativity pour out during their writing process; they do not censor or control what they put on the pages. They also do not stay conscious of grammar and punctuation immediately. Instead, successful writers focus on finishing a rough draft first. Then, they edit and critique it.
Let go of self-criticism as you start. Just write within your outline and plans for the chapter to complete the manuscript for that part. Once your draft is done, unleash your attention to each detail. The fresh perspective you have gained after distancing yourself from the draft lets you see mistakes you have not noticed. You might either appreciate it more or know it is not as compelling as you first thought. Either way, that renewed vision further polishes your book.
Some writers even write in sprints where they only type anything they can as quickly as they can for a specific number of minutes. Then, they would just revisit what they had written after the sprint and repeat the process.
Whatever your writing session may be, do not be a perfectionist from the beginning. Repeat this in your mind if you feel compelled to stop writing and start editing before completing your draft.
Like journalists, write first before looking for adequate sources and references. Writers must prioritize their creative flow; they should reach the point when they seamlessly type entire sections and chapters without interruption. Can you do this when you repeatedly stop to search for an online article to quote? Soon, you will realize that you have fallen into a hyperlink rabbit hole!
Journalists use placeholders for words they are unsure of that need additional research and searching. If you do not know the name of a country’s capital you should mention, you can type XX or RR in the meantime. Once your draft is finished, you can use Find and Replace to locate and revise these spots. You can click Ctrl+F or Command+F to activate this (on Windows and Apple, respectively).
Here is an example. You need to write about the lightbulb’s invention, but you do not know who patented it. You can type, “XX got the patent for the lightbulb on XX.” Writing this sentence was so brief that you can quickly proceed to the following sentence you wish to describe. But imagine if you had to open a new tab, type the Google query, read the result, and type it on your word processing software. It is a waste of time and momentum! Now, after meeting your word count, you can go back to write, “Thomas Edison got the patent for the lightbulb on January 27, 1880.”
Exercise your typing speed.
Your typing speed determines how quickly your ideas can materialize as a future book. If it is slow, your writing process will lag and delay. Soon, your session will turn into a tiring and frustrating drag. It is also not good for your hands’ posture.
Fortunately, there are free and fun online games to increase your typing speed. You can learn how to use all of your fingers effectively and spontaneously. Once you know blind typing, you no longer need to pound the keyboard while searching for the keys to form words.
Set at least ten minutes each day to practice typing games. These online sites typically provide tutorials and statistics that will help you track your progress and what to improve. It is an investment you cannot miss because it will revolutionize your creative process.
Try using talk-to-text software.
People who should take notes while driving record themselves to stay productive. Now that artificial intelligence has advanced, you can try doing this while writing your book. Online word processing platforms like Google Docs have a Voice Typing tool. It intelligently transcribes what you say into sentences, but be aware of the mistakes it may leave. These dictation features may be imperfect, but they can serve you well.
Have an accountability partner.
Another strategy to progress with any lengthy, challenging project is to have an accountability partner. This person will remind you about your writing sessions, motivate you to continue, or give you ideas when you go through writer’s block. An accountability partner can be a loved one, a fellow writer, or someone on an online community forum.
3. Receive feedback and comments.
Congratulations, your manuscript is already finished! Unfortunately, the sweet feeling of success quickly becomes a bitter realization for others. Some writers are disappointed and devastated knowing that anyone else cannot understand or appreciate what they have written. Others discover that their theme does not strike the readers’ interest and attention. They learn this too late when they have already invested so much in writing and can no longer revise their work.
Hence, receiving feedback and comments as you complete the initial drafts is crucial. Give your draft to a beta reader, a person who will read your book for you to provide their thoughts. You may also use editing software like Grammarly.
Their newer perspective can help you see mistakes, contradictions, and confusing parts that you have not noticed or considered. This way, your book will have a more specific theme and message. Moreover, beta readers and initial editing can save costs for hiring professional proofreaders and editors.
4. Set the book title.
Here is another crucial technique that master authors follow: do not make a book title until you have finished your initial manuscript. If you make a title before you start, you might strangle your creativity and the content only to meet the title. You do not have to make your creative process even more difficult by building walls around your would-be book.
Once you complete your book draft and brainstorm for the title, ensure it is simple. It must set the readers’ expectations of what they can discover in the book. Therefore, it must intrigue and captivate them. Look at the titles of pivotal novels and books, and learn from their example.
If you wrote a non-fiction or self-help book, ask these questions for the draft titles you have made:
- Does the title tell readers that they will learn something from this book?
- Does the title guarantee that the book will affect their lives?
- Does the title promise a solution to a relevant and timely problem?
- Does the title trigger an emotion?
- Is the title’s length appropriate for the book’s theme, format, and audience?
Make a list of potential titles. Then, give it to your loved ones and peers so they can choose what they find to be the best title.
5. Hire a proofreader/editor.
Some people consider it risky to purchase self-published books, thinking they are subpar to volumes released by publishing companies. Thus, an excellent proofreader or editor is a valuable asset who can help make your book become a bestseller. Their corrections and revisions are vital for the release’s success and your credibility as a writer.
First, look at your network. Do you have friends, colleagues, or acquaintances who are grammar, style, and editing experts? If none, there are many freelance editors online who feature their portfolios and past projects. Choose the editor based on their performance, cost, and reviews. Ensure that the one you will hire is trustworthy, prompt, and professional. Moreover, ask him if he is interested in the genre and the book’s topic. This way, you will have a pleasant and engaging collaboration.
You may ask him to edit a page or chapter for a small fee as a test. Do not commit large payments at once, but set milestones to gradually release the money if you are satisfied with each chapter’s revision. The editing process may last for less than a month. If your relationship with the editor does not work, look for another one to hire. Do not rely entirely on the editor. Look at the finished draft and carefully assess the revisions he made.
6. Give the book an attractive and convincing cover and format.
In an ideal world, people would not judge books based on their covers. In reality, readers need a basis for the books they purchase.
Covers contribute so much to their decision-making. Available research shows that many bookstore customers buy books as gifts, driven mainly by recommendations and positive critical acclaim on the cover. As a self-publishing newcomer author, the cover and the synopsis might be your primary asset.
Here are what beautiful book covers have in common:
- They look professionally made. Therefore, you can use software like Canva to create stunning graphics and styles or hire a designer to make them for you. Remember that designers and professionals know how to make covers that can attract and convert buyers. You may reach them on freelancing websites like Freelancer and Fiverr.
- They stay consistent with the genre but make it stand out. Millions of books have been written across different categories. What makes your cover stand out from the competition? Will it catch the readers’ eyes in a bookshelf or digital collection apart from similar books?
- They look simple. Do not drown your readers’ vision with unnecessary detail. Make sure that your cover has sufficient balance and white space. Minimalistic design is trendy now—take advantage of its classy aesthetic to elevate your book.
- They promote the title and subtitle. Excellent covers embellish your book’s theme and branding. Ensure that the graphics do not overpower the text. Also, consider that digital bookstores and review websites may display your book cover smaller.
- They follow the interests and psychology of the book’s audience. For example, a teen horror book should not look like a Christian devotional manual for pastors.
If you decide to format the book, you should understand critical layout conventions and styles. Here are vital formatting rules you must follow in preparing your book:
Do not use hard indents.
Take a novel from your bookshelf and look at the indents. Did you notice how small they are?
From the first time we were taught about using the keyboard, we have learned to press the Tab key to make indentations. But never use Tab at the beginning of your paragraphs; its default indent is larger than the standard size for books.
Instead of clicking the Tab button, go to the indentation settings on your word processing software. On Microsoft Word 2016, for example, look at the Home or Layout tabs. There, proceed to the Indents and Spacing section. Go to the Special settings and click on the option where it automatically indents the first line.
If you have already written a hundred-page draft with large indents by the Tab button, do not worry. You no longer have to edit each paragraph to revise the first sentences manually. Instead, you can utilize Find and Replace. In the Find field, type ^t. Then, put spaces on the Replace; experiment on which looks best. Once you are finished, click Replace All.
Small indents are a proven way to make your book more professional and attractive. But there are instances when you should not indent at all.
Do not use double spaces.
When typewriters were everywhere, letters had approximate sizes. Some people prefer typing two spaces after sentences during that time, thinking that doing this increases readability. However, digital fonts render this problem obsolete with their standard widths and proportions. Guides like the Chicago Manual of Style recognize single spaces as the proper norm in publishing.
If you have already used double spaces throughout your draft, you can remove the extra space through Find and Replace.
Know hyphenation rules.
The hyphen may seem small, but they are critical to your book’s style and grammatical accuracy. You should understand its rules with other punctuation marks in the English language. The following are the proper uses of hyphens:
- Use hyphens to connect pairs or groups of words that work as a single adjective, like “a blue-green fence” or “a dark-haired lady.”
- Use hyphens between words that create a number, like sixty-three or ninety-one.
- Use hyphens for words that form a single idea, such as one-of-a-kind or editor-in-chief.
- However, do not use hyphens for compound words, like “toothbrush” or “flagpole.”
If unsure, do a quick Google search and refer to trusted dictionaries. Word processing software also has spelling check features to guide you.
Do not confuse quotation marks and apostrophes.
As mentioned earlier, punctuation may be tiny, but misusing them can hurt your reputation and credibility. Writers who have poor grammar are unaware of the difference between ‘ and “—symbols that are vital for dialogue and descriptions.
These are the rules on quotation marks:
- Quotation marks should surround all verbatim quotations and vocal parts like dialogues.
- Quotation marks can add emphasis to ironic and sarcastic words. But use this seldomly because it can irritate readers when used repeatedly in this context.
- Do not use quotation marks for cliches.
On the other hand, these are the rules on apostrophes:
- Apostrophes show the noun’s possessive form. As for plural nouns, choose between adding another s afterward (like “sons’s”) or not (like “sons’”). You should be consistent about your possessive form for plural nouns throughout your book.
- Apostrophes indicate contractions, such as won’t or can’t. As for “its” and “it’s,” be cautious. “Its” is the possessive first-person pronoun, while “it’s” is the contraction of “it is.”
- Never use apostrophes before the “s” in plural nouns!
Use page breaks.
What do you do when your chapter ends in the middle of the page, and you want to start a blank one? Do you hit Enter or Return repeatedly until the cursor drops to a new page?
This mistake can be detrimental as your manuscript prepares to be published. Additional spaces can ruin your book’s layout and misalign paragraphs across many pages. Your chapters may begin awkwardly in the middle, while other sentences drag on to the following parts and waste space.
It is wise to use page breaks instead. After finishing a chapter, put your cursor on the end of the final paragraph. Applying a page break creates a new page. The gap between them stays even if you revise the previous section and the document’s layout and size.
Use text styles.
Some self-publishers got used to the mistake of formatting their headings and texts manually. However, doing this causes inconsistencies in the font styles and weights. It also makes them miss out on the navigational outlines that word processors create based on the text format.
If you use Styles on Microsoft Word or Google Docs, the feature will make your typing experience quicker and more comfortable. You can make a table of contents, scroll through the outline, and have a consistent text design throughout your manuscript.
Study and follow the publisher’s style guide.
Later, you will learn how to self-publish ebooks on Amazon Kindle. Should you decide to post your first book there, make sure that you follow their standard style. Their online guide and formatting rules provide instructions for formatting your text from the title page to the end. Be attentive because a single mistake can ruin your reviews and book sales.
7. Create an account on online publishing services like Kindle Direct Publishing.
Amazon provides a site for authors who want to self-publish: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). On this platform, you can launch for free and oversee your book, whether it is an eBook, a physical copy, or an audiobook. Many successful self-publishers began their careers here. Who knows, maybe you are next! Here are the other benefits of releasing your book on KDP:
- KDP encourages and supports authors in different genres, from investing to science fiction.
- Publishing your book is as quick as five minutes, and customers anywhere in the world can find your book on Kindle in less than two days.
- You will receive up to 70% royalty on purchases by customers from certain countries.
- You have the option to join programs like KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited, where you can profit further.
- KPD allows you to control and update the book prices and rights whenever you like.
- You can publish your book in paperbacks as well.
These are the steps to create your Amazon KDP account:
- Visit KDP’s website. If you already have an Amazon account, sign in to the service. Otherwise, sign up to create one.
- Fill out your information, such as your name and mailing address. Use your real name because Amazon will use it for your tax documents and payments. (But if you prefer having a pen name for your publications, you may indicate it in the book details.)
- Indicate how you want to get paid. KDP can deliver your royalty payments through direct deposit, wire transfer, or check. (You will receive the total amount converted to local currency no matter how many sales you have made.)
- You must complete the tax interview and submit your Tax Identification Number (TIN) as mandated by national regulations. (If your country’s taxing authority does not give such a number, Amazon encourages you to register on the United States Internal Revenue Service website to receive a TIN. Your application process can last up to seven weeks.)
8. Upload and publish your book!
Finally, you can publish what you have dreamed and labored for months. This decision to publish your first book is a milestone many people only imagine reaching for themselves. Upload your manuscript on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. You can post there for free; Amazon only takes a portion of your book sales on the site.
You can begin the publication by opening the KDP dashboard, clicking “Your Bookshelf,” and proceeding to the “Create” button. Afterward, enter the information required for your ebook.
Once your book has been uploaded, Amazon will send a confirmation where you can take a last look at the file. At this point, you will receive an ISBN for your book. Then, create an account on Amazon Author Central. You can show your picture, biography, and links. These details help curious visitors know more about you and your work. At last, after filling out all the requirements, click “Save and Publish” to bring your book to the world!
Even if you would not use Amazon KDP to self-publish, their standards on book details can guide you. These instructions can help your book look professional and potentially avoid legal issues. Pay attention to the following information as you prepare to release your book:
Book title and subtitle
The title will serve as your book’s identity across all platforms and versions. Make sure that you will enter the actual book title on Amazon KDP and that it perfectly matches your cover page, whether paperback or digital. Customers will become skeptical if there are inconsistencies and mistakes.
Do not add the following restricted entries to your book title:
- References to authors, trademarks, and books without written permission
- Sales rank and promotional terms like #1, “free,” or “bestselling”
- Only using punctuation as a title
- Only using terms like “n/a” or “null,” including single words that servers might misinterpret as blanks
The subtitle serves as an alternative title that reinforces your title. According to Amazon’s rules, the title and subtitle’s word count must be less than 200. Moreover, the site will also automatically connect your title and subtitle with a colon on the detail page.
Edition numbers help readers keep track of updates on your book. However, not all changes require you to mark the book release as a new edition. You must consider only significant revisions; fixing typographical and grammatical mistakes does not count.
On Amazon, you can still sell older editions if there are remaining stocks in the inventory.
Authors and contributors
Amazon requires all books to have an author or a primary contributor. The other contributors can include everyone you want to credit for helping create your book. They include editors and artists.
You must be careful when typing their names because these fields are permanent. People may also identify and search for your works through your name, whatever the platform may be, including Amazon Kindle. But note that ebook versions on Amazon cannot manually include your middle name, prefix, and suffix. You need to contact Amazon and request for these to be added.
Again, do not forget to sign up on Amazon Author Central after publishing your book. This site will help reviewers and customers know you and your authorship better.
The description is your readers’ first glimpse into your book’s contents. Therefore, it must be straightforward, persuasive, and well-polished. Do the following to achieve this:
- Do not confuse the readers with unnecessary details. Instead, only describe the central theme of your book. Make your description easy to scan.
- Keep your description brief. Do not exceed 150 words.
- Make the first sentence striking and compelling.
- Keep your words consistent with the book’s genre and niche. Consider the vocabulary expected of your book’s theme.
- Ensure that there are no wrong spellings or grammar.
On Amazon KDP, you can enter the book description by visiting the Bookshelf, clicking the action menu of your book, and clicking “Edit eBook Details.” Amazon allows you to format it using HTML tags. But remember that you may type up to 4000 characters only, including the tags.
Amazon KDP does not allow the following content in the book description:
- URLs, emails, and addresses
- Lewd and highly sexual statements
- Reviews, testimonials, and requests for them
- Promotions and advertisements
- Unicode emojis
Amazon allows you to make your book more searchable by customers through keywords. Adding keywords can help your publications rank higher on search results, contributing to higher sales and purchases. Follow these strategies to make powerful and effective keywords:
- Make your keywords logical and relevant; put yourself in the customers’ perspective. Imagine what they will type on the search bar to reach your book without knowing the title.
- Only use up to seven phrases, and watch the character limit.
- Try typing the keywords on the search bar and see the autocomplete suggestions. Consider using those terms as keywords.
- Add your book’s general setting (like “Medieval Europe”), the protagonist’s role (like “single parent”), the story’s theme (like “adventure”), and its tone (like “inspiring”).
- Keep the keywords alike through all of the formats where your book is available.
- You can use Amazon’s keyword checklist on the category pages to give you ideas.
However, these are the mistakes you should avoid when listing your keywords:
- Putting the author’s name or the book’s title
- Placing time-sensitive terms about the book’s sales, quality, or availability (like “best” and “discount price”)
- Applying keywords with spelling variants
- Misleading the customers by attaching your books to other authors and franchises without their permission
- Placing quotation marks on the keywords
- Using Amazon trademarks as keywords
Amazon separates books based on their categories or genres like bookstores organize volumes on separate bookshelves. You can assign two categories to the books you publish on the platform. With the keywords you placed, your books may reach more people.
Amazon bases its list of categories on the Book Industry Standards and Communications. Make sure that the categories you attach to your books are accurate and not misleading. Moreover, make your categories specific and avoid redundancies for best results. Doing these helps direct people with particular niches and genre preferences.
Remember that Amazon does not allow manipulative labeling on books. For example, do not put your illustrated book under the Comics category if it does not have a comic layout throughout your text.
If you are writing children’s or teen books, some countries have additional regulations that Amazon follows. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the minimum recommended age for teen and young adult books is 13–17. But in Germany, it is 12–15. You cannot use both the children’s and the teen categories for one book anywhere on Amazon.
The price you will set is crucial for your book’s initial success. Many self-publishers initially encourage newcomers to price their books between $1 and $3. Then, you can try increasing it gradually by a dollar per week. Monitor if the pricing remains attractive for new customers as you mark it higher. If the price hurts your book sales, that is your hint that you have reached the upper limit for the book’s cost.
Ensure you read Amazon Kindle’s Direct Publishing’s policies on pricing and royalties.
9. Create a launch team or Advanced Readers Copy group.
Writing your book has been challenging, but marketing is another struggle to conquer. A launch team or Advanced Readers Copy group will help promote and advertise your book. Although having them is optional, they can help you succeed. Your investments and sacrifices to complete your publication will become worth it through their dedication.
These are the steps to creating a launch team:
- Decide on the team’s size based on your customers’ expected number and background. If you are not yet famous, you may try having a team of ten to thirty members. Estimate how many of your friends and loved ones might become interested in helping you promote your book.
- Start recruiting your family members, friends, co-workers, and fellow writers into your launch team. Consider them as your network: they too have friends and loved ones to encourage if they realize your book’s potential. Test their interests and commitment, so you will know whom you can rely on for this task.
- Motivate your launch team; make them believe in your book. Ask the members why they seek to support your book and how it helps them. Do not forget to give them a free or discounted copy of your book. If possible, you can add them to the Acknowledgements section!
- Create a relationship with healthy communication with your launch team. Always follow your team up and inspire the members to stay passionate about your book. Make a social media group where your team can discuss their progress and concerns. Use humor and quotes to strengthen your bond with them. After all, they help you realize your dreams, so treat them with respect, gratitude, and friendliness.
- Assign tasks with humility and graciousness. Do not be bossy! Since your launch team wants to help your book reach its audience, harness their interest into action. Encourage them to market your book by spreading snippets and positive remarks on social media. They can also leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other platforms where your book is available.
- Maximize their fame and talents. If they are influencers, motivate them to talk about your book on their social media accounts. A vlog or testimonial video with thousands of views will boost your book’s presence and sales. You can also ask them to create review videos, blogs, or recommendations.
- Always be appreciative. Never fail to thank your supporters; make them feel your gratitude for their contributions.
10. Receive reviews and continue marketing.
Now that your book is complete and out there, you need more and more people to read it. It is not the time to rest; you still have to sell your book after launch. With your launch team and a small circle of fans, your book must reach thousands, if not millions, of customers.
Remember that your priority is making more people discover your book and know it exists. Encourage your readers to leave their reviews and remarks. Those stars and comments can persuade newcomers to buy.
Here are the effective ways to market your book and potentially turn it into a bestseller:
Create a website for your book.
Although you may already have Amazon and social media pages for your book, a dedicated book website increases your credibility and respectability among readers. Such a page is a home for your marketing, announcements, and promotions. Unlike relying on third-party platforms, you can control the website’s design, contents, and layout.
Here are the other benefits of having a book website:
- You can create a landing page with a specific domain name that customers can easily recognize.
- You can publish blogs and articles related to your book.
- The website serves as your portfolio, where you can display your credentials, achievements, and positive reviews.
- You can create timers and popups for promos and releases.
- You may attach Amazon affiliate links to your book, so you earn bonuses every time a customer buys your publication through that link.
- Having a site allows you to gather emails and video clips.
You may create a simple website on WordPress, Wix, or GoDaddy. If you have no experience in website design and development, you may hire professionals to do it for you. Visit freelancing sites like Freelancer and Fiverr to meet them and pay for their services.
Create an email list.
Try using an email management service like Mailchimp to collect and send emails to your customers. They can register in your newsletter, where you can send them updates, features, and promotions about your book.
Having an email list is powerful. It maintains your network of contacts and readers to whom you can send messages all at once. Such a list allows them to contact you and inquire about the book. But make sure that you will not overwhelm them with emails like a spammer.
Social media is dominated by vloggers, podcasters, and influencers with fan bases and communities. Imagine if you can tap into their clout and have your book promoted by them! Look for influencers who focus on your book’s topic or theme. By knowing their niche and preferences, you can reach out and ask them to advertise your book’s value and contents.
Better yet, ask for an interview with them. Responding to questions about your book and expertise can fortify the viewers’ expectations and respect for your work. Tell the audience why they should purchase your book. Captivate their interest by showing your book’s new perspectives and solutions!
You can persuade influencers by offering favors. Maybe, you can send them a free copy of your book, so they can read your publication before reviewing it. You can also provide your support to their programs and projects.
Gone are the days when you must invest in advertising companies for promotions. Modern authors are fortunate to live out their careers in an era where they can reach thousands of people through social media. You can connect to your fans, post content, and publicize your book with a few clicks.
However, it is tempting to think that you should try to create a strong presence across all social media platforms. It can become overwhelming unless you have social media analysts working for you. Setting up and maintaining numerous accounts for you and your book might exhaust your marketing efforts.
Because of this, you need to prioritize. Select two social media platforms where you will exert your full attention. It is a healthy sign to regularly post content without getting strained and tired. Once you achieve a strong presence, start branching out once your presence on those sites has become strong enough.
In choosing where to begin, consider the strengths of the leading social media sites you can leverage:
- Facebook has over 2.9 billion accounts, making it the most powerful social platform worldwide. It allows you to create pages and groups. Moreover, Facebook has automation and marketing tools to make your business account handier.
- LinkedIn is suitable if your book is about business, productivity, and investing. This Microsoft-owned site is used by professionals, recruiters, new graduates, and experts who want to maintain their networks and strengthen their careers.
- YouTube is the leading video-sharing site worldwide. Here, you can regularly post tutorials, podcasts, and discussions about your expertise. This way, you can have a library of resources that will reinforce your book’s credentials. You can also promote your new releases here. Once you reach a high subscriber count, YouTube can provide you with passive income.
- Twitter is known for only allowing 280 characters inside posts. This rule lets you post quotations and messages with significant impact.
Hashtags are another way of linking your content to other authors and posts. Search for highly used hashtags to ride along trends related to writing and your niche.
Reach out to libraries and book clubs.
Book clubs have people who genuinely love reading—perhaps they will come to love your book! Visit your local library and nearby book clubs to introduce your book to them. You can also search for Facebook groups related to your book’s subject.
11. Celebrate your success and plan for the next book!
As a fledgling self-publisher, you have so much to prove. There are thousands of accomplished writers, not to mention the ones backed up by publishing companies and corporations. But do not lose hope—there are many ways to strengthen your brand and reputation in the writing industry.
One of the ways to create prestige is to release more than one book. You can build on what you have established in your first release or create a series. If you made a novel, you might consider creating a sequel.
However, do not forget to celebrate and enjoy this fantastic achievement. You have published a book, a feat that most people only dream of accomplishing! Treat your family, friends, and everyone who helped you realize this goal. Congratulations, and good luck with your writing career!
Frequently asked questions
1. How can I use TikTok to boost my book sales?
TikTok is one of the newest but most popular social media apps worldwide. While this site is filled with memes, dance crazes, and funny clips, experts also use TikTok to share their knowledge and competence. Similarly, you can use TikTok to promote your book. But since its medium is short videos, your approach must stay streamlined.
Once you have created an account, learn how popular influencers and content creators behave on the site. Here are the proven tips that successful authors have discovered while promoting their books on TikTok:
- Inspect the posts you have liked so far. Ensure that you only like and follow authors, bookstores, and anything related to the genre of your book. Focusing your engagements there influences TikTok’s algorithm to position your account and content with this niche.
- Upload book-related videos. Through artificial intelligence, TikTok also understands your videos’ themes based on the objects within it. Because of this, your content should have books, bookshelves, and text.
- Make your videos exciting and engaging. Strive to make videos that people will rewatch. Organize your text within the short frames, and add stimulating music and clips. Doing this increases your points in TikTok’s algorithms.
- Reply to every comment as much as possible (except the mean and bullying ones). Moreover, use hashtags. These will gradually make your TikTok videos trendier, and more people will see your book-related content.
- Provide links to your highly watched videos. Doing this motivates people to visit your other trending content, making a snowball effect that will increase your viewership.
- Repost your old videos. If you uploaded videos several months ago, try improving and reuploading them. Make them more appealing and lively.
- Treat TikTok as an asset for your book. Upload videos consistently and regularly so your fledgling book fan base will feel that you are determined and reliable.
2. What checklist can I use once I launch my book?
If you have already finished your manuscript, these questions can help you strategize before and after the book launch:
- When will you release the book?
- Have you enrolled on an online self-publishing site like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing?
- Do you want beta readers, an Advance Readers Copy team, or a launch team? How will you motivate or compensate them?
- Have you finalized the book’s layout, cover, and design?
- Have you considered the editors’ comments and revisions?
- Have you finalized your initial book pricing? Do you want to offer a bundle promo if you have released other books? Do you want to provide gift cards and discounts?
- Do you have social media accounts and mailing lists for your book? Will you provide countdown posts to build up the potential customers’ excitement? Do you want to pay for online advertisements?
- Do you want readers to pre-order your book? Doing so can help your books gain reviews and comments before your main book launch.
- Do you want to reach out to other authors and influencers for additional exposure?
3. How can I beat writer’s block?
Many obstacles will come your way as you write your book, especially when you do not know what else to write. Here are the proven strategies to beat writer’s block:
- Prepare an outline before you begin writing.
- Stay passionate about what you write.
- If you seem to run out of ideas, try to walk around or exercise. Doing these will give you fresher attention and perspective.
- Do not make excuses to skip your writing appointment. Stay true to your schedule.
- Do not edit while you write. Set aside your self-criticism for the editing stage.
- Do not give up when you face negative comments about your draft. Instead, stay focused on your goal and revise your work.
- If you experience writer’s block, it is okay to distract yourself in the meantime. Imagine something else; this allows you to redirect your point of view to invigorate your thoughts.
- Try taking a nap. Sleep deprivation can stifle your creativity.
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