I have now self-published my fourth book, Learn Google Photos. I am no expert on self-publishing but I do know how easy it is and I wanted to tell you about it. We use Kindle Direct Publishing for both the printed paperback as well as the Kindle eBook. There is no charge for the publishing process and all you have to do is provide a Word document or .pdf file of your book.
The eBook on Kindle is available for your readers immediately and the printed paperbacks are printed on demand, so there is no up-front charge there either. You set the price for your book and it gets listed on Amazon for people to buy. Amazon subtracts the cost of printing and shipping and splits the rest with the author, paying royalties of usually 60%. In the settings for your account, you include your bank account information and the money shows up in your account once a month.
The last part, for us, is to take the paperback books we get from Amazon and change them to spiral bound. Amazon does not do spiral binding, and we find it so much better for how-to books to be able to lay flat. Here is a little video on how Jim rebinds the books.
The basic steps to self-publish your book are:
- Design a cover
When you start writing, you want to be using the right formatting for the end result. I started with the Word template provided by Kindle Direct Publishing. I was able to use the same Word document for submission for the paperback book as well as the Kindle book, but I paid close attention to all the guidelines and tutorials provided by Kindle Direct Publishing. For my book, I used a lot of images and they have special considerations over and above the text formatting. I found this YouTube video that helped a lot because it was so detailed. The same YouTube creator also has a video on formatting chapters with headers and footers as part of her complete playlist of step-by-step tutorials.
A word about editing. You cannot proofread your own book! You simply won’t see the places that you mistakenly wrote their rather than they’re, or or repeated a word. (See?) I had two editor-friends proofread my book for errors. I also hired a professional editor, Beth Anne Carr, to help develop the book as I wrote. For a technical, how-to book like mine I found a developmental editor to be invaluable. I am so close to the material that I sometimes don’t see the forest for the trees. She helped me rearrange my topics and pay more attention to my readers’ perspective.
Your book cover: As my friend Nick Russell says: You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you’ll sure sell a lot more books with a good cover, and he recommended the artist that he uses. She also did the cover of our Google Photos book and I highly recommend her as well: Elizabeth Mackey Graphics.
Marketing: “Writing and publishing your book is the easy part,” says Nick Russell, “then you have to market it. You need to market it not once a month or once a week, you need to market it every day.” As a New York Times Best-Selling author with 42 self-published books on Amazon, Nick knows what he’s talking about. You may know Nick from his years as a full-time RVer and publisher of the Gypsy Journal. He still keeps a daily blog and he markets books every day.
Then again, if you’re not trying to make your living at it and you just want to have your book available, you may be satisfied with just getting it up on Amazon and having a link to send to people. There is no minimum sales required to keep your book on Amazon.
You can do it.
The bottom line is that you can do it. If you want to write a book, do it! The publishing process is free and really quite easy. If you want to learn more, check out our YouTube show Episode 200. It will stream live on Sunday, 9/26/20, at 2 p.m. Eastern time. After that, the same link takes you to the recording. We will discuss our experience with self-publishing as well as interviewing Nick Russell on his experience.