I had been reviewing books for years. I started reviewing books online
and was invited to review on Fresh Fiction, a site based in Texas; they
send me e-books. I had a short romance written, intended for an e-book,
when an SF story took over my life and I spent a year researching,
writing and revising it.
First you need to decide which provider to use. I decided on Amazon.
Amazon had to be the way to go for me as in Ireland we do not have
Barnes and Noble stores; nobody has a Nook. So if you live in America
you should get other opinions on which provider to use. You
may release your book on many sites if you wish, though there may be
restrictions on pricing and special offers. By now I had a Kindle and
that helped me see how to present my work.
On the Amazon site, go to the bottom, "Independently publish with us".
Try it out. Doesn't cost anything to look.
You may need a proof-reader - I don't, though one or two errors will
slip by everyone. A friend or book club will help. When you are
published on Kindle, you can always take your book down and correct
something. If someone points out an error I thank them and
the book is corrected by the next day. Take responsibility for any
legal issues such as libel. A disclaimer is not sufficient by itself.
I'd taken photos of the locations in my books and my techie husband
made covers with them. You can either go for BIG lettering, or
small. The big ones take up half the cover so are immediately
seen by the buyer. The small are placed so as not to obscure an
interesting artwork, in most cases. I went with the smaller
titles and nice image, as online the writing is already up in front of
the viewer. The cover has to look good as a thumbnail!
You should browse a few book publisher sites and look at covers.
Harlequin are an excellent example as you can see immediately with
which line a title belongs, just from the cover - modern western
romance, inspirational, suspense, historical. These are called 'cookie
cutter covers' in pro terms. I knew from this that I wanted all my
books to have covers which would identify them as belonging with my
A tech savvy person can download free software to make covers. They can
learn it in an hour if they have made a website. YouTube is a source of
free video instruction in using these programs. The result is whatever
you ask them to do. Make sure you do not use a copyright image without
Amazon has two short books on-line free to download.
Building your book for Kindle and Publish on Amazon Kindle.
One book takes you through the formatting needed - use the newest
version of Word you can get, use paragraph formatting instead of tabs
and hard returns. An image like a diagram, map or table,
which reads fine on your monitor, will not come across perfectly in
every mobile device so you should try out the pre-pub viewer on the
Kindle pages and see if you need to shrink it. Everything looks perfect
on an I-Pad but not on a phone.
The other book takes you through how you get your work up on
line. This includes a guide to the screens you will see,
which I had already been through by the time I read the book; they were
not hard to understand.
An ISBN can be bought by sending away a mail to the firm which sells
them - in UK Neilsen charges 120 pounds for ten. You don't
have to have one for Kindle as Amazon will automatically give the book
a catalogue number, called ASIN. But when you have bought and affixed
an ISBN you are legally the publisher. If you want your book to appear
on other channels than Amazon, the ISBN is required and will follow it
everywhere. This was the only cost I incurred.
Upload the book. This takes about a minute. Kindle will check spelling.
The cover is uploaded separately and Kindle will merge them.
You give Amazon bank details for payment and they report to the tax
officials. So will you of course.
Next you decide what royalties you want. Seventy percent, how does that
sound? That's what I thought too. In certain countries or to achieve certain deals
you can opt for thirty-five percent. If you want
to have free days as a publicity stunt you have to opt in to a special
programme. Amazon stores in each country send the money to your bank,
after a sixty-day wait. A few countries require an earning of
ten units of their currency before forwarding.
I uploaded my SF book first, Dining Out Around The Solar System. I
clicked the button that says to publish. Then over a few days I got The
Mensa Mystery Series on line, followed by a romantic suspense story,
Silks And Sins. Inside each book I've listed all my titles and my
author's website. When I got a few reviews, I added a couple
of lines to the front of each book.
Books sell books. Remember that.
I have since made some of my books available as print copies. These are
ordered from Amazon and their system CreateSpace prints each book on
demand to post to each purchaser.
Have fun! That's why we do it!