These days, the swift development of digital technologies is changing every aspect of commerce. Even the things we once took for granted, such as paper books, are slowly being phased out of mainstream importance. Indeed, digital e-book platforms like Amazon have ushered in a paradigm shift in regards to how people get their books published. The days of a couple of publishing giants are long gone; these days, it’s all about a heterogenous e-book scene, where anyone can stake a claim to popularity. Or, at least — make a decent living. That’s why we’ll delve into the basics of online self-publishing right here!
Start With Amazon
If you’ve decided on publishing your first e-book, the very next thing you should think about is — what platform should you use? And why is this choice important in the first place? Well, Amazon is the biggest online marketplace for digital publishing. Let’s face it, no matter how much you like writing, one thing is certain — you want to make some money out of it. With that in mind, it’s important to optimize your self-publishing process as much as possible. If you’re an RPG player, you may think of it as min-maxing your character; with the goal of earning as much money with the smallest possible initial investment.
Though in the game of online self-publishing, one thing needs to be clear to you: you won’t be able to make money immediately. Sure, it may be possible that you’ll be one of those authors that will blow up right away and create a hugely popular product. But more often than not, the first couple of books you put out won’t earn you too much money. That’s why Amazon is a great choice; publishing from their platform is completely free, it’s quick, and most importantly — you can reach a wide audience all over the world.
Using Amazon Publishing Tools
Once you’ve finished writing your first e-book, you’ll need to convert it into an e-book-friendly format. While doing this, we recommend finding a professional illustrator, who will help you create an eye-catching cover that can draw attention.
Don’t worry though — this conversion won’t be too difficult. Amazon offers a set of publishing tools to its users that make the process far easier than it would otherwise be. For example, you can use Kindle Textbook Creator to format any PDF of your book into something that e-readers will be able to utilize. Also, you can make use of Kindle Previewer to take a look at the finished product and the way it will appear on people’s digital shelves.
I get it, this all seems way too complicated considering the fact you just want to write amazing books for people to read. However, in a way, writing in modern age is quite similar to gambling; not many can make it. Players always strive to win real money online instantly when they gamble — and authors often have the same issue. In a game of poker, for example, one requires patience and skill, something all successful people had to learn at some point. There’s a reason people who gamble laugh at players who like slots the most; they see it as mindless winning and losing. So don’t be a slot author, if that makes any sense. Be a poker type of author, the one who has patience and skill — the success will come eventually.
Once you’ve made the previous steps on the road to publishing a book on Amazon, you’ll arrive at one of the most important decisions you’ll make within this process. Before the book goes live, you’re supposed to select all of the relevant categories for it, helping users who are interested in related topics to reach. This is a crucial marketing move as this basically determines your target audience. And depending on your genre, you’ll have to decide if you want to go for a broad category or a couple of niche ones.
If you’re wondering which one is better, there’s really no one right answer. On the one hand, if you go for a broader category, the quality of your work will be much more important for its success. In such a situation, your book will compete against many others that cover the same topic. And on the other hand, if you write for a more niche category, you won’t have to work as hard to stand out; but you’re in danger of being a part of a dead niche, which won’t bring you high profits.
Designing a Good Cover
As we’ve talked about above, you want to earn as much from this first book without investing more resources than you can handle. But now we arrive at a part of the process that requires some concrete investments — and that’s your book’s cover. If you don’t find someone to make you an interesting and professional-looking cover, you’re risking not attracting any readership at all. Remember the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, tough luck — most people do. And instead of trying to change the world, you’ll need to adapt. So get a professional designer to make you a premium-quality cover.
If your first book won’t be too big, determining its price won’t be too difficult. Naturally, this will vary based on your home currency — but if you keep your book’s price up to $9.99, Amazon gives you a whopping 70% of the royalties. Let’s be honest, that’s pretty good for any author. That’s just one of the many boons of online publishing compared to traditional brick-and-mortar publishers. But just make sure not to go above this price — as you’ll get around 35% of the sales in that case.