Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

Publishing Part 2

Welcome back! This is the second post this week, since I had to break this publishing segment into 2 parts.  In this section, I’d like to cover the #1 online retailer world-wide.  Amazon is actually an e-commerce search engine, but many view it as its own ‘store.’  With headquarters based in Seattle, WA, Amazon’s reach to potential buyers, new fans and readers is further than any other Indie Book Publishing platform available.  Here’s what they have to offer:

AMAZON

Kindle Direct Publishing: is the original and most frequently used Program that Amazon has to offer Indie Authors.  If you’ve already uploaded your book to Smashwords, then you’ll find Amazon’s process is quite similar and easy to follow.  Here are the most important things to know about KDP:

  • Just like Smashwords, KDP has an available walk-through style guide called Building Your Book for Kindle on how you’ll need to format the interior layout of your book – however – if you’ve already formatted it to Smashwords specifications, you’ll find that it is exactly the same as KDP’s so there’s no need to worry about formatting it twice.  The key difference is that while Smashwords only accepts MS .doc files, KDP only accepts HTML, so you’ll have to save your document in an HTML format in order to upload it to Amazon.
  • Your book cover can only be uploaded as a JPEG file, whereas most other places accept PNG, so make sure you have a JPEG version of your book cover – if you only have a PNG, open it in “Paint” and “Save As” a JPEG – this is the easiest way to convert graphics without ruining your cover or downloading a free converter onto your computer (though that is also an option).
  • This is a mistake I just made: KDP does not automatically assign you as the author of your book, you have to do that under the “Add Contributor” section of your Bookshelf.
  • Also, KDP does not allow you to make multiple changes to your book if you forgot to before hitting the “save and continue.” You must wait for it to come out of ‘Review’ before you can go back into your Bookshelf (the equivalent of Smashwords’ Dashboard feature) and make the other necessary change(s).
  • KDP also has a Pre-Order publication option, though they don’t seem to offer the same ‘Assetless Preorder’ that Smashwords does.  Plus, they require that the final version of your book be uploaded 10 days prior to the scheduled publication date – so to maximize this option, make sure you publish your Pre-Order books more than 10 days out from its release date.
  • KDP will assign it’s own FREE ASIN # for your book, if you don’t already have a purchased ISBN #.

*Note: I paid extra for a formatter to send me both a Smashwords and a Kindle formatted version of my book, only to find out it was an unnecessary charge – PLEASE do not pay for a PDF, Mobi or Epub version of your book, both Smashwords and Amazon convert your word document all on their own – and – after your book has been successfully uploaded to Smashwords, they allow you to download a Full FREE copy of your book in any format you want (mobi, epub, PDF, doc, etc.) or all of the above – So save your money!

*Note: For pre-publication ARC’s and Beta Reader Copies, you can download a FREE eBook converter called Calibre which will convert any document file or even ebook file to any format you need (mobi, epub, PDF, etc.)- make sure you preview the finished product before sending it out, as you may have to use their features to adjust the font, font size and page width to be more reader-friendly. The nice thing is that you don’t have to scrap it and start over, merely select the same file and re-convert it into the same format with the changes and it’s done! Calibre automatically overrides the first conversion so your computer isn’t filling up with unwanted files.

Calibre also acts as an e-reader in case you ever receive an epub copy of someone else’s book and don’t already have an e-reader – simply right click on the epub file, select “open with” and find Calibre (mine is on my desktop) – and voila, you can now read epub files!

Do you know the difference between KDP and KDP Select?  I haven’t done thorough research yet, but here are the most distinctive differences:

  • KDP Select is 100% exclusive – which means that you are not allowed to publish your book through any other retailer while you are active in the KDP Select Program – so, if this is something you’re considering DO NOT publish through Smashwords first, as it will render your book disqualified for the KDP Select Program.
  • KDP Select allows authors to lower the price of their books or make them FREE for a certain amount of time every 90 days – and this is why most authors join KDP Select, because nothing gives your book more exposure than listing it for FREE. (There are other ways to get Amazon to sell your book for FREE without tying your publishing hands, though – scroll down for that information.)
  • KDP Select takes full control over how your book is promoted and which promotional deals they will offer it in – but this is also a benefit, because it’s marketing you don’t have to pay for on the world’s largest retail search engine.

*That is all I know about the select program so far, so please follow the link above to learn more.

Another thing that Amazon KDP has is the Kindle MatchBook feature.  This allows customers who’ve purchased a Print copy of your book to purchase the digital version for $2.99 or less.  I haven’t looked into this too deeply, but it could be a good marketing feature!

How to Force Amazon to Sell Your Book for FREE:

According to Nick Stephenson, if you upload your eBook to KDP for $0.99 cents (that is the minimum allowed for new uploads) and then upload your books through Smashwords for FREE – you can then request that Amazon “Price Match” your books being sold everywhere else.  It might take some time for them to approve it, but this is supposed to be the alternative to the KDP Select program if you’d like to give your book away for FREE. – I am going to attempt this at some point, so look for an update on this topic in the future.

CreateSpace: This is Amazon’s Print On Demand (POD) platform.  I do not know anything about POD’s, except that the requirements for Book Covers and Formatting are completely different than your eBook version, as you can imagine, so you will have to provide a printable version of both in order to upload your book through a POD.  I know nothing else – and I do not know of any other POD’s by name, so if you do, can you please leave a comment about it below?  Thanks, that would be awesome!

Fun Fact: Did you know that Amazon has actual, brick & mortar Bookstores? I just found that out – all books are sold at the same price as you’d find on Amazon.com. Interesting.

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