By September 1, 2014 Read More →

How to self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

How to self-publish through KDP - Emma JordanRecently Frances Evesham described how she wrote her first novel, and today we have more handy information for budding writers.

Blogger Emma Jordan has just self-published through KDP and here’s how she did it.

Neglecting the laundry and family care of her two-year old both played a significant part!

As a writer, I read a lot.  During my career as an educator (first teacher, then student advisor) I mainly read academic texts.  I’ve always imagined I would be a published author, and I never really considered self-publication until I started to read more self-published books on my Kindle tablet.

Amazon make this route an easy process, and I chose to enrol into their (free) Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) programme because it was the most straightforward option available.  For 90 days they have exclusive access to my book (no print copies, or selling from my own website).  At the end of this period I can either remain, or decide to move elsewhere.

To try out self-publishing through KDP, and because my student clients were on holiday, I set myself a summer target of writing a non-fiction book of 10,000 words.  I discovered practical KDP guides from Steve Scott and Sally Jenkins and could not have completed my challenge without their books Kindle Publishing Package and Kindle Direct Publishing For Absolute Beginners, although there are many authors writing about how to publish through Amazon.

I love writing, and wrote my first draft in a day, totalling 2,000 words.  Great, I’m on my way I thought, and promptly distracted myself with socialising. 

Over a few weeks at 2-3 hours a day I built the draft to 5000 words.  At the end I had three final versions to check for content, grammar and continuity/typing errors.  This wasn’t a clean process; when I spotted content error in a grammatical edit I tidied up.

I am fortunate that my partner is keen on details so he  was my proofreader.  He would read a chapter while I dragged my editing comb over the rest of my work. Other proofreaders are available online.

Realising that my book would not be finished before September, I set my alarm for five am so that I could put in three hours of editing before the family woke.  Twice a week our daughter stayed with her grandparents so I could work on my book throughout the day. In two weeks I rewrote, edited, proofed and read around the upcoming technical aspects for an additional 45 hours.

I abandoned the laundry during the final week, cancelled all non-book arrangements and spent every minute on the computer, focusing on the book.  I began preparing friends and family, revealing that my book would be published in a couple of weeks, because I knew that once I pressed publish, it would only be a matter of twenty-four hours until readers could see my words, which now sat just under 10,000.  And once I told people the process became very real.

In that last week I searched online for a suitable front cover, and drew up some draft titles and font on Microsoft’s Publisher programme.  Complete waste of time.  I’m no designer and Kindle have pre-empted this issue; using their Cover Creator it took five minutes to produce a cover, at no cost.

Technical details
When I knew my book was ready (like falling in love; you know) I sent my partner and our daughter off for the day and spent a further three hours checking my manuscript for typing errors and continuity issues.

I’d registered with the KDP programme a few days earlier (free and easy to set up, you just use your Amazon account) and knew I had to convert my Word document to a web document (HTML), which took around eight attempts, as I kept finding formatting errors.

On the KDP site I entered the book’s details, created a title and completed the tax information, with Sally’s book by my side – she virtually held my hand through the process.  I also played around with the price, based on the site’s royalties information and calculator before settling on my magic number.

In an hour I hit publish, but had to wait for up to 24 hours for the confirmation email that my book was live.  I distracted myself with laundry.

Part-time self-published writers can publish in a few months through KDP for no or very little cost, depending on outsourced services.  However, as much time needs to be devoted to marketing your online book as to writing and editing.

There are many options available including social media connections, which takes time, but again can be done for little or no cost.  It helps to have a handy pitch to describe your book in a sentence or two, when explaining your book’s concept to a potential new sale, reader.

I also learned that not everyone is familiar with buying books on Amazon, so I don my IT support cap to provide easy purchasing and download instructions. I’m distracting myself with writing a second book on the blogging process.

work from home secrets

Emma Jordan is creator of the Size15Stylist lifestyle blog and Size15Stylist Consultancy, enhancing the natural style of individuals and business owners.   In her free time…oh, she hasn’t had any of that since 2011.  Her sewing machine hides under a layer of dust only marginally thinner than the dust on her unread novels.

6 Comments on "How to self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)"

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  1. Sharon says:

    I was mid-way through setting up everything, thanks to this I finally got it all done (I think). Hope to get to publish soon …

    Thank you

  2. Emma says:

    Glad the article offered you a prompt, Sharon! Good luck with hitting that button, would be good to hear when you do.

  3. Emma, I’m so pleased to know that my book helped you and wish you (and anyone else about to take the e-publishing plunge)every success!

  4. Emma says:

    There is something downright marvellous about claiming your own writing via self-publication!