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Are you ready to self-publish your book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform? It’s easier than you think. In this episode, Chris and Gena talk about everything you need for your book…so you can get published today.
- Get Noticed by Agents, Editors and Readers FREE PDF
- Amazon’s KDP Dashboard
- ISBN and Barcodes
- Vellum Formatting Software for Mac
Episode 4 Transcript
[00:00:00].910] - Gena Hi, everybody. Welcome to the Writing Momentum Podcast. Mouthful. There writing Momentum podcast. This is episode number four. I'm really excited to dive in today. I just got back from Texas. Chris, you did. [00:00:18].060] - Chris What did you do there? [00:00:18].800] - Gena I visited some friends. I took my kids. It was my first time going through the airport with all three of our kids at once. Of course they are troopers, but with all the protocols and everything, it made me a little nervous. [00:00:34].370] - Chris But it was fun. You got to see a lot of friends. [00:00:37].890] - Gena It was. The most nerve-wracking part of it was that when I made our ticket reservations, I did not realize that I was going to be... I knew I needed to rent a car when I got there, but I did not realize, I hadn't put it together, that I was getting in at 10:45pm and that the reservation place for the car closed at midnight. So that's just not that much of a buffer for me to get there. , [00:01:09].870] - Chris You're running from the terminal to the rental car place with three kids in tow. [00:01:14].130] - Gena And our plane was delayed. And so our plane did not land until [11:30]. And I had to be there to pick up a car at midnight, which was off site. [00:01:26].510] - Chris Meanwhile, I'm back home having a writing holiday. [00:01:29].130] - Gena You are definitely having a writing holiday. And I will say that we walked in the door at midnight. We walked in the rental car place. So anyway, that's just a side note there. But getting back to what we're talking about today, Chris, what are we talking about today? I am kind of excited. We are talking about self publishing on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDB. [00:01:56].270] - Chris We know a lot of people who want to self publish and their publishing place of choice is KDP. [00:02:02].690] - Gena And I got to tell you, I love that we are living in an era when this is possible. That self publishing can be done in excellence. It's just a wonderful time. We're talking about that today. And we're talking about what do people need to know about, (just the bare basics, the minimum), what they need to know, if they are thinking or really they've heard about publishing on Amazon's KDP, but they're not really sure what that really means. And they're not really sure if that's going to be something they want to do. Can you give them, Chris, and just a quick overview of what KDP is and what they need to know. [00:02:50].930] - Chris If you want to have a book published fast, right? Or easily. You can publish yourself on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program. What that means is that your book will show up on Amazon, just like any book, just like any book by any of the major publishers. It will show up on there. And thousands and thousands of people publish their book, self publish their book on Amazon, probably every single day. It's become certainly the platform of choice. And the reason it's the platform of choice is because it's where people are buying. [00:03:26].120] - Chris In a future episode, we're going to talk about the pros and cons of publishing on Kindle Direct as opposed to Ingram Spark or other places, because there are other good places to publish. In fact, there are ways that you can publish to all of them at the same time, which I do recommend. But if you want to publish fast, Amazon KDP I don't think there's almost an easier way without anything in your way as you do it. Last year, or the year before, I guess, we went to a writer's conference and before the writers conference, we wanted to have a book to sell that was brand new, and we had some friends of ours that we all had blog posts that we have published recently about writing. And so 30 days before that conference, we decided we we're going to publish a book of all these blog posts. They'd already been edited. They were pretty much ready to go, but they weren't compiled in book form, and we didn't have to cover anything. And would you believe that in less than 30 days, we had the manuscript created. We had it formatted. We had the cover created, and we had it published on Amazon. When we were at the conference, we had a stack of books there ready to sell. [00:04:41].780] - Chris And that book is called Write Well, Sell Well. You can look it up on Amazon, and it was great to have it because we had fresh product for people. [00:04:49].630] - Gena Well, and I think people may not understand how remarkable that is. Taking a book to print from concept to print, even in the self publishing world, a month is incredibly tight. We don't necessarily recommend that for everything. This was a special case where we were working with professional authors who had already had their work edited. [00:05:15].020] - Chris It was all edited. Normally, you'd have to go through the editing process and all that. We would recommend. We'll talk about that on another episode to everything. You need to make sure you have ready to self publish your book. [00:05:26].490] - Gena But just to give people a quick idea of what it means when you're talking about self publishing, you published that book in a month. What would it take if you were to be traditionally published? How long would it take for a book to come to market? [00:05:44].570] - Chris Well, they're getting faster, but you can generally expect it'll be a couple of years. Usually, if you talk to agents or editors at writers' conferences or elsewhere, they will tell you they know what's going to be published in their line over the next 24 to 36 months, because those are the books that they're working on today. The books that are showing up in the bookstore today, many of those they worked on three years ago, so it can take a long time, which is part of the reason this is so empowering for authors. [00:06:15].860] - Gena Absolutely. [00:06:17].210] - Chris If you want to publish on KDP, let's just talk about the things that you need to have ready in order to do that. And we're not talking about editing and proofing and all those sorts of things, that's for another podcast. But what do you actually, or physically need or digitally need in order to be ready to go. So the first thing is you need to have a Kindle Direct Publishing account. And here's something pretty cool. You've probably already got one and don't even realize it. [00:06:47].490] - Chris Your KDP account is the same as your Amazon account. You can make it the exact same, even though it's a little bit separated. So what you do is you go to KDP.Amazon.com and you sign in with your Amazon account. When you do that, it creates your KDP account for you. You can then put that in your own name. You can create your own little kind of pseudo publisher name. If you want to, you can hook up your bank account, which you want to do so that it can go ahead and send you royalties as you start selling books. [00:07:24].320] - Chris Then they're also going to ask for a couple of other things for tax reasons. And then you're ready to go. It's really simple to set up. Most authors that I work with (I work with a lot of authors in publishing on Amazon KDP) and when I do, often, I will give them that as a task to do for one afternoon. And they'll usually finish it in half an hour, 45 minutes. It's not difficult. It's easy to do. It's just filling out some forms at KDP.Amazon.com. And you're ready to go. [00:07:55].040] - Gena Great. That's great. Now, once you have your book and you're ready to take it to print, you're ready to upload it to Amazon, how do you do that? What kind of files do you need for that? [00:08:06].680] - Chris You're again going to go to KDP. Amazon.com, and you're going to have a couple of choices. You can either go ahead and create a print-on-demand book, a print book, or an ebook, that'll show up on Kindles and that sort of thing. Those are the two formats that they offer. And for print, you can either do soft back or they're just starting to roll out hardback, also. They have quite a few options when it comes to these things. [00:08:32].310] - Chris You can choose sizes and all that sort of thing as you would expect. There may not be as many as you might think there might be, and you'd have to go to a local printer if you want to do more. But what they have is, for the most part, what most of us need if we want to print a decent book. Let's take print-on-demand first. If you want to have a physical print book that shows up on your doorstep, you need two things is all: You need to have the cover file. That's the file that's the cover of the book. That's both front and back. It's going to be one document, that's front and back of the book laid out. You'll need that in PDF form. So if you have an artist create this for you, you can go to Fiverr.com or if you've got a friend, or if you want to try and create one yourself, they actually have a cover creator within KDP where you can create your own cover. That is just in a PDF form. [00:09:27].690] - Chris Then the second thing you need is your document. It also has to be in PDF form. Now, I recommend using a program like Vellum. That's a really good formatter, and there's other things you can do. But you know what? You can also just upload a document file from Microsoft Word. If it's formatted properly, you'll have to look on the website for the formatting guidelines, but that's it. You need two PDFs: cover file and the document file. You upload both of those. They're checked by Amazon. You put in the name of the book, the pricing, the description, that sort of thing, and you're ready to go. And you've got a print-on-demand book. [00:10:04].640] - Gena I think that's awesome. That sounds pretty doable. [00:10:08].030] - Chris It's very doable. [00:10:09].220] - Chris Then if you want an ebook, it's not a whole lot different, except for the file types are different. For an ebook, you need that cover file. Now you don't need a back cover file because an ebook doesn't show a back cover. So you just need a picture of the front, and you put that in a JPEG, which is the type of file you use. Again, Amazon has a way you can create these right on the website, or you can create one on your own and upload it. [00:10:31].980] - Chris You just have to make sure you get the file size right. Again, the dimensions are listed right there in KDP. Then you also need the document file, which needs to be in what they call EPUB format. That's a document format. Again, you can upload a word document, and it will also convert that if you need to. It takes a few different formats, but I recommend EPUB. It's the easiest one to work with, and I also use Vellum for that. That's my favorite formatter. It's for a Mac, but we'll talk about that more in another podcast. [00:11:05].110] - Chris But really, again, it's those two files for print-on-demand. You need two PDF: a cover and a document file for an ebook. You need a JPEG for the cover and an EPUB for the document. Then right there in KBP, if you want to do both, you can do that. You can do both for the same book and then link them togethero, s they'll show up on the same page, which is pretty cool. [00:11:27].460] - Gena Now, Chris, let me ask you about ISBN numbers and bar codes. Do you need those? What are they? How do you get them? [00:11:36].600] - Chris Yeah. So a lot of people ask about ISBNs and barcodes. Again. Good topic for another podcast if we want to get deep into it. But in short, for KDP, you actually do not need a barcode or an ISBN. And the reason for that is because Amazon will assign you what their version of an ISBN is. It's called an ASIN, and it will serve as an ISBN on Amazon. And then they create the barcode for you. So on your cover. When you create it, when you create that back cover, for your print book, you're just going to leave a space for them to put that barcode in there. [00:12:15].340] - Chris And they again have template files for that. So what's cool about that is that you don't need to get one anywhere. It just goes ahead, and they'll take care of it for you. Now, some authors still want to have their own ISBN. They would prefer to have their own ISBN, their own barcode. And you can do that. You can go ahead and get one. There's one place online to get it. It is called MyIdentifiers.com. That's where you go. It's run by a place called Bowkers, B-O-W-K-E-R-S. [00:12:45].880] - Chris And they're the ones who issue ISBNs and barcodes. You can buy them. It costs about $150 for the pair. If you spend a little bit more, you can get like, ten of them for, I think, like $300. So if you need a lot, you can do that. But again, for a KDP book, for a book just published on Amazon, you don't need either. And most authors I work with end up saying, "Why do I need it?" Well, one reason you might want it is because ISPN, I believe you still need ISBN to count for a best seller. [00:13:18].690] - Chris That may be changing. but most of us are not looking to become a New York Times bestseller by printing an Amazon book. We just want to get our book out there and sell a bunch of copies because you don't need to sell millions anymore. You just need to sell a few compared to that in order to become a best seller on Amazon, which is really where it matters anymore, not on New York Times or USA Today or anything like that. So that's basically it. If you want to publish on Amazon, if you want to get your book published, you can do it today. [00:13:54].070] - Chris You can get started today. It is not as difficult as you might think, and I encourage you to do so. It's a great way to get your feet in the water, get started, and get that book that's been just sitting on your computer out there for the world to see. [00:14:09].050] - Gena So take us through, Chris, some of what we've talked about today. Let's just recap really quick. [00:14:14].220] - Chris All right, so for a quick recap, if you want to print fast in just a few weeks time, you can do that on KDP.Amazon.com. That's Kindle Direct Publishing with Amazon. You need a KDP account, which you get at KDP.Amazon.com. Then all you need to have ready is your cover file and your document file in order to print on demand or like a physical book or an ebook. For a physical book, you need it both in PDF format. For an ebook, you need it in JPEG and EPUB format, and you don't even need an ISBN. You'll have that ASIN from Amazon, and you're ready to go. [00:14:49].210] - Gena Well, great. Well, thank you for tuning in today. Please make sure to review, rate, and subscribe. We've got a lot more great content coming where we're going to be talking about writing, branding, publishing, and marketing your writing, and we look forward to seeing you soon. [00:15:07].680] - Chris Yeah. You don't want to miss an episode. So subscribe today. Talk to you later and have good writing momentum.