I wrote a book, got it on Amazon and sold thousands of copies. More are selling right now as I am typing this intro.
I’m going to teach you how to publish a book on Amazon and sell thousands of copies.
How To Publish A Book On Amazon
Today, anyone can.
Thanks to Amazon, the days of shopping manuscripts to countless editors and publishing companies are over.
Now, authors can bypass the process and publish themselves.
The popularity of self-publishing is only growing, so much so that Amazon now offers thirteen active publishing imprints, each dedicated to its own genre. In 2016, 7 out of the top 10 Kindle best-sellers were books published by their imprints.
In fact, indie authors are estimated to compose up to 20% of the book market.
That means that readers aren’t relying on traditional or big name publishers for their next read; instead, they’re turning to smaller sources for their fix.
The popularity largely has to do with pricing. The average retail price for indie books is $2.99 to $3.99, while those published traditionally charge generally anywhere from $7.99 to $14.99.
So sure, this is all great news for you. But before the publishing game begins, your first task is to actually write the book.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- If you already have a blog or publish articles, look at what your most popular topics are to find the focus of your book
- Research and outline first, then start writing
- Break the writing process up. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day to writing (don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much too soon!)
- Run your ideas by a trusted friend or someone with experience in the area, and ask them to read over the finished product
- Invest in a quality proofreader to make sure the final manuscript is free of typos or any grammatical errors (Amazon will remove books with reported typos, formatting issues, etc. until the mistakes are fixed)
First Step: How To Publish A Book On Amazon
Determine Which Amazon Platform is Best For Your Book
Amazon offers three programs for publishing, depending on the format:
- Kindle Direct Publishing – to publish Kindle ebooks
- CreateSpace – publish to print
- Audio Creation Exchange (ACX) – publish an audiobook
KDP is the most cost-effective way to publish your book (it’s free.)
It handles all the work a traditional company would, including formatting, cover and chapter design.
Once you’ve completed your manuscript, head over to the KDP homepage. There you’ll be introduced to Kindle Create, which takes your completed manuscript and turns it into an ebook.
It will automatically detect and style chapter titles and build a Table of Contents, and offers various themes like Classic, Modern, Amour, etc. to choose from.
- Your book will appear in stores 24-48 hours after publishing
- You control all rights
- Set any price
- Make changes at any time
- Earn up to 70% royalties
Use CreateSpace to convert your Kindle books into paperback.
Signing up for an account is free, though before you begin you will need your book to be in a digital format (which will be taken care of through Kindle Direct Publishing).
After that, you’ll need to format your book cover and layout to CreateSpace specifications, and upload it to CreateSpace.
I highly recommend taking the extra step and producing your book in paperback. It will only add to your credibility, and 2016 reports showed that paperback and hardback sales are actually increasing, despite the trend towards all things digital.
- Tools are free to upload and publish your book
- You maintain creative control and your own copyright
- Quick turnaround. After publishing, your books will be available in just a few days
- Books are distributed globally
- Set any price
- Earn royalties up to 80%
Through ACX, you can produce an audiobook version that either you or a selected narrator records.
Now, keep in mind that this may cost you a few dollars.
Mine cost about $400, but it was well worth it. That’s because audiobooks are only increasing in popularity, and the Association of American Publishers reports that audio remains the fastest growing format.
If you choose to narrate yourself, make sure all recordings adhere to the Audiobook Submission Requirements and must be completely finished before uploading.
If you choose to have someone else narrate, you select who narrates by uploading a quick excerpt of your book for potential narrators to audition.
Once you find someone you like, you will make them an offer (based on a per hour rate or royalty share).
You’re allowed up to two rounds of revisions. When the recording is finished, your audiobook will be distributed through Audible, Amazon.com, and iTunes.
- Sell through top retailers Audible, iTunes and Amazon.com
- Easy access to narrators of your choosing
- Earn high royalties, either for exclusive or non-exclusive distribution
Second Step: How To Publish A Book On Amazon
Build Pre-Launch Buzz for Your Book
Sigh of relief time. You’ve written your book and are ready to publish. Hard part’s over, right?
Not exactly. Because if you want people to take notice, you need to build a little buzz for your book.
The buzz should begin well before your book hits the shelves (or online marketplace), and there’s plenty of ways to accomplish that.
One of the most straightforward and effective is to offer pre-launch discounts through pre-orders.
By allowing pre-orders, you’ll build anticipation and excitement by allowing your fans the chance to be among the first to get your book. In a survey conducted in 2015, Smashwords found that ebooks born as preorders sell significantly more on average than books that are simply uploaded the day of release.
On top of that, offering a free download or discounted price to blog subscribers or social media followers will serve to further entice by creating exclusivity.
Another way to build buzz is through email marketing. Email continues to be one of the most effective strategies for driving book sales, and should be used in all stages of promotion.
Use it to build buzz by teasing special offers, book excerpts and links to your landing page.
Other strategies to consider are:
- Set up a dedicated landing page, direct people to the page through your social media accounts and encourage them to share
- Send out a pre-launch press release
- Research influential bloggers in your target market, and offer them a free book in exchange for a review
- Run ads on social media
- Guest blog on sites your target market visits
Third Step: How To Publish A Book On Amazon
Collect Reviews on Goodreads
Positive books reviews are invaluable when it comes to promotion, and Goodreads is a great place to start.
Goodreads, aimed at book discover and designed to help readers find and share books they love, has exploded in popularity over recent years.
And for writers, that’s a very good thing. The platform allows authors to interact and appeal to directly to readers.
Patrick Brown, director of Author Marketing, recommends the following strategies to authors:
- Set up an author page on Goodreads and create an interesting profile
- Use Goodreads giveaway programs to find readers and generate reviews. Brown says, “The giveaways raise exposure for the book, encourage users to add the book to their reading list, and help boost user ratings and review numbers. We recommend always including a personal note, and even signing the giveaway copy when possible, thanking the winner for their interest and asking them to post a review.”
- Answer questions through Ask the Author
Forth Step: How To Publish A Book On Amazon
Ask Your Friends and Family to Buy and Review Your Book
Of course, the best way to build a review base is to appeal to your built-in fans: your friends and family.
There’s little strategy required here. Most will be happy to contribute and pay for your work and drop a positive review where it counts: on Goodreads and Amazon.
Run Ads on Amazon
Because most indie authors tend to price their books in the $3.99 or below range, pricing isn’t the most effective way to collect new readers.
For that, it’s best to invest a little in advertising on Amazon.
You can advertise your KDP ebooks easily through Amazon Marketing Services. Much like common PPC campaigns, you will set the budget for your ad and the maximum amount you’ll pay when someone clicks on your ad.
You will only be charged when someone clicks the ad.
To set up, you’ll first need to determine your campaign type. For ebooks, you have two options:
- Sponsored Product Ads – target customers through keywords; clicks on the ad will direct customers to the product detail page
- Product Display Ad – target by related products or customer interests
Next, you’ll choose your targeting. Options will vary depending on which campaign type you choose. More information on that here.
Then set your bid, budget, and campaign duration, and you’re ready to go.
You can track your campaign’s performance through your Amazon dashboard, which will show you metrics including budget, ad spend, impressions, clicks, cost-per-click, sales and ACoS (advertising cost of sale; the amount you’ve spent on the campaign relative to the sales from the campaign).
Fifth Step: How To Publish A Book On Amazon
Optimize Your Book for a Niche Term
Your marketing strategy will need to include a little SEO as well.
As you create your listing, choose your categories and target your ads, you’ll need to be aware of the most beneficial terms to include to make sure your book can be found by the right audience.
Which is where a little keyword research comes in.
If you’ve done any marketing previously, you know the process begins with brainstorming possible search terms and using tools like SEMrush to find the most relevant keywords.
You would also know that “most relevant” doesn’t always correlate with “most popular.”
For example, if your book falls under the category of “marketing book” and you choose to try to rank for that term, you’ll find yourself facing some stiff competition.
Instead, try to narrow it down to a niche like “influencer marketing book” to appeal to a smaller but more relevant audience.
Remember, as with all Amazon listings, the more sales and reviews you get, the higher your book will rank in search results. That’s why it’s crucial to dedicate the necessary time (and yes, budget) to marketing your book and collecting reviews.
Final Step: How To Publish A Book On Amazon
Start Publishing Today
So there you have it, your blueprint for writing, publishing, and marketing your first book.
Remember, writing and publishing is only half the battle – your real success will come from how well you market your book.
So reach out to everyone you know, create buzz campaigns and commit to advertising wherever possible: on social platforms, through guest blogs and email campaigns and on Amazon itself.
Do that, and you’ll be setting yourself up for best seller status.