My Step By Step To Publish An eBook on Amazon

Cover of The Lemon Tree Mindset

A guide to publish your first ebook

Have you ever wondered what publishing an ebook is like? At the end of December, I decided to set myself with a new challenge for the New Year: write my first ebook. Being a doer by nature, I also set a very ambitious timeline: 28 days. I had 1 month to write, edit and publish. I didn’t intend to write a big novel but an actionable self-improvement guide to help others reinvent themselves. Having been through that personal transformation myself just a few months earlier, I leveraged the same methodology to write the book.

I am my own social proof.

I went from being unemployed and facing rejection by recruiters, to becoming a fulfilled freelancer, a writer, a consultant and a public speaker in only 4 months. More importantly, I absolutely love what I do and I hope I can help others find their own path.

Writing an ebook

I have learned a lot throughout the process of publishing my ebook and I love sharing my knowledge with others as I believe as writers, we have a moral obligation to add value to our audience. This is what I learned in my journey of self-publishing.

  • Topic and framework

Your ebook, particularly if it’s your first one doesn’t have to be very long and complicated. I recommend to start with something simple that you can easily break into parts. In my case it was the 19 lessons I learned while I was reinventing myself. It could be a process, your journey, or something that you are already familiar with.

Once you have the key topic, start structuring the manuscript into the different parts and chapters. Don’t worry about a title at this point. Focus on the skeleton of the book, so that you have a solid framework to guide you.

  • Length

There is not a set number of words or pages for an e-book. The mid-sized ebook range falls between 5,000 and 20,000 words. My ebook has a total of 13,000 words. There are many factors to take into account to determine the ideal length, such as how much you are going to charge, whether it’s intended as a quick guide or a

more in-depth book. There is not a standard, so it really depends on your case and objectives. Personally, I do think that if you are going to charge a fee, your reader might expect some substance, so aiming at 10,000 words can give you a ballpark estimation.

  • Writing & editing

Once your framework and book content is ready, the fun begins. I suggestyour first draft is wild and uncensored. Let your writer’s hair down and write without the brakes on. Every writer has a different approach, but that’s definitely mine. I enjoy the wild ride, the free flow of words, the festival of thoughts and ideas.

After the first draft, the meticulous labor of editing begins. Go back chapter by chapter, reviewing not only the wording and grammar, but the overall sense and logic. As difficult as it is, you have to get out of your writer’s shoes and step into the audience’s ones, looking at your manuscript with fresh eyes.

This process is usually as long as writing the book itself, as some words will need to be replaced by synonyms to avoid repetition; some parts will need to be rewritten or clarified with further context. Editing is a tedious process and it’s where most books die. You should definitely consider partnering with an external editor after your initial review, and you can compare options on Fiverr, where they usually charge per word.

  • Formatting for Amazon Kindle

 

Screenshot of Amazon publishing options

Because Amazon Kindle was my platform of choice, I’m only going to talk about the publishing process there and the steps I followed. First, you have to create your Amazon Kindle account. That part is very smooth, and you just have to input all your personal details, region and your payment details, as well as taxation information. The platform is very intuitive and guides you step by step. You have the different publishing options like Paperback, Hardcover and Series page, but I only wanted to focus on the eBook to start with.

Although you can import your manuscript directly from your original format like Microsoft Words for instance, I recommend downloading the Amazon Kindle Create tool, which is available for both Mac and PC. It’s designed as a standard template for an ebook, with the preface, copyright information, prologue and then the chapters. It gives a professional structure to achieve a professional look and feel.

As a new writer, I really appreciated having guidance on what to add, and just fill the different sections of the Front Matter, Body and Back Matter. I will disclose here that Kindle Create is not a great platform for editing, as it’s missing some key functionalities. For example, you can’t copy paste text from within, and you can’t generate lists or modify them once added. I strongly recommend you do 99% of the editing prior to uploading your text into Kindle Create. Once uploaded, the focus should be on the formatting: when to use heading and subheading, choosing the suitable font, separating the chapters and all the visual elements.

  • Title & Subtitle

Experienced writers will often tell you the title is hidden in the book, you just have to find it. I like this concept. In any case, it’s a good idea to wait for the final title until you complete the book, so that you have time to reflect on it and review it from a different perspective.

The title has to be concise and clear. Your audience has to know exactly what the book is about without an extra click. I also recommend to leverage the subtitle to provide additional clarification.

In my case, my ebook’s title is “The Lemon Tree Mindset “ followed by the subtitle “19 lessons to reinvent yourself”. I tried to make it as self-explanatory as possible so that there is no room for guessing.

  • Book cover

Once you have the title and subtitle, you can start the ideation process for your cover. I would recommend to hire a professional to design it, but I wanted to have a hands-on experience for my first ebook. Personally I love learning about the behind the scene, and spending some time understanding the how to of the different platforms. I used my Canva Pro account to design a simple cover page that illustrates what my book is about. I am not a professional, but you can use some really nice state-of-the-art templates from Canva.

  • Pricing & Royalties

 

There are many different ways to go about the pricing but it’s important to understand its implications first. The Amazon royalty model gives the author 2 options of royalties: 70% or 35%. Of course the 70% sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not available in all the territories. Also, Amazon charges a fee for the electronic delivery based on the size of the book (MB), therefore a very large book might benefit from the 35% royalty model.

It’s important to note as well that the 70% royalty option is only eligible for books with a selling price between 2.99US$ and 9.99US$. Outside this bracket, it goes to 35%. Therefore, I deducted that 2.99US$-9.99US$ is the sweet spot for an ebook.

I decided to list mine at a price of 3.99US$. I wanted it to be affordable enough so that interested readers wouldn’t think twice before purchasing it, yet high enough that I could benefit from the 70% royalties. In the end, 3.99US$ felt like the good number. I positioned it as the price of one cup of coffee.

One coffee could change your life — that’s my marketing line.

Some authors recommend to list it for free or go for the option of 0.99US$ so that it’s a no brainer for anyone with a slight interest in it. Again, it depends on your goal: if you want to reach a wider audience and build a name as a new author, listing the ebook for free is a smart strategy. If you are going to have a bigger book afterwards or a course you are trying to sell, the ebook could work as a trailer, the snack before the main dish. Amazon also gives you the option to launch a campaign whereby your ebook is available for free for a limited period. This creates buzz and a sense of urgency.

  • The launch and the buzz

Once you hit “publish”, make sure you start your marketing campaign. The same day I published it, I posted on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn with a link to the Amazon site. You can check my LinkedIn post here, which I also added to the Featured Post section at the top of my profile.

I wrote an article both on Medium and here  to share my knowledge having just published. Hopefully this will inspire some readers  to become writers and if you are keen to know more about my transformation journey, you can purchase my ebook here. In any case, it’s a great opportunity to continue to build community and build credibility as a published author.

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Veronica Llorca Smith
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Veronica Llorca Smith

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