Disclaimer: Other than utilising their systems for the publication of books, neither T. R. Robinson nor T. R. Robinson Publications are employed by, personally connected with or affiliated to, Kindle or its parent company Amazon.
Note: The information contained below is primarily intended for new and inexperienced authors. Those familiar with self-publishing will probably not find anything they do not already know.
Readers, please note; this is only intended to be an overview of the processes for publishing with Kindle. Further, detailed, information and guidance may be found within the Kindle publishing site. Nevertheless, to provide an adequate overview, the post has to be longer than normal. The writer hopes, new, inexperienced, authors will find the following helpful.
Create an account
If the author does not already hold one, they will have to open an Amazon account before they will be able to proceed.
The following information will be required:
- Valid e-mail address or mobile telephone number. Once entered the user will need to tick the panel stating ‘I am a new customer’. Further panels will then be presented.
- Password: Remember, for security, to create a unique password rather than utilize one already in use elsewhere.
- Full name/Company name: Decide how this should appear publicly and enter accordingly.
- Country: Where user is resident.
- Postal address: Required for legal and tax purposes. (More about tax at the end of this post.)
- Telephone number: If one already entered as part of the initial signing-up process, this panel will probably be pre-filed. It may be changed if desired however, the user should remember to use the original one when subsequently signing-in.
Once the account information has been processed, the author’s ‘Bookshelf’ will be presented. In order to commence the publication process, the ‘Add New Book’ option will have to be clicked. The user will then be asked to add/complete relevant details.
Book name: Please note – though a book cover title may comprise all uppercase letters and may also include miscellaneous characters (!; ?; #; etc.) it is not possible to enter them here. Enter the title without them and remember this is how the book will be identified within the author’s ‘Bookshelf’ ‘Dashboard’. This has no impact upon the actual digital cover that will be displayed.
Sub-title: If the book has a sub-title enter it here. This is not a ‘required’ field and may therefore be left blank if there is no sub-title.
Volume Number: Usually applies to books in a series. Leave blank if not applicable.
Edition Number: Naturally, the initial publication will be ‘1’. ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ etc. come into play when there have been ‘substantial’ subsequent amendments to the manuscript. It is left to the author to enter the appropriate number when relevant. It will be a personal decision but when the amendments are only minor the author may choose not to change the edition number.
Publisher: The author is usually identified as the publisher when it comes to Kindle e-books. Nevertheless, they may choose to name their company (if they have one) or some other person or organisation as the publisher. They should remember whoever is entered here will be identified as the publisher on all public sites and in perpetuity. The author should therefore take time to think about what they want for the future.
Description: Enter the book’s synopsis.
Book Contributor: Enter author name (as it will be shown on books) and the names of any co-author(s).
Language: The language the book has been written in.
ISBN (International Standard Book Number): If a paperback edition has been created DO NOT ENTER ITS ISBN HERE! In addition to other information an ISBN identifies a book’s format; paperback, digital (e-book); audio. Consequently, the ISBN for a paperback may not be utilized for a digital edition. Kindle books, well any digitally published book, do not have to have an ISBN. In the case of Kindle, Amazon (the parent company) offer an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) which are recognised by all book systems. For most self-publishing authors an ASIN is adequate, especially as it is free: many indie (independent) authors have little in the way of resources. The only restriction; this edition of the book may only be retailed through Amazon’s sites. This does not mean the author cannot make their book available through other retailers. They would simply have to publish a different edition with them e.g. Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks etc. Each will allocate their own, free, identifier. Of course, if an author wishes to make the one edition available across multiple retail sites, and they have the means, they may purchase a group of ISBNs and allocate them to their books as they see fit. But as said, for most the ASIN is more than adequate.
Verify Publishing Rights
As a rule, an author will be able to tick:
‘This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights.’
Throughout there are good guidance notes and here is no exception. Simply put, if a work is in the public domain e.g. already available without license, an author cannot claim any rights with regard to it. However, if the book is an ‘original’ creation of the author’s they will be able to claim publishing rights to it.
Target Book Customers
Categories: This is the equivalent of the BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) utilized for physical editions (Hardback and Paperback). It basically identifies genre and sub-genre, helping readers to find books they may be interested in. Getting this as accurate as possible is important because it will impact upon the visibility of a book.
Age and Grade Range/US Grade Range: Only relevant if a book is specifically aimed at children or young adults or if it contains ‘adult’ material. Very important with the latter that it be identified as such. Not to do so may result in a book being ‘pulled’ and the author penalised or blocked. Non-US citizens will need to either research or ask for guidance regarding how US Grades and ages correspond. Unless one or more of the above applies this panel may be left blank.
Search Key Words: Six are allowed. These are words/short phrases the author thinks readers may enter when searching for a book. They should think hard before entering as these could have quite an impact upon a book’s discoverability.
Book Release Option
The author may either tick ‘I am ready to release my book now’ or enter a future date. The decision is the author’s.
This is where the digital edition of a cover is uploaded. Note: The pixel requirements for paperback and digital editions are different i.e. they are of differing intensity.
If the cover is not ready the author may save the information entered so far and logoff. In fact, this may be done at any stage. They may return and continue where they left off once the required elements are to hand.
Manuscript: This is where the final manuscript will be uploaded. By this stage the author should have followed the guidance notes for creating a Kindle edition incorporating such things as an interactive contents table and bookmarks. They should have also proof-read, edited and checked the manuscript file multiple times. Most formats are acceptable e.g. .doc; .docx; .mobi; .epub; .pdf. In addition, if the final manuscript is less than 50 megabits, .txt and .html may also be acceptable.
Digital Rights: Again there are clear guidance notes which the author really needs to read. Principally this determines how people may use the book e.g. give their copy away, lend it, share it, etc. Most will usually tick the panel stating ‘Enable Digital Rights Management’. But they must ensure they understand what is involved because once the book has been published this may not be changed. The author’s ultimate decision will depend upon how they wish to publicise/market their book.
Preview your book:
As soon as the manuscript file has been uploaded the Kindle system will start to convert it. It does not take long and as soon as it is complete a message will be displayed usually asking the author to preview their book. If there are an issues with the file, the author will be notified.
There are two options: either to preview on-line or to download a pre-view copy. The on-line previewer is recommended because it enables the author to see how the book will appear in multiple devises. Bare in mind, not only has Amazon released a number of different Kindle devises and tablets but there are also a vast number of other reading devises available to readers.
Note 1: If not already held it may be necessary for the author to download appropriate Kindle software onto their device.
Note 2: The book title, author name and some other details will not be displayed here but will appear in the final book.
If the author finds errors, they may logoff at this stage. Once corrected/amended they may return and upload the new file and go through the pre-view process again.
Once they confirm the file is okay they may proceed to the next stage.
Verify Publishing Territories
This is where the author decides in which territories they would like their book to be available. The choice may be as long or short as they choose. However, most, wishing to give their book as wide exposure as possible, select ‘Worldwide Rights – All Territories’.
Pricing & Royalty
Royalty: Here the author has the option of choosing their royalty plan: 35% or 70%. Note: Some territories default to 35% in which case the author has no option but to accept. Presumably this is related to localised legislation and tax regulations.
Pricing: The author has the option of determining the set price for different retail outlets e.g. Amazon.com; Amazon.co.uk; Amazon Australia; etc. There is the option, if the author wishes to avail themselves of it, to request guidance. KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) will, if requested, provide guidance upon what it considers an appropriate price by comparing the uploaded book against similar books. How well this works the writer does not know as they have never utilised it. There are guidance notes available.
Book File Size
Once the manuscript has been uploaded and approved the system will display the file size in kilobits and page number. These may prove useful in some marketing events.
Kindle Match Book
Never used by the writer. Authors should read the guidance notes to see if this option is for them.
Kindle Book Lending
This is usually ticked by default. Something Amazon likes to utilize.
ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number)
The unique ASIN allocated to the book will be displayed here. Make a note of this as it will be required for selling purposes. It is also useful for when directing readers, fans or acquaintances to the Amazon book page.
The date of final submission i.e. when the book became available will be displayed. Useful for the author’s own records.
KDP to Paperback
KDP, as at the time of writing, has a facility, currently in beta testing, to translate a Kindle edition to paperback. The writer has not availed themselves of this option and may not therefore comment from direct experience. The following is a resume of comments and observations made by others in social media discussions:
The option really only provides a ‘vanity’ copy authors may use to show off their work to friends and relatives. It does not effectively take the place of a paperback published via CreateSpace.
The author has little control over the layout. The system can change fonts etc. May look all right but may not be what the author had originally been looking for.
The new system has limited facility for additional features such as appendices.
Once published KDP will remove book from CreateSpace. Authors must decide for themselves if this is acceptable.
The price of a book created through KDP is less than one generated through CreateSpace.
There is no ‘direct’ customer service. Most is by e-mail and tends to be of the automatic ‘canned’ style. Whereas, the CreateSpace customer service is consider good.
It appears most prefer to publish their paperbacks through CreateSpace and utilize their conversion system for the Kindle edition. See ‘Publishing with CreateSpace’ for an overview of that system.
The above is only intended to be an overview to assist new and inexperienced authors to commence publication of their digital edition books. Within the Kindle system there are many helpful guides and notes authors may, and should, avail themselves of. Provided the author does not try to rush matters the process is reasonably straight forward and within the grasp of most.
Tax: No matter where an author is based or a book sold, tax is always payable. The author will have to complete a tax form. Further information and guidance regarding tax and tax forms may be found here.