Want to self-publish your book on Amazon? Here’s how

Some people look at me in awe when they find out I’ve published a book on Amazon. I like the attention…

I want everyone to know how easy it is to self-publish, though.

Then, all those people can look at themselves in the mirror with awe, and the world will be just a little shinier.

Self-publishing in four ultra-easy steps.

1. Write your book.

This is the most difficult part; and in some ways maybe the only truly difficult task of the bunch.

Also, edit your book. Or hire someone to do it. You could hire me to do it (I’m still working on my pricing paradigm, and am more than willing to work with your financial needs).

2. Format your book.

This may be challenging your first time around, but totally doable. I’ll write a guide to formatting soon.

I used Google Docs for formatting for my first two books, and it was mostly painless.

For my next round of books, I’ve been working with Microsoft Word. I’ll let you know how it goes.

3. Get a cover.

For The Art of Being Human: What It Means to Be, I paid an artist I knew through Facebook a hundred dollars.

That hundred dollars was my only expense for the entire book. You probably know some artistically gifted people, or perhaps you are one yourself.

If not, don’t worry. Just keep your eyes open and ask around.

You can also pay CreateSpace to design your cover and format your book for you (I believe they have editing services as well).

If you have the money for this and it is a load off your mind, go for it. It’ll probably be at least $300.

If $300 frightens you, don’t let that fear be a barrier. There are a plethora of ways to make this work, and you very well could put out a high quality book without spending a cent.

If you’re designing the cover yourself or having someone else design it for you, this template generator will come in handy.

3. Sign up for CreateSpace (for paperback print) or Kindle Direct Publishing (for Kindle).

There are no fees. If you want your book published in print and Kindle, start with CreateSpace, and at the end of the submission process you’ll be prompted to set up your book for Kindle.

(I, wanting to release in both print and ebook formats, signed up with Kindle Direct Publishing before CreateSpace. The process would have been more efficient and streamlined had I started with CS.)

If you only want to publish on Kindle, just go straight through Kindle Direct Publishing and ignore CreateSpace.

The reason it will not cost you anything to publish in print, is because your copies will be pressed on demand. There will be a base price for your book to cover printing and manufacturing fees. The amount you set above the base will be your royalties.

4. Set up your project. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but you may have some questions. At the end of this post, I’ll include the links to the sources that answered my questions during the process.

I uploaded my formatted .PDF to CreateSpace and .RTF to Kindle Direct Publishing. After an approval process that takes less than 24 hours, you’ll be able to review your final proof. It’s important to review the proof carefully, because it is exactly what your book will look like.

I missed a few errors on mine, so my book has some issues that grate on me (one of my chapter headings is off center, and I did not ensure that every new chapter starts on even-numbered pages).

These problems can be fixed after publication by pausing the availability of your book long enough to submit to the approval process again, but it would obviously the best use of your time to get it right on round one.

And that’s seriously all there is to it.

Gone are the days when you need to depend on a publisher to take notice of your work. No more rejection letters needed. All you have to do is write something worth reading, and find some people to read it.

That puts the onus of marketing and promotion on you, but we live in a world of technology that makes marketing and promotion easier and more powerful than ever.

I love the story of Hugh Howey. It gives me great hope. He wrote and self-published seven books, which were mostly purchased by friends and family.

Then he self-published Wool, which caught fire and became an international bestseller.

He already had seven books lonesomely waiting for his new masses of rabid fans to go back to consume wholeheartedly.

Suddenly Hugh Howey was a career writer. The big publishers came to him. How it should be.

Point is, if you want to be a writer, the only malevolent force to stop you anymore, is you. Make it happen. Be persistent. Learn from your mistakes, and have fun.

Let me know of your successes. I’ll help promote your endeavors and stand by your side, and grow with you into new frontiers of existence.

I have a few specific friends that I know have it in them to make a living by being creative and free. I won’t name any names… but Ian and Sabina immediately spring to mind. My own father is an outstanding writer with a rich and intriguing mind. There are countless voiceless people all throughout the world that have stories that I’m aching to read.

The world is desperately waiting for your work!

No more excuses. Just write.

Helpful links:

A step-by-step guide to formatting your book’s interior

10 reasons manuscript uploads get rejected

Font selection

Info about dimensions and margins

Book trim sizes and maximum page counts

Cover template generator


Also published on Medium.