Self-Publishing 101: Part IV
Not scared off yet? Bravo. Read on--this last bit is nice and short!
Step 11: Order a proof copy.
Way back when in Part I, we discussed proofreading. I made you use that annoying Word robot, remember? Well, unfortunately, you’re not done. It’s truly astounding how many typos can slip your notice. And as I said earlier, you’re more likely to catch them if the book looks “new”, in print form.
So order a proof copy. It’s only the printing and shipping costs. Once you have that copy--first, do a little jig, because you are holding your book, your real book, in your hand. And that’s awesome. But then, sit down and proofread it again, at least once. If possible, have someone else proofread it, too. Keep an eye out for formatting issues, too, like a blank page or no break between chapters. You can go back and fix any errors in your manuscript, and upload it again on KDP.
A proof copy is also useful to determine if a glossy or matte cover is better for you. Again, I started out with a matte cover, but discovered that it didn’t look good with my cover, and changed it to glossy.
Guess what? When all that is done...you, my friend, are ready to publish.
But we still have a couple things to go over.
Step 12: Hit “Publish”!
First, know that Amazon can take up to 72 hours to process your book, before it actually becomes live. This will be the case not only the first time you publish it, but also any time you update content (like if you find a sneaky typo weeks after the release date and go back in to fix it).
So, since my release date was on the 20th, I actually hit “publish” a few days before that, just in case it really took them that long to process the book. In reality, it’s never taken more than 24 hours for my book to go live. But it’s better to play it safe than to market a release date and then be unable to deliver.
Is there a pre-order and/or set the release date ahead of time option, you ask? One would think so! Honestly, I can’t find it. I’ve sniffed around KDP pretty thoroughly, but never been able to find this feature. So I’m afraid I can’t help you with this one.
Step 13: Decide if you want to enroll in KDP Select.
A choice lies before you: KDP Select.
Enrolling your book in KDP Select means it will be available on Kindle Unlimited, meaning people who have Unlimited can read the ebook for free. How do you make money on it, then? Amazon will pay you based on the amount of pages of your book read. As is usually the case in this book business, don’t be expecting any piles of gold. For my 356-page book, I calculated that I will make a little less than a dollar per book read on Unlimited.
So no, you’re not making much on it. But you’re making pretty much the same amount as you do for a paperback, and in the end, you will probably make more--a lot more people will be willing to try a free ebook than pay for a $10 paperback.
Any downsides to KDP Select?
Just one--your book has to be exclusive to Amazon for as long as it’s enrolled in the program. Meaning, you can’t sell it on your website (you can only post links to Amazon), you can’t sell it on Ingram or Apple or wherever else you may sell a book online.
It’s not permanent, though. If I remember right, you agree to like three months, then after that period you can decide whether to keep the book on KDP Select longer, or take it off.
So my advice is to go ahead and enroll it for those first few months, and hopefully gain a few more readers that way. You can always change it later, if you decide to sell on another platform.
If you do decide to enroll, you should be able to find the option to the right side of your book, the same place you would go to edit the content or details, promote/advertise, etc.
Step 14: Finally, find your reports to view sales.
This is nice and simple. You know your bookshelf page on KDP? Well, next to its link is one for “Reports”, where you can see your book sales in handy little charts, and your total royalty earned.
Aaaaaand at long last...
Congratulations, you’ve published your book!
If, after reading all this, you have some questions or wanna discuss something about the process, feel free to contact me (comment here, Facebook, Instagram, email me, you name it). I by no means claim to be an experienced or even successful indie author--but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned and help in any way I can!
Happy publishing, indies!