Ever thought about publishing your work on Amazon Kindle?
I started my book around October of 2015 and has worked on it til March of 2016.
5 months of writing & editing. 1 month of designing, copywriting and publish.
If you were to ask me about my experience, I’d say, it’s very much like a pregnant mother giving birth.
Most of the time I feel like this:
I am a creative person for sure. I’m good with drawing, creating, styling, fashion, and anything visual. I could spend hours and hours designing and creating to the point I forget to sleep and eat, but when I start any word file, my mind kind of just shut down to procrastination mode.
I have to say, I felt sorry for my poor editor. The writing was never my talent and I didn’t invest much time in the past on improving my writing skills. My editor has to deal with a complete newbie who doesn’t even know what a stylesheet is and she manage to organize my book to a civilized, readable version. Kudos to her.
Nevertheless, aside from other online business and chaotic life events, I manage to get my book publish on Amazon worldwide within 6 months.
Here I share with my first Amazon Kindle publishing experience so you know what to do and what to expect, some of the tools I shared is affiliate product that I use. I appreciate you do me a favor and give me the credit with the contents I shared:
Beginning Stage – Plan Out Your Contents
Everything starts with planning, and so is book writing.
You need to be as specific as possible and plan yourself a fine blueprint so you know what you are aiming for.
You need to ask yourself:
What types of contents do I want to create? A guidebook? A memoir? A biography?
What kind of tone do I want to present? Authoritative? Humorous? Informative? Encouragement?
Who am I speaking to? Is my target audience male or female? How old are they? What kind of contents they are normally interested in? If they are interested in my topic, what are some of the pain points I can help to solve? Which stage of life are they in? What is preventing them from doing things they want?
Dig your book project deeper from various angles.
The more you know exactly who you are speaking to, the more you can produce the suitable contents in a language that your target audience will read.
I had a plan when I started my book, but it was not as organized as I thought until my editor points it out. My flaws are that my mind is easily all over the place, I cannot focus, and I over think on a lot of things. So when I write, I discovered so many other things and had to change plans along the way.
If I were to give myself advice before I start the book project, I’d say to start with a blueprint. Know who is the content for, plan out all the topics to write about, and list them as chapters so that I can always come back to the core purpose of the book.
The best thing to start your book is to plan out the contents on Microsoft Word with headings like H1, H2, H3, H4 and so forth. Write down what topics for each chapter, what sub-topic you will cover within the chapter, and go into smaller sub-topics as deep as you wish. The more organized you can plan out your topics, the smoother your writing process will be.
Don’t think that you must have the chapters and the topics exactly right. This is a blueprint for your draft, most likely you will be revising things along the way so just plan out a guide and get to work.
Set a goal of how many words you plan to write a day, how many days a week you want to write, and when do you want to accomplish your goal.
Grinding Stage – Start Writing
This is the ‘shut up and get to work mode’.
Ultimately, this is the stage where you write down everything in your head and get it onto MSWord. Don’t worry too much about the grammar and the details just yet, focus on writing as much as you can.
Focus on 800-1000 words a day, go down the chapter and check off the ones you’ve covered.
Set a routine to either write in the morning or afternoon, whenever you have a clear mind. Take short 15 minutes in between sessions, go out for a walk, jog, yoga, or meditate. DO NOT turn on TV or Youtube or any other distractions, they are seductive but then you are delaying your time in exchange for something awesome you can do for yourself.
I started out with just start vomiting words on what I think it’s useful, had about 32,000 some words out of me, and end up killing it down to 24,000 of what’s actually useful. So, don’t worry too much about the rightness of the contents, focus on getting all the stuff down, we will slaughter the weak ones later.
Hire An Editor
To have your work sold on Amazon Kindle Publishing platform, you ought to be serious. After you get all your contents on MSWords, it’s time to pick a good editor who has a clear mind with lots of patience.
I recommend hiring an editor on UpWork.
UpWork is a marketplace platform that helps connect people who need to hire help, and freelance professionals who are looking for work. You post an ad on UpWork, multiple professionals will respond with their proposal and quote.
Before you even search for an editor, it’s best to read similar job post to get a feel on how to write a job post. Don’t just go on there and post ‘I need an editor, please give me your quote’, be more specific and learn how other people post their job description. The reason why you want to be specific is to save time, money, and effort in finding a suitable editor that will know exactly what you want and lead your work to your desired goal.
When writing a job post to search for an editor, consider the following:
● Give overview on what the book is about
● The genre of the book
● Who’s the target audience
● Target audience’s age
● Target audience gender
● The tone of the book you want to portray
● The projected deadline
● How many words are you aiming
● Ask for sample of their work or experience
● You can also write your preference on the type of editor you are looking for.
Set your requirement on the job post.
Select how many hours of experience you want your editor to have.
Set the price of the project to be paid by the hour or set price, and post the job.
After a while, you’ll have numerous applicants applying for your job. I recommend waiting for two or three days for the candidates to send their proposals.
After that, browse through applicant’s profile and read their job experience to see which one is a good candidate to do an interview. You can use Skype, Hangout, Zoom, or UpWork conduct an interview. Be sure to ask good questions to see if the potential candidate is a good fit for your project.
Before you hire an editor, I recommend installing and upgrade your MSWord or browser with Grammarly to do a run-through yourself. Another useful tool I highly recommend is Pro Writing Aid Editing Tool. This tool can check for hidden and passive verbs, check for sentence repetition, eliminate vague or abstract words, and other grammar improvements. Using these two tools not only you can help your editor save time to avoid checking the basic spelling and grammar, you are saving yourself money since it’s likely your editor is charging by the hour.
When you find the right editor, you can send them your draft via email or Dropbox.
For me, I am writing for women around ages 26-36 who is still working in a job, just graduated, got fired, ended a romantic relationship, or clueless what to do with life. I know they want something big for themselves but don’t know what to do. They thought about travel but it’s just too daunting and overwhelming to travel solo so it’ll be helpful if there’s a guidebook that includes travel tools and tips as well as an encouraging message from a woman who came from a similar background.
I take all this into consideration when I hire my editor. I interviewed about 4-5 candidates and came down to two. After the second interview, I decide to go with one that seems to resonate with my vision. The editor I hired is a female who is also a long-term traveler that is into yoga, healthy lifestyle, and spiritual seeking. She completely understands what kind of message I want to present and was able to guide me along my (hellish) book writing journey.
Although every editor works differently, a good editor will go over your contents and give you exactly what you need to improve your book, and keep you sane. At one point in the editing phase, I half-joked with my editor, “I don’t care if you cut and revise this damn thing and change whatever the hell I wrote, I just want it over!!!” I sound like a pregnant mother in the birth room lol
My editor provided me a style guide, line edit, content edit report, grammar correction sample, and Skype phone advising session. She pointed out all the areas that needed revising, gave great content improvement suggestions, and feedbacks on the overall tone.
We had one first edit phase, a line edit that goes more in depth, and one last proofread.
It sounds like an easy 3 phase edit but I assure you, it was a nightmare on my end.
Heck, even now that my book has already published with ‘live’ green sign on Amazon Kindle Publishing KDP, I sometimes wake up at night thinking: “…maybe I should revise that chapter” (let it go Vivien damn it)
Editing phase could be different for everyone since we all have different writing skills and objectives. Some might need numerous revision, some might go from initial edit to proofread to final. I suggest the three-phase because I think it gives a good time frame for yourself and the editor to achieve the final results.
Don’t kill yourself over editing stage, EVERY writer and other creators goes through this. Inevitably, you are creating something that will be out in the public, it’s scary as hell I know, but if you just want to hide and create without taking in all the constructive criticism to improve yourself, you’ll never know your flaws and how great you can become.
The Book Cover Design Phase
Now’s the fun part:)
Ebook cover is the main thing that catches reader’s attention. Since you know who you are writing for, you should also consider the colors that resonate and catches their attention. Check out your competitors on Amazon eBook store and see how your competitor is presenting their material.
I could have happily designed the eBook cover myself, but I want to leave it to the professionals who’s done enough and knows Amazon ebook cover well, so again, I hired through UpWork with detail description on exactly what I want.
After going through numerous applicants, I decided to go with a designer who is reasonably priced and is willing to do some revisions. It actually took numerous back and forth email communication to get the result I want, I think it’s because the designer I picked was a guy, so it’s hard for him to grasp the feeling I want to present. Since it’s a solo travel guidebook for women, one often thinks about backpackers and rough budget travel, so the designs he gave me was along that style.
To make my points across clearer, I gave him further instructions with descriptive words on how I want my cover to be. I wrote: I am not presenting the idea backpacker travel, instead, I want women to open their mind through travel and give themselves opportunities they didn’t see before. It should be an encouraging guide that appeals to women. The word I would describe my style is ‘stylish’, ‘inspiring’, independent’, ‘strong’, ‘smart’, ‘encouraging’. I gave him all that along with book cover samples, and he came back with more designs that didn’t resonate with me. Either he didn’t know how to design this type of book or I am a control freak. Either way, oh well.
I end up picking from the stock photo library, had him do the designs, and I conduct a poll on my Facebook to see which one has the most vote. Although he wasn’t able to picture exactly what I want, but I can still recommend him because he did a great job on the design for a budget price (I gave him some bonus on top of that too). He revised the designs with a professional attitude and he even tries to help me format my book for KDP.
The Publishing Phase
This is the phase where you can finally have it on the market and get it over.
Uh-uh-uh *shifting index finger sideways* Not so fast, I’m afraid.
Now you need to write a killer copywriting book description to intrigue the reader to click that orange “buy now” button.
With book descriptions, you can write it yourself or hire a copywriter. For hiring, you can hire through UpWorks or use someone on Fiverr to write for you. Fiverr is also another freelance marketplace where you can find cheap labor that usually cost around $5 depending on your gig. In fact, you can even find your ebook cover designer here but you may have a manufactured result. Since this is my book, I will pay more to achieve the result I want.
After you got your book description, the ebook cover, the KDP formatted contents, you can finally publish your digital baby. Be sure you pick the golden 7 keywords that will get your ebook noticed and price it right for your audience and just publish it already, don’t worry too much, you can always revise down the road. KDP allows you to resubmit newer version if needed.
At The End
Give yourself a pat in the back, seriously, it’s not easy.
The whole process took me about 6 months from beginning to publish. Throughout the book process, many things happened, I’ve met numerous holidays and events, I traveled, and family visits. I know very there are still a lot of areas that needs improvement and revision, but that’s okay, it’s a learning process and I’m happy to share with you.
Hope these steps can help you get started.
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