How to Successfully Self-Publish a Kindle eBook

I am on sabbatical for the next few weeks. While I am gone, I have asked some of my favorite bloggers to stand in for me. This is a guest post from Jeff Goins. He is the author of Wrecked and his forthcoming memoir, The In-Between. You can follow Jeff on Twitter or find out more about him here.

If you want to get noticed in the digital age, waiting for someone to choose you is the worst strategy. You have everything you need to start sharing your message today—fingers, keyboard, and the Internet.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Even if they don’t consider themselves writers, most people dream of writing a book. And there’s never been a better time to do so. The stigma of self-publishing is fading away, replaced by countless success stories from first-time authors making a name for themselves.

How are they doing it? Simple. By publishing eBooks on Amazon.com.

Why Amazon?

Forget what you think you know about Amazon. It’s much more than an online shopping cart or web store. There’s a reason guys like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin have published exclusively to Amazon. It has a lot going for it:

  • Amazon is largest paid search engine in the world. People don’t Google things with their credit cards out, ready to buy, like they do with Amazon.
  • Amazon dominates the book market.
  • Amazon’s review system is an authority metric (even if someone plans to buy elsewhere).
  • Amazon is a marketing machine. Once you start selling a certain number of copies, it refers your book to others who have never heard of you.
  • Amazon makes it easy. You can publish elsewhere, but few places get your book online and ready in a matter of hours. When you publish first (and maybe exclusively) to Amazon, you concentrate your sales in a single place and can climb the best sellers lists faster.

Yes, you can get published, see your message spread, and make good money using nothing more than a keyboard and your brain. Here’s how:

Step 1: Write

When publishing an e-book, the first step is, of course, to write it. Think in terms of three drafts:

  1. The “vomit draft.” This is just what it sounds like—you’re throwing up on the blank page. Certainly not the most warming image, but you get the idea. Here, you will write the Table of Contents, sketch out each chapter, and put down all your ideas, scenes, and stories. Don’t make it pretty; just make it.
  2. The review draft. This is where you spend some time developing what you want to say and how. At this point, you should share the work with a few close friends for feedback.
  3. The editorial draft. This is where you get help from a professional or close friend who knows not only grammar, but story structure and elements of style.

Each draft may, in fact, have multiple versions and iterations. But this three-step approach will help you get the work finished without endlessly stalling.

Step 2: Format and Design

Once you’ve written a book you’re proud of, here’s what to do next:

  1. Format it for Kindle. You can try this yourself using a program called Calibre, or you can just pay someone to do it—which I recommend. If this is your life’s work, it’s worth paying a few hundred dollars to get it done right.
  2. Design the cover. Please don’t skimp on this or have your cousin Vinny who just discovered PhotoShop “take a whack at it.” If you’re on a budget, check out 99 Designs or Crowdspring, both affordable crowd-sourcing services. Ask for an image that is a JPEG file and at least 2500 pixels on the longest side with a height/weight ratio of 1.6 (what Amazon recommends in their publishing guidelines).
  3. Double check everything and have friends proofread for errors.

This is an important step, so don’t blaze through it. If you need more guidance, check out TheBookDesigner.com.

Step 3: Publish

How do you actually make your book available for sale on Amazon.com? This is, perhaps, the part that intimidates most people. And the truth is it shouldn’t. All it takes is twelve simple steps:

  1. Go to kdp.amazon.com and sign in (you’ll need an Amazon account).
  2. Register your tax info for royalties.
  3. Click “Bookshelf” and then “Add new title.”
  4. Fill out the form, including book title, description, and keywords you want people to search to find your book.
  5. Upload the cover file (JPEG format).
  6. Upload the book file.
  7. Test your book with Amazon’s online viewer to make sure it looks right.
  8. Click “Save and continue” and advance to the “Rights and Pricing” page.
  9. Choose “Worldwide Rights.”
  10. Choose a 70% royalty rate and select your price, letting the international prices adjust based on the US price. Most e-books are priced $2.99-9.99 (this is what I recommend to maximize your royalty rate).
  11. Click Save and Publish.
  12. Amazon will email you when the book is ready, which may take 24–48 hours but often happens much more quickly.

Step 4: Promote

Now, you’re ready to tell the world about your book. But before you do that, you need some reviews. Reviews are important, because they’re your “social proof” that will legitimize your work to new readers.

Before the book’s release, send the book to friends, family, and followers online who would be willing to leave a review. If you don’t know anyone who would be willing to do that, check out StoryCartel.com, a platform that helps authors get free, ethical reviews.

Once the book is published, remind your early readers to leave reviews. Expect 25-50% of those who promised, to actually comply. And they don’t all have to be 5-star reviews. In fact, having a few honest critiques of your work will give it a greater authority than a bunch of superficial praise.

People can leave reviews on Amazon only a few days before the book is published. So one way to get around this is to publish your book a week before you tell anyone about it. That way, you can build up a good amount of early reviews, which help sell the book to new readers. When it “officially” releases, you can then direct people to the page where they will see some glowing reviews of your work.

Step 5: Launch

After you get some reviews, it’s time to launch your e-book. Every book launch should be unique, but here are a few things that work every time:

  1. Send an email to your list of friends, family, and/or blog subscribers, announcing the release of your book.
  2. Offer an incentive for those who buy the book. This can be a time-sensitive offer or ongoing opportunity. Andy Traub, who made over $20,000 in 90 days with an eBook, gave away the audiobook, 30-day email course, and exclusive membership to an online community with his book. Make it a no-brainer that people can’t pass up.
  3. Promote the book via word-of-mouth and social media. Clicktotweet.com is a great resource for hand-crafting messages that people can easily share. Another effective strategy is to use a launch team of volunteers to help you spread the word.
  4. Share your e-book with online forums and book directories. Kimanzi Constable, who sold over 80,000 copies of his books, said this was a key strategy.
  5. As the book begins to sell, tell people about it. This is called “social proof” and will create a snowball effect that can help you sell even more.
  6. Give the book away. Brandon Clements, who struggled to sell more than a few hundred copies of his novel in a year, decided to give away the e-book version. And in a week, over 60,000 people downloaded it. The next week, he sold another 2,000 copies.

Books can spread pretty fast when everything is digital: the product, the promotion, the distribution. In other words, if you ever wanted to get a message in front of a lot of people, there’s never been a better time.

The days of waiting years to be picked and published are over. So what are you waiting for? (For more help on self-publishing for Kindle, check out the Kindle Publishing Guide, which is free this week exclusively for Michael Hyatt readers.)

Question: What’s one question or tip you have about self-publishing? Click here to leave a comment.

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  • FromHisPresence

    Michael, thank you for sharing such detailed information. I’ve started working on formatting a Kindle book but found it very confusing. I really appreciate how you go out of your way to offer real, helpful information in posts like this one. Thanks!

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      If someone is not comfortable trying to configure the text to the Kindle format, there are some services available that can format the book for you but they usually run between $50-to-more than $100.

    • http://valarie.blogspot.com Val Arie

      Stay with it! If you have the patience and the passion you can do the formatting! I had absolutely ZERO graphic design skills, and published a children’s book to Kindle and Create Space…Take a look if you like at http://valariebooks.blogspot.com…There are many YouTube ‘angels’ and internet bloggers eager to offer their expertise (i.e. sites just like this one!!!). THANKS TO ALL!!!

  • http://www.davebratcher.com/ Dave Bratcher

    Thanks Jeff for writing and Michael for sharing. After starting my blog at http://www.davebratcher.com over 15 months ago, writing a book has always been a part of the long term plan. I have been actively writing a manuscript in preparation for publishing an ebook and this is exactly the information I was missing. One question: How long does an ebook need to be if it is for sale?

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great question. I was recently advised to create something in the 40-50 page range. I’m curious what Michael and Jeff would say.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Personally, I would aim for at least 10,000 words.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        I like that length, too. I think 10-20K is a great length. It’ll take 1-2 hours to read, which is nice. Feels like a book (instead of an article) but not too long that folks won’t finish it.

        • http://www.davebratcher.com/ Dave Bratcher

          Thanks for your response and for all you are sharing to help people finally admit we are writers and encouraging us to do something.

      • http://www.davebratcher.com/ Dave Bratcher

        Thanks Michael. Hope you’re enjoying The Rockies!

    • Guest

      There is no set length. Think about the value of the content and how much someone would be willing to pay. A 100,000 word book that is boring and poorly written would be worth nothing to me but a 1,000 word ebook that changes my life would be worth every penny. If you’re really set on picking a length, study other successful ebooks in your genre.

  • http://www.larakrupicka.com/ Lara Krupicka

    Thanks, Michael for inviting Jeff to share this. And Jeff, thanks for the great information – this is perfect timing for me. I have just completed preparing my e-book for Kindle to launch next week. I hadn’t thought about getting reviews before launching, but since I previously released in PDF form and received some great feedback from that, I can call on those readers to post reviews. You’ve helped me shift my launch prep plans for this week. I can’t wait to see the results.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Make sure you come back and share a link here when you launch. Congrats, Lara!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Awesome, Lara. Thanks for sharing!

    • David

      Hi Lara, I am also aiming to publish on Kindle, could you add me to your skype, my Skype ID is tocdavid, Hope we can share some experience, thanks

  • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

    Awesome guidance, Jeff. I JUST finished my first Amazon promo…nearly 10,000 downloads in the first 5-day KDP promo. I’m still riding the wave. http://www.jeubfamily.com/2013/06/27/love-in-the-house-on-kindle

    The only thing I’d add to your article is the use of Scrivener. Michael recommended it to me at Platform University, and I ran with it. Worked great!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Wow! Great job, Chris!

  • joanna

    From a reader perspective, I’d emphasise what Jeff said about cover design. How little effort seems to get put into many self published ebook covers is astounding. Some I think I could do better with Microsoft Paint and an old camera phone. I know you aren’t meant to judge a book by its cover, but when I see a bad self published book cover, I assume if they couldn’t manage the (comparatively) easy task of getting a good book cover, they are unlikely to have bothered with much harder tasks like editing and so give the book a miss.

    On a related note, it is really important that self published authors take their time to create a good title and a well written, flawlessly proofread description. Things like book titles in all capital letters, spelling mistakes in the description, or the book’s title or description reading like something I might find in my spam folder are massive turn-offs. Same logic as with the covers, if an author can’t/won’t do the comparatively easy stuff, I’m going to guess they haven’t done the hard work.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great points, Joanna. It’s worth the extra effort to make sure you’re delivering excellence. Otherwise, it decreases the credibility of your message/product.

  • http://forthisisthetime.com/ Esther Aspling

    I’m looking at doing a free devotional to build subscribers to my site, but I’m a nook user and often purchase from GooglePlay. Do you know of any resource that shares those steps?

    Great info!

    http://forthisisthetime.com/

    • http://stacyclaflin.com/ Stacy

      You would create your book into an epub file and follow most of Jeff’s steps by creating an account with at Nook Press. It’s just as easy as putting your book on Amazon. You can do the same with Kobo.

      • http://forthisisthetime.com/ Esther Aspling

        Thanks! :-)

  • http://www.kenzimmermanjr.com/ Ken Zimmerman Jr.

    Thanks for the tips, Jeff. I will be using a couple of them on my next book, which I hope to finish this Fall. I self-published two e-books on Kindle. It was really easy particularly for someone who is not as tech savvy as some. If writers use the Kindle Formatting Guide from Amazon, anyone should be able to master formatting it for the Kindle readers, which is the key.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Agreed. It’s more intimidating than it needs to be.

  • Rod Kesselring

    Michael, do any of the aforementioned steps include getting an isbn number? is there a resource you would recommend on that?

    • http://www.mythinkingbox.com/ Terry Hadaway

      Rod, an ISBN isn’t necessary for a Kindle release. You will need one, however, if you put your book in print and plan to sell it in a bookstore or online. The ISBN also adds a sense of legitimacy to self-published books. You can purchase ISBNs from bowker.com or most self-publishers can assign one for you. Here’s the catch… if you purchase your own ISBNs, you become the publisher. If you buy an ISBN from a printer, the ISBN is registered to that company. Not a big deal, but worth noting.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You actually don’t need one to publish an eBook on Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. You do, however, need one for a print book or to get on iTunes. I would follow Terry’s advice below. Great question.

      • David D

        It’s not necessary for iTunes anymore. They “recommend” it but don’t require it.

  • http://www.mythinkingbox.com/ Terry Hadaway

    Great steps, Jeff. As someone who helps “entrepreneurial writers” get going, I appreciate the concise, easy-to-follow steps. I consider entrepreneurial writers to be those people who have a main line of business but view writing as a way to extend their reach and grow their business. The key is setting aside a consistent time to write! Ninety percent of American adults want to write a book or blog regularly, but only 10% actually do anything about it. Steps like this are great for helping people get unstuck.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Awesome, Terry. Keep up the great work!

  • Scoti Springfield Domeij

    “Design the cover. Please don’t skimp on this or have your cousin Vinny who just discovered PhotoShop ‘take a whack at it.’” This gave me a good laugh and it’s so true.

    If you work with a book designer, ask to see samples of the designer’s covers. I looked at their portfolios to get the ‘feel’ of their design style and if it fit the author’s vision or the book. Give the designer all the copy that goes on the front cover, spine and back cover and suggest a visual concept. I found that if I allowed the designer to use his creativity without trying to control every detail of the design, the covers turned out awesome.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Scoti. Glad to hear I didn’t offend you your cousin! ;)

  • Sharon Swing

    Can you please say more about this: “Share your e-book with online forums and book directories. Kimanzi Constable, who sold over 80,000 copies of his books, said this was a key strategy.” I’m not sure what you mean by ‘share’ and ‘online forums and book directories.’ Any specific suggestions of what to share and where would be very useful.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hi Sharon. Great question. What I saw kimanzi constable doing was being engaged in those forums already and organically sharing that he had a book coming out so folks were ready to support him. These are communities, so you would share what you were doing much the same way you would with your church or family or neighborhood. You’d tell them in a way that expressed your excitement and captured their interest in some way.

      If you need some specific examples, check out http://authormarketingclub.com and http://storycartel.com/. Those are websites where you can sign up for free or a small fee to get more exposure to a larger audience. Just Google “free ebook directories” to find other places to get listed.

      • Sharon Swing

        Thanks, Jeff. I’ll check out both sites. My material is a physical product/workbook, not an ebook. Any unique suggestions for my situation? http://www.onelifemaps.com is the link to my website for ‘Listen to My Life: Maps for Recognizing and Responding to God in My Story.’

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          Yes. Check out gospelebooks.net.

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    Wonderful and practical information as always, Jeff! Thanks especially for the information on what to choose in the Publish area, and the link to your free publishing guide!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Kim! Enjoy.

  • Bryce Edem

    Jeff, million thanks for this post. Could you fill me in on this? That traditional publishing gives more credibility to the author because the in-house staff provide thorough editorial services than a self-publisher, which gives traditionally-published book more credibility that self-published ones. Any help on this, please?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Let me jump in on this one. This used to be true, but I don’t think it’s true any longer. I have read some horribly edited books published by traditional publishers, and I have read some well-edited books that were self-published. However, if you are going to go the self-published route, you have to take responsibility for this and hire the editors and proof-readers you need. Obviously, no one will do it for you. Thanks.

      • http://denisejhughes.com/ Denise J. Hughes

        I agree. Quality writing is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the writer.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Agreed. High-quality self-published books (like Brandon’s that I mentioned) really are setting a new standard that is competing with the old way of doing things. The bottom line: technology has now enabled anyone to do what only a select group used to be able to do.

  • http://www.adorbs.com/ Adorbs

    Wow, this post is full of information on how to publish an eBook!

    Is there an eBook best seller list like the New York Times best seller list?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The New York Times compiles just an ebook bestseller list.

      • http://www.adorbs.com/ Adorbs

        Thanks.

        Would be interesting to know how many Self-Publishers end up on it. Would be kind of an encouragement to those who are feverishly typing away on their computers at home, after work.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          There are some on it right now. It’s a little difficult to tell because many self-published authors invent a publishing company name.

          • http://www.adorbs.com/ Adorbs

            That is clever. Reminds me of the old days when a woman author would publish under a fictitious male name. Glad women can get the credit they deserve now days.

            I wonder what male name Danielle Steel would have used?

            … I guess Dan? :-)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome question Adorbs, and one I had. Glad to see you ask it and Michael answer it.

  • http://denisejhughes.com/ Denise J. Hughes

    I appreciate the way you turn large tasks into manageable ones. Thanks, Jeff.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      A pleasure, Denise!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    I think what Andy did is the key. When self-publishing, FREE is your best friend. Use any information product you have or can create and pair it with your book. Like you said, you have to make it a no brainer and people are all over it. I would also suggest setting goals, not expectations. If you miss a goal, you can keep working on it. If you miss an expectation, you might get so frustrated you quit or give up.

    When I coach, I tell people to look at their book launch beyond just selling your book. When you have a launch team or extra exposure, all those people are coming to your website, offer deals on your coaching or other products. If you have none, try to build your email list with a special offer. One book can do well but probably not well enough to support you and/or your family, the combination of everything else can. Take advantage.

    P.S. Thanks for the shout out Jeff!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hi Kimanzi. Great points. However, I think the real genius to what Andy — and you — did was to reward folks who responded quickly. Anytime you’re generous with folks for taking action, you’re going to create something interesting. And often profitable.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Awesome insight Kimanzi – every marketing class I’ve ever taken points out that the single most important word that motivates a potential customer to action is the word “FREE”!

    • Jim Martin

      Kimanzi, your comment is particularly helpful to me. By the way, I like the way you distinguish between having goals and having expectations.

  • http://www.larrywjones.com/ Larry Jones

    Thanks, Jeff, for this wonderfully detailed post. I saved it to Evernote so I can refer back to this when I prepare to publish my own book through Amazon.

    Cheers!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cool!

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    Great advice, Jeff! You challenged me to write an ebook, and I used your guide to publish it to Kindle. Thanks for helping us move forward! Keep up the great work.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Love it, Tammy!

  • Armaan Khanna

    As always amazing, clean steps, resource-rich.. article.. on kindle publishing.. I’ve found very helpful tips in it.. Thanks Jeff… Thank you Michael..

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      We’re glad you found it helpful Armaan! Is there any steps that you need to take to get your book published?

  • http://www.reflectionsfromthealley.org/ Dave Arnold

    Great post, Jeff. It’s ironic, too, because I just listened to your audio lesson on eBooks today on Tribe Writers. Maybe it’s a sign :). Actually, I recently started an eBook. Excited to see where it goes. Thanks for the great tips!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cool, Dave!

  • http://www.nnalcot.blogspot.com/ Napoleon Nalcot

    I enjoyed reading your post. You made it easier for me now that I know what to do (because you broken it all down in details.) I’m aiming to have my 100+ page book hopefully published soon. Thank you for sharing this brilliant post.

    • Jim Martin

      Wish you the very best, Napoleon, in your goal to have your book published soon. I suspect that Jeff’s post has been helpful to many of us!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      So cool, Napoleon. I’m cheering you on!

  • http://forthisisthetime.com/ Esther Aspling

    Thanks Jeff, I definitely wouldn’t leave them out! It’s been challenging finding the step by step ways to do certain things, you’ve been super helpful :-)

  • http://bobholmes.blogspot.com/ Bob Holmes

    Shock, Awe, and Wow! Thanks Jeff! You are awesome!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      :)

  • Anthony Moore

    Thanks, Jeff. I’m furiously writing all this down at the coffee shop down the street. Question: what’s your stance on other contributing writers to such a project? With my full-time job and reading Game of Thrones, the idea of someone else helping write the content seems marvelous.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I would advise against it. At least for starters. Multi-author books rarely sell as well as single-author books. Plus, cowriting can be quite problematic and stressful. Just write something shorter if the size intimidates you.

  • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

    @jeffgoins:disqus , after listening to the teleseminar you did with Michael a week or so ago, I have made writing my manifesto a priority, placing it above an eBook I was working on. I’ve completed my manifesto’s “vomit draft” (appropriate name btw), and this week I’m working on the review draft.

    While checking out your manifesto again, and the posts relating to it, I noticed your manifesto is for sale $0.99 on Amazon, but free if you subscribe to your blog. Somehow I never noticed that, as I must have subscribed, thus I got it free (about a year ago).

    What is your reason behind doing that versus a “traditional” opt-in to receive your manifesto?

    One purpose of my manifesto is to create something to help my readers, while growing my email list. My list is small now (roughly 70 subscribers). However, I am wondering what the benefit is of selling and giving the option to subscribe/get it for free. After reading this post I am guessing the 3rd & 4th bullet points you listed under the subheading “Why Amazon” may be your reasons?

    Please share. Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      One advantage of doing it the way Jeff has done it, is that it creates more value. I am about to do the same thing with new ebook I have written. It will be available on Amazon for $4.99 or free if you subscribe to my email list. Thanks.

      • Eric Leszkowicz

        Am I assuming correctly that you are giving it away free in a non-Kindle format. I listened and read, but did not see if there was a way to offer Kindle discounts or documents at a free or reduced price to a select group?

        Is that correct?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Actually, I was just going to give them the MOBI file, which is the Kindle format, with instructions for download and installation. I haven’t actually worked through the mechanics of this, so it maybe more involved than I thought.

          • Eric Leszkowicz

            Just a heads up. I got a kindle file from a recent freebie download and for the life of me could not figure out how to get it into the kindle (and consider myself technically savvy). I gave up and just read the PDF.

            The format was not mobi, but a PSC? file.

          • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

            PSC or PRC? You should’ve been able to send the file to your unique Kindle email address and been able to open it. Did you try that, Eric? Another possible answer is that the file wasn’t compatible with your Kindle (I’m just guessing here).

          • Eric Leszkowicz

            I am not sure what I did wrong the first time, but that worked.

            I guess I will have to go read it a third time :)

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          I would just give away the PDF, or give all the electronic files for free.

          • Eric Leszkowicz

            That would work very well (and be easy on your part), it eliminates the ability to digitally take notes.
            - if the book was a work of fiction or narrative…that would be OK.
            - if the reader knew they could mark up PDF’s in a program like Skitch

            I used Skitch to mark up Wrecked (which rocked by the way), but I would have loved to have it in the Kindle as well – which I can buy, but I had the PDF as the bonus.

            But to make a longer post longer….I might not be the typical reader either. I love to make notes and revist great information and share and quote and do all kinds of things with my reading.

      • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

        I like! Thanks Michael.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Honestly, I just put it on Amazon to make it available to more people. It was a distribution thing. But as Michael points out below, a nice byproduct was that it gives the freebie even more value.

      • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

        That’s keeping it simple. Thanks, Jeff! :) I am going to do the same with my manifesto.

        Would you recommend following the steps you outlined above for my manifesto, since I will put it on Amazon as well?

        It is roughly 1,000 words.

  • Anthony Moore

    Thanks so much, Jeff. I was furiously writing this whole article down at the coffee shop down the street last night. Question: what’s your stance on having other writers contribute to your e-book? It seems that with my 40 hours, working on my own blog, and a million other things, having other contributors would be marvelous.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I answered this below. :)

  • http://jeremymccommons.com/ Jeremy McCommons

    Great tips and perfect timing for them! I am beginning the process of writing my eBook and this post is really helping me get my steps together. Thanks for the helpful information Jeff!

  • http://byehighschool.org/ Nikki R

    Thanks a mil for posting this. I finished my ugly draft today on the first ebook I’ve ever written. It’s nerve wrecking, lol.

    I probably won’t sleep well until it’s up on Amazon.

    But I can breathe a bit knowing that I can refer back to this page… and your publishing guide, for help.

    Everything you’re doing is much appreciated!

  • Mitch

    @jeffgoins:disqus @mhyatt:disqus This is going to sound naive and ignorant, but I’m just beginning to build my online platform and just starting to think about writing my first book. How do you know whether to publish digitally or in print – especially my first book? What about other books I may write – is there some way to know which ones to publish just in digital format, just in print, or in both formats? Thanks so much for both of you leading the way, and making the journey more easy to navigate for those following…

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Mitch, great question. Since it’s so easy, I’d advise publishing first online (there are virtually no costs associated with this) and then if there’s a demand, take it to print.

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Awesome post and info Jeff! I think another benefit of self-publishing with Amazon is its ubiquitous distribution. The three most important aspects of retail are: location, location and location.

    Amazon provides instant access to content that the local bookstore has difficulty competing with. As always – thanks for generously sharing your experience.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Don’t forget location. ;)

      The cool thing about the age in which we now live is that anyone can now have great distribution. If you self-publish through Lightning Source (an Ingram company), you can even get your print book into brick and mortar stores. It’s amazing.

  • Jim Martin

    Jeff, thanks for this post. I appreciate the way you communicated this process so clearly and user-friendly. I found this very helpful.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      My pleasure, Jim!

  • Philip Nation

    Jeff: Thanks for this post. As a publishing director in a traditional publishing house (LifeWay) and an author myself, this was a great primer on how to move forward on some personal projects. Your work has been a huge encouragement for me.
    One question: Is there a system by which the pricing of ebooks on Kindle should be handled? Is it all keyed off of word count?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Not at all, Philip. There are a couple things to note:

      1. In order to maximize royalties (staying at the 70% rate), you’ll want to price your eBook between $2.99 and $9.99. I believe Amazon is trying to control the market this way — and it’s working.

      2. Pricing is based more on perceived value than anything. So a longer book isn’t necessarily worth more, but I have seen some readers make this assumption. That said, if you are just starting and don’t have a large online audience, I recommend pricing your eBook from $2.99-4.99. This will promote impulse buys and will allow your book to break into new markets. If you have an engaged tribe, you can price it higher because people already trust you and will buy from you. Just know that with a $9.99 self-published eBook, most readers are expected a LOT of value.

      It’s funny, because in another context, paying $10 for a book would feel like a bargain, but such is life. :)

  • Bee’s Blog

    Wonderful to have this information. Thank you so much.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Bee!

  • http://uncommonlysocial.com/ Sarah Mason

    Great post, Jeff. Thanks for sharing such detailed information. Working through your Kindle publishing guide now and have a quick question for you and Michael:

    What are your thoughts on repurposing blog content as an ebook for the Kindle? I am working on a four part series for my blog with a landing page (geared to address common questions from clients & prospects about blogging, content creation and design) that’s right at 10,000 words. Would it be a good idea to repackage content like that for the Kindle?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think that is a great idea. I would just make sure that it reads as a book. Typically, you will have to work on the transitions to make it all tie together. Thanks.

      • http://uncommonlysocial.com/ Sarah Mason

        Thanks for the personal reply, Michael. I have some work to do!

  • http://rayedwards.com/about/ Ray Edwards

    I am learning from you, Jeff. :-) First, your post is filled with valuable and helpful detail. Second, and most importantly, this is what true generosity looks like. Thanks!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Ray. You know the feeling is mutual. :)

  • Mathew

    Does anyone know how to change a PDF into an epub?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Mathew, you have a few options:

      1. You can do it yourself through a freeware program called Calibre. It’s a little buggy, so I don’t recommend this. But if you are tech savvy, you should be able to figure it out. You could also use Scrivener and export as an ePub.

      2. Kindle actually allows you to upload a PDF directly and it will convert into their .mobi file format. So if you just want to get a PDF on Amazon, you can upload it directly.

      3. If you have a budget for your book, you can hire someone to do the conversion process for you — for whatever eBook reader you want to use. I recommend this if you are not particularly tech savvy or don’t want to spend a ton of time doing it yourself (if your book has a lot of tables, bulleted lists, etc., the conversion can get complicated).

      To find out more about this process, check out this great guide my friend Paul Jun write (with some links to services that help you with the conversion process): http://www.copyblogger.com/how-to-publish-kindle-ebook/

      • Jay Currie

        One good way to do the conversion is to use http://www.online-convert.com/

        This will get your book into epub format. Then you can – if you know some basic HTML and CSS – tweak to your heart’s content.

  • http://www.votivepraise.com/ Gangai Victor

    These tips are super useful Jeff, thanks for sharing!

    With respect to (2) under LAUNCH, do you have any tips on making an audiobook?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hi Gangai (or is it Victor?), yes I do.

      I recommend recording an audiobook and doing it right. If you can find a friend with a studio, I suggest going this route. Or if you have the cash, hire someone to do it. You WANT to get this right. Recording an audiobook takes a lot of time and you won’t want to do it again (my voice is usually shot after recording one of mine). So do it right the first time.

      In terms of distribution, Amazon now allows you to upload self-published audiobooks: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A3CISEMGMV9KR5

      Pretty cool.

      • http://www.votivepraise.com/ Gangai Victor

        Thanks Jeff for taking the time to respond!

    • RobertBidinotto

      Check out ACX.com. It’s an Amazon company, and it offers a method for self-published authors to find narrators and studios, produce audiobooks, and sell them on Audible.com, iTunes, and Amazon. It’s pretty simple, too, and I used it successfully to produce the audio edition of my bestselling thriller HUNTER. Good luck!

      • http://www.votivepraise.com/ Gangai Victor

        Thanks Robert, will check it out.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    No. I would focus promotion and publicity efforts after the book launches. A great example of someone to watch in this realm is Guy Kawasaki and his book, APE.

  • Shing Degano

    I actually read the entirety of this post. Getting the right information is vital in launching a new project. With the steps provided, self-publishing an E-book is forthcoming. Thank you.

  • http://infantvstoilet.com/ April Rowen

    Boy, this was gold. (Especially the limited-time free Kindle Publishing Guide, thank you!) Your words were the final thing to kick fear to the curb. The realization that 90% of writing a book is marketing had me sitting on my hands and looking the other way. I was overwhelmed and intimidated.

    But this… oh, happiness! Now I have a plan — a possible, realistic, actually-finish-the-darn-book plan! Thank you so much, Jeff. Just you wait, Amazon… here I come!

  • Sunday

    Self publishing has become part of online marketing. For many who crave to have more exposure with their online marketing business, this is an opportunity to explore.

    Thankfully, the process with Amazon is simple and it only requires determination from the marketer to stick with the rules. The five steps discussed in this post are clear and I agree they can easily lead to success!

    The above comment was left in kingged.com where this post was shared and “kingged”

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://www.kingged.com/how-to-successfully-self-publish-a-kindle-ebook/

  • http://www.VictoryChristianCoaching.com/ Marianne Clements

    Thanks for the great step-by-step instructions!
    The e-books seem to strip the headers, footers & page numbers. Is there any way to avoid this?

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Marianne

  • Alex B.

    I really liked this article, it was extremely helpful. What do you think about Craigslist as one of the gateways of marketing? I am a new erotic writer and I am just trying to get as much valuable information about Amazon as much as possible. Thank you :)

  • MartynW

    Everything up to about Step Five was a piece of cake. Then it gets interesting.

  • Joes Bar

    On a tangent to this really helpful post, what about an audio version? You record on what and upload where and make available how – through iTunes?

  • damiantrasler

    This is a great summary. But I have to say, I get a little annoyed by the number of “instant success” ebook authors. Few of those are fiction writers. Most are selling books that sell the answer to something, marketing, or personal improvement. Giving away a fiction ebook can boost your numbers, but it’s not guaranteed. I have yet to meet any e-publishers who have had the level of success mentioned here (60,000 downloads followed by 2,000 sales). I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m sure it did, and it’s certainly possible it could happen again. But it’s not definite. Building a base of readers through social media and word of mouth, as well as having a trail of published works is more likely to lead to success, but it’s not an overnight solution.
    Thanks again for this, and sorry for the gloomier tone of my comment!

  • Jo Ann Abell

    I, too, appreciate your straightforward advice on publishing an e-book. I have been dallying around with the idea of electronic self-publishing and reading your tips motivated me to get on with it and start writing.

  • http://ochanix.com/ Ocha Nix

    Ok Michael, I’m convinced. It sounds easy enough and now all I have to do is get started. I think for me the writing part is the hardest and I love techie stuff so this will be a great experience. Hopefully profitable.

  • David

    Hi I am a Chinese, I am wrting a ebook but It contains Chinese characters some times, Does everyone know If it works with kindle? I need more support to get it to be published, my skype ID is tocdavid, My name is David. I wish I can get a talk about the process.I also also looking for any writer who can proof-read my book.

  • David

    Hi Jeff, Would you be interested in adding me on your Skype, I am a Chinese,I am looking for publishing assistance, My skype ID is tocdavid

  • Tanveer Saleem

    Hello! Gud afternoon… I have a doubt regarding ebook publishing. I have an unpublished novel which I would like to get published as an Ebook. It is of 95000 words (approx), the language is English and the usage is very simple. It is basically a fantasy adventure novel set in 1950s. I am from India and I did not get any publishing breaks. So, shall I move on with this or wait for anyother publishers? I need some advice. Please help…

  • martian

    thank you so much for your valuable information.

  • Eugenio Almodovar-Aviles

    This post is amazing! And as though the post wasn’t enough, it is followed by even more advice and encouragement from fellow writers.

    I’m still young (20), and publishing a book is my biggest dream. I have often found myself discouraged because if there is something daunting about publishing a book, it is having no idea of how to go about it most effectively.

    You’ve shed light on me like sunrise. And what a beautiful day it will be!

    Thank you very much for sharing!

  • Ardhendu De

    I have a blog with more than 800 posts and the total readership is more than 20 million. Presently, students/ readers of my blog are requesting me for and ebook of the blog content. now I am newbie and need your suggestion.

  • Cecile Gueho

    Thank you very much, that was really helpful.

    I am far of being a geek and I was lost in all those Kindle steps. Langage gap was hard too as I am a non native English speaker. Without your advises, I won’t have managed in publishing my Paris Guide 8 Amazing Walking Tours: an insider’s Guide to Paris to escape from the hordes of tourists ;-).
    Thanks a lot!

  • PRINCE SAINI

    thanks for providing such a knowledge about the book publish on amazon.
    by guideguru.in/blog

  • Jaimie Bowman

    Thank you for this!! I am just about to release my first book on Feb. 1 and it is already uploaded to Amazon for sale on Kindle (not published yet). I also am receiving my first proof from Createspace this week. My question is – when you say it is wise to give away a copy of the book, do you mean a PDF version?

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  • Ben Armstrong

    These are the great tips to start with thanks for sharing with us Amazon Book Reviewers

  • Dennis

    Thank you very much! This page is gold. You are doing a great service to people that could really use the help. Between you and Amazon, what was next to impossible 15 years ago is now at the fingertips of an clown like me.. :)

  • Miguel Leon Abarca

    Those are very good advises, indeed, but my book is written in spanish (i’m a spaniard) and i want to get it translated properly into english, do you have something to say about that?

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  • TShall

    Do you know any quick ways to get a book copyrighted for an affordable price? Do ebooks need to be copyrighted or are they automatically copyrighted once they are published?

  • Jenny

    What if you would like to e publish a picture book with colour illustrations? I am wondering if the technology exists to make it cost effective.

  • StormChasingNinja .

    This seems easy only I have written my entire book in my kindle notes, is there a way I can use this information but with my notes?

  • Paul JF

    This is great information for a would-be author, such as myself.
    I am 23,500 words into writing a novel, that I have edited several times over, hence it taking 18 months thus far.
    I have another, shorter story that I am also currently writing (I like to switch between them, to stay fresh), which I am considering ending at about the 10k word point, so I will self-epublish that one, keeping back the “biggy” for book publication if/when possible.
    Again, many thanks for the article

  • VENUS PSYCHIC

    what the diferrence between amazon and ebook?

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    I am not familiar with this software, so I really don’t know if it works or not. It doesn’t appear to even be available yet.

  • Tom

    My name is Tom Tiffoney and I served in the British Army for 15 years. During that time I served in both Gulf wars, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. I now suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome but have found that creative writing is very therapeutic for me, so much so that I am now in the process of writing about my experiences and the battles I took part in. I am hoping to publish my work as an eBook and donate half of the proceeds to Help for Heroes by way of a thank you to them for all the support they have given me.

    I have finished three of my short stories so I am now at a point where I am ready to seriously think about the next stage in the process of getting my book ‘published’. This is where I would like to ask for your help as I am new to the literary world. I would like offer someone the opportunity to assist me in getting my book proofread and published. I would obviously gain the benefit of having their educated eye look over my work and help me get my story out there on the market.
    Any help or advice would help me a lot

  • Tom
  • albertsneij

    if I use picture from Google, do I need a permission from Google before I publish my Kindle book?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You need permission from whomever owns the copyright on the photo. This isn’t usually Google. This is why I recommend that you only use images from a royalty-free site like ShutterStock.com.

  • Mark Conatser

    I want to make my book available to anyone for free, and I thought an e book would be the best way since there’s no paper or ink involved. I am speaking about the things of God, and they are too fundamental to the basics of faith for me to feel as if they should be offered at a price, when of course what I’ve learned, and what I have written, was given to me by God for free. Can I publish my own book on Kindle or anywhere else at no cost to the reader?

  • Toby Ross

    Thank you for this posting! Question- We enrolled our e book with the KDP 90 days program and I would I would like to know the following, Do we get 70% worldwide or just Japan India Mexico etc…if that is the case what the USA, does the 70% apply? a or does drop down to 35% in the USA ? Also once the 90 days are over is it wise to renew the enrollment to another 90 days or is it wiser to go out with the e pub filkes etc into all other markets? After all not everyone owns a kindle. Thanks!

  • DASHIXI

    Hi,

    I have a question: Is it ok to publish my book on Kindle if I already sent it to a publishing house? They didn’t reply yet (it’s too soon) but let’s say their answer is “Yes”, Will it be ok if my book is on Kindle when they do?

    Thank You!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Probably not. You need to review your contract with them. Any legit publishing house is going to publish your book in all forms, and e-books are a big piece of the pie now.

      • DASHIXI

        Thank You very much for your reply.

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  • http://www.myebook.co.za/ David Henderson

    A good, concise description of the eBook publishing process.

  • http://james-jpierre.wix.com/jamesjean-pierre James Jean-pierre

    Great post. I will be referring back to this before taking any action when close to my release date. One question that’s been bothering is how many publishing companies like amazon and such should you use. It was almost answered when you said ” concentrate your sales in a single place and can climb the best sellers lists faster.” I was thinking of choosing a top three, what do you think being someone that’s already taken the road and have the experience? and if you have a site I can visit about the formatting, that would be great too.

  • http://james-jpierre.wix.com/jamesjean-pierre James Jean-pierre

    Do you know how an author ca setup a pre-release for their book?

  • lance

    Great article Michael.I decided to check out Kindle publishing and decided to publish my first eBook. So far so good it makes sales every day and I got #1 author in my category that I was targeting.So I have made a couple more since but not so much luck. I still go them in the top 100 though for their keywords. Any tips on getting more reviews? I am documenting all of this on my blog lancehudgins.blogspot.com and I’d like you to follow me and see if you can see anything that I may be doing wrong. Heck who knows maybe I’ll be able to teach you something.lol Anyway any more tips on increasing rankings I’s highly appreciate. Thanks Michael

  • Deborah Brownson

    I’ve written an ebook on autism and had each page illustrated by a young man with autism. It’s taken 4 years of hard work and created a website upon which to sell it. I’ve commissioned a local design firm to create a non email able PDF but I’m being told that it’s impossible to protect a PDF from theft and piracy. Does anyone have any ideas as to how to protect my work. As it stands, if 1 person legally bought the ebook once opened they could effectively email to all their friends.
    Very frustrated!!! Maybe Kindle is the way forward and I should just ditch the idea of selling it myself as a PDF. Any advice would be very welcome.
    Deborah from the UK.

  • Alex

    Excellent article. I found that Amazon Kindle market is getting really crowded these days (there are more than 2,7 million titles). The guys from K-lytics did an excellent 10-minutes video on the Kindle market: http://k-lytics.com/ebook-market-strategy-maps/ in case anyone is interested. Definitely worth seeing before publishing the x-thousandth Paleo Cookbook ;-)

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  • John

    Great article, Michael. One additional perspective in the year 2014 is that the ebook market has become incredibly crowded. 2,7 million English speaking titles on Amazon Kindle, with another 60,000 to 70,000 titles added a month. The times where one could earn money, just by posting a couple of diet and recipe books are gone. Enclosed is a very interesting video that plots the ebook market along the dimensions ebook sales volume vs. degree of competition measured by number of titles in the genre: http://k-lytics.com/ebook-market-strategy-maps/ (10 minutes video)
    Keep up the great, inspiring work.