Follow

How to Publish an eBook on Amazon’s Kindle Store

Amazon.com is making it easier than ever for writer’s today to be successful. With Amazon’s KDP Program – Kindle Direct Publishing – authors are now able to steer away from the traditional publishing route and expose their work to millions of consumers instantly, and also keep the majority of the profits.
Let me start by sharing my own personal success story, and then I’ll explain how you can do the same.
For the past five years, I unsuccessfully attempted to land a traditional publishing deal. I went to writer’s workshops in New York City, pitched my book to editors, queried agents, and eventually signed a representation agreement with a literary agent.
But after several years of pitching my book to publishing houses with no luck, my agent and I parted ways,  and I decided to release the book on my own.
To be honest, I never wanted to self-release, because to me, it felt like failure. However, after reading numerous success stories about the Kindle store from authors whose situations were all similar to my own, I decided to follow suit. And I’m more than grateful that I did.
As much as I love print books and physical CD’s, the wave of our future is inevitable: we are entering the digital era. So instead of fighting it, we should ride the digital wave, and take advantage of all it has to offer.
In January, I released my book in the Kindle store. It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of effort to learn how to format the book to a Kindle-sized file, to design and format the cover, and to learn how to market the book myself. But after a lot of patience and hard work, I did it.
By June, my book had made it to the top 100 in three different young adult categories in the Kindle store, and was selling almost 2,000 copies per month. I’d finally done it – I’d accomplished my dream of being an author, without the help of any major publishing houses.
So, if I can do it, you can do it! Here’s how to publish an eBook:


eBook Registration:

1. Create an Amazon KDP account:
If you already have an Amazon account, you can sign in with that. If not, click “sign up” and enter your information.
2. Create a CreateSpace account:
Go to http://www.createspace.com, create an account and enter your book information. CreateSpace is a division of Amazon where you can later release your book in print. They will also issue you an ISBN for your book, which you can include on your copyright page. (Technically, eBooks don’t require an ISBN, but it does look professional to include on your copyright page).

Book Cover Design and Cover Pages:

1. Book Cover Image:
One of the key elements to successful book sales is a having a marketable book cover.
I purchased a high-resolution image from istockphoto.com (prices typically vary from $20-40 for a decent size, sometimes higher) and then hired a graphic designer to put together my cover.
The ideal side for a Kindle book cover is 600×900 pixels, and the resolution should be 72 dpi for optimal web viewing.
Ideally, it should also be a JPG image.

Book Cover Sample



2. Cover Page, Copyright Page and Dedication Page:
The first page of your manuscript should be a title page which includes the title and author name.
The second page should be the copyright page.
If you have a dedication page, that should be the third page.

Cover Page Sample



Copyright Page Sample


Manuscript Formatting for Kindle:

Once you’ve completed the registration and book cover stages, it’s time to format your manuscript to fit the Kindle.
Text and File Formatting: Your manuscript should be in Word format (.doc or .docx). The end of each chapter should have a page break so the chapters don’t run together.

Paragraph indents and line spacing: The biggest formatting issue is fixing paragraph indents. First line paragraph indents should never occur using the tab button (which we’ve all done).To fix this, use Word’s find and replace feature (ctrl+H shortcut). Under find, enter “^t” (for tab) and under replace, don’t enter anything. Then select “replace all.” This will eliminate all your paragraph indent tabs.




Once you’ve done this, you can modify your paragraph style to define a special first line indent. (0.3 is a good size indent).
To define a special first line indent, go to the paragraph feature in Word. Under indentation, go to “special” and select “first line” by “.03”.
To format line spacing, go to spacing, (underneath indentation) and make sure “before” and “after” are both set at “0.” (See photo.)
This will ensure that all your paragraph indents match, and that your line spacing is equal throughout the book.

3. Convert Manuscript to .Mobi Format:
Once you’ve completed the formatting, you will need to convert your document to .mobi format, which is a Kindle file. There are various websites that will do this for you (such as http://ebook.online-convert.com/convert-to-mobi). You will upload your manuscript doc, download your manuscript in .mobi format, and save the file to your computer.
There are also ebook conversion services that will format and convert your files for you, such as Word-2-Kindle (http://www.word-2-kindle.com/). They do all the technical work for you for a $49 fee. They also provide other services such as cover design, print formatting and copy editing.




4. Upload Files to Amazon KDP:
Next, you can log into Amazon KDP, click on “add new title” and upload your book title, summary, ISBN, author bio and photo, manuscript (in .mobi format) and cover image (in JPG format). Your book file will be uploaded and on sale within 48 hours.

Amazon’s royalty payout is every 30 days, so your payout will be deposited into your account by the 31st of each month.

How to Market a Book – Kindle eBook Marketing, Blog Tours and More

So… the hardest part is over. You’ve written the book. You’ve edited the book. You’ve released the book.
Now what?
Needless to say, marketing is the most important part of your book’s success.
The first step in how to market a book is to make sure that you have a marketable cover and attention-grabbing book summary. Because once word starts getting out about your book, you want to make sure it grasps the full attention of your audience and makes readers want to buy it.
(Side note: I hired an editor to help write my summary – I found the book title and summary to be the hardest parts. I also went through 5 different book covers before I found THE ONE. So take your time, and don’t release anything until it’s 100% the way you want it.)

Once everything is perfected, polished and ready to go, here are the necessary steps to take to ensure that your book is marketed successfully:

1. Spread the Word through Social Media
The first way to spread the word about your book is through friends and family. And the easiest way to do that is through social media. You can post your book’s Amazon link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog… wherever you have the most followers.
2. Open a Goodreads Account
If you don’t already have a Goodreads account, you’re going to need one. I didn’t realize (until I released my book) how many readers are on Goodreads, and what a hugely popular website it is.
To register your book on Goodreads, you need to open an account at www.goodreads.com. Once you rate at least 50 books, you can become an administrator and register yourself as an author and upload your book.
When I initially uploaded my book, I didn’t check my account for several weeks. All of a sudden, my book sales skyrocketed, and when I went back and checked my Goodreads page, I had over 1,000 ratings and reviews! Goodreads is definitely the #1 site I’d recommend to anyone for book marketing.
3. Build a Website
I purchased my website domain name from www.godaddy.com for $9.99. Your domain name should be your author name so readers can easily find you. Since my name was already taken, I include my middle initial in my pen name. I then hired a web designer friend (www.ifireflydesign.com) to build my site for me.

Once your website is up, you want to make sure you post your website link on your Facebook profile page, Twitter page, Blog and Goodreads profile page.



4. Start a Facebook Author Fan Page
You should also start a Facebook author page, so that your readers can “like” your page, and once you build up a following, you can utilize this page to update your fans on your book releases (rather than use your personal Facebook account). Be sure to include your website and Goodreads link on your author page.
You can also do Facebook takeovers for pages that have large followings, where they assign you as an admin for the day and you can promote your book to their fans.
5. Start an Amazon Author Page
Amazon has a new feature called Author Central, where you can create your own author page on Amazon. This will not only link all your books together, but it also links to your Twitter page and blog (http://www.amazon.com/author/rachelkburke).To register for an author central account, go to: http://authorcentral.amazon.com

6. Sign up for a Book Blog Tour
Listen to me when I say that A BLOG TOUR IS THE MOST CRUCIAL PART OF BOOK MARKETING!
But before you schedule a book blog tour, you can want to make sure that steps #1-5 are already in place, because the company who sponsors your tour will want the links to your website, Facebook fan page, Amazon author page, and Twitter page (if you have one) to help spread the word.
“What is a book blog tour?” you may be wondering. Basically, you can sign up for a blog tour through a sponsorship company, and they will send your book summary out to book reviewers and bloggers. The reviewers who are interested in your book will sign up for the tour, and once the company has reached a certain number of sign-ups, they’ll schedule one week where your book will be featured on a different reviewer’s website every day. You’ll send a copy of the ebook to the reviewers, and if you’d like, they can also do giveaways on their website.
I’ve found that the most popular tour companies are YA Bound Book Tours and Xpresso Book Tours, but there are many other successful companies as well, so you have to find which works for your genre.
After my tour started, my book sales went from about 50 books a month to 1,500 a month. No joke.
 7. Join Online Writer’s Groups
There are many online writer’s groups where you can find a lot of support from your fellow authors. They vary by genre, so you want to select groups that best fit your writing category.
I write chick lit and romance, so I subscribe to the Yahoo Group Indie Romance Ink (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndieRomanceInk/), 
as well as Facebook groups such as Chick Lit Central (http://www.facebook.com/groups/chicklitcentral.books/?ref=ts)
There is also a website called Authonomy (www.authonomy.com) where you can upload your manuscript or a portion of it, and each month they select 5 winners who are reviewed by the HarperCollins editors.



8. Book Giveaways and Discount/Free Promotions
Book giveaways are great marketing tools. Once you’ve released your book in print, you can do a paperback giveaway on Goodreads, or an eBook giveaway on different reviewer’s sites.
You can also put your book on sale or give it away for free for a certain time period.
You can find a list of free promotion sites HERE.

For most promotions, I average anywhere from 500-1000 downloads per day, but I’ve had a few that totaled over 5,000 downloads in a day, which boosted my sales tremendously.
 9. Start an Ad Campaign
You can purchase an ad campaign on Facebook or Goodreads, where your photo and book summary will appear on the sidebar of the website. Ad campaigns are typically pay-pay-click, and you can select the maximum amount you’d like to pay per day. I personally have not gone this route yet, but I’ve heard great success stories from those who have.
 10. Network!
Lastly, the key to great marketing is to network, network, network! I attended a writer’s conference in New York City 4 years ago, and I still keep in touch with my entire writing group via Facebook and online groups. These are the people who will share helpful information with you and support your writing endeavors. And vice versa.
My advice? Go to writer’s conferences, book signings, join writing groups, follow other authors on Twitter and Facebook – do anything you can to meet other writers and get your name out there.

List of Book Bloggers Who Are Open to Review Requests

Here is a list of book bloggers who are willing to accept review requests. Keep in mind that I primarily write in the romance, new adult, young adult and chick lit genres, so the majority of them are prefer novels of that type. Book reviewer availability also changes periodically, so some of them may temporarily not be open to requests during certain time periods.


Best Websites for your Kindle Countdown Deals (Books Under $2.99)

Here are my top picks for the best websites for your Kindle Countdown Deals promotion if your book is under $3:


Free Promo for Books Priced at $2.99 or less:

Best Websites for Marketing Your Book’s KDP Free Promotion Days

As an author, it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to learning how to market your books. There is so much information on the internet – lists upon lists of indie book reviewers, paid promotions, free promotions, etc. – that at times it seems like we spend more of our time researching marketing strategies instead of writing the actual books!


Meeting the HarperCollins Team in London!

Greetings from London! I just spent the last three weeks in England and one of the highlights of my trip was meeting my editor, Charlotte Ledger, and getting a tour of the HarperCollins office!


Their office is in the London Bridge neighborhood and has some pretty gorgeous views of the city, so I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from the trip.


And the coolest part was the book wall!




Survival Radio Network - Author Interview with Rachel Burke

Rachel discusses her novels and upcoming releases on Survival Radio Network with host Klarque Garrison.


 

Digital Book Today - Author Interview

DIGITAL BOOK TODAY AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL BURKE


1. What inspired you to write Sound Bites? 

I actually started writing the story when I was about fifteen years old, only in the original version, Justine was the main character’s sister, and the original storyline didn’t have a music theme. Around the age of twenty-five I took up writing again and landed a freelance job as a music journalist (for a column that was ironically called “Sound Bites” which is how I came up with the title). After working in music journalism and reading several music inspired novels, I decided to go back to this original story idea and give it a rock and roll twist.

2. What specific themes did you emphasize throughout the novel? What were you trying to get across to the reader? 

I was an avid music lover growing up, but had always viewed it as more of a hobby and a fun pastime. As I got older, I realized it was more than that – I felt music was something that defined who I was and gave me a sense of purpose. Watching and listening to music was when I felt the most alive, and I met so many people through the music industry that I really connected with and that influenced me in so many ways.

The theme I wanted to emphasize in Sound Bites is that your true passions are what connect you to other people, much like how music connected Dylan and Renee. I wanted to stress how important it is to follow your dreams, no matter how unrealistic they seem. When we’re first introduced to Dylan, we see this extremely talented artist who is so consumed by fear that he can’t even fathom the concept of pursuing his true calling. Unfortunately, a lot of people face this problem – they never pursue their true passion because they’re afraid of failing. But when you’re able to overcome your fears and follow your dreams, a whole realm of possibilities open up. You meet people with similar interests that you may never have met otherwise, and you’re introduced to a world of opportunities you never knew existed. So I wanted my readers to understand how important it is to be who you really are and do what you really want to do, no matter how impossible it may seem.

3. What was unique about the setting of Sound Bites and how did it enhance or take away from the story? 

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received as a writer is to “write about what you know,” so if you’re going to base a story in a specific city, you should be familiar with the city. This is why I chose my hometown of Rockland, MA as the place where Renee and Justine grew up, because it’s a place I’m familiar with. I also wanted to highlight the strength of their friendship by showing them grow together as people – from small town girls to living in a big city like Los Angeles. At the time, I was attending college in Los Angeles and traveling back to Boston during the summers, so it was easy for me to transition between the two cities in the story, and describe the differences between the two and how it felt returning home.

4. Tell us about your main characters. Were they inspired by real people? 

Renee’s character was, in a way, an exaggerated, more dramatic, more immature version of myself. It’s funny because I started writing the book over five years ago, and some of Renee’s beliefs were similar to my beliefs at the time. But now, there are parts of the book that make me realize how much I’ve changed since then. I’ll read a line and think to myself “Wow, I was so critical!” I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that, when you’re in your twenties, you think you have life all figured out, and once you reach your thirties, you realize you didn’t quite know as much as you thought you did.

Dylan’s character was sort of a hybrid of several people who had a big influence on my life. I think a lot of women have, at one time or another, fallen for the typical “bad boy,” but more often than not, once you get to know these people, you realize the bad boy image is just a façade, and their attitude is just a way of hiding their deep need for affection. I’ve also met several incredibly talented artists in my life who are very humble and, although they seem like “bad boy” rock stars, they’re actually really good people with huge hearts. So I sort of blended these people together into Dylan’s character. I wanted him to initially come off as the brooding, cynical musician, but in the end, show a different side of him that was humble, loving and caring.

5. How do the characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? Do these changes reflect any personal changes you’ve undergone?

Dylan’s character changes throughout the course of the story because he eventually conquers his fears and is able to pursue his passions, and we also see a different side of him at the end, when he loses the attitude and is able to show his softer side. But if anything, I think Renee is the one who undergoes the most changes.

When we’re first introduced to Renee, she’s very jaded, judgmental and closed minded. She’s convinced the world is strictly black and white – she’s created these expectations and images of her perfect soul mate and her perfect dream job that are exact replicas of herself. And she’s convinced that if you’re not with your perfect soul mate and working your perfect dream job that you’re settling and unhappy. Her character evolves throughout the story because she’s forced to take a step backwards – she takes a job she doesn’t love because she has no other choice. She meets her soul mate but has to fight to be with him. She learns how to forgive people who have wronged her. And throughout the course of these actions, she ultimately ends up with her soul mate and her creative career, but not in the perfectly aligned way she had planned. She first had to change her mind set and her attitude in order to attract these things into her life.

Her journey reflects personal changes I’ve undergone because, at one time, I was the same way. I was convinced that anyone who worked a desk job was miserable and that everyone should be their own boss. So I left my office job, sold my books, and suddenly had the life I had always dreamed of – I could make my own schedule and do what I loved on a daily basis. But then, a funny thing happened. After months and months of doing this, I realized that – GASP – I actually missed my office job! I missed being around people! Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, but the lack of human interaction had made me a little stir crazy. So I started doing part-time consulting jobs for companies, which allowed me the freedom to work half the year (and be around people) and take the other half of the year off to venture into my creative endeavors.

6. What research did you have to perform to back up your story? 

Sound Bites contains a lot of information about the music industry that I acquired while I was writing the book. At the time, I had just started freelancing for a local music column , so I used the information about my current assignments when describing Renee’s internship. I had also written my college thesis paper on the digitization of the music industry and how indie artists can be successful in today’s music world, so I used my research when describing Dylan’s emerging music career – from tour scheduling to demo recordings to indie artist earnings.

7. What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you a character/story builder or an outliner or do you use another method? 

I like to write at night, and I try to write a few nights a week for several hours. I typically write half of a chapter in a night. When I started writing Sound Bites, I had never written a book before, and had no outline and no idea where I was going with the story. So it went through many, many rewrites over the years. Now, I always write an outline so I know which direction the story is going to go.

8. What challenges do you face as a writer? 

Motivating myself to write. When I lived in Boston, it was easier to prioritize writing because the weather is cold for most of the year, so I didn’t mind spending 2-3 days snowed in with a cup of hot coffee and my laptop. Unfortunately in California, the weather is always beautiful and there’s so much to do, so it’s hard to pass up fun parties and beach trips and yoga classes to stay in and write. But I somehow manage to do it.

A challenge I face as an indie author is learning how to do everything independently. The ebook evolution is still so new, and there is so much information on the web that it can be overwhelming. Learning about book cover designs, ebook manuscript formatting, online marketing strategies – it takes a lot of time and patience.

9. What do you like to do when you are not writing? 

As you’ve probably guessed, I love concerts and watching live music. There’s nothing that makes me feel more alive. Aside from that, I love outdoor activities – yoga, skiing, jogging – traveling, and spending time with friends and family. And massages. I get a LOT of massages :)

10. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

I’m currently writing a sequel to Sound Bites that’s titled Love Bites, and it’s going to be from Justine’s perspective (Renee’s best friend). In Sound Bites, the story mainly focuses on Renee and Dylan’s relationship, and readers never get a chance to see what transpired between Justine and David. So in Love Bites, we get to flash back to Justine and David’s story, as well as see what happens with Renee and Dylan’s future.

Also, if you like literary fiction and women’s fiction, readers should check out my second novel, Finding Mia. It’s the story of a 16-year-old who grows up with a bipolar mother and reconnects with her estranged father. Fans of Jodi Picoult and similar authors will enjoy it.

 Thank you, Anthony, for hosting my interview on Digital Book Today! I really appreciate this opportunity to connect with your readers.

 (As featured in Digital Book Today: http://digitalbooktoday.com/)