Get Writing! Get Published!
As an indie author with a number of books on the Amazon store, I’m going to tell you a big secret to getting your own novel published: it’s really easy. Seriously, with a little computer know how, you can follow that dream and get a book published as an ebook, or even in paperback. And the cost is so small, loads of people are doing it. Why aren’t you?
The first step is to complete a novel. This is the hard work, the commitment you can’t avoid. You’re going to have to spend at least six months of solid writing time on your dream. Some people take much longer than this. Often years. But if you follow my writing methods, you’ll not take that long. I’ve discussed in a previous blog how 2,000 words a day can make a first draft novel in under 3 months.
You can write your novel in any word processor, but I use a product called Scrivener, which allows you to have each chapter as a separate folder to work on. It’s much easier being able to click on a previous chapter instead of scrolling through pages and pages on Word. You might think you can save each chapter as a separate Word file, but this gets messy. Scrivener for me was a game changer. Aside from making writing easier, it also has a compile function where it converts your document to a file you can upload to Amazon for publishing.
Before you even consider publishing, you have to be happy with the final product. This is a mistake I feel I made with my earlier novels, rushing them out with excitement, then finding lots of errors. If you’re able to afford it, get an editor. This will add an extra cost and prices vary. But you want to get a quality product out there. If you can’t afford an editor, then make sure you find a few people to test read your final draft, highlighting any mistakes. When we’re close to our work, it’s hard to see the flaws. But trust me, they’re there. Another option is to at least get a grammar checking program. I use ProWritingAid which is quite inexpensive, but invaluable.
When you’re ready, compile your novel and create a Word file. Check this file for the correct formatting, that the spaces are where they need to be. Next, create a Kindle Direct Publishing Account - kdp.amazon.com. Here you can create your ebook by uploading the Word document. Amazon converts this into the correct format. If you want to play around with the format to make it look better, there’s Kindle Create, which is an app for formatting and gives a great look, automatically adding a contents page for you.
You’re going to need a cover for your book. Depending on your budget, you can try and create a cover yourself using the tools within Amazon, but the results will look amateurish. The next best thing if you can’t afford a designer, is to use a pre-made book cover. There are thousands of these online to choose from and are customisable with your book title and author name. For my last book, I used bookcoverzone.com. Prices vary, but for an ebook cover and print cover, you’re talking around $190 at the time of writing.
Amazon lets you upload the cover and does all the hard work for you. Once the ebook is created, you can create the paperback from the kindle file. You’ll need to choose your trim sizes and upload a full wrap around cover in that size. It’s important to know the trim and page count before you buy your cover so it can be sized correctly. The process is easy and Amazon guides you through it step by step.
How much does it cost you to create the paperback? Nothing! Print on demand means the book is only printed when someone orders it and the costs are put onto the customer. It’s totally free to publish your ebook and a reason why competition is fierce. Because of this, you have to make sure your book stands out in a growing market.
But when your book is on Amazon, congratulate yourself: you’re a published author. Now go and sell your first million books!
Kevin Grover is an indie author of supernatural thrillers. His books are on Amazon and his website, Indie Bookshelf, shares various tips and experiences about his indie career.