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From Africa to Amazon


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The shortest route a writer can take to self-publish an eBook online

Published in: Business

From Africa to Amazon

  1. 1. WHAT YOU NEED 1. The right attitude 2. The right files 3. The right process 4. The right resources 2
  2. 2. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE About self-publishing Self-publishing is not traditional publishing. PROS of self-publishing • Much faster timelines than if you publish traditionally. (Weeks instead of months.) • Higher royalties earned (Amazon pays up to 70% of an eBook’s list-price) • No restrictive contracts and clauses – You retain your material and copyright. • The author is fully empowered – You are in charge! 3
  3. 3. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE About self-publishing Self-publishing is not traditional publishing. CONS of self-publishing • Access to mainstream book stores and writers-awards will be largely off-limits. • Author will need to pay for certain professional services (cover design, editing etc.) • Author is fully responsible for the entire publishing process from beginning to end. o Not for authors who just want to write. o Author will be in charge of marketing their book after it has been published. • Lots of experimentation – Be ok with failing and then trying again. 4
  4. 4. Forget what you think you know • You need to be comfortable on a computer. You will need to get your hands dirty to be a self-publishing success. • You are not as smart as you think you are. Publishing norms for Amazon differ from the traditional print industry. Book cost, length and design standards are different when writing an eBook. For example romance novels on Amazon are normally priced below $5. • You are not just an author. Think of yourself as a one-person business. Do not let your personal preferences decide all design and layout considerations. Do your research. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE 5
  5. 5. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE The eBook landscape • Amazon is the biggest eBook store on earth – By far (~65%). Be there. They may make decisions or have polices you do not like – Do not cut off your nose to spite your face. • There are other eBook stores, they can provide an author with additional royalties. Only pursue these other stores if you have the time and are technically-inclined. o Smashwords o Draft2Digital o Kobo o Apple o Barnes and Noble 6
  6. 6. Self-publishing Checklist  Final (edited) manuscript. • Preferably written in MS Word.  Professional cover image. • No spine or back-cover are needed for an eBook . • An ISBN number is not required for an eBook on Amazon.  Well-written book blurb. • Sell your book – Don’t summarize!  Book Meta-data (Information about the book, but not the book-content itself.) • Pricing ($) • 2x Categories and 7x Keywords (This will determine where the book gets placed on Amazon.) THE RIGHT FILES 7
  7. 7. The Manuscript – Typical front and back matter Uploading an MS Word manuscript is recommended. (Uploading a PDF could result in an eBook that is badly- formatted.)  Title page.  Copyright page.  Table of contents.  Preface/ Dedication/ Acknowledgments.  “About the Author” section. • Include your social media and website links here. • Give a personal thanks to the reader. • Links to other books you might have written. THE RIGHT FILES 8
  8. 8. The Cover Image  Amazon has specific requirements for the cover file.  JPG/ TIFF file formats (.JPG is easiest.)  Recommended dimension are 2,560 x 1,600 pixels.  Minimum of 1,000 x 625 pixels  File-size smaller than 50MB  >= 72 DPI (Aim for 300 DPI for best quality.)  RGB colour mode, not CMYK ( What?) THE RIGHT FILES If you are trying to save money on cover design, consider using the free platform to design your cover. 9
  9. 9. Step 1 – Amazon KDP • Create a new account on o You are able to use an existing Amazon account. o You are able to publish under a pen-name. THE RIGHT PROCESS 10
  10. 10. Step 2 – Complete your online Amazon tax interview • Once you have created your KDP account, complete your Amazon Tax Interview to avoid royalties being withheld (For authors publishing from outside the US) o Have your local income tax number ready before taking this interview. o The alternative would be to apply for an International Tax Identification Number (ITIN) .  Read more on how to apply for an ITIN number here. THE RIGHT PROCESS Here is a video showcasing how the Tax Interview is completed 11
  11. 11. Step 3 – Publishing the new eBook • Select “Create a New Title”: Kindle eBook THE RIGHT PROCESS 12
  12. 12. Step 4 – Entering the eBook Metadata Metadata is all the info about the book that is not in the book. • Title • Sub-Title • Series Name • Book Contributors • Book Blurb • Keywords • Categories THE RIGHT PROCESS Read more on the magic of eBook metadata here. 13
  13. 13. Step 5 – Loading the book files Have your Word manuscript and files ready • Leave DRM unchecked (Why?) • Upload your Word document. • Upload your cover image file. o You can attempt the Amazon Cover Creator. (Not recommended – Rather use Canva.) • Preview your eBook (Vital!) • Assign a publisher or ISBN. (Optional.) THE RIGHT PROCESS 14
  14. 14. Step 6 – Decide on Price and distribution Think about and research your price. • KDP Select – Recommend for most authors. • Select your territories (As many as possible.) • Select your royalty rate (35% or 70%) • Select your eBook price in USD. o Recommended between $0.99 and $9.99 o Free is not possible. o Keep the book file-size low (esp. for 70% option.) o Sales to certain 3rd World countries will only ever earn 35% royalties. THE RIGHT PROCESS 15
  15. 15. Step 7 - Publish Time to set it free into the wild. THE RIGHT PROCESS 16
  16. 16. CONGRATULATIONS! Your eBook will be live on Amazon within 48 hours. Readers will be able to buy and download your eBook directly to their Kindle devices. THE RIGHT PROCESS 17
  17. 17. Whilst Writing Q: What paid-alternative is there for MS Word to make writing and creating my eBook easier A: We recommend using Scrivener for Windows or Mac Q: I cannot afford MS Word or Scrivener what I use? A: Try a free word-processor like Open Office (Just make sure to save your manuscript in a .DOC format) Q: I want a cover designed without paying a lot of money. A: Consider designing your own cover using the free platform OR you can hire a freelance-designer from (Buyer beware.) Q: Is there a smart way to publish a (PoD) paperback worldwide using Amazon? A: Yes, consider using Amazon or Createspace to publish your Print on Demand paperback at a very low cost. THE RIGHT RESOURCES 18 Frequently Asked Questions from writers
  18. 18. Distributing your book. Q: I want to get my eBook on Apple but I don’t own a Mac OR I want to get my eBook on Barnes and Noble but I live outside the US. A: Use an eBook distribution platform such as Smashwords or D2D. Q: I live in a country that Amazon will not pay royalties via direct deposit (EFT). How do I get around this? A: Consider signing up for a Payoneer account. This works well with Amazon. (PayPal won’t) Q: Should I sell my book from my website? A: Firstly always have your eBook on Amazon. If you then choose to sell the eBook from your website KDP Select will not be an option (requires digital exclusivity.) So feel free to experiment and go with what works best. Just never sell your eBook only from your own website. THE RIGHT RESOURCES 19
  19. 19. Marketing and Monetizing your book Q: I want to make additional money from my eBook sales. A: Sign up to Amazon Affiliates – Then sell your eBook using an affiliate link. You will earn additional income from any extra items a reader might purchase within 24 hours. Q: I need a boost in exposure on Amazon, what should I do? A: If you have chosen to enroll KDP Select (recommended) then plan a free or discount promotion. A: Consider paying Amazon to further promote your new title for a period of time. (You might need a Payoneer account to do this if you live outside the first-world.) Q: Where can I learn more about making money from my eBook on Amazon? A: - Here are the books on the topic of writing and publishing I would recommend. - Here are some great blogs. - I would recommend the Self-Publishing Podcast OR The Creative Penn. (You will need iTunes) THE RIGHT RESOURCES 20
  20. 20. ABOUT THE AUTHOR South African born and raised this proud Saffer has been brought up in a country where the value of entrepreneurship and empowerment of the individual cannot be stressed enough. In his late 20's David jumped the corporate ship and has been exploring the entrepreneurial waters ever since. In mid-2012 Dave founded MYeBook; A blog-business aimed at empowering African authors by giving them a voice within the vibrant global self-publishing community. We have been lucky enough to help thousands of authors globally since our humble beginnings.  MYeBook was a 2016 finalist for the 702 Small Business awards.  MYeBook won the best business blog in South Africa for 2016.  Our blog cover the Self-Publishing industry has over 5800 unique monthly views. 21
  21. 21. WHERE TO FIND US? Where we share publishing hints and tips Our community of African Authors Our award-winning self-publishing blog 22