Publishing on Amazon

I’ve a few things that I’ve been toying with pulling together into book shape so last week I thought I’d see what was involved in putting them on Amazon. As I’d James’ school project sitting on the computer in good shape, that turned out to be the easiest thing as our first attempt in publishing.

So, step 1, get the book into an appropriate format. They accept a whole range of formats including the normal wordprocessing (e.g. DOC) ones, ebook formats and PDF. I list PDF separately as it’s probably the worst format to use if you’re publishing to Kindle since they have to run their OCR software on it to pick out the words which is asking for trouble as they don’t need to do that for any of the other formats. In theory, your best bet is an ebook format as that’ll let you add the appropriate chapter and section headings to be included in the table of contents but I think you can do that via the DOC format too. For our first attempt, I took the lazy approach and used DOC and didn’t bother with a clickable table of contents, though I will add one later.

Step 2, is to register with the Amazon publishing platform for which you can use your existing Amazon account. A related stage to that is to register for tax which you may as well do upfront though you could wait until the payments start rolling in.

Once you’ve registered, you’re set to upload your first book. The first step asks you to create a cover for it and they’ve a rudimentary cover creation application to do that online which was certainly good enough for our first attempt but you’d want to put more effort into it if you were publishing a more serious book. Next, you upload your book and finally you set the price and format. Everything’s priced in dollars by default but you can set prices for individual countries. If the price is above £2.99 you can set a 70% commission rate but otherwise you get 35%. You can even add an optional print on demand option which will let you produce a paperback version when someone orders it but they charge $2.50 for that so obviously your price needs to be more than that; in practice I just ran with the Kindle version as it’s just a trial.

Finally, you click on “save and publish”, wait a few seconds and you’re away. Well, it puts your book in the system but it takes about 12 hours before it appears on the site.

So, if you want to buy James’ book, just click on Une Année en France.

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