Congratulations, you’ve finished your manuscript. Or maybe you’re close to completing it and you’re thinking about the next step. After you’ve taken a moment to pat yourself on the back, the next phase of your publishing journey begins. You don’t have to go down the traditional route to become an author. While you can submit your finished manuscript to an agent, you might be waiting months for an email back from one of the big five publishers. Perhaps even years before they consider your novel. Enter: self-publishing.
Self-publishing is considered a non-traditional route and many wannabe authors tend to turn up their noses up at it. It’s understandable – self-publishing isn’t for everyone. It’s a big job, especially for one person and you’re displaying a huge amount of confidence to prove to the world that your book deserves to be seen on shelves.
Some of pop culture’s favourite book series are self-publishing success stories. From The Martian by Andy Weir to Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, you absolutely can become a bestseller in digital publishing. It just takes a leap of faith, and some hard work.
While there is a stigma attached to self-published books, there are a few precautions you can take to sidestep it – take the time and money to invest in a good editor and pass your manuscript around trusted friends and family, that way you can polish your book into a real magnum opus.
How do I get started self-publishing my book?
One of the easiest ways is through Amazon’s self-publishing service. Launched back in 2007, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) was introduced as a self-publishing program that allowed any writer to become an author for free, as well as own the entire publishing process.
Instead of letting the publishing industry dictate what books should be put on shelves and what content is allowed in your own book, KDP gives authors complete control over their own works.
In 2021, Amazon opened its first local “Print on Demand” facility in Western Sydney. This printing service allows authors and publishers to print paperback books once an order is received, which is then dispatched through Amazon’s delivery service.
This means that you can print real, physical copies of your own book to display at home or gift to loved ones. Maybe you’ll even see a copy out in the wild while on your way to work.
Why self-publish with Kindle Direct Publishing?
Going the traditional route can take years, if not decades to get that Big Yes. By self-publishing, you’re taking matters into your own hands and giving yourself that Yes.
By self-publishing through Amazon KDP, you can choose to publish both in print or digital format, retain your own copyright and distribute to a global market rightaway. You can even set the prices for any of the books you publish, allowing yourself to dictate how much your book is worth.
Last year, The Conversation reported that a survey undertaken by Macquarie University showed that 1,000 traditionally-published Australian authors earned an average of $18,200 per annum as a practicing author.
While that isn’t enough to live off, it is a reasonable amount to be making from a side hustle. Especially, since a lot of authors will have to wait for the royalties check to come months later.
With KDP, you’ll see those royalties straightaway. Authors who take advantage of Amazon’s self-publishing service can earn royalties up to 70 per cent for digital books and 60 per cent for print. In time, this can become a strong figure and eventually lead you to become a full-time author if you play your cards right.
The only caveat is that your books aren’t going to sell themselves. While your novel will become discoverable and available worldwide, you’ll have to own the marketing process, whether that’s joining BookTok, networking with other authors and/or creating your own social media posts.
How to self-publish with Amazon’s KDP
- Head to Amazon.com.au
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select ‘Independently Publish With Us’.
- Create or sign up with your Amazon account and accept the Terms & Conditions.
- Once logged in, hit Create.
- Select which format you’d like to publish your book as e.g. eBook or Paperback.
- Follow the steps and fill in the empty fields.
- Create a book cover using Kindle Cover Creator.
- Upload your manuscript.
- Set pricing and market information.
- Hit Submit and you’re done.
The entire Amazon KDP process only takes about five to 10 minutes, especially if you’ve already designed your book cover and correctly formatted your manuscript. But that’s it, folks! Forget about sitting on your manuscript any longer and just take the plunge.
To start your self-publishing journey, head here to access Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service.
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