How to Write Your Next Kindle Book with a Co-Author

The Future of Ink

It should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of Kindle publishing. Publishing your eBooks on Amazon is one of the easiest ways to get published. In spite of being easy, it’ a lot of hard work, if you want to do it well.

Even though I love to write, and have published some Kindle books on my own doesn’t mean that I always want to fly solo.

My first article on The Future of Ink provides insight into how I work with a co-author, and the benefits of doing so. Since the post was published on another site, I wanted to share it here so that you can benefit from the information, even if didn’t see it where it was originally published.

By the way, if you need help getting your own Kindle book published, check out my Kindle services here.

The deeper I get into Kindle publishing (both my own books, and books of my clients), the more focused I am on how to promote those books.

I enjoyed this video by Joan Stewart on how to use stories to sell your non-fiction Kindle book.

 

The first 20 or so minutes focused on non-fiction books, and she then got into fiction, and then had a Q&A session starting at around 40 minutes in. The biggest takeaway for me that I can see implementing were 17 questions to ask that can be used to promote non-fiction books.

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How Can I Read Kindle Books if I Don’t Have a Kindle?

When I recently released my first Kindle book, I had friends, family members, and readers who let me know that they would love to read my book, but couldn’t because they don’t have a Kindle. I can understand the confusion about this because after all, it seems logical that you would need a Kindle in order to read Kindle books.

How to read kindle books without a kindle

The great news is, against all logic, you can read Kindle books without owning a Kindle. Even better, apart from the cost of the actual books you purchase, unless you choose to purchase a Kindle device, all of the options for reading Kindle books are free.

Here are 3 ways to read Kindle books that you might want to try if you don’t have a Kindle device:

Why Can’t I Get the Images in My Kindle Book Centered?

I received the following email from Tom Bills, asking for help with a problem centering the images in his Kindle book.


Hi Rebecca,

My friend Jonathan Milligan suggested that I contact you with a question I have regarding images in a kindle book I’m trying to publish. He said that you might have a quick idea of what is causing my images to be centered in my Word doc and then when I upload and preview on Amazon, the centering is gone and the images are disorganized left to right. I have not published the book yet.

I have followed all tutorials I could find, using the advanced formatting option for the images to put text above and below. I also have it set to be centered using the main centering tool in the “Layout” tab, as well as the center setting in the advanced – “picture position” tab.

If you have any ideas or suggestions as to how I might solve this, It would be so very much appreciated more than I can explain!

Thank you for your help!

Tom Bills

I asked Tom if I could share his email and the solution to his problem with all of you, and he agreed. Here’s a video that explains what was causing the images in his Kindle book to be on the left even when he centered them in his Word document, and what he needed to do to fix it.

The bottom line is that you can use Word for Kindle books, and when you know how to do it, it’s pretty easy. Unfortunately, there are a few things that can really cause you problems if you do them “wrong.” For example, in Tom’s case, he was simply inserting his images in a way that works in Word, but that didn’t work for Kindle.

Your Turn

Do you have any Kindle publishing questions you’d like me to cover in future blog posts? Share your questions or Kindle publishing tips by leaving a comment below!

PCC 005: Understanding Kindle Publishing Options [Podcast]

podcast, why start a podcast, podcasting tips, benefits of podcasting This episode of the Professional Content Creation Podcast was inspired by one of my clients. In addition to offering Kindle editing and formatting services, I also provide Kindle consultation phone calls.

As I was recently going over the various Kindle publishing options with one of my clients, the thought came to me that my podcast listeners may find the information helpful in case they want to submit their eBook to Kindle on their own. Listen in if you need to know what all the options inside the KDP dashboard mean!

Items discussed in this episode include:

  • The ins and outs of the KDP Select program
  • How you can increase your income by giving your book away for free
  • How letting people borrow your Kindle book for free can make you money
  • Title restrictions
  • Why you don’t need to worry about your Kindle book’s publication date
  • How easy it is to be a publisher
  • Selecting categories and keywords
  • Tips for your Kindle book cover
  • The ONE thing you can’t change after your Kindle book is published
  • What Digital Rights Management means
  • Why you may want people to be able to illegally share your Kindle book
  • The different royalty options
  • Important things to keep in mind when inputting contributors
  • And more!

 As promised, below is a slideshow with the main points. Feel free to refer to it when the time comes to upload your own Kindle book. You are also free to embed the slideshow on your blog by clicking on the share button and copying the embed code. Enjoy! 

 

 Would you like to start a podcast?

If you’re a “do-it-yourself” kind of person and want to start a podcast, I’d strongly recommend Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcasting A to Z course. If interested in the training and in getting the $100 discount, go to http://PodcastingAtoZ.com and use the discount code PCC in the shopping cart.

If you’d like to start a podcast but would prefer to have someone else handle many of the aspects of your podcast for you, check out my Podcast Production Services page for details of how I can help.

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The Professional Content Creation Podcast: Content Creation | Blogging | Content Marketing

Click Here to Download the Transcript for Episode 005 (PDF)

Have you ever thought about publishing a Kindle book? What’s the biggest challenge facing you that’s keeping you from getting it done? Leave me a comment below to share your thoughts and experiences!

Pros and Cons of the KDP Kindle Select Program

 

Pros and Cons to the KDP Select Program

As is true with most things, there are pros and cons to the KDP Select program. Only you can determine if it’s the best option for your Kindle book.

One of the decisions that authors who publish Kindle books have to make is whether or not to enroll in KDP Select. In order to know whether or not it’s the right option for your Kindle book, you need to understand what the program is, as well as the pros and cons of enrolling in KDP Select.

Limitations of KDP Select

The biggest thing to be aware of with KDP Select is that if you enroll in the program, you cannot offer your eBook anywhere else for a period of at least 90 days. For example, you cannot offer a PDF for sale (or free) of the same eBook on your website, and you cannot sell it on Barnes and Noble or any other site while it’s in the program

It’s important to understand, however, that you can offer it in a different form, such as a print version, without any restriction during the time it is enrolled in KDP select.

Offering Your Kindle Book for Free

There are certain “benefits” to KDP such as being able to offer your book for free. You can offer it for free for up to five days during each 90-day period of time. The free days can be one after another (e.g. five days in a row), or they can be spread out over the 90-day period of time.

Amazon Prime members can also “borrow” KDP Select books for free. Think of this option as people being able to check your book out from the library. They don’t own it, and can only have it for a limited period of time, but it doesn’t cost them anything to borrow it.

Benefits of Giving Your Kindle Book Away for Free

I put the word, “benefits” in quotes because some may wonder how or why it is beneficial to give something away for free, particularly if you are hoping to make money through the sales of your eBook.

Offering your book for free can help it rank better in Amazon, assuming that a lot of people “purchase” it on the free days. Ranking higher in Amazon will give your book more future exposure and can potentially result in more sales down the road.

In order for this strategy to be effective, it’s important to really promote it on the free days, and encourage people in your circles to “buy” it on those days, even if it isn’t a topic they’re interested in. For example, let’s say that I had an eBook on the topic of content marketing in the KDP Select program. My 81-year-old mother is not interested in content marketing, so except to support me, she wouldn’t purchase a book on the topic. But I could encourage my mom, and other supportive people like her, to buy my book when it’s free as a way of helping my book to rank better on Amazon.

And naturally, an opportunity to pick up your book for free is a great bonus to give your fans and the people on your email list.

Benefits of Letting People Enrolled in Amazon Prime Borrow Your Kindle Book for Free

One thing that may not be immediately apparent is that even though Amazon Prime members don’t pay anything to borrow your Kindle book, you are paid royalties every time someone borrows your book.

The royalty amount is based on a complex formula that has to do with, among other things, the total number of books borrowed during a set period of time. Since the amount changes, I can’t give a specific amount, but in most cases at the time of this writing, it is about $2.50 each time someone borrows your Kindle book.

This is beneficial, especially if your Kindle book is on the lower end of the price spectrum. For instance, let’s say that your Kindle book is priced at $2.99, with a 70% royalty, the amount paid to you in royalties for each sale is $2.09. In most cases, on lower priced books, you will make as much, if not more, with royalties if people borrow your book than if they were to purchase it outright.

The Dark Side of the KDP Select Program

Okay, “dark side” is stretching it a bit, but while  there are tremendous benefits to enrolling your Kindle book in KDP Select, there are also some downsides.

Though I’ve already mentioned this, it bears repeating that you cannot offer your Kindle book anywhere else, even on your own website for paid or free, during the 90 days it’s enrolled in KDP Select. If you don’t have plans to do anything else with your eBook during that period of time, this is no big deal, and it certainly isn’t a deal breaker. A bigger deal in my mind is the possibility that you’ll miss your target market.

 

kindle book target market

Many of the people who pick up your Kindle book when it’s free may be people outside your target market.

Missing Your Target Market

There’s something weird that happens in people’s mind when something is offered for free. People often grab up massive amounts of free items that they would never pay for. The problem with this as it pertains to Kindle books is that those people who have received your book for free may not be your target market, and therefore your book may not resonate with them.

Is it a big deal if people who got your eBook for free don’t like it? Well, it could be, particularly if they decide to express their dislike in the form of a negative review and a one-star rating. This would be even more likely to happen if your book is controversial in any way, or contains content (e.g. religious or political) that people tend to have strong feelings about, one way or another.

Obviously, you can get positive reviews from people who get your book for free, and negative reviews from people who pay for your Kindle book, but the bottom line is that the odds are greater that the people who will spend money on your book are ones who fit into your target market.

Too Much Free Stuff on Kindle

Another negative byproduct of KDP Select is that as the program has increased in popularity, there are a lot of free Kindle books out there. Though I don’t have statistics to back this up, knowing human nature and the love for free items, no doubt many people only “buy” books when they are free.

This can make it harder and harder to sell your books at a decent price, unless you have a decent sized platform of fans who are more than happy to pay for your books.

You may also find that the majority of the people on your email list and your fans and followers on social media may pick up the book while it’s free, leaving few to buy it when it actually costs them money.

Is KDP Select Right for YOU?

There isn’t a one-size fits all answer to this question. Personally, I would recommend trying it, and measure the results. If you have multiple Kindle books, enroll some of them in KDP Select, and opt out of that for others, and then evaluate the outcome of both options.

 Your Turn

 I’d love to hear your thoughts on the KDP Select program. Do you think it’s a good idea? Have you ever used it yourself? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. 

 

Why NOT to Publish a Kindle Book

make money with a kindle book

If you need money NOW, publishing a Kindle book may not be the best thing for you.

As someone who offers Kindle related services, it’s no surprise that I feel there are benefits to publishing a Kindle book. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also admit that there are some downsides to publishing a Kindle book as well.

Below are the primary reasons not to publish a Kindle book.

 

1.  You need to make money and you need to make it NOW.

Granted, there are people making big bucks selling Kindle books. But as is the case with just about any type of endeavor, some people make it and some don’t. And those who make it — even the ones who appear to be overnight successes — likely put in a good amount of time and experienced their fair share of failure, before they attained even a small measure of success.

You can make money selling Kindle books, but unless you have other sources of income that can pay your bills while you’re waiting for your profits from Kindle books to come rolling in, it’s best to pursue more reliable sources of income, at least for the time being.

2. You don’t want to invest the time it would take to create and promote your Kindle book.

You can definitely outsource some of the work involved with creating a Kindle book. I’m actually a big fan of paying people to work in my own areas of weakness or on things that I just don’t like. But if you want your Kindle book to be a success, you need to be involved in the process, even if you pay others to help you as well.

Note that when I say you need time, I don’t mean that you need to have so much time on your hands that you don’t know what to do with yourself. In fact, most successful people are very busy people. But nothing of substance happens without an investment of time, so go into your project realistically, knowing that it’s going to take an investment of time.

3.  You have zero budget to invest in your Kindle book.

Publishing a book on Kindle is technically free. And you can indeed do it at zero cost. But if you don’t invest any money, it may be quite obvious to everyone that sets eyes on your book that it’s was done on the cheap. This can actually negatively impact your credibility, which is probably the opposite of what you’re shooting for as a result of publishing a Kindle book.

In terms of how much it costs to publish a book on Kindle, the range varies from free, to a few thousand dollars, depending on what you do yourself and what you pay others to do.

4. You hate marketing and don’t want to hire someone else to market your Kindle book for you.

It’s possible that you already have a great following, and won’t need to do a whole lot to promote your book. Even so, marketing is an important aspect of ensuring that a book — Kindle or print — is successful. There are many ways you can market your Kindle book, with my favorites being blogging and social media. Both of these are technically free, or at least cheap, but they take a lot of work. A hybrid approach of doing some work yourself and paying someone else to do some of the marketing for you may be the best way to go, but the bottom line is that unless you’re prepared to market your book, you can’t expect it to be a roaring success.

As is true with all things, publishing a Kindle book isn’t for everyone. Be sure to consider the following factors before taking the leap to Kindle publishing, if you want your book to be successful.

Your Turn:

Have you ever considered publishing a Kindle book? Or perhaps you’ve already published one. Either way, is there anything you’d add to my thoughts about why not to publish a Kindle book?

 

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Kindle Book?

cost to publish a kindle book

Publishing a Kindle book can be either free or cost a whole pile of money, depending on what you hire others to do. However, even if you outsource much of the work, Kindle books are cheaper to produce than print books.

The short answer is that it cost zero dollars to publish a Kindle version of your book on Amazon. However, if you really want your Kindle book to have a professional edge, it’s good to invest some money in areas that either you don’t have the time or the ability to do well. As an example, for me personally, I always hire people to handle graphics because I’m simply not talented in that area. It would be hard for my book to be  taken seriously without someone else designing my cover!

You may be a whiz at design or may be a great writer, but few people are good at or enjoy everything. With that in mind. . . .

Here are a few things that you might want to hire someone to do for your Kindle book, along with a ballpark figure of the costs:

  • Proofreading and/or editing — between .02 and .07 per word. This means that a 10,000 word book could run anywhere between $200 and $700 to be proofread or edited — and that would be a pretty short (but perfectly acceptable for a Kindle) book.  You may be able to get a family member or friend to do this for free, but in order to be taken seriously, this needs to be done well.
  • Professional Kindle formatting – between $47 and $90 for a book that is up to 15,000 words. Obviously, formatting for longer books costs more, but you can have a decent length Kindle book formatted for under $100. (Side note: Kindle books don’t have “pages,” but to give you some idea of length, 15,000 words is equivalent to approximately 60 pages.)
  • Professional writing — I personally don’t recommend completely outsourcing writing, if you want your Kindle book to truly have your voice. Expect to be involved in the process. I also don’t recommend hiring a cheap writer, because the end product will be a poor reflection on you. A better option may be to write a rough draft yourself and then have it professionally edited, or start off by recording audios that a writer can then take and craft into a book.  Pricing for hiring a writer to assist you by taking your audios and using them to create a book for you will run around $750 for a 10,000 word book. Depending on the length of your book, it could cost more or less than that.
  • A professionally designed cover — between $5 and $250. You can get $5 covers done on Fiverr, but you may need to hire multiple people to design covers for you before you get one you really like, so even on Fiverr, you may end up paying $20 or more before you get one you like.

Depending on your talents, time, and budget (and therefore how much you want to pay others to do), the cost for publishing a 10,000 word Kindle book will range from free to several hundred dollars, but most likely somewhere in the middle of that range if you want your Kindle book to be professional quality.

(Note: there are also some fees that are taken out of the profits of your sales, but they are deducted from the payment received from the purchaser.)

Your Turn:

If you were going to publish a Kindle book, what would you outsource and what would you do yourself?

Advantages of Publishing a Book on Kindle

kindle books, ebooks, nook

Most of us grew up reading books like this. Kindle and other ereaders may change what this looks like in the future.

Kindle offers aspiring authors a way to becoming published in record time, at minimal cost.

Here are some of the top reasons for publishing your next (or perhaps even your first) book on Kindle.

1. Kindle books are great for lead generation.

Although you can certainly make money selling Kindle books, many authors publish books in Kindle format and sell them for a very low price since their primary goal is not to generate income directly through selling their Kindle books on Amazon, but rather to get leads.

2. Kindle books are often shorter than traditionally published books.

It’s important to provide quality content regardless of whether you publish your book as a Kindle book or in print, but Kindle books don’t need to be anywhere near as long as traditionally published books. This means that they can be written much faster than traditional books and because of that, you can potentially publish far more books in a shorter period of time than you could otherwise.

3. Kindle books can be published quickly.

In addition to being shorter and therefore fast to write, your Kindle book can be published very quickly after it is submitted, sometimes as quickly as a few hours. A traditionally published book can take months or even years to be published after it’s been accepted by the publisher. (Never mind how long it may take to find a publisher!)

4.  Kindle books cost very little to produce.

Technically you can publish a Kindle book absolutely free, but unless you have the skill set to do everything yourself, you may want to hire someone to design a cover for you, proofread and edit your book, format the book, and submit it to Amazon.

Of course, it’s not an all or nothing thing, and I would suggest that you hire someone to do the things you aren’t good at or don’t have time to do, and do the other things on your own. As an example, I do my own writing and editing, but I pay someone to design a cover for me since my graphic design skills are very limited.

I’ve had people great with graphics design their own cover and hire me to proofread and format. However you do it, the cost is often much less than print books.

5. The Kindle app is available for basically any type of device you own.

With very rare exceptions, regardless of what type of devices you own (computer, tablet, phone), there’s a Kindle app for it. The same is true for everyone else out there. This is incredibly significant as more and more people consume content on these devices. Kindle makes it easy for your book to be compatible with whatever devices your readers and potential readers have.

6.  Mistakes are easily corrected.

Who doesn’t make mistakes? Even if your book is professionally edited, minor mistakes may still slip through, or you may decide to change a few things. Making changes is super easy on Kindle books, and totally free, unless you hire someone to make changes for you.

7. Kindle books are a great way to test market your idea.

Before you spend the time writing a full-length book, you might want to test out a shorter version that you publish as a Kindle book. If the book does well, you’ll know to keep heading that same direction, and you’ll also be able to demonstrate to traditional publishers that there is a market for your ideas and that your work sells. Additionally, a successful Kindle book may lead to other opportunities.

8.  Amazon handles all the pesky details.

Although you can do a lot to promote your book on your own, Amazon takes care of a lot of the details of selling your book for you. For instance, it lists it on their site, handles the receipt of payment, delivers the book to the customer, deals with customer complaints, and so on.

I’m not going to say that it’s easy to sell millions of copies of your book on Amazon, but considering all of the advantages of publishing a book on Kindle, you may as well give it a shot!

Have you ever published a Kindle book? If not, what’s holding you back?