Amazon.com sells billions of dollars worth of books each year, and your title can be on this global bookstore next to established authors. (If you are a published author, then your publisher will need to arrange distribution on Amazon.)
But if you are a self-published author, it is within your control and easier than you think. If I can do it, so can you. Here you can see my self-published, print-on-demand book on Amazon How to Enjoy Your Job
The key is to use a service that you can load your book onto as well as managing some of the promotion if you choose to. The fees for these services vary. You can do it all yourself for free or you can pay them to do most of it for you.
The process works as follows:
1. Upload manuscript. You take your finished manuscript in PDF format and load it onto the website of the service you choose (examples below). You also load the cover.
2. Create sales page. You write your webpage text and add the price, and your royalties are calculated.
3. Order and Review. You order one of your own books to sign off that you are happy with the final product. Then you authorize distribution.
4. Distribution. The files are distributed to the electronic bookstores including Amazon. You see them with a few days/weeks depending on the service.
5. Build Amazon site. You upload images and get testimonials etc, adding more information to your online site. You promote and drive people to buy your book.
6. People buy the book from the site. The order goes to the service who print it and ship it to Amazon who ship it to the customer.
7. Royalties. You get paid your royalties monthly.
Here are a couple of companies you can use but there are other companies who will do this online for you too.
Booksurge is Amazon’s own self-publishing company offering print-on-demand, inventory management and distribution. They can take you all the way from idea to book and onto Amazon with a hand-holding approach, or you can just load your print-ready PDF and cover and go for it. You receive approximately 35% of royalties on retail sales of trade paperback books. The cost price is determined by your book e.g. black and white inner is cheaper than coloured or photos. You can also use Amazon’s own promotional tools e.g. Buy X Get Y program pairing your book with a famous persons (although this will set you back $1000 per month). When you go through the process, you will be guided to upload your files, cover and wording and within a few weeks your book will be featured on Amazon.com as well as Amazon.co.uk.
You can find out all the information at www.booksurge.com
Lulu offers the same services to Booksurge but it is not owned by Amazon. This doesn’t seem to make any difference to the products they offer at the moment. The books are distributed through Lightening Source and are accessible to many other online retailers. You can load your files and cover and be published on Amazon in the same time frames. You can also be published on BN.com (Barnes and Noble). There is an author community, you can ask questions in real-time online, and you can build a shop front of your own. Lulu has a great FAQ section and that includes detailed information on the required formatting for books submitted for Amazon. Make sure you read this before submitting your document as you may be rejected otherwise. You can find out more at www.lulu.com
I used Lulu.com for “How to Enjoy Your Job” and was very happy with how easy the site was to manage. If you struggle with the technology, or just want someone to do it for you, see Services.
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