Author Tips Tuesday – I’ve never self-published before. Where do I start?

written by Lee Strauss | Author Tips Tuesday, Lee Strauss

May 10, 2016

I had a friend ask me this recently, so I thought I'd share the email I sent to him.
Here's what you do with Amazon:
1. Create an account with KDP: https://amazon.com
2. Once your account is set up, go to “bookshelf” and follow the prompts to upload your book. You'll need a cover ready to go ( I suggest 1800×2700 pixels) and a mobi file. (I did this for him using Vellum). It's a good idea to use a subtitle with keywords that describe your book. (ie: PERCEPTION: (A Sci-fi Mystery Dystopian Romance)
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Pay attention to your categories and keywords. These are important for gaining visibility. For keywords I suggest browsing the kindle store on amazon for books like yours. On the left you'll see a list of categories and subcategories. Find all the ones you'd like your book to show up on and use those as key words.
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Choose your price, I suggest 2.99 (USD) or 3.99. Lower prices get more sales. You make 2 dollars in royalties per 2.99 sale, better than you make on one print book sale at 10.99.
3. Push publish!
4. Sign up for Authorcentral: https://authorcentral.amazon.com. (There are also ones in other countries like Germany, https://authorcentral.amazon.de.) Here is where you build your Amazon author page. Bio, profile pic, etc. You can also connect it to your blog. (see my page here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005PIGON4)
Once your book has been published you have to go to author central and claim your book.  Click “Add more books,”  then add your name or book title to the search and claim your book.
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5. Sign up to be an amazon affiliate: https://partnernet.amazon.de/?tag=ellestra-20 (see that tag? ellestra-20? that's my affiliate link.) Every time someone goes to your book page, even if they don't buy your book, but they go on to buy something else, you get a little kickback.
 There are other steps to take to help get visibility.
1. Solicit reviews – reviews make a huge difference in swaying readers to buy, and it boosts the algorithms in your favour for visibility. It helps to offer an incentive, but be careful not to “buy” your reviews. I usually tell my review team that everyone who leaves a review will be entered into a draw to win a non-cash prize. Like a signed book or something.
2. Make sure your sales page and blurb are compelling.
3. Once you have around 30 reviews, sign up for Bookbub and try to get an ad. It might seem pricy, but you'll make your money back and a lot more. There are other, cheaper venues to buy advertising. I like Robin Reads, Ereader News Today, Read Cheaply, Freebooksy
4. It helps to blog regularly and include a buy link with cover on your side bar. Once you are an amazon associate a new tool bar will show up on the top of your amazon page. On the far left is a button “Link to this page.” Click it and a window will open. Copy and paste the html code and insert it into your website and/or blog.(see attachment)
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5. Build your email list and send out newsletters a few times a year. Put an option to sign up on your website/blog. It helps if you have something free you can give away. Right now I'm giving away the first book in my new series. Check out my blog and click on the free book image to see what I've done. http://leestraussbooks.dreamhosters.com/blog/. I'm also using my front page to gain subscribers: leestraussbooks.com. You don't have to give away a free book. An essay or shorter piece can work as well.
***I'll add that when you have more than one book to sell, you can use the front and back matter in your first book to direct readers to your second book.
Hope that helps! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.

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