[I’ve self published one novel] I published a short story through an indie publisher, but I would like to remove my short story off the market because it’s old and not up to my current quality of writing.
Self publishing a novel on Amazon is long process - and I’m not even talking about pressing the publish button. I’m talking about all the prep work that comes before that. All of what I’m about to talk about is all my own personal experience. I’ve prepared another novel for a friend and I’ve gone through the process with two of my own novels, but have only published one.
This is mostly about getting a physical book out there, but most of this counts for ebook version as well.
Obviously, editing is a given by this point. Proofreading as well. Simple line editing services can cost thousands of dollars. A 139,000 word book would cost around $5,000 to edit. I got around this for my own self published book. I edit a TON. I probably edited the entire book around 10 times. Then, I had a program called TextAloud read my book back to me, making corrections as it went. I did this twice. Even with all this, I still have a few errors that I plan on fixing.
Formatting is a must. I’ve seen tons of poorly formatted kindle books. Please never ever use the tab key to indent your paragraphs. This is a huge waste of your time. Use the paragraph tool in your program. Your indents shouldn’t be a mile long, either. You have to hyphenate. You can’t have hyphens connecting words on a page that you have to turn.
I’ve formatted a number of books now in Word and it can be a nightmare. But it can be done, thankfully. You’ll probably want headers at the top of every page, telling the reader what chapter they’re on at all times. This is nice, but it’s not required. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, pick up a Harry Potter book and you’ll see what I mean.
Page Numbers. May they burn for all eternity. (It takes me three hours to format a book with both headers and page numbers. Lots of weird stuff happens.)
Margins. On the inner side of the book, you need a wider margin there than you would on the outer side. Otherwise, the reader can’t see in the middle there. They’ll have to bend your book too much.
Cover. Cover. Cover. Professional Cover. This can cost from $150 to $700. This was something I did purchase for my novel.
By this point, you probably will hate the ruddy thing. Hahaha
I published my novel two years ago, before Amazon reabsorbed CreateSpace, so my experience is a bit outdated.
You have options here. Size of the book, page types, cover types. I would suggest cream colored pages every time. The white is blinding. Size of the book depends on how big a book you’re publishing. You’d have to experiment with that. Matte darkens the color of your cover, so you’ll have to adjust for that, but it feels nice to the touch. Gloss is beautiful and bright, but the light reflects a lot and the cover gets scratched quickly.
Beyond the Alluring Sky, my novel, is 520 pages at 139,000 words. I went with a 6x9 sizing, matte cover, and cream pages.
Once you pick all your options, you submit two PDFs, your book and the full cover. (front, spine, and back) You have to fit the cover on a special printing page of theirs. It’s about a 24hr to 48hr wait for their review process. After which, you get a preview of your book. The preview will be exactly how it prints out - barring print on demand mishaps. I’ve purchased about 20 copies so far and they’re a little different from one another. Not sure if this still is the case with Amazon KDP now. If you find any mistakes, you’ll have to go through the 24hr to 48hr review process again.
Once you approve of it, you can order proofs. They’ll have that printed on the back page, too. If everything checks out, then you hit publish.
And there’s nothing better than holding that sucker in your hands.
But dang, it’s a lot of work.
For those writers wanting to publish their stories, my first advice is to edit. A lot. My second piece of advice is make your series into smaller chunks, about 50k to 100k words. I wouldn’t publish huge novels on Amazon, mainly because it costs money per page to print. This isn’t surprising, but Amazon has a minimum limit on what you may charge for your paperback. My 520 page novel can’t be charged for less than $17.99. (But as the author, I can purchase copies for $7.50) Personally, I would go smaller for my next novel series.