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How to Publish and Sell Your Own E-Book in the Kindle Format

Amazon.com makes it possible for anyone to make content available for the Kindle by means of a self-service publishing system called Digital Text Platform. It’s a wonderful system for getting your work out there in the world without having to find agents or publishers. Can you make money publishing for the Kindle? According to the forums devoted to the Kindle publishing system, some authors do make money, though most aren’t getting rich from it. (In other words, that aspect is similar to traditional book publishing.)

Preparing your text

First, you need to prepare your text. It should be edited and proofread. You also need to choose a title and subtitle and assign keywords to your work so that it will be easy to find in the Kindle Store. The file itself can be in plain-text (.txt), Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), HTML (.htm or .html), a Zip archive (.zip), Mobipocket (.mobi or .prc), or PDF (.pdf) format. Amazon.com recommends that the file be saved in either .doc or .htm/.html format.

Remove page numbers from the electronic version of your file; they won’t be needed on the Kindle.

You should include a title page and your name as the author. On this page, you should probably include a simple copyright notice, such as:

First Kindle Edition, April 2009
Copyright 2009 by Your Name

If you’re truly concerned about protecting your copyright, you can include a longer copyright notice of the sort seen in the front of many printed books:

All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without written permission from the author.

You should also go through the text to add hyperlinks so that the text is easily browsable. In particular, links back to your Web site or blog will help you market yourself as an author or an authority in your field.

Converting your text to Kindle format

Once you've prepared your text, follow these steps to make your manuscript available for purchase on the Kindle:

  1. From a Web browser on your computer, access the Digital Text Platform.

  2. Click the Sign In button and sign in with your Amazon.com e-mail address and password.

    You don’t have to create a separate account for the Digital Text Platform, but you might want to do so to keep track of your publishing and sales activity separately from your reading and purchasing activity. Even if you use your regular Amazon.com account for publishing, don’t forget to click My Account to ensure that Amazon has the information it needs to pay you when you start making sales.

  3. Click My Shelf at the top of the page.

  4. Click Add New Item.

    The page shown in the following figure appears; this page is divided into three sections, numbered 1, 2, and 3.

    image0.jpg
  5. In section 1, enter the title, description, and other details about your content.

    If your content is a book and has a publisher (for instance, if you have formed your own publishing company and given it your own name), you should fill out the ISBN and Publisher fields. (To find out more about ISBNs, read Obtaining an ISBN for Your Self-Published Book.)

    Some of the features in Section 1 of the form are optional but worth exploring.

  6. Click the Save Entries button just beneath Section 1.

  7. Click the plus sign next to section 2, Upload and Preview Book.

    The section expands to reveal a Browse button and a blank field for the filename of the content you want to publish.

  8. Click Browse, locate the book or other file you want to publish, and click Open.

    The file is moved from your computer to Amazon.com.

  9. Click the plus sign next to Section 3 and enter a price for your content that is between 99 cents and $200.

Amazon.com has its own Getting Started guide for the Digital Text Platform. It’s a great place to turn for detailed information about the self-publishing process.

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