How to Write an Amazon Kindle eBook – Part 1

I’m writing a Kindle ebook. (Update: the book is now published on Amazon here)

Well, supposedly I am.

Every time I sit down to write something, I end up staring at my screen and doing nothing.

I keep finding excuses not to write.

Like having to check Facebook every 17 seconds.

I suffer when I write blog posts as well. But writing a book is different because it feels like it’s more important.

To help myself out, I wrote this post instead.

Maybe explaining my progress would help make me feel a bit more accountable and I stop procrastinating.

I also wanted to document the process of writing a Kindle book so that you get the chance to tag along in case you’re interested in writing your own book one day.

Let’s start with the most important question first.

 

Why even write a book?

There are many reasons to write a book.

Some people write to make money. Others write to establish themselves as experts.

Others write as a way to “upsell” more expensive products or services down the line.

And others write to spread a message they believe in.

All those are good reasons.

I guess most people would say they write because of “all of the above.”

It’s always a bit of everything.

However, understanding which one of those reasons is most important to you will help determine the direction you’ll take.

For example, if the main reason you want to write a book is to make money, then the best strategy is to go to Amazon.com, analyze the keywords and books that are in demand, decide on a topic related to those keywords, write a 20 page ebook (by outsourcing it), then uploading it to the Kindle marketplace.

I’m not a big fan of this strategy because of several reasons. The main one being that you’ll hurt your personal brand in the long run if the quality you provide isn’t top notch. I also think Amazon will eventually penalize those types of books.

However, at the moment, people are making a ton of money from this strategy. They write 10 or 20 short Kindle ebooks and sell them at $2.99 each.

If that’s what you’re interested in, then keep in mind that everything from your book’s topic & title (which should be keyword heavy so users can find it), to its cover design will be determined based on that objective.

In my case, that’s not the strategy I’m pursuing.

 

The Reason Why I’m Writing a Book

I actually have two.

My primary reason is to establish credibility and authority in the virtual teams and project management space.

I’ve already created a course about virtual teams, but I think writing a book will help me reach an audience that I couldn’t reach with the higher price point of my course.

The second reason is to learn about the whole Amazon Kindle publishing process. I’m very interested in online publishing, and I’m approaching writing my book as a small pilot project to learn about Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform.

Do I care about making money from the book?

Of course I do. But the money will come later.

As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to lose money on my book initially (after I spend money on editing, cover design, formatting, etc.).

I’ll be sharing all those numbers in my future posts, so stay tuned.

For now, let’s answer another important question: Where to publish the book?

 

Publishing on Your Own Platform Vs. Another Platform

In general terms, there are two main options to publish and sell an ebook.

  • Option 1: On your own platform (like a blog)
  • Option 2: On another platform (like Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Nook, etc.).

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each

Option 1

With option 1 (your own platform), the advantage is that you’ll have more control over everything – from formatting the book to pricing it to designing the sales page.

The disadvantage is that it’s a lot more work to write the book and market it. Plus, your audience is going to be limited to one distribution channel, which is your own blog or website. This means that not a lot of people are going to see it unless you spend a lot of money (and/or time) on marketing it.

Side note: If you’re interested in learning how to publish an ebook on your own platform, I’ve actually created a short 5 minute YouTube video that explains how in  3 easy steps. Click here to watch it.

Option 2

With option 2 (publishing on another platform), the advantage is that you’ll be tapping into an already-established marketplace. There are literally millions of readers who are primed and ready to buy your ebook on those channels.

The disadvantage, however, is that you’re bound by the requirements of those platforms, which can be restricting. You’re also going to get a smaller cut of the price of the book than you would if you published on your own.

I decided to go with option 2 because I can reach a wider audience with my book. Plus, I’ve already published my first ebook using option 1, and I’d like to experiment with something new.

You might be asking, couldn’t I do both option 1 and option 2?

The answer is yes, but there is a caveat, so read on.

 

Which Platform Should You Choose?

If you decided to go with option 2, you now have to decide which platform to go with.

Here are just a few you can choose from:

Technically, you can choose all of them, which means you’ll get even more exposure for your book. The more platforms you publish your book on, the bigger the audience that will see it, which typically translates to higher sales.

However, the drawback is that you will have to format the book according to each one of these platform’s requirements, which could be a pain. If you decide to go with all of those platforms, you can also publish on your own platform as well.

Here’s where the caveat comes in.

If you choose to publish ONLY on Amazon’s KDP platform, you’ll have the advantage of enrolling in something called Amazon KDP Select.

KDP Select is a program that offers you higher ebook royalties in some international countries, better promotional deals (like giving your ebook away for free for 5 days during every 90-day period), and greater exposure in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (where Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free). You can learn more about KDP Select by clicking here.

Of course, publishing exclusively with Amazon means that you’re not allowed to publish anywhere else.

No Apple iBooks. No Nook. No personal blog. Not even as a free giveaway to your email list.

So you’ll be giving up on all of the other platforms for this exclusive deal.

This is definitely a sacrifice.

For me, however, KDP Select makes a lot of sense. Here are 3 reasons why.

 

3 Reasons Why I’m Publishing Exclusively on Amazon

Here’s why I’m publishing only with Amazon KDP and enrolling in KDP Select:

#1: It’s Amazon

Amazon is by far the number 1 company in terms of ebook sales. So I’ll be partnering with the best platform in the world to sell my book. It has the biggest audience, and everyone is already familiar with its services. I can’t go wrong with that.

#2: Anyone can read the ebook

I will still reach readers on the other platforms. That’s because publishing on the Kindle platform does not mean that readers only with a Kindle device can read the book. This is a common misconception. Readers who have an iPhone, an iPad, an android phone, or even just a laptop can still read my book by downloading the free Kindle App on those devices. In other words, anyone can read a Kindle ebook.

#3: I have limited time

I’m a part-time webpreneur. I have a full time job, and I don’t have a lot of time (or money) to spend on formatting the book in so many different formats. I also don’t have the energy or patience to worry about marketing the links to all those platforms, maintaining the different ebook versions and keeping track of everything. Maybe if I was a full-time author, I’d do that. But as a side project, I just don’t have the time.

In short, I’m going with Kindle Select because it’s my 80/20 play. This is going to be my 20% of actions that will bring me 80% of the results.

I might be wrong with this strategy, but the great thing is that I can easily fix this later on if I change my mind. I can simply decide to un-enroll in KDP Select in the future (Amazon lets you do that) and publish on all the other platforms as well.

For now, I have to focus on writing my book.

Maybe after I check Facebook.

Cheers,

Hassan

P.S. – If you want to tag along and learn more about my book writing process, scroll to the top of this page and sign up with your email in the top right corner.

P.P.S. – Here’s a picture of the ebook cover. It is definitely going to change. I’ll tell you why in my next post (I’ll also explain how to create one yourself).

hardbackcoverstanding370

 

P.P.P.S.Part 2 is now out