I thought I should post an updated beginner's guide to self-publishing for Filipino writers, since I've been getting Qs about this more often than usual lately, ever since quarantine started.
And so without further ado...
KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING
- kdp.amazon.com is Amazon's self-publishing arm.
- Signing up an account with them is 100% free.
- Once you have your own KDP account, you will need to add a bank account in order to receive royalties. More on this later.
- If you have your completed manuscript saved in Microsoft Word, you can upload the document (I tried this with a .docx file) straight to KDP, and the "system" will take care of the rest (i.e. formatting, and conversion to .mobi, which is the file format that Kindle apps and devices read). You'll be notified by email once your ebook is live on Amazon.
- If you want or need your book to be formatted in a certain way, consider investing in software programs such as Vellum or Scrivener (Google is your friend with these two 💕). Another option is to hire a formatter for your ebook.
- Regarding covers - you can make your own, use Kindle's Cover Creator (free as well), or hire a cover designer.
- When I first started self-publishing, the only option for getting paid back then was to receive your (royalty) check by the mail (a recipe for heart attack, in other words).
- Thankfully, we have Payoneer now, and once you've linked your Payoneer bank account to your KDP account, it's all good. You can expect royalties to be deposited to your account every month.
- This blog post provides an excellent step-by-step guide on how to receive KDP royalties via Payoneer.
- If you upload direct to KDP, you'll automatically have the option of enrolling your book in KDP Select as well.
- If you do opt in, you'll be required to make your book exclusively available on Amazon and Amazon alone for three months. After that, you can publish wide or re-enroll. Please note that there's a checkbox option for automatic re-enrollment.
- As with all other ebook retailers, the first way for you to earn royalties is when a reader BUYS your book. If your book is priced anywhere between $2.99 and $9.99, you'll earn 70% of royalties.
- Anything below $2.99 will earn you 30% royalties.
- If your book is enrolled in Select, you'll get to enjoy a second source of income, and that's pages read.
- Kindle Unlimited (KU) is a subscription program that allows readers to read as many KDP Select books as they want for approximately $10/month. If your book is enrolled in KDP Select, and a reader downloads it using their KU subscription, you'll earn a certain amount for every page read. This amount varies on a month to month basis. I personally stick with a flat rate of .004 per page when calculating KU income. This way, if the rate is anything above that, it feels like I earned bonus money. > . <
- Readers with KU subscriptions are usually more willing to take a chance on new / debut authors. This is why I personally recommend enrolling your book (or even just your first) in Kindle Select. You can always opt out afterwards, anyway. :)
I think that pretty much covers all of the basics. I wish you all well on your publishing journey! There is still no better time than NOW to write and share your work with readers all over the world.