Finally, after commiting to it seven long months ago in April, I have finalised and self-published a book:
Killerby, P. (2017) Valuing Education: A Guide to Education Return on Investment, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, December 2017.
Tips I learnt along the way:
- Read the online Kindle Direct Publishing guidance, it is easy to follow and practical.
- Pick a topic you enjoy and know a lot about, start writing and don’t stop until you’re finished. Just kidding about the last part – the main thing is to make sure you spend some time each week and make it into a habit.
- Expect the 80:20 rule – the initial stage of writing may only be 20% of the time required, with the remaining 80% being re-writes, additional new material, editing and formatting.
- There are online repositories of royalty-free photos available for selecting a quality cover image. I went with Unsplash for a picture of some brightly coloured ABC blocks and colouring pens on the front page and a stack of books and apple for teacher on the back page.
- The MS Word file format works well for uploading as the e-kindle version of your book, along with a jpg or similar cover image.
- For the paperback version, a pdf file of the internal content is required along with a separate pdf of the print-ready cover page.
What I found the most difficult and time-consuming part of e-publishing was creating a pdf print-ready cover page, as it needs to be a very specific dimension that encompasses the front page, back page and binding thickness (which depends on page count). Unless you have clever skills with manipulating image files, this can be challenging. And each time you get it wrong requires a 5-10 minute wait while the files are processed for reviewing. In the end I gave up and used my Unsplash image with one of the ready-made cover page templates to create a version that met the specific scale requirement and was close enough to the kindle version cover page.
Now to start thinking about a second book….
P.S. Other insight post- the initial publication:
- On the e-kindle version, restrict your table width to half a page even if this means compressing/wrapping the table contents more than you would otherwise – otherwise the right-hand columns content will be omitted
- On the e-kindle version, left-justify (rather than full-justifying) your bullet-points and number-lists. Otherwise the e-kindle processor will do this for you in some cases and in other cases will create a bit of a formatting mess
- When you go back to the bookshelf section of your logged-in section of the website, it will tell you if there are any spelling errors that you missed. My spell check picked up three errors, one of which I disagreed with and ignored, one of which was simlar a genuine garden-variety typo, and one of which was written in English rather than Americaneze, which was at odds with my spelling in the remainder of the book, i.e. for the US market