So you’ve written a book? Fantastic! Can we get a copy?
Maybe you’ve written the next great American novel, or a fantasy series to dethrone Lord of The Rings. Or, perhaps you’ve written a non-fiction book about your area of expertise, like work-place stress and improving concentration, or modern leadership styles.
Whatever the subject of your book is, your aim is probably to get as many people as possible to read it.
But, how do you actually go about that?
It’s estimated that there are well over six million Amazon Kindle eBooks and more are uploaded every day! The sheer number of eBooks can make it really hard to stand out from the crowd, especially if this is your first book or you don’t have a wide public platform.
When choosing what order books sit in search results and which ones they review, they follow an algorithm. Books by well-known authors will get promoted because their author name is proven to sell. The other way to get your book to the top of the search results is by getting as many positive reviews as possible.
Amazon isn’t crystal clear on the exact number of reviews you need before it will start promoting your book, but it’s estimated between 30 and 50 reviews is golden. This is enough reviews to demonstrate that your book is of interest to readers and high-quality.
So how do you get all of these precious reviews? A free eBook campaign! It’s much easier to pique people’s interest and try something new when it’s of no cost to them or yourself.
Getting Your Book Ready for Amazon
The first step towards publishing an eBook on Amazon for free, is actually uploading your book to the Kindle store. If you’ve already done this, you can skip ahead! If not, we’ll talk you through the basics.
It’s surprisingly simple to get your book ready and the only software you’ll need is Kindle
Kindle Create doesn’t look like it’s been updated since 2003, but it’s user-friendly and can get your book ready for online publication in just an hour or two. You can upload common text files like .docx and .doc.
If you’ve used headings for your chapters, it will even do some intuitive formatting.
You can also insert new pages, like an author’s page. Your author’s page tells readers more about you and where else they can find you, so don’t forget to spend some copywriting time on it!
For a comprehensive Kindle create tutorial, check out Amazon’s own Kindle Create tutorial which will help with things like formatting images and give you some sample texts to experiment with.
Want to get physical? Kindle Create allows you to automatically upload your book as a paperback. They’ll sort out margins and spacing for you based on your Kindle file and distribute physical copies.
Don’t worry about the fact you can’t see anywhere to upload a cover for your book, this is actually done when you’re uploading it to be sold in Kindle Direct Publishing.
How To Upload Your Book To Kindle Direct Publishing
Now your book is ready, you can upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing where you’re just a few clicks away from being a self-published author! Kindle Direct Publishing is relatively straightforward and you can use your existing Amazon login so there’s no need to make a new account.
When you first login, you’ll see a number of sections:
- Bookshelf is where you can see existing books and add new books.
- Reports will give you information on book sales, reviews and popularity
- Community will take you through to the Kindle Direct forum where you can ask questions and interact with other writers. There are also announcements as Amazon will occasionally run free courses on advertising your Kindle book.
- Marketing is where you can set up paid campaigns to promote your book on Amazon.
Uploading Your Kindle eBook
To upload your book, go to the Bookshelf section and click on Kindle eBook:
Here you’ll upload your Kindle file, book cover and write your blurb for the store page.
Surely I just set it to £0.00 so it’s free? I hear you say! Well, not quite!
Run A 5 Day Free Book Promotion on Amazon Every 90 Days
To actually make your book free, you need to enrol your book in KDP Select. This enrolment lasts 90 days, although you can set up automatic re-enrolment. This will give you access to more promotional tools, at no extra cost, including 5 free promotion days.
You don’t need to use these 5 days in a row, you can choose individual days weeks apart from each other.
Every 90 days, when you have been re-enrolled in KDP Select, you can carry out another free promotion. Make sure you make your free promotional days part of your content calendar to get as much exposure as possible.
For example, if your book is centred around mental health, running your promotion during mental health awareness week will increase the chances of people seeing it, as the topic is being discussed, and searched for, more than at other times of year.
How To Enrol In Amazon KDP Select
In the pricing page, click the option to enrol your book in KDP Select. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to set up your free eBook promotion. Underneath you can select your primary marketplace. If you sell in the UK, select amazon.co.uk and so on.
You’ll need to set a price before you can submit your book for publication, it can’t be set to zero automatically.
If your sole intention is to promote your book during its free period and any additional purchases are a bonus, set it to the minimum price. If this is a short-term promotional strategy to build up exposure of your book, choose whatever you want the standard price of your book to be.
Note: While you know your book is worth £1,000,000, Amazon refuses to acknowledge this no matter how often you email them about it. The maximum price on the Kindle store is £150.
Submit your book and within 72 hours, it should be live on Amazon!
How To Start Your Free eBook Promotion On Amazon
When your book is live, you’ll find it in your bookshelf section. Click the three dots and choose KDP Select Info:
Next, choose the Free Book Promotion option:
Now, choose your dates:
If you’re not choosing consecutive days, you will need to set the days separately.
For example, if you’re doing a one day free book promotion on Friday 13th and then again on Tuesday 31st, you can’t set both of these dates at the same time.
You’ll need to set the promotion to run between Friday 13th and Friday 13th. Once this date has passed, you can go in and set it to run from Tuesday 31st to Tuesday 31st.
While this is a bit of extra admin, it only takes a minute to do and the results can be worth it.
Voila! Your free book promotion is ready – you just need to start promoting it!
How do you actually promote your free eBook?
Social media marketing is a great way to promote your book and find people interested in your genre. An important part of social media marketing is to focus on your niche.
Take Instagram for example, the hashtag #bookstagram might have a lot of posts, and followers, but that’s also a lot of competition. Especially when you consider this hashtag covers every genre of book! If you’re writing a fantasy book, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to find your audience in such a saturated search term.
It’s better to focus on specific hashtags, even with smaller audiences, and focus on showcasing yourself to an audience you know will be interested in what you do. This is where the importance of keyword research comes in so you really understand how your desired audience searches.
Digital PR is another great way to build exposure of your overall brand to increase people’s interest in what you create. Digital PR is about increasing your online exposure through creative content and more traditional methods like press releases.
Essentially, it’s about finding exciting ways to showcase your story to the world. We have a helpful guide to developing content for outreach success to help with getting your content seen by a wider audience.
Now go out and publish your amazing books – we can’t wait to read them!
Of course, we’re also here to help if you’re still not quite sure! Our design team can also help make sure your book cover stands out in the Kindle shop with some sharp, eye-wateringly beautiful illustrations and graphics if needed. Just get in touch, we’re always happy to chat through ideas.