12 Hints for Publishing on Amazon

Thinking of publishing an Amazon Kindle book? Here are 12 tips for making the (sometimes crazy-making) process of publishing a book on Amazon easier.Publishing on Amazon’s Kindle platform can be crazy-making, especially if you put up more than one book at a time. Done that…barely escaped with any of my marbles. Let me suggest a few handy hints learned from sometimes aggravating experience:

If your business is exclusively publishing, it’s probably more time-efficient to create  cover and content packages for several works at a time and then spend a full day pre-posting on Amazon. Register your ISBNs first (a time-consuming task!). Then go to Amazon. Upload the cover and content files, fill out both pages of Amazon’s form, and click “Save as Draft.” This will store your data on Amazon’s servers. Then, on the dates you’ve scheduled publication for upcoming books, you can come back and check the “I agree” box and click “Publish.”

Along the same lines, prepare ads like the ones below (with content against an image, if necessary made transparent in your layout software) in advance. As soon as Amazon sends you the congratulatory email message, begin to post your notices on your favorite social media. This is made much easier and much more efficient if your images and content are done ahead and stored to disk.


BlowingSnow Great Lacuna

Similarly, write out your book’s “description” copy and seven keywords before you go online to upload your publication data at your “Bookshelf.” Copying and pasting this stuff from a word file into Amazon’s form is a lot faster and less tooth-grinding than dreaming it up on the fly.

As soon you go to your Amazon “Bookshelf” and click on “New Book,” go direct to the upload sections before entering the title and other data. The most time-consuming part of the whole job, even more time-consuming than obtaining an ISBN, is watching your computer grind away and grind away and grind away while Amazon uploads first your TIFF (which can be quite a large file) and then your content file. While these time sucks are progressing, you can go back up the page and enter the title, subtitle, the series title and book number within the series, the author name, description, and on and on. You’ll probably complete these before the two uploads finish, but at least you’ll be doing something with the time wasted while computers work.

I don’t know if you can upload the content file while the cover image is uploading. Haven’t tried it, because I don’t have the patience to cope with a screwup. But if you want to experiment and have nothing else to do with your time but crash out of an upload and start over (should the experiment fail…), it might be worth a try.

Do not do not do not use the online Kindle previewer Amazon so richly recommends. What you see in that thing is NOT what your reader gets!!!!! DOWNLOAD the resident Kindle previewer into your own computer! It’s free, and it will allow you to view .mobi files in a form that’s as close as any desktop or laptop computer can get to the view from a Kindle or a phone. My e-book formatting subcontractor owns several varieties of Kindle; when he’s working on a MOBI file, he downloads into each of them, to ensure the thing looks its best on all possible Amazon platforms.

It should go without saying: Go through your content file with a flea comb! Do your utmost BEST to get everything right before you upload to Kindle. Chances are, no matter how hard you try, you’ll spot some new glitch in the fresh view the Kindle previewer provides. But the fewer things you have to correct, the less time you’ll waste with re-uploads.

Always always always read your entire content file in the previewer before publishing. All of it, from the beginning of the front matter to the end of the back matter.

Pay attention to the “Misspelled Words” notice, even if you suspect it’s just stumbling over foreign words or made-up place names and personal names. This feature is invaluable for spotting missed typos!

Open and review your content file in the Kindle previewer before taking the time to download your .mobi file to your computer. Do this first because nine times out of ten you’ll find new things to correct. If you get the content right in the Previewer before you store the .mobi file to disk, you’ll avoid the time-suck entailed in re-downloading corrected .mobi files.

Be prepared to have to re-upload content at least once and possibly several times. Yesterday I had to reload one book at least a half-dozen times before I got the darn thing right! Freaking torture! Re-uploading corrected content is time-consuming and can be very frustrating.

Study, study, STUDY your favorite cover images among other authors’ books. Seek out excellent graphic artists and study their design habits. Observe the types of fonts they use (serif? sans-serif? script? roman? italic?), the colors they use and how they’re combined, and the placement of elements on the space available for the cover. Note how they make cover lines “pop” against the background, and what colors they do and don’t use against other colors. If you’re going to make your own covers — and also, yes, if you hire a designer to make your covers — you must have these and other strategies down pat. Unless you have publishing experience that’s brought you into extensive contact with graphic artists, you may want to take a graphic design course or two at a community college.