What are the elements you need to know if you want to write a Kindle eBook for your business? What should it include? How long should it be? How do you publish it to Kindle?
First, let me assure you that publishing to Kindle is a very easy, menu-driven process. If you can upload a file to email, you can publish a book on Kindle.
Know Your Target Market
Writing the book itself takes some consideration. You want the book to help you find good prospects for your business. To do that, you must know who those people are. If you run an adventure tour company, you know that your prospects are people within a certain age and financial range. They may or may not have children. They may do a certain number of adventure trips a year. You want your book to appeal to your specific people.
Let Your Book Do the Qualifying
Case studies tell the reader the types of people you work with. If you work with menopausal and post menopausal women, your case studies should reflect that. In fact, your title should reflect that. If you’re a dog trainer who specializes in preparing show dogs for competition, but you only work with certain breeds, mention that in the book. The people with other breeds of dogs will hire someone else and that saves you the time of fielding phone calls and emails from people who are not your prospective clients.
If you need people to be at a certain level before you work with them, your book may be able to bring them to that level. For example, editors often receive manuscripts that are basically chunks of a book that are nowhere near ready for editing. If I were actively looking for editing clients, I would write an eBook titled, “How to Prepare Your Book for Editing” which may be the most boring title in the world. If I only worked on fantasy fiction books, I might title it, “Preparing Your Fantasy Fiction Book for Editing.” Now I don’t have to spend time turning down people with memoirs, business books, or romance novels and when I do get a fantasy fiction client, the book is in a format I can work with. It makes my job easier and saves the author money. (And no, I don’t edit fantasy fiction. Or any fiction.)
What Content Should You Put in Your Kindle eBook?
The content of your Kindle eBook doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it should cover the topic. I have seen Kindle eBooks as short as 5,000 words as well as full-length, 100,000+ word books. When you write a Kindle eBook for your business, no matter what the length, you should make sure that it covers the topic thoroughly. To me, 5,000 words is too short; it’s a long blog post, not a book. (For perspective, this article is close to 2,700 words.) Personally, and this is totally arbitrary, your eBook should be at least 10,000 words and 15,000 to 20,000 words is the sweet spot.
While the trend is towards shorter and shorter books, you are writing this book to bring in business so you want the book to reflect well on you. A skimpy book makes it look like you don’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject or that you are miserly with your information and may well be miserly in your business dealings. Not good.
What does cover the topic thoroughly mean? It means you give enough information so the reader can learn what he wants to know or solve a particular problem that you have promised to solve. Your next question may be, “If I tell them how to solve the problem in my book, why would they hire me?”
You are not solving their main problem or all their problems with your book. You are solving one problem or part of a problem. If you have a hot dog cart franchise company, your book may be about the various types of carts, which types are better for certain situations, what equipment they will need to have, and perhaps, give prices for the carts. If someone makes their way through the book, they are really interested in having a hot dog cart business. But now they need to know more: Can they finance the cart? Where do they get their supplies? What are the best locations? What licensing is involved? How should they set up their books? What other products sell best with hot dogs? What are the steps they need to take to get started in business?
There’s a lot to every business. Find a topic that helps people with one beginning aspect of it and write about that. Think about the most common questions that you are asked, those questions that you hear so often you inwardly groan. THAT is what your book should be about! People are telling you what they want from you. You need to give it to them.
The question I get most often is how to make the best seller list. Well, on Amazon, it’s fairly easy. USA Today and the Wall Street Journal lists are harder to make but not impossible, and the New York Times list is very difficult and expensive to “game” and you’ll probably get caught. So, for self-published authors, making the Amazon best seller list is the goal. As someone who has been in the industry for a while, I can tell you that hitting the best seller list on Amazon is easy and doesn’t necessarily translate into dollars. The goal should be sustained sales of your book. But people want to make the best seller list and in truth, it is useful in their marketing. So, I tell people how to become an Amazon best seller. It’s what they want to know. But then I tell them what they need to know, which is any book can be a best seller with the right marketing push, but if your book is poorly written and produced, it will reflect badly on you. It’s more important to put out a quality book than to get a best seller ribbon.
The people who understand that are my clients. The ones who just want the ribbon are not. It’s a qualifier.
Make a list of the problems you solve for your clients. Choose a problem that people ask about often and is the first step towards solving a larger problem. You want to get that Venn diagram sweet spot.
For more on what to put in your book, Part 3 of my five part series, The [Semi] Ultimate Guide to Writing a Business Book is here: What You Should Write About
Build Your Prospect List
Within your book, you need to set marketing hooks that send qualified prospects to an opt-in page. Unlike a pdf document, people can’t download Kindle eBooks into a printable format. If you add worksheets and checklists to your book, give people a link to downloadable files so they can easily print out those worksheets. All they have to do is enter their name and email address. You can use separate sets of downloadables to segment prospects or just one link for all the worksheets in the eBook. Your choice. The beauty of Kindle eBooks is that it supports clickable links. Take advantage of that.
Once they have opted in, you want to have a nurture campaign (approximately 7 to 10 automated emails) that helps your prospects get to know you and encourages them to contact you.
Publishing Your Kindle eBook
To publish on Kindle, you need to register with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). You can sign in with your Amazon account. You are immediately brought into the Dashboard where you can “Create a New Title.” Click on Kindle eBook and you are led through a series of menu pages starting with entering your book’s title and subtitle. The mechanics of publishing are simple. The nuances are just that. You will be asked for a book description. This is your sales page — your book description needs to entice and intrigue people. You can put in up to seven keywords. Some people stuff the keyword space with as many keywords and keyword phrases as they can. Seven on-target keywords or keyword phrases will do the job. If you are only publishing on Kindle, you don’t need an ISBN number. Amazon will assign its own internal number (ASIN).
The most important part of publishing on Kindle is choosing the right category. The categories help people find your book. Think of them as sections in a bookstore: various fiction categories, nonfiction, children’s books, etc. When you initially publish your book, you may choose two categories to place it in from a drop down menu. The drop down menu doesn’t show every subcategory on Amazon. (There are over 14,000 of them — that’s a LOT of scrolling.) After the book is published, you may add your book to eight additional categories. You can read more about doing that in this blog post. Let’s get your book published first.
You can upload your book as a Word document (DOC/DOCX) or you can download the Kindle Create app and use that to format your book. If you would like to uplevel your book, you can hire a formatter to create an aesthetically pleasing look. If you have a lot of charts, graphs, and images, you may want to hire a formatter just to make sure things don’t slide around.
Your eBook doesn’t need page numbers because people change the font size to a comfortable level which would, of course, affect page numbers. The table of contents can be hyperlinked to each chapter. KDP has a formatting guide that shows you the best way to set up your Word document so it will look good once it is published.
You need a great cover. The cover sells the book. Cover design is an art and science unto itself. You can make your own cover if you have a good eye for graphics and Kindle has a cover creator to help you with that. If you’re like I am and not graphically gifted, it’s worth it to pay someone to design a cover for you. Consider this a marketing expense. Print book covers are more involved and therefore more expensive. But an eBook cover is really just an image. The file must be in TIFF or JPEG format. For exact specifications, check out this page.
I use 100Covers (that’s an affiliate link, by the way). They provide print and eBook covers at a very affordable price. Allow about three weeks for the cover design. Twice now I have ordered only eBook covers and later on decided I wanted to put the book into print. For the little bit extra you can get the print cover, too. Print copies are great marketing tools and you may want to look into that in the future.
Pricing is one of the final steps in the Kindle publishing process and another point of anxiety for authors. There are several factors to consider.
First, pricing is often a sign of value. When someone gives you a book unsolicited, you may or may not read it. But the fact that they pushed it on you immediately lowers the value. (What? Am I the only cynical one here?) You are saved from making that mistake by Amazon. Kindle eBooks start at $0.99 and you can charge as much as you want for it. However, Amazon wants you to price your eBook somewhere between $2.99 and $9.99. And we know this because eBooks priced in that range receive a 70% royalty and eBooks outside of that range, whether more or less money, earn a 35% royalty.
Nonfiction books are priced differently than a lot of popular fiction. The price you put on your book is determined by a few factors. How long is your book? If it’s under 15,000 words, I would put it towards the lower end of the pricing range. But, if your book contains valuable, specific information, or if you are targeting a client with a higher income, you might put it at the top of the range. (Having fun, yet?)
One of the best ways to determine your price is to go to the best seller list in your chosen categories and look at books on your specific topic if possible. See what they are priced at and then check to see how long they are. Better-known or traditionally published authors will charge more for their books. Authors who are churning out book after book will charge less.
The quality of your book is also a factor in pricing. If your book is solving one small problem or part of a problem, you might charge a bit less. If it’s a comprehensive view of a subject, you might go a little higher. If your book solves an expensive problem or shows people how to make money, you might charge more. If your client base doesn’t have a lot of disposable income, you might lower the price a bit.
In other words, it depends. I recommend charging at least $2.99 but I really would say charge at least $4.99, unless the book is very short. The price also, consciously or unconsciously reveals the author’s confidence in the book. If you don’t think your book is worth $5.00, no one else will either.
If you’re using your book strictly as a lead generator, you might price it at $0.99. You can also price it higher and run a promo for 5 days out of every 90 day period, lowering the price and then putting it back up again.
Which brings us to Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited. Amazon has a special program for readers called Kindle Unlimited. For roughly $10 a month, they can read as many books in the Unlimited program as they want. It’s a great deal for avid readers. The flip side for authors is Kindle Select. By choosing to put your book into the Kindle Select program, you make your book available to all those Kindle Unlimited members. (Basically, Kindle Unlimited membership revenue divided by total number of pages reads in a month equals the amount paid out to authors per page — after Amazon takes its profit, of course.)
For every page of your book that is read, you get a certain amount based on how many Unlimited members there are that month. People who write very long fantasy fiction books do well. There are people who have tens of thousands of “page reads” each month and make thousands of dollars without ever selling a book.
The only caveat to this program is that if your book is offered in Kindle Select, you cannot have your eBook for sale anywhere else on the internet, including your own website. Many people are just fine with that; Amazon is the 800 pound gorilla and most authors receive the bulk of their income from Amazon. The upside is you can do special promos each quarter, including giving your book away for free.
There are questions that I see almost daily in Facebook groups and on forums. “How much does it cost to publish a book on Amazon?” Or, “How do I get published?”
If you write a Kindle eBook for your business, the cost can run from virtually zero if you do the writing, editing, layout, and cover design yourself to thousands if you hire everything out. But publishing an eBook on Kindle is not difficult. If you can write clearly and put the information into decent order, you might spend $100 or $200 on a cover and formatting and, if you have it edited, or at the very least, proofed, that cost could go up, either by hundreds or into the thousand dollar range, depending on how long your book is and how much editing it needs.
But none of it is hard. You just need to know the steps. Hopefully this article has given you those steps and set you on the path to writing a Kindle eBook for your business. If you need help writing your book or prefer to hire it out altogether, email me: Barbara@BarbaraGrassey.com and we can set up a time to talk.
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