Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Self-Publishing a paperback book with Amazon KDP is a great way to create passive income
How WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OPPORTUNITY COST was created
Excited as we were to release our book, "What You Need to Know About Opportunity Cost," we were even more excited to show everyone how easy it is for them to do the same thing! In this post we'll share the step-by-step process on creating a paperback book, with no added fluff.
STEP 1 - PREREQUISITES
We had a book idea already. Opportunity Cost. It is a niche idea that needed penetration. We then did some research on book making industry. A couple of YouTube channels and sources we followed and recommend are:
After all the research was made, we decided to make a 90-minute short read through Amazon. Putting ourselves in our reader's footsteps we decided that the best book would be one that is short, concise, and straight to the details. A shorter book also meant that we can finish it faster and keep costs low - passing that on to the consumer. Amazon was chosen because of how simple it was to use and how extraordinarily massive their consumer reach is. Not only can you self-publish but you immediately have access to their world-wide consumer base.
STEP 2 - WRITING THE BOOK
One resource for writing the book we were particularly fond of was:
Pour your heart out into a Microsoft Word document. To write "What You Need to Know About Opportunity Cost" we wrote about 12,000 words across slightly over 40 pages without formal formatting. We figured each page, when finished, would have about 200 words meaning that our 40 written pages would come out to about 60 book pages (Paperback ended up with 84 total pages, Kindle: 59). It took scheduling a committed time and place free from any distractions to write the book. We guarantee there are going to be things about your work you wish you had done or want to do better always. Beat perfectionism with trying your best and moving on. Many of these lessons came from the Project Life Mastery, How to Write a Book in Less Than 24 Hours, for $27.
STEP 3 - PROOFREADING (A MUST!)
Give yourself a couple of days and come back to your book and you'll indubitably find proofreading errors. It's natural. Because I'm not as talented in this regard I decided to hire a freelancer on Fiverr to do the work. I would not recommend recommend the service I got. I was expecting more here, particularly on the objective - math and fact checks, and will be looking for proofreading help elsewhere. For the literacy, it was great, we just had to check my math which we expected (as for the reason of the book in the first place, we guess).
STEP 4 - FORMATTING
Again, we used Fiverr to do the work and would not recommend the service we used. It took many iterations, looked like the person used a template, and never quite passed the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) quality check that we'll discuss later. We paid $110.25 for an ebook and paperback cover and layout.
Fortunately, for a paperback it is quite simple. All you have to do is size your Word Document, format it how you would like to, and save it as a PDF file. If we were to do this step again we would most certainty, 1,000%, go with 99 Designs. Although this option is more expensive (our best guess would be ~$300) you will obtain many, high-quality, professional designs to chose from.
Sizing took the most amount of work. What seemed to work with the KDP previewer did not seem to pass the manual check. Fortunately, Amazon has a helpful blog that provides support for all sorts of issues and questions. The trim size and other sizing guide can be found here. Due to the poor Fiverr service and the miscommunication with KDP and the manual check I ended up ditching the Fiverr PDF and creating my own. This is the way we will continue to do it in the future, until I can find a high-quality formatting.
STEP 5 - PUBLISHING
The publishing service, again, is called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and can be found at the bottom of Amazon's homepage or here. The step-by-step process they have is pretty self-explanatory. You could probably hire a person familiar with SEO to optimize categories and descriptions but we went with the most authentic approach. There are also specific html tags you can use to make your product description more dynamic and many online converters that can help you do this. Alternatively, Neil Patel has some great information on SEO, which can be found here.
When originally publishing the paperback, KDP took longer than the expected 72 hours. After an email to a swift-to-act amazon representative, the paperback was set back to editing mode for the book to published again. Without this interruption, the publication review only took a little over one day. This was also true for the Kindle version.
During your publication you can receive a proof copy. The ability to purchase it came only a couple of hours after putting the book in review and was really amazing to see come in the mail. You can also request author copies which you can sell to others without Amazon's cut. We look forward to selling our book on our website for cheaper than on Amazon!
STEP 6 - MARKETING
We had tremendous success and thank every follower for their support with our marketing campaigns. We reached ~1,200 people with ~260 engagements in the first week across Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, and this website. One succinct tip is when linking your book to Amazon you can use an affiliate link. Yes, this works. We received money from purchases of the books and other purchases people made for visiting Amazon and adding items to their cart! We tried sampling paid marketing but did not receive a remarkable response to it.
STEP 7 - NOTICES
As great as it was to work with Amazon KDP it did not grant us the ability to preview things like the product description before it got published so there was a lot of trial and error.
Opportunity Cost deserves so much attention we will be adding and adding to it in future versions but are very glad to have started with this foundation.
As for proofreading we will be looking for a more technically skilled option by trying a different freelancer website or any other source we can find that produces higher quality.
We want to continue to add to our SEO optimization and paid advertisements. Currently we are too far from perfect in this category and have a lot of experience to go on it. Our recent attempts with it have yet to receive wonderful results but will continue to adapt and evolve.
STEP 8 - MOVING FORWARD
Overall we are so thrilled with our book publishing and can't wait to see what future editions come out. We want to gradually decrease the cost of the book to cost so that the readers can benefit fully. As of writing, we have partnered with Justin M. Grant at ACX and are in the midst of producing the audio book version which is already sounding tremendous! Look forward to our pre-release post in the near future!
Cost Tracker Excel Sheet
This sheet contains a record of timing and costs associated with the book from start to finish.
As an Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also would never recommend something that I, myself, would not do and can genuinely say that there is great value in these recommendations. Although I try to make the information in these posts as accurate as possible, it does not constitute as financial or legal advice. Please do your own research, everybody's situation is different.