Blog to Book Project — Back Up Your Manuscript

I know this step seems like a no-brainer, but today we are going to spend just a few minutes talking about why you should back up your manuscript, even after you’ve uploaded it to the publishing site. 

Let’s start with the book template Pressbooks which allows you to access your completed manuscript, edit it, and download it to your computer. Pressbooks, as amazing as it is, might run into technical issues or be hacked. All your hard work will be lost, unless you have a backup version. This could happen no matter which online book template you use.

Saving to your computer isn’t enough. Be sure to save your manuscript to an external memory device like a USB stick and to a cloud storage platform. Computer can suddenly die. USB sticks can become corrupted. Cloud storage can disappear. However, if you save to all three, odds are that at least one copy of your manuscript can be salvaged. 

Now, let’s talk about Amazon. Although Amazon insists that you retain all rights to your work, that isn’t completely true. When you use the Kindle Create program, your .kpf file can only be used on Amazon. If you decide to move your book to another publishing site, you’ll need to start from scratch. Incidentally, this is another reason to use a seperate book template site like Pressbooks rather than Kindle Create.

Amazon may also remove your book and close your account if it believes you have violated one of its ever-changing policies. If this happens, you can publish your manuscript to another platform only IF you have a copy of your manuscript someplace on file. 

Inexpensive or remote server backup options include:

Even if you are only planning on getting one copy of your book for personal enjoyment, having a backup copy will also make it easier should you wish to run a second printing to give as gifts. 

Assignment: Back up your manuscript.

Blog to Book Project — Look Inside the Book

Look Inside is a tool you can use to your advantage on Amazon. It allows readers to actually look inside (hence the name) your book. It’s actually a piece of cake to get it set up because Amazon does it for you! 

When you publish through KDP, your book is automatically enrolled in the program. Within a week of your book being available on Amazon, you will be able to see the Look Inside arrow on your book’s landing page on Amazon.

Readers can see a preview of both your ebook and print book. It’s a limited number of pages, so don’t worry about giving too much away. The ebook preview shows the cover and several of the first pages, not usually more than 10 or so. At the end of the preview, there is a prompt to encourage previewers to purchase the book. 

On the left, there’s an option to order a sample of the book for free delivered to your Kindle. Again, it’s not a huge amount of material, but it might be enough to prompt someone to buy. 

The print preview shows the front and back covers, copyright, table of contents, first few pages and a “Surprise Me!” option which takes previewers to a random section of the book.

There is also a search option. You can’t actually go to those pages in the preview, but it does list the sentence and page number of each occurrence of the words you searched for. It also helps readers find your book in any search on Amazon. So if a reader wants to find a book about “La Yacata” and searches for those keywords, my books have a higher probability of appearing before his or her wondering eyes even if “La Yacata” is not in the title.

As an author, you can capitalize on this feature by making sure you have no grammatical or orthographical errors in the preview. Nothing turns a reader off faster than mistakes. You could also be creative with your front matter placement to draw the reader in.

Assignment: Check out some books via the Look Inside option on Amazon. How can you capitalize on this feature as an author?

Blog to Book Project — KDP Select

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has several optional components you should know a little about before deciding yeah or nay. One of these is enrollment in Kindle Select.

Kindle Select is only for your digital books, not your print books. If you enroll, you earn a percentage of the KDP Select Global Fund for pages that are read either through Kindle Unlimited (KU) or Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). Enrollment gets your book in the KU or KOLL library so that readers can choose to read it with their paid subscription. If you don’t enroll, your book isn’t in the list and readers who use KU or KOLL won’t have access to it.

You also can earn the maximum 70% royalty rate for sales in Japan, India, Brazil and Mexico rather than the customary 35% rate. Since my books are about Mexico, geared to those living in Mexico, this is an attractive option.

Through Kindle Select you can also use some nifty promotional tools. The Kindle Countdown Deal will discount your book for a period of time. This discount is only available to books for sale on the UK or US Amazon site. You still earn your 70% royalty rating on the discounted price. There’s a dedicated page on Amazon called Kindle Countdown Deals which the savvy book reader will have bookmarked, leading to more sales of your book.

The way the countdown deal works is you can reduce your book price, then each day the price gets just a little higher, until it returns to the regular list price again on the fourth day. So if you discount your book to 99 cents the first day, the second day it will be $1.99. The third day it will be $2.99 before returning to the list price of $6.99.  

The Free Book Promotion will allow you to offer your book FREE (hence the name) worldwide for 5 days each 90-day enrollment period. You can run the promotion 5 days in a row or you can pick individual days during the 3-month period. While this is a great publicity tool, you won’t earn any royalties on any free downloads. If your book gets a large number of downloads, it just might be listed on the Amazon Best Sellers Top 100 Free list.

Both promotions will certainly help get your book in the public eye. You can’t run both promotions at the same time though.

Here’s the fine print. If you enroll your digital book in Kindle Select you can not make your book available on any other platform, including your blog, website, or other publishing sites. You can make up to 10% of an enrolled book available as a “sample” on your blog or provide reviewers and editors a digital copy.

Your enrollment in Kindle Select will automatically renew after 90 days. Therefore, if you do not wish to continue with the service, you need to uncheck the automatic renewal box on your bookshelf on KDP. You can re-enroll at any time.