To continue with my "what-NOT-to-do" theme week, I'll be talking about Amazon publishing.
How to Get Started
Join KDP Select then try to upload and sell your book at other retailers
Don't start the process and not completely understand the KDP Select thing. You'll be stuck for three months. Yes. I did this once without realizing that my ebook would be held hostage.
Let's talk about KDP Select. Amazon is a great way to self-publish, but be aware of what you're signing up for when you make your publishing choices.
KDP Select allows you to have five days every 90 days where you can advertise your book for free. This is done for promotional purposes. When people buy your book, it rises in the sales rankings. It shows more often in the "Customers also bought" section, too. Amazon works on algorithms that nobody understands except Amazon themselves. I'm less than convinced that even Amazon knows what the algorithms actually do. The more your book is purchased, the more often it's recommended to other readers. If you choose not to participate in KDP Select, you cannot offer your book for free.
The problem with KDP Select is that you've given Amazon exclusive rights to sell your book for 90 days. You can't sell with other retailers. That means you can't sell with Smashwords, Kobo or Sony. It violates the agreement.
Some authors love KDP Select because of the ability to use those free days. With free days, you can advertise with some of the large promotional sites when you're marketing your book. OH, yeah. Writing and publishing that book is only the first step! Thought you were done after this, didn't you? Joke's on you, silly author.
Have that blurb half written
There are ways to highlight and add bullets to your description like a professional author, but Amazon doesn't like greater than and less than brackets < >, instead, you have to use > and < in your HTML. It's confusing, and I'm not sure I understand it completely, but there are tons of places to find that information online. The important thing is to have that award winning blurb ready to go!
Think up your keywords spur of the moment
Keywords are important for selling books. These are the words people will use to search for your type of book. You'll want to be as specific as you possibly can while still using words that readers will actually type into the search box. Romantic comedy as keywords might be too vague, (and is already a category) but "comedy about cab-driving clowns" might be too specific for random readers to stumble across your work. (If anyone is writing about those, I'd love to read it!)
DRM is another thing to research before you upload your masterpiece. It's what makes readers unable to share your ebook with their friends, family or between devices. If a reader purchases your book and can't read it in multiple places, it will annoy them. DRM doesn't really save your work from piracy either. Those pirates have tricks. Something to consider.
Choose your royalty and prices with no research
Don't price your book for 99 cents and expect 70% royalty rates. Don't price without considering the genre you're writing in, and the amount of pages in your book. Readers might not be willing to spend $4.99 for a novella. At under $2.99, you get a royalty of 35%. So, for a 99 cent book, you'll receive a whopping 34 cents or so. I'm not telling anyone how to price their book because I have a hard time pricing my own books. Just sharing information.
Hit save and publish before you're completely finished and ready to actually publish
When you first hit save and publish, it takes up to 12 hours for your book to hit the bookstore. You can't make any changes while it's being examined and proofed for suitability. Every time you hit that button, it takes hours for the changes to take place. When your book is published, and you want to make changes, the old version will be available until the new one is approved.
I won't mention all the mistakes that brought me to those realizations, I'm sure you can follow along! I've made every mistake I could make here.