Preparing our Book for Kindle + Launching on Amazon
For 4 months, Peter and I collaborated remotely to write a book together, The Digital Nomad Survival Guide.
Peter and I started discussing how to prepare for launch — listing out our final checklists, researching what exactly we needed for Amazon, and assigning each other tasks.
I looked up Amazon’s KDP requirements, and Peter found references and suggestions for writing Amazon descriptions.
We created a new Google doc for the book’s Amazon Description, and I wrote a first draft by modifying sections of the introduction, adding sales language, and listing out the chapters and general content.
Peter added changes in v02, I made v03, he got an outside sales page copy editor to give feedback, and I made v04 / Final for him to upload when the book was ready.
He found Vellum, a formatting application that we could import our Word doc into and format for Kindle, choose a template theme, and see previews of the book on various devices.
We each played with formatting a couple chapters and sent each other screenshots to agree on a theme and basic formatting rules.
Once he had the full draft uploaded and initially formatted into a Vellum file, he zipped it up and sent it to me via Slack.
I got the notification, including his handoff of outstanding to-do items, at 6 pm on Saturday, February 11, downloaded the file and dug in for a final review + formatting.
At 3 am, I sent him back a zipped file with a list of my changes / updates, questions, outstanding items, and notes.
Peter did some research and learned that we had to do a hard push to get some good initial sales and reviews.
I created a spreadsheet with color coding for outstanding items related to Book + Content, Amazon, PR + Marketing, and assigned one of us to each task with a deadline.
We created an interest list on MailChimp to get some signups and send out a free chapter (appx 50 people). We shared on our Facebook accounts (160 likes on my coming-soon announcement from my family and friends).
Peter created the Amazon Kindle Publishing account, uploaded the book, filled out the description + categories + other details, and submitted it for review.
When the book went live, we set the price to $0.99, created a spreadsheet, and assigned each other mutual friends to email and ask for a purchase and review, with specific instructions for how to find the book via Amazon (instead of sending a direct link, for the benefit of an “organic” search hit).
- Project start date: October 27, 2016
- Publication date: February 11, 2017
- Launch date: February 13, 2017
- Final word count: 44,302 words (172 pages according to Amazon)
- Final edits and formatting reviews = 15+ hours
- Amazon + MailChimp admin prep + writing + marketing = 30+ hours
We created 34 Google docs + sheets in our shared Drive (prep, tracking, content), and I have 6 Evernote notes (Planning + Admin, Style Guide, Links, Draft, eBook, PR + Marketing).
According to a notification of our Slack group’s stats, I sent 980 messages last month, all of which (on that account) were to Peter, so I’d estimate our total exchange to be 3000+ messages on Slack alone.
A conservative estimate of our total time working on the book is about 100+ hours each for me and Peter, so 200+ hours total.
Over the course of 3.5 months, we each devoted somewhere between 10–40 hours per month on the book, working in addition to our jobs, travels, and activities.