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.
Katherine and Peter are digital nomads, working remotely while they travel the world. They were members of Remote Year 2 Battuta, living around the world with 75 other digital nomads from February 2016 to January 2017.