Sometimes we get thrown a curve ball during Digital Drop In. Most of the time it’s the usual, with things like

  • How do I use my new mobile?
  • I’ve been given a tablet by my son/daughter/grandchild. What can I do with it?
  • My laptop isn’t working, can you help?
  • How do I copy photos from my mobile to my laptop?

Sometimes we get something more exotic, including but not limited to Sat-Navs, Dashcams and Audio Recorders.

Very occasionally we get something extremely specific or, for whatever reason, complicated. This week was one of those. I’ve never dealt with self-publishing a book on Amazon, but how hard can it be?

Actually, the answer is not hard at all. Suprisingly. The interface is actually pretty straight forward and all the options very clearly explained, even the more complicated printing options. This covers things like your book cover (a simple cover editor is included), page layout options (gutters, chapter and page titling etc… again, there’s an online editor that lets you preview everything) and binding options. The eBook version (well, Kindle version – this is Amazon after all) options are similar but even more simple.

Most of all, pricing is very clearly explained with a full breakdown of where the money goes – printing costs (for physical books), money clawed back for Amazon not to pay tax on (oooh, convtroversial – Ed) and, finally but most importantly, the royalties for the author.

I have to say having now worked through using this service Amazon have done a very good job of implementing a self-publishing system. I’ve done similar with videos and podcasts in the past, and I think this may be even better than the slick interface used by YouTube, where the basics (uploading, giving your video a title, selecting who can see it) are easy enough but if you want to get any deeper it soon becomes tricky. Best of all it doesn’t cost you anything to give it a go and you never know, you might become the next J.R. Hartley (kids, ask your grandparents).

If you are a closet writer of fiction or travel writing or even some niche technical thing, or even if you just have a blog, why not consider self-publishing it as a book? It really is very simple, and in the unlikely event you get stuck, you can always ask the Digital Drop In for help, seeing as we can now do it šŸ™‚


Digital Drop In is every Saturday at CreateOldham from 9am to 3pm. We can show you how to get the most out of computing, mobile and all things digital. 100% impartial advice. Don’t worry about your knowledge or experience level, we’ve got plenty and are happy to share it. No problem too small. No question too daft.