How to Self Publish a Poetry Book

After twenty years of reading and writing poetry, I’ve just released my first self-published poetry book!

‘Thirty Angry Ghosts’ is available on Amazon and at Dial Lane Books in Ipswich (Suffolk). Click here for the Amazon Link.

I made it using the free Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) method as it’s probably the cheapest and most user-friendly but there are many other alternatives such as and

I was really pleased with the quality. It definitely feels like a ‘proper’ book and the quality of the formatting and paper is actually much higher than many traditionally published books.

It’s currently selling very well – both online at Amazon and Dial Lane Books in Ipswich, Suffolk.

As it’s got biographies at the back and contains a great deal of historical information, I got it listed in ‘Historical Study and Teaching’ as well as poetry. Although it only got up to about #500 in poetry, for a while it was #17 in this category. Not bad for a self-published book!

May be an image of text that says "#15 KS3 History KS3 History Workbook: Prepare for Secondary School (Collins KS3 Revision) 32 £5.99 #16 COURSEWORK A-level History Coursework Workbook: Component 3 Historical investigation (non-exam assessment) 87 £6.00 #17 HIRTY ANGRY Thirty Angry Ghosts: Poems by Mai Black GHOSTS £7.99 #18 The First World War: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) 257 £5.99 #19 ENGLAND 1547-1603 My Revision Notes: OCR AS/A-level History: England 1547-1603: the Later Tudors 41 £9.20"

If you’d like to make your own poetry book, here’s my rough guide to self-publishing poetry using KDP

  1. Select some poems you would like to publish. You might like to pick a theme such as ghosts, nature or well-being.
  2. Edit, get feedback and edit again. Read your poems aloud too and use a computer program to read it for you. I like Natural Reader (There is a free version which is very good).
  3. Search for and watch lots of YouTube videos about self-publishing your book. You might like to start with this one by ‘Reedsy’.
  4. Watch a few YouTube videos entitled ‘KDP or Ingramspark’. This one by Victoria Griffin is a good place to start. Click here for the link to Victoria’s video.
  5. Ideally, talk to someone who has already self-published a book.
  6. When you feel you have a fairly good understanding, click on this Kindle Direct Publishing link.
  7. Enter your details and upload your book and cover in PDF format. (The website will give you tips about how to do this. I recommend you download the free templates they suggest).
  8. Check the layout and order three proof copies.
  9. Give two proof copies to people you trust so they can give you feedback. Check the third one yourself and compare notes with your trusted readers.
  10. Make changes to your original document, save it as a PDF and re-upload it.
  11. Order new proof copies and if these come back okay, click ‘publish your paperback book’.
  12. Your book will now be available on Amazon. You can also order ‘author copies’ from KDP which you can sell face-to-face.

Warnings (I wish I’d known about these)

If you click ‘publish your book’, it will be on Amazon forever. You can not remove it although you can change the cover and contents. Therefore, make sure you are completely happy with the proof copies and online viewer before you publish.

Before you use the KDP program, make sure you have a good understanding of ISBNs. You might like to use the free KDP one but you might be better off buying your own personal one if you want to get your books stocked by other retailers other than Amazon. You can read all about UK ISBNs and purchase one from here: Nielsen ISBN Store.

This is an ISBN number. You find them on the back of most published books.

I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. I’m still quite new to publishing, so if you have any other tips to share with other readers, please put them in the comments.

Best wishes with all your poetic endeavours.

Mai x

Dial Lane Books, Ipswich. A very proud moment!

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