Is that all the server will be used for? If you just want to run a Linux server 24x7 you will not be taking advantage of any AWS services, so you would probably be better off getting a colo box or VPS to act as your mail server.
If you really want to run this on AWS, you just need to spin up an EC2 instance, and configure the Security Group (think of it like a firewall). There is a wizard which will guide you through the process. Once the instance is running you can (optionally) use Route 53 to set up DNS records for your new instance.
Also, feel free to buy my book :-) It starts with the basics like launching instances, and then moves on to more interesting AWS-specific features .
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I am the author of AWS System Administration: http://www.amazon.co.uk/AWS-System-Administration-practices-...
Here's an AWS case study for an infrastructure I built:
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