How To Publish A Book on Amazon
In order to be able to publish your books on Amazon, you will need a Kindle Direct Publishing account. There are many advantages of opening a KDP account, including:
- Publishing on Kindle – Your books go on the Kindle Store which can be accessed from Kindle Apps on all devices, including Android, iOS, Windows, Kindle Readers, etc. and accessible directly on any internet browser
- It has support for multiple languages so you will be able to publish your book in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.
- You can earn up to a 70% royalty. Your book will be available in many countries, including US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and many more.
- Quick Publishing – It takes less than 15 minutes to upload your book.
- The book is published within 24 hours.
- Worldwide Access – Once published, the book can be accessed by people all over the world.
- From your KDP account you can make changes to your book anytime you want; this is a fantastic resource especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners, as new updates to your book means a new opportunity to promote your book and gain more leads and customers.
To open a Kindle Direct Publishing account, you have two options:
- Note: If you already have an Amazon account, you can use it to login to Kindle Direct Publishing using this link. If you don’t have an Amazon account at all, read below to learn how to set up your account.
The second option is to sign up for a new account. To do that, go to: https://kdp.amazon.com/
- Once there, click on the Sign up button which is below where it says “Don't have an Amazon account”
- You will be directed to the sign up page. There, select the option which says I am a new customer.’
- Then click on sign in using our secure server.
- You will then be directed to the Registration page. There you have enter the information required:
- My name is: (Enter your name in this section)
- My e-mail address is: (Type your email here)
- Type it again: (Type your email again) – this is to avoid mistakes and for security purposes.
- Enter a new password: (Enter the password you want to have for your Amazon account)
- Type it again: (Enter the Password again)
Click on ‘Create account’ and your account is ready.
If you’ve gotten this far, you know how to format your book properly and you have your Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account established. You’re almost ready to publish your first book! We will now take you through that process, but before we proceed, ensure that you’ve accomplished the following:
- The book is properly formatted.
- The cover image is ready (if you’re creating your own, there are further instructions below on how to create one on Kindle Direct Publishing).
- If the book has, or is going to have, different editions, then you know which edition it is that you are uploading.
- You have the publication date ready. This is usually important when you release a book that is part of the series and the readers know when the book will be releasing, etc.
- The book has been proofread and checked for errors.
Assuming you have completed all the steps above, we will now proceed towards uploading and publishing the book. Pay close attention here because we’re also going to give away some of our insider tips to help you get your book at the top of Amazon’s search results for your book’s subject!
- Go to https://kdp.amazon.com and login to your account.
- On the top right corner is the ‘Add new title’ This button lets you add and publish a new book. Now that your book is ready to be published, you can click on it.
Publishing the Book
Entering Your Book Details:
This is the section where you have to enter all the details about your book in appropriate sections.
In this section, you have to enter the name of your book. Do not enter the authors name here. Only enter the title/name of the book and that is it. If you add extra words in the name field, the book will not be published. Make sure the name you enter here is exactly the same as the one that appears on the cover of the book.
Here’s the first insider tip: Titles Matter! That sounds simple, but its true. Titles are the way in which people both search for a subject on which they want to read and how Amazon’s search engine operates in order to choose which books to display for a given search term. So, if you’re publishing a book on overcoming procrastination, for example, you want your title to be “Overcoming Procrastination: [insert subtitle here]”, not “Fixing Procrastination” or “How To Cure Procrastination Problems”, etc. Take a look on Amazon and search for “Overcoming Procrastination” and you’ll find that that search term auto-populates below the search box. Now search for “Fixing Procrastination” or “How To Cure Procrastination Problems”. No auto-populated text appears below the search box and that means that if you titled your book with one of those terms, nobody would ever find it on Amazon!
Back to the book details on Kindle Direct Publishing:
Is your book part of a series?
If the answer is No: Leave the ‘This book is part of a series’ section unchecked.
If the answer is Yes: Check the box where it says, “This book is part of a series”
Then you will have the option to enter the ‘Serial Title’ and the ‘Volume.’ Enter the information there.
The editions are optional and can be left out. If this is the first time you are publishing your book then it will be its first edition. If it is the second time you are publishing the book and you have made a lot of changes in it, then this will be the book’s second edition, etc.
This is also optional. However, if you are the author or the publisher of the book then you should enter your own name in this section.
In this box you can write, or paste an already written, description of your book. This description will be seen by the potential buyers and anyone else browsing who sees your book in the market. This is a superb opportunity to make your book stand out to potential buyers, and as such, here is another insider tip:
Creation of a great book description can boost your book sales, and its easy to do! Here’s a standard format for your book description that works well:
- Have an attention grabbing headline leading off your description, in bold (see how to do this with HTML tags below)
- Sub-headline with a promise right below the headline; this should be why your book will benefit the reader and what they will gain
- Next you should have two paragraphs:
- Introduction to your book: What stimulated you to write it,you’re your book is important, a bit about your background, etc.
- A preview of what the readers will learn in book with bullet points of what the book contains (you can pull this right from your chapter titles)
- Finish with a few sentences in a final separate paragraph with—and this is important—a call to action to buy your book
You should also use HTML tags to make the description of your book on Amazon more appealing to the eye. As an example, to make text bold, you can use the <b> tag. For example, if you type this in the description box: <b> This text is bold </b> then this will appear: This text is bold.
Following are some more HTML tags that you might find useful:
Anchor for hyperlink
Formats enclosed text as bold
Creates a line break
Formats enclosed text as italic
Formats text as strikethrough
Creates a horizontal "rule" or line. Often used to divide sections of text
A complete list of HTML tags can be found here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A1JPUWCSD6F59O
Anyone who helped you in writing and completing your book is a contributor and you can give them credits here in this section. The only information required is their First Name, Last Name, and their title. The available titles for these people include:
Make sure you select the correct language here. The people who browse certain languages will find it easy to find your book if it is in the correct language category.
This has already been mentioned and explained above, however, this is optional.
ISBN is the International Standard Book Number. Even though it is not required to publish your book, you should write it there if you have one.
ISBN identifies the title, version, publication date, publisher, and the author of the book. If there is a new edition for a book, it will need a new ISBN.
The authors who only sell their books online do not really need an ISBN. None of the major online publishing companies require you to have ISBN.
If they want to publish their books and get copies in book stores and libraries then it is better to have an ISBN.
Verifying Your Publishing Rights
In this section, you have to verify the publishing rights of the book you are about to publish. If the book is completely your own work and you have all the publishing rights then select the option that says:
‘This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights.’
Targeting Your Book Customers
It is important to target the correct audience. If you have written a children’s book and target the adult audience, you will not have much success. The case is the same if you target the children or teen audience with an adult book. So it is important to know your audience. Know what you have written and who you have written it for.
In the categories section, select the appropriate categories. The book will appear in the categories that you select and the people browsing those categories will be seeing your book once it is published.
You will have the option to choose from Fiction and Nonfiction. Both these categories will have sub-categories and you can select more than one of these to target the correct audience.
- Uploading or Creating a Book Cover
As we discussed above, you have the option of either creating your own cover or outsourcing your cover art creation to a freelancer. We will describe here how to create your own cover art for those of you that want to do it yourself, but regardless of how you obtain your cover art, remember this insider tip: You MUST ensure that your book title on the cover is readable when your cover is uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing BEFORE your book is published. If a prospective buyer can’t read your book title in the cover art image, they’ll pass over your book to someone else’s. Don’t let that happen to you!
Using the KDP Cover Creator:
Kindle Direct Publishing has its own Cover Creator for your convenience. It lets you work on your existing cover or make a completely new cover. It also lets you select from a gallery of already available images which are fully customizable with text, fonts, etc.
To use the KDP Cover Creator, you need to log in to your Kindle Direct Publishing Account. Once you have logged in, follow these steps:
Choosing the Image
- Click on Add new title on the top left. This will take you to the page where you can upload your book.
- Scroll down to the step number four on your screen
- Click on Launch Cover Creator Beta.
- Read the instructions and then go to the Image Gallery.
- Select the relevant category
Once you have found the image you want to use, click on it. When the image loads, click on ‘use this Image’ which will take you to the design page.
If you do not like the cover image you have chosen and would like to change it then you can do so from the design page by clicking on ‘Choose a new cover image’ on the top right.
Selecting the Design
Now you have to select a design for your cover. The design page will have a variety of designs, which can be further customized, that you can choose from.
- Once you have found the design you want, hover your mouse over it and click on Choose this design.
- In the next window, you can customize it.
- Click on the title font (which is the same as the title you filled in) and write the name of the book or whatever you want the title to be.
- There is a section for you to put the author name in.
- The image can also be customized. It can either be changed or resized and rotated.
- You can choose from a variety of colors to use for the background of the cover.
- There are different layout options to choose from as well. You can experiment with different layout styles until you get the one you are satisfied with.
- There will be different options available to use on the text as well.
- You can add subtitles to the cover too.
- Click on ‘Preview’ to look at the image after any changes you make.
- When you are satisfied with the image, click on ‘Save’ and your cover is ready.
- Saving will always take you to the ‘Preview’ which gives you the chance to start over if you are not satisfied with the image.
- If you are satisfied then click on Save and Submit.
- Once Save and Submit is pressed, the cover is uploaded.
Uploading Your Own Cover Image:
The steps to upload your own cover image are as follows:
- Click on Add new title on the top left. This will take you to the page where you can upload your book.
- Scroll down to the step number four on your screen
- Click on Browse for Image.
- A prompt will appear with the guidelines. Make sure your image follows these guidelines. If you’ve specified that you want a Kindle-format cover to your freelancer on Fiverr, you should be ready to go at this point.
- Click on the yellow Browse button and locate your image.
- Once uploaded, KDP will show you a preview.
- If you are satisfied with it, click on Save and the cover will be ready and uploaded.
- Upload Your Book File
Here, in this section, you will upload your book to the website. You have the option to enable or not enable the DRM. (DRM is the digital rights management.)
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
The Digital Rights Management controls the sharing of your book.
The authors who are okay with the sharing of their books choose not to enable the DRM. This way anyone who buys the book can either lend the book to others or share it.
If you do enable the DRM, the people who download it won’t be able to share it with others. They can still lend it to someone for one time only, for a period of two weeks.
There are many formats that are supported by Kindle that you can upload your book in, but since we have been using this guide in MS Word, that is the file we will use to upload.
Click on ‘Browse’ and guide the browser to your book file. Locate the book in your computer, in the prompt that opens, and click on open. The book will be converted for Kindle and uploaded.
- Previewing Your Book
Once the book has been converted and uploaded, you can preview it with the Online Previewer; it lets you see how the book will appear on different versions of Kindle.
You also have the option to download the book with the Downloadable Previewer in different formats to view on your own device.
Now if you’re not sure which Kindle Previewer to use, I have listed some of the main features that will help you decide.
All the Downloadable Previewer formats
MS Word Formats
Can be viewed in the browser
Needs to be downloaded and installed on the system
Depends on your browser only
Windows 7, Windows XP (SP3 or later), Windows Vista (SP2 or later)
Device View Options
Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPad, and iPhone
All Kindle Devices
For Fixed Layout Books
More options and customizations
Once you are satisfied, click on Save and Continue.
- Verifying Your Publishing Territories
In this section you have to select the territories for which you hold the book rights. This also determines where the book will go on sale.
Worldwide rights – Selecting this option will make the book available worldwide and in all the territories.
Individual territories – you can select the territories for which you have the publishing rights and your book will only be made available for sale in those territories.
- Choosing Your Royalty
In this section you will have two options to choose from. You can go for either of the Royalty Plans:
- 35% Royalty
- 70% Royalty
Whichever royalty plan you select, you will be able to see List Price, Royalty Rate, Delivery Cost, and Estimated Royalty for it for different Amazon territories. This is the section where you enter the price for your book as well. The price of the book should be between $0.99 and $9.99, depending on the Royalty plan and file size.
- Kindle MatchBook
Kindle MatchBook is a program which benefits the customers. Any customer, who has previously bought a hardcopy of this book from Amazon, can now get its Kindle book for $2.99 or less.
This is optional though and you can leave this unchecked if you do not want to be a part of this program.
- Kindle Book Lending
This is another of the great Kindle features. If you check this option then anyone who buys this book has the ability/option to lend this book to their friends and family for 14 days, for free.
A book can only be lent once. The person the buyer will be lending the book to, does not necessarily need an Amazon account. They will receive the book in their email and will have 7 days to accept it. Once they accept it, they will have 2 weeks to read it. When someone lends a book, it disappears from their own collection until the lending time is up or the book has been returned.
Before you can publish the book, you have to check the prompt below which states the Terms and Conditions of KDP and where you confirm that you have the rights to publish this book. Once you have checked that, click on ‘Save and Publish’ and your book will go for publishing. It might take 24 hours before the book can be seen on the Amazon market.
Lending a Book
Remember that only the books that are eligible for lending can be loaned to others.
Following are the steps you need to follow to lend a book (if you own the book):
- Go to the Kindle Store.
- Find the book you want to lend.
- In the Product Details section, click on Loan this book.
- You will be asked to enter the recipient’s email.
- Click on Send Now.
- And you’re done!
Make sure not to send the book on their Kindle email address; enter their personal email address to lend the book.
There is much debate on the pricing of e-books. Some people are of the opinion that there is almost no work done to get the e-book ready and published, therefore the prices should be low.
Then there are people who believe that it is up to the author to decide how much they want to charge for their work. Some authors do not publish their books in prints and only go for e-books which might justify them charging a bit more.
But pricing your book is not as simple as that. You want to price your book in such a way that while it does justice to the book, it is also something that the readers can easily afford.
The trick is to find the right balance. You have to price your book at an amount where the book is not devalued, but it is still affordable by the readers.