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The joy of finally finishing your manuscript can only be topped by the thrill of publishing it. But as you learn how to self-publish on Amazon, it’s important to check whether it’s ready for publishing. Have you paid enough attention to the book’s editing, formatting, and cover design?
A book that’s poorly edited and shabbily formatted with a generic cover design is not going to succeed on KDP. So if you want to know how to publish a book on Amazon and make money, go through our self-publishing steps. But if your book has been thoroughly edited and beautifully designed, it’s time to get it out into the world!
Here’s how to publish a book on Amazon:
As you may have figured out by now, the process of publishing a book on Amazon isn’t that complicated. Just follow these eight steps, and you’ll have your book published in a matter of days! Let’s take a closer look.
The first step is fairly straightforward. You can sign in to KDP using an existing Amazon account or create a new one. Follow these steps to create your account on KDP and fill in the necessary details:
Note: You may use your pen name in the “Author/Publisher” section, but use your legal name while adding your payment and tax details.
Once you create an account, you’ll find “Bookshelf”, where you can create new book listings and edit existing ones. Under the “Create a New Title” section, click the “+ Kindle eBook” or “+ Paperback” button depending on the book format you want to add. In this article, you’ll mostly learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon, but the process is quite similar for print books.
You’ll have to fill out three types of information: book details, content, and pricing. First, fill in the language, title, subtitle, and a short description of your book. Add the author’s name (a pen name, if you’re using one) and other contributors, if there are any. If your book is part of a series or is targeted to an age group, fill in those details as well.
Accurately fill in these details since they’ll improve the discoverability of your book. Another way you can do this is by using the right keywords.
Adding good keywords is an important part of learning how to self-publish on Amazon. You can choose up to seven keywords and three categories for your book. Be careful not to put repetitive details in these sections, especially information already mentioned in the book description. While selecting your keywords, try to think like your reader.
If you’re publishing a children’s book on Amazon, imagine what a parent would search for while shopping. In this case, your category would be “Children’s Action & Adventure” while your keywords would be “children’s storybook” and “kids’ adventure stories”. Amazon lists five types of keywords that are especially useful:
Avoid adding time-sensitive (brand-new), qualitative (#1 cookbook), or synonymous keywords (kids stories/kids’ stories, storybook).
Now that you’ve filled in the necessary details, open the adjoining tab named “Kindle eBook Content”. Start by enabling Digital Management Rights (DRM) so people can’t access or distribute your book illegally. However, remember that you can’t change the DRM setting once your book has been published.
Once this is done, you can go ahead and click “Upload eBook manuscript”. You can upload a wide variety of file formats ranging from .docx to HTML. But if you’re publishing a reflowable eBook, you’ll have to choose between EPUB and KPF, since Amazon no longer supports reflowable MOBI files.
Ideally, your uploaded file should be a product of a thorough book formatting process. If it isn’t, you can use Kindle Create to format your book specifically for Amazon KDP.
At this step, Amazon lets you create your cover art using their Cover Creator tool. Since most writers aren’t gifted designers, we suggest you hire someone to do this. Understanding the seven parts of book cover design isn’t enough, since a good cover is more than just a pretty layout.
Before worrying about how to publish a book on Amazon, you should research talented designers in your niche. Experienced designers create a book cover design that’s both aesthetic and marketable: A cover that creates intrigue while communicating the genre (or theme). They’re also familiar with the conventional dimensions and file types you’ll require for publication.
Amazon recommends that your cover must be:
The minimum size Amazon allows is 1,000 x 625 pixels while the maximum is 10,000 x 10,000 pixels. 1,600 x 2,500 pixels are the ideal dimensions for a cover file on Amazon. If your cover meets these criteria, simply click “Upload your cover file” and wait for it to load. That’s it!
Use Amazon’s Online Previewer tool to check how your book appears on various devices such as phones, tablets, and e-readers. You can either click “Launch Previewer” to look for errors online or download the preview file. The online previewer highlights spelling, language, and formatting errors but you shouldn’t rely on it completely.
Go through each page individually and check all formatting elements such as margins, headers, footers, indents, tables, charts, and images. Click on all the links to ensure they work properly. Once you’ve reviewed the formatting, proofread your manuscript word by word so no error ends up in the published book.
If you hire self-publishing services, they’ll be responsible for this process and you can focus on the marketing efforts. But when you publish books on Amazon, performing every task yourself, you must do several painstaking rounds of review.
You have to consider several aspects while setting a price for your book: royalties, delivery rate, and international markets. Amazon offers a royalty rate of 70% for all books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. It’s best to price your book somewhere within this range since the alternative is a lousy 35% royalty rate.
Remember that a 70% royalty rate does not mean you’ll get 70% of your price. Even though we’re learning how to publish a book on Amazon for free, the platform charges a delivery fee for book distribution. Plus, taxes are deducted from the price amount as well. So your royalties can be calculated as:
Royalty rate x (pricing – delivery fee – taxes) = Royalties
Next, you need to consider the markets you want to target. If your primary audience is in the US, set Amazon.com as your primary marketplace. Select “All territories (worldwide rights)” so you can sell your book internationally. If you want to focus on the international audience, you can set different prices for specific countries manually. In case you’re not too sure about this, just set it to auto.
It’s a tough call to put your book on KDP Select since it stays there for three months. That’s three months of not selling your book anywhere else in exchange for special promotions and pricing adjustments. So what are your options?
Publish your book on Amazon and opt for KDP Select, making maximum use of the exposure and promotional features. Offer your book for free (for up to five days) and get some initial positive reviews, which are essential for book marketing. Once you’ve developed a basic readership on Amazon, you can move out to other platforms.
Publish our book on all platforms of your choice to get as wide a readership as possible. The readers’ reception of your book will tell you whether you need additional promotion. If needed, you can add your book to KDP Select well after it’s published.
If you’ve created a book marketing plan, this decision should be an easy one. If you haven’t, you should start right away!
That’s about it! You’ve completed all the steps involved in publishing a book on Amazon. All that’s left to do is click “Publish Your Kindle eBook”. But remember not to rush the process: It can be confusing, so you’re prone to errors. It’s much safer to go for the “Save as Draft” option and come back to publish your book with a fresh eye.
When you’re ready to publish, double-check every detail you’ve filled in, from keywords to the uploaded files. You can use the “Back to Content” button for this purpose. Once that’s done, publish your book and celebrate!
It can take anything from 72 hours to 5 days for your book to appear on Amazon. If you’re wondering what to do with all the free time you’ll have, don’t worry. Planning the book launch event and promotional activities is no mean task. All the best!R
We hope this guide on how to publish on Amazon prepared you for the process ahead. Want to keep learning? We have some self-publishing resources that you might find useful:
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