How to Publish a Book on Amazon

Publishing a book has never been easier.
Tayler Tayler (34)
Total time: 60 minutes 

Publishing a book is easier now than it's ever been with the help of Amazon. Through their e-reading platform called Kindle, which features over a million books, users can easily publish their works for profit and exposure.

What is Amazon KDP?

KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing and it refers to Amazon's e-book publishing unit that allows Amazon account holders to publish books in their name. Books will be sold through the Kindle Store which is the ebook store.

The Benefits of Amazon KDP

  • Easy to use platform means you can publish in minutes.
  • You control the rights to your material and can control everything, from the price to the format.
  • Earn up to 70% royalties.
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Writing.

First and foremost, arguably the most difficult part of this entire guide, you have to write a book. Presumably, you've already done this step (congratulations!), but if you're trying to research ahead of time, here are a few tips that will help make your book writing a little easier:

  • Pay attention to your grammar - You can use Grammarly, which can help you catch minimal grammatic errors, but you'll want to make sure that you're book has and uses good grammar.
  • Pay attention to your formatting - Always test your book by downloading it yourself after publishing. This will help you make sense of what the process is like for your readers.
  • Have someone read your book after you - Having a second pair of eyes to look at your work is the best way to check to make sure everything looks good, that the story makes sense, and that the formatting works.
Amazon Login page.

With your book written, you're ready to begin the process of getting your book published! The first thing you need, if you don't already have one, is an Amazon account.

On the Amazon website, double click on the Hello, Sign in icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. This will bump you over to the screen where you can either log in to your account or click on Create your Amazon account at the bottom of the screen. You will need a functioning email to create an account.

Main menu.

Once you've logged into your Amazon account, double-click on the Accounts & Lists icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

This will redirect you to Your Account page, which acts as a master portal for you do edit anything in your account from payment to delivery addresses.

On this page, scroll down to the very bottom of the screen. Here, you'll find a series of links against a black background. You'll find the Kindle Direct Publishing link in the second column from the right. It has the description India Digital Publishing Made Easy beneath it. Click on this option.

You can also click here to direct you to the direct publishing page.

KDP sign in page.

Even if you're already signed in to your Amazon account on the previous page, you'll be asked to Sign in again. You'll see the Sign in option in the yellow bar on the right side of the screen.

On this page, you'll find a few lines of information about the publishing process and how making money as a publisher through Kindle works.

Terms and conditions.

After clicking the Sign in option, you'll be redirected to the Terms and Agreements page, which offers a thorough breakdown of the legality of the publishing process.

You can also print off this information for later references by clicking on the View printer friendly version beneath the block of text at the bottom.

Once you've reviewed the information, click on the Agree option right below the block of text on the right-hand side. This will redirect you to the KDP homepage.

Kindle Bookshelf page.

The KDP homepage can be a little intimidating if you don't know what you're looking at, but I'll breakdown what you're looking at if you're following along.

The page you'll see first is your Bookshelf page, which can be accessed by clicking the Bookshelf icon at the far left of the main menu, which is located right beside the kind direct publishing icon in the upper far left of your page.

On this page, you'll be able to add books to your bookshelf, which can then be uploaded to the Kindle store. When you're uploading a new title (what Amazon calls a book), you'll also receive a breakdown of what you need to accomplish this. The breakdown goes like this:

  • Book Content - Make sure you have a manuscript of the title you want to upload. (If you need help laying out your book, check out our guide on how to make a book in InDesign.
  • Book Cover - If you don't already have a cover for your book, you can create a cover using the Cover Creator tool.
  • Description, Keywords, and Categories - Make sure you have a little blurb that will allow you to tell your potential readers about your book. This blurb will serve in place of the back cover description on physical books. The Keywords and Categories will be how Amazon determines which genre your book belongs to, which is helpful for Amazon suggesting your book to people who are reading similar content.
  • ISBN - This only applies to paperbacks, but the ISBN is the unique code that will belong to your book and your book only.

Right beside your checklist on the left, you can either click on the Kindle ebook icon or the Paperback icon. Here's the difference between the two:

  • Kindle eBook - This refers to the virtual book that you will create that isn't available anywhere other than on the Amazon Kindle store.
  • Paperback - Amazon will publish paperback in your name. This will cost you money, as Amazon subtracts the cost to print your paperback from the royalty amount.

The Bookshelf also offers a collection of other resources and explanations to make your publishing experience easier.

Amazon Publishing Report.

The Reports page gives you a place to track the earnings on each of your titles. After clicking on the Reports page in the menu along the top of the KDP page, you'll be redirected to the Sales Dashboard which gives you a full overview of the earnings page.

The breakdowns that follow the Sales Dashboard offer different breakdowns that will allow you to track your earnings per published book, how many pre-orders are occurring for any upcoming titles, and any promotions or ad campaigns that you're running.

Kindle Publishing Community.

This page is a doozy because there is a lot of information here for you to explore at your leisure. It's called a Community because you'll find a lot of forums that are a place for you and other authors to share their experience. You'll also find announcements for any changes that will affect what's going on in your publishing experience.

There are a lot of great resources for you if you're new to the Kindle publishing process.

Select.

Just as Amazon offers Amazon Prime, which is a paid subscription service that offers services that would otherwise by unavailable, the KDP Select offers authors the opportunity to reach more readers, thereby earning more money.

It also offers additional tools to those few authors who are partaking in the program. Some of the additions involve features such as Kindle exclusivity, the opportunity to earn high royalties, see more book sale information, and reach a wider audience.

Account info.

At some point, before you publish a book, you're going to want to fill out your tax and payment information.

After logging into the KDP page, you'll receive a prompt at the top of the page that is marked by an exclamation point inside a warning sign. This prompt will read: Your account information is incomplete.

You can input this information by clicking on the Update Now option within the prompt, on the right-hand side. This will allow you to specify where you live, how you'd like to get paid, and it will also be where you enter your tax information. All of this must be completed prior to publishing a book. The information is pretty self-explanatory and, once you're done, click on the Save option in the bottom right hand of the screen. Now you're ready for the next step: publishing your book!

Add a book.

Why Kindle eBook?

  • You have the rights to your book which means you have more control over how much you want your book to sell for.
  • You can easily make changes from your computer.
  • Your book can be on the market within minutes.
  • Up to 70% royalties.

Why Paperbacks?

  • You own the copyright to your book.
  • Amazon prints on demand, which means your book will always be in stock and available.
  • Up to 60% royalties.

After clicking on the + Kindle eBook icon or the + Paperback on the Bookshelf homepage, you'll be redirected to the appropriate page. The steps are straightforward, each with a few lines of information explaining the information that you'll be inputting.

Remember that description I mentioned earlier? It's on this page that you'll have the chance to type out that description for your book. You'll also have the chance type keywords which will help describe your book and categorize where it belongs in the virtual library.

Once you've typed everything, click on Save and Continue in the yellow button at the bottom left of the screen.

This will redirect you to the next page called Kindle eBook Content. This is where you can upload your manuscript and cover art. It's also where you can preview the format of your book.

Once everything looks good, click on Save and Continue in the yellow button at the bottom left of the screen.

The third and final page is the Kindle eBook Pricing where you can set the price of your book, the distribution areas, as well as your royalty plan. The most you can claim through Amazon is 70%, meaning that Amazon will keep 30% of the revenue your book makes as a fee to keep the book on the Kindle platform.

Once all of the information is good to go, click on Publish Your Kindle eBook or Publish Your Paperback Book in the yellow bar at the bottom of your screen and voila! You have published a book in your name!