Self-publishing a book is an exciting endeavor, and Amazon’s platform enables authors to self-publish paperbacks, e-books, and audiobooks. I’ve outlined the steps below, and you can watch my video tutorials as well. For editing and proofreading services, I recommend Scribendi.
How to Self-Publish on Kindle Direct Publishing Step-By-Step
Start on the homepage and click “Kindle eBook.” Complete the following pages:
- Kindle e-book details
- Kindle e-book content
- Kindle e-book pricing
Kindle eBook Details
- Choose your e-book’s primary language (the language in which the book was written).
- Add your title and subtitle. Tip: By adding your subtitle in the subtitle space, you don’t need to add a colon (:).
- Add the series name and volume number to help customers find other books in your series on Amazon.
- Add an edition number if your title is a new edition of an existing book.
Author, Contributors, and Description
- Add your name and surname.
- Add contributor details, for example, the illustrator of your images. Before adding a contributor, you might want to discuss it with him or her. Also, confirm your revenue share or royalty obligations, for instance, the illustrator will receive a zero percent royalty.
- Input your description. I recommend copying and pasting your description from a word document application like MS Word. Here’s the complete list of HTML tags and attributes supported in the book description field.
- Select your publishing rights.
- Enter up to seven keywords or book titles, maximum 50 characters each, which relate to your book. This is where it helps to understand search engine optimization. Tip: enter words and titles that people might associate with your book, but don’t add categories. For example, for my book Investing Is Easy, I chose “a random walk down wall street,” “investing is for dummies,” and so on.
Categories, Age, and Release Date
- Choose up to two categories. Consider where people might look for your book.
- If applicable, select age and grade ranges.
- Decide if you want to release your book now or make it available for pre-order. The pre-order option will allow you to promote your book on Amazon before it’s released. However, if you change your pre-order date, Amazon will remove this option from you for a year. The publication date cannot change after your book is approved by Amazon’s review team.
Kindle eBook Content
- Read and understand what digital rights management (DRM) is and choose accordingly.
- Upload your manuscript in doc, docx, HTML, MOBI, ePub, RTF, Plain Text, or KPF format.
- If you need help with formatting your document, you can hire a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork. Many freelancers format books to meet Kindle and CreateSpace requirements. On Fiverr, freelancer rates start at five dollars.
- Customers do judge books by their covers, so it’s an excellent idea to design a cover yourself or hire a freelancer. A budget of $100 for cover work is reasonable. The “launch cover creator” option will yield a generic, below average cover for your book, which might hurt your sales.
- Upload a cover in JPG or TIFF format.
Kindle eBook Preview & ISBN
- Preview your book to see how it will look. Tip: the best way to review your book is to buy and examine it the moment it’s available in the marketplace. I’ve made this a standard practice.
- An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. You can publish your e-book without one, but if you do have one, you can enter it. It will only be used as a reference and won’t appear on the detail page of your e-book (only the ASIN will). Don’t use an ISBN from a print edition for your digital edition. If you want to include an ISBN for the digital version of your book, it must be unique. You can purchase an ISBN from Bowker, but it isn’t necessary.
Kindle eBook Pricing
- Learn about KDP Select and decide if you want to enroll (I do).
- Select the territories for which you hold distribution rights. Most self-publishers who produce original works choose the all territories option.
Royalty and Pricing
- Select a royalty tier, i.e, 35 or 70 percent, and set your prices.
- Learn about the matchbook program and decide if you want to enroll (I do).
- Learn about the book lending program and decide if you want to enroll (I do).
- Click “publish your book.”
- You can’t delete your book once it’s been published, you can only unpublish it.
- Increase your sales by publishing a paperback and audiobook. Customers like to have options and may want to hold and listen to your book. I prefer to publish my hard copies through CreateSpace, but KDP does offer the ability. One advantage of publishing your paperback through KDP is that you get to add more keywords. KDP: seven keywords at 50 characters each. CreateSpace: five keywords at 25 characters each. Learn how to self-publish on CreateSpace.
- If you publish your book in multiple formats, for example, paperback, e-book, and audiobook, they should automatically link together on one sales page. If they don’t within a week or two, contact Amazon support to have them linked.
- Create an author profile on Amazon Author Central. An author profile will enable you to add your titles to a central page, which will show up in search engine results. Once your author profile is created, Amazon will not remove it upon your request.