A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Publish a Book on Amazon

Publishing on Amazon is one of the most underrated ways you can earn money as a writer.

Their program, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), grants a 70% royalty on sales, is completely free to sign up for and takes less than 5 minutes to publish your book on Amazon.

However, you need to follow technical details to publish a book and make it appealing to readers.

Even with the Coronavirus on our hands, you can self-publish a book you’d be proud of, create a generous Amazon listing, and satisfy your readers.

Let’s begin.

Step 1: Create a KDP Account

Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ and create or sign up for Amazon’s program, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Here, you can create your first KDP account and begin your journey to becoming an author!

If you already have an Amazon account, you can simply choose the “Sign In” option.

PRO TIP: Make sure to enroll in KDP select too. KDP select allows you to promote your book for free on Amazon and build your email list faster.

If you want to learn more about KDP select, you can do so here. [R]

Step 2: Fill Your Tax Information and Select Kindle eBook

Before you can publish your book, you must fill up all the tax information Amazon asks for.

How else will you get paid, right?!

After you’ve finished setting up all the tax information, head back to the main page, and select the “Kindle eBook” option.

Step 3: Choose a Book Title and Subtitle

You owe it to your readers to craft an engaging and unique book title.

Why is a book title important? 2 reasons:

  • Higher sales conversions
  • Higher chances of being discovered on Amazon

With Amazon being the #1 retailer for books worldwide, what better way than to use Kindle Direct Publishing as the platform to your success.

But of course, crafting an engaging title is just as vital as the content you write in your book.

After all, your book cover is the first message your readers will see once you upload your book.

So before you proceed to step 4, this article will teach you how to create a compelling title to hook your readers.

Step 4: Choose an Author Name for Your Kindle eBook

When choosing an author name, you can either use your real name or choose a pen name. A lot of first-time authors struggle when to use a pen name for their book.

To help you make a sound decision, here are some reasons to use a pen name:

  1. You want to publish books on different genres. If you plan to print books in the romance section and another for a suspense section, using a pen name can be an effective method.
  2. If your name is too common or similar to celebrities or established writers.
  3. You want to take on a new persona for your first book or future books.
  4. You want to preserve anonymity for your books. Some authors prefer to have a private stance when publishing a book. In this case, using a pen name can be helpful.

If there is more than one author, you can enter more names in the Contributors section, as shown below:

Step 5: Choose a Book Description

Self-publishing a book isn’t just printing words onto a page.

If you want to generate a good amount of sales, you need a book description to convey what the book will be about and how readers can benefit from it.

Jyssica Schwartz, author of Write. Get Paid. Repeat. is one example of a great book description.

It’s not as simple as describing your book. It’s crafting a sales pitch that defines who your book is for, what it entails, and, more importantly, the benefits your readers can expect to receive.

Amazon allows you to write up to 4,000 characters for your book description, so choose your words carefully.

Step 6: Verify and Choose your Publishing Rights

Self-publishing a book also comes with publishing rights you can choose for copyright purposes. Amazon offers two options:

1. “I own the copyright and hold the necessary publishing rights.”

2. “This is a public domain work.”

You can find more information beside each option:

However, if you are the sole author of the book, choose the first option.

Step 7: Choosing the Appropriate Keywords for Your Book

Amazon allows you to choose up to 7 keywords that describe your book. This is an important step when you self-publish a book on Amazon.

Each keyword plays a role in how your book will be found when readers search it on Amazon.

Put simply, when a user searches a certain keyword on Amazon, this will prompt your book to appear on the results page.

Make sure you choose each keyword carefully. And take your time when doing so.

Choosing generic terms can be a good starting point, but using too many generic terms will make it harder since you’ll also be competing with several ebooks that may have similar content.

Instead, think of keywords that relate directly to how it can solve your reader’s problem. Your introduction goes hand-in-hand with this.

So give yourself time to think before self-publishing your book.

Step 8: Choose Categories for Your Book

Every author has a chosen field he/she wants to write about. You could be more knowledgeable in certain areas, giving you an advantage when creating content in a certain category.

Some examples include:

  • Nonfiction
  • Fiction
  • Education & Reference
  • Literary Collections
  • Comics and Graphic Novels

Each category will have a “+” button that outlines even more categories to choose from. For example, Nonfiction will have the following categories:

  • Art
  • Business & Economics
  • Cooking
  • Design
  • Drama
  • Gardening
  • Philosophy
  • Poetry
  • Self-help
  • Travel

And so much more!

Choosing the right categories when self-publishing your book tells your readers where they can find your book, how it competes against other books in the same category, and other information you’ll need when marketing your book.

Step 9: Define Your Age Range

For those who are new to self-publishing, defining your age range might seem foreign or new.

However, with the evolution of marketing and demographics, defining your age range is useful if you intend to self-publish a book for teens or the younger market.

Similarly, if you have plans of self-publishing a children s book, an age range can help narrow down the availability of your book to readers, along with choosing a U.S. grade range.

If your book is not for younger teens, you can leave this field blank.

Step 10: Decide When to Release Your Book

70% royalty is a serious figure to consider, especially when you have customers waiting in line to grab your book.

But first things first.

Attracting customers to read and get your book starts with a marketing plan. If you publish now and figure out how to market your book later, this can set you back from having your book discovered and generating revenue.

We’re not saying you have to create a separate sales page. We mean building your email list, social media coverage and awareness, and generating reviews.

Social media platforms are excellent drivers for marketing your book.

These platforms help build an audience, build trust, and make it easier for customers to get your book among other competitors.

Publishing your book is only half the answer. The other half is promoting your work or books to generate traffic and higher conversions.

It’s critical you set a solid marketing plan before deciding your publishing date. If you’re unsure where to start, this guide can help you get started. [R]

Step 11: Make Sure to Enable DRM

DRM or Digital Rights Management helps prevent anyone from copying your book and sending it to others for free.

Although Kindle Unlimited allows users to loan the book to their friends thanks to Kindle’s lending system; however, DRM protects your book from anyone who might want to steal it.

Take note that once you’ve published your book, you can’t change the DRM setting anymore.

Step 12: Upload Your Book and Book Cover

Amazon offers a ton of formatting options when publishing your book; however, it’s best to use an epub format for all self-published books.

An epub format makes it easily readable and accessible across various platforms. Using the current Kindle format allows it to look good in any e-reader.

As for the book cover, we don’t recommend designing it yourself. Don’t take this the wrong way, but your book’s cover design goes a long way.

It’s not just about the appeal. It’s about creating a professional cover image to entice your readers.

Still not convinced? Ask a professional designer for their advice. They wouldn’t offer their design services if readers didn’t care about how your book looked.

Step 13: Preview Your Book Before Uploading

Use the Kindle Previewer to view your book and test everything down to the period and comma placement.

Like any article, reviewing your book shouldn’t be rushed. Is the cover image set? Is it easy to navigate between each page? Do all the external links work?

This can also be known as the polishing stage, where you can make changes to your book. If you find typos or sections that don’t function as they should, make changes immediately before publishing.

Step 14: Select Your Territories

You’ll want to select all territories for global rights to make your book available in all of Amazon’s global territories.

If you want to make your book available in certain territories only, you can choose the “Individual Territories” option.

Step 15: Royalty and Price Your Book

Amazon offers between 35% or 70% royalty. While it’s obvious that 70% is the preferred option, there are pricing limitations and a different royalty calculation for the 70% option.

Your primary marketplace should also be Amazon. Once you’ve set that up, you can choose the list price you want for your self-published book.

Furthermore, take note that the 70% option will mean you’ll have to enroll in book lending too. You’ll find a button that says, “Allow Kindle Book Lending.”

Simply check this box to enable Kindle book lending from users who own a KDP account to their friends and family for 14 days.

Price-wise, this depends entirely on you, your goals, and your marketing funnel.

Step 16: Publishing Your Book

Before publishing your book, don’t forget to save a draft of all the formats and selections you made.

If you decide to print more books in the future, you can use this as a reference. More importantly, if you suddenly get disconnected from the WiFi, at least you won’t have to start from scratch!

Once you hit publish, your book will be live on Amazon within 12 hours. If you have plans to publish a print book, we recommend talking to an experienced design creator or a colleague.

The design service will also be different for a print book since a physical version of your book affects usability.


Do I Need A Publisher or ISBN for a Kindle eBook?

You don’t need a publisher or ISBN if you plan to publish an eBook on Amazon.

If you plan to print a physical version of your book, you can obtain your ISBN from Amazon if you select the paperback option.

How Do I Price My Book?

The general standard to follow or pricing structure recommended for a starting author is $2.99, then increase it by $1 gradually per week.

Some other tips to follow include:

1. Base your price on the size or number of pages your book has. Do you think it’s fair to charge $20 for an 85-page book? Of course not.

2. Set your price based on how large your following is. If you have a large following on social media, you can set your price higher. If you’re still new and need to gain more reach, a lower price will encourage more readers to buy your book.

3. Do some research on your competitors. Compare the prices they set and see whether your price should be lower or higher.

4. Base your price on the number of reviews. A book with a higher number of reviews can be priced higher.

How Do I Choose the Right Keywords for My Book?

To get started, you can use tools like KW Finder, Soovle, or Amazon’s search box to find great keywords.

Try listing as many keywords as possible related to your book. If your book is about healing, for example, possible keywords could be:

  • how to heal
  • benefits of healing
  • healing when it’s rough
  • what is healing
  • how long does healing take

Ultimately, choosing great keywords depends on how well you do your research and what users mostly search for in Google and Amazon.

Final Words

You don’t have to be a best-selling author like Stephen King to earn a generous income on Amazon.

Give yourself time, and make sure to focus on the value of what you can offer your readers rather than solely generate money.

Building a large audience may take some time, but once you’ve established a loyal following, it’s more than enough for any author to start earning a decent amount on Amazon.

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