Self-publishing has taken over the publishing world. The new authors are going more towards self-publishing instead of waiting for a year for their book to come out in the market. They want to take matters in their own hands. In today’s world, the author is both the writer, the designer, and the marketer of his/ her book.
In this article, I am going to provide you with in-depth information on Amazon self-publishing. How to publish your book on KDP, Amazon’s self-publishing website.
The publishing industry has altered its working over the period of a decade. The publishing companies would make an investment in a new author believing that his/her book will fetch them more business, more money.
If the book sold well, the company would make money. If by any chance, the new author’s book did not work too well, the company’s investment was gone. However, it still continues to happen. But the rate has considerably lowered due to the ease offered by self-publishing companies.
It may be improper to say that readers these days do not like to read from a physical book. I personally love reading a book, holding it in my hands. But the statistics say otherwise. Because the readers today are busy, and they like their reading material on the go. They want to carry a dozen books with them everywhere they go. And Amazon Kindle has made it possible.
Ebooks. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I was talking about the ebooks. The paperbacks, hardcovers most certainly provide the readers with a feel of something concrete both in their hands and in their minds.
But the ease of carrying them, reading them either in a broad daylight or on a starry night, change in font, on-the-go meanings of unfamiliar words has been possible because of ebooks.
Smashwords is said to be the first website to offer the writers free publishing of their ebooks, and their free distribution to the book-sellers across the world combined with it.
And that led Amazon to make headway for their own ebook publishing website: Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, mostly gone by as KDP.
Smashwords allowed publishing of ebooks in various ebook formats ranging from .mobi, .epub, etc. But KDP allows the publishing of an ebook only in MOBI format.
The success of the Kindle made a way for the Kindle Reader Software enabling the readers to read their books on Kindle on their mobile devices (smartphones, laptops, iPads, Desktops)
With the advent of such publishing sites like Amazon KDP, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. the authors now have the freedom to enter the market with free access. The only thing they need to do is to write a first-class book.
Right from 2008 to 2013, the market of the ebooks has evolved from 5% to 30%. It’s 2020 now and it continues to grow.
What are the main reasons behind ebooks’ growing popularity?
- Ease of Readability: The reader controls in what font, background theme, size and the light he/she wants to read the book.
- The Convenience of Carrying the Book(s): I wouldn’t want to carry a 1000-page to every boring place I go. I would like to carry the same book on my phone, in the form of an ebook. Whether I am carrying one book or a dozen of them, I am hands-free, with no extra weight.
- Cost of the ebook: I remember buying Haruki Murakami’s book Killing Commendatore for Rs. 2100/- which I could have easily gotten at Rs. 399/- as an ebook. That’s the difference between the price of a physical book and an ebook.
As for authors, Amazon self-publishing is a boon. Here’s how:
- No storage Cost
- Print-on-Demand has reduced the headache of the author to keep a pile of unsold books.
- Higher Royalties
- Speed of Publishing on Amazon KDP
- Zero-Cost Publishing (Amazon KDP), etc.
If you are looking forward to Amazon self-publishing, this article is going to provide you with a detailed process of how to publish a book with Amazon KDP.
Steps to Self-Publishing a Book on Amazon:
1. Edit and Edit some more:
You have written your book, It’s time for getting it edited, proofread and everything that enables the content of your book to come out as nothing less than perfection. Comprehensive and detailed information on how to edit your book can be found here.
But what does it mean to edit your book? Spell-checks and grammatical errors? No. It involves everything that will make your book stand out.
Any glitches in the plot, the structure of the novel or the book, the character arcs and developments, the direction in which the story is moving, the pace of the story, etc. Take a break before coming back to your book to fix all these problems.
Get an outsider’s opinion either from a senior writer or an extensive reader.
Now after you’ve fixed that, I suggest you take a break again, and then after a month or so, get back to editing it in all finality. Look for typos now, overused adverbs and adjectives, grammatical mistakes, and repeated words.
The text is refined, the content is polished; your manuscript is now ready to be published.
The actual first step begins now.
2. Create a KDP Account:
Kindle Direct Publishing aka KDP is Amazon’s self-publishing platform which has not only eased the new authors’ lives but also brought relief to the existing authors who had not yet published their books as ebooks.
Using KDP to publish your books is the most economical way for it takes about an hour to upload your final and polished manuscript. And between 24 and 72 hours for it to appear on the Kindle Store.
You monitor the sales and even the statistics of how much people have read your book. Having enrolled in KDP Select pays you page-wise. KDP offers you 70% royalties on your book priced between $2.99-$9.99, and 35% royalty for books priced under $2.99. (More on this, later.)
Without further ado, let’s begin with Creating a KDP account. You can sign in with your Amazon account or separately sign-up for a KDP account. Don’t worry about choosing the existing Amazon credentials to sign in to KDP. Only your author page and profile will be visible and not what you purchase on Amazon.
If you wish to create a new Amazon KDP account, here’s how it shows:
3. Create a New Title:
After you have created your KDP account, you will be redirected to the KDP Dashboard. You will be asked to Create a New Title, meaning, you will be asked to type in the title of your book.
You have now clicked on the Kindle eBook to enter the title, and you will be directed to this page- from where you will fill in the details as asked.
Enter the Book Title, the subtitle, series name and number (if your book is a part of a trilogy or anything like that), edition number, etc.
The process of KDP self-publishing is not really a tough one. All you do is follow their instructions. After filling these details up, they ask for the description. And, from here we go to the next step.
4. Write the Book Description:
It’s important for the book description is what will make your book sell. A good description covers the entirety of your book yet leaves the potential reader wanting to know more. The recipe for a great book description that sells, according to Tucker Max involves three ingredients:
- Great and Engaging Hook
- Important Keywords as per Amazon (I will delve into it later)
- Clear Pain, Conflict and Benefit
A good book description will leave the reader asking the questions and compels them to read your book.
The Chapter Black by Bushra Rahmani (Book Description)
“She is young and radiant, Until he throws corrosive acid in her face. Her plans are in pieces, Her pain is unbearable, and her life is a disgrace. The man who was once smitten by her looks, Now denies having met her in his lifetime. In the world obsessed with external beauty, Living with a facial deformity is indeed a crime. What do you reckon she’d do? Let her scars take over her? Let her faceless identity crumble? Let her heart find the vigor? If you respect courage, If you are not obsessed with a pretty face, If you value endurance, Here’s a journey you need to trace”.
It will raise questions like What happened to the girl that made her lose her memory, how she survived the acid attack, what happened to her in the end.
You may have a separate word file for the book description. Go to that file, Copy the contents of the description and paste them in the Description field of the KDP.
Add Contributors in the ‘Add Contributors’ if any. The contributors are those people who have helped you in writing and bringing forth this book. Co-Author(s), Translator(s), etc. Enter their names and the contributions, if you want their names to be registered.
Enter the ISBN (here’s how you can get an ISBN if you don’t have yours), fill in the details like Target your book to the customers- add the age group you’d like your book to reach, and move onto the next important step: Keywords and Categories.
5. Set Keywords and Categories:
KDP self publishing requires you to set such keywords and categories that help in bringing your book before the potential customer, essentially through the Amazon search bar.
For quick research, you can go to the Kindle eBook on Amazon, search for the categories best suited for your book on the left of the page and select any two that are best suited for your book. For Example:
Kindle Store>Kindle eBooks> Politics>
- Freedom & Security
- International Relations & Globalization
- Political Ideologies
- Political Parties
- Political Structure & Processes
- Political Theory
- Public Administration
KDP allows the author to add up to 7 keywords that can best suit the book for a web search. These are the set of words which will make the book available before the readers’ eyes based on what they search on Amazon.
Choosing keywords that are not already appearing in the book’s title and the sub-title is more appropriate and recommended. Selecting 7 most suitable keywords for your book can be tricky so take time and choose them wisely.
6. Upload the Manuscript:
*Drum Rolls* it’s finally the time you have been waiting for the most. Upload your manuscript.
Before you upload, select the format you want to upload it in.
Kindle mostly supports these formats: .doc, .docx, HTML, MOBI, ePub, RTF, Plain Text, KPF. You can learn how to format the interior of your book- here
AT this step, you will be asked to select the DRM option- whether you want your book to be protected with DRM or not. ‘Digital Rights Management’ aka DRM prevents people from copying the contents on your ebook after they have downloaded the book.
But when they have to move it to another device, it may cause the actual readers some problems leading to a reduced readership of your book.
So, a smart yet compromising part of the brain decides to go with NOT selecting the DRM option because good and enjoyable books get pirated anyway.
And now, select the file of your manuscript and BAM! Upload it. If your book is only text, you can choose the word file and directly upload it into the Kindle Converter.
But if your manuscript contains lots of photos and images, then create an HTML format of your book. It’s easy. Choose the word file, select the ‘Save As’ option from the ‘File’ and change the type of the .docx file to ‘Webpage’ or ‘Webpage, Filtered’. This will create the HTML file of your .docx file.
However, the best supported format for KDP self-publishing is .mobi. KDP formats your book to .mobi when you upload your manuscript.
7. Upload the Book Cover
The next important step is uploading the book cover. If you have created your own book cover, upload it. Or you can “Launch Cover Creator’ and allow KDP to help you with creating a book cover for you.
You can know how to create an enticing book cover for your ebook here.
Before uploading the cover you have, run a design check- Is it similar to the bestsellers of your book’s genre? Does it attract a reader’s attention? Does it look clear as a thumbnail image?
Spend some time in creating a fabulous cover design cause that’s one of three things that are going to compel readers to buy your book. (the other two being- your book description, and the contents of your book, of course.)
What kind of cover is recommended?
Your book cover should be 2500 pixels by 1500 pixels. Amazon self-publishing requires a minimum of 1000 pixels by 650 pixels image for a cover. And the format of your image should be either JPEG or TIFF which KDP automatically converts your cover image into.
And Upload It!
However, if you wish to Launch the Cover Creator (KDP’s Cover creation tool), there are hundreds of templates and graphics to choose from.
Follow the following steps to create a cover on KDP:
- Choose the overall design layout that you find most suitable.
- Edit the style, colour and the text.
- Select the image you wish to use from either your PC or the Kindle’s Image Gallery.
- Preview the Cover
- See if the text and the image of the cover are readable and clear as a thumbnail image.
- Upload (After you are satisfied with what you’ve created)
8. KDP Select- or not?
Amazon self-publishing has a free program for promoting your book- KDP Select.
What does KPD offer? Is it beneficial? How long is it for?
- KDP Select maximises your royalties to 70% even if you keep the price of your book under $2.99
- Yes, it is beneficial because you get to run Free Book Promotions and Amazon Countdown Deals or discount offers, and it even makes your book available for free.
- Also, it offers the inclusion of your book in Kindle Unlimited Library where you get paid based on how many pages of your book have been read.
- It’s for 90 days. And if you choose to re-enroll in the program, there may be some restrictions.
Weigh your options of selecting the KDP Select. Because Amazon self-publishing with the KDP Select will distribute the digital copies of your book only on Amazon.
So, if you want to reach out to various platforms, it may not be so beneficial for you. Also, you may not be living in a country where Amazon does not have a large market.
9. Price your Book
From here on, you are one step away from publishing your ebook on Amazon. Set the price depending upon the royalties you would like (70% or 35%).
If you want 70% of the royalties, which I believe most authors do, Amazon self-publishing recommends you remain within the price range between $2.99 and $9.99.
However, if you have enrolled your book in KDP Select, you will earn 70% royalties for even the price set under $2.99.
The delivery rate of the book will depend upon the size of the book. Bigger the size of your book higher will be the delivery rate.
10. Other Programs of Amazon Self-Publishing
KDP has other programs in which you can enroll your book.
You can choose to enroll in Kindle Matchbook. Now, this is a program full of incentives for your readers. Kindle Matchbook allows the customers to buy the digital copy of your book at a reduced price, or for free if they have already purchased the print copy.
Kindle Book Lending allows the customers to lend their purchased digital books to their family and friends for the duration of 14 days.
11. Publish it!
“By clicking Publish below, I confirm that I have all rights necessary to make the content I am uploading available…drr drr drr!”
Click the yellow button and Congratulations! Your book is now published to be available on the Amazon Kindle Store. Which is still going to take from 24 hours to 72 hours to appear on the Kindle Store.
However, if you are not yet ready to publish your book, you can save it as a draft and come back later to publish it once you are satisfied with it.
Here ends the process of Amazon Self-publishing of your book. But the journey begins now.
After you have self-published your book with KDP, it’s time to market your book.
Write Guest posts
Make free promotions
Go on a blog Tour (Google it with the keywords and genre of your book)
Book reviews (they are important)
Make changes in your book, description, the cover design to increase the sales.