1) Getting Started

Amazon gives authors access to millions of readers through their self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Publishing your books through the e-commerce giant has never been easier.

The first step to get started with them is to sign up for a KDP account. It's free and takes less than a minute to open an account.

Once you've signed up, you'll want to add your author name, bank details, and tax information so you can get paid. You can now publish your ebooks and paperbacks and receive up to 70% royalties.

2) Preparing Your Book

Before you upload your book to your KDP account, it's worth preparing everything you'll need to fill out there. I learned this the hard way when I first got started. I was figuring out my keywords and keyphrases, entering them one by one, and by the time I'd finished I was automatically logged out of KDP and lost my unsaved changes, and the keywords, in the book details section.

3) Choose Your Book Title

Spend as much time as you need to nail a great book title that will hook your readers' attention. Simple and descriptive is best. Choose a title that makes it obvious what genre the book is in. For a non-fiction book, choose a title that shows the benefit the reader will gain by reading your book.

You can also add a sub-title if you like. This is especially useful with a non-fiction book. It gives you the chance to reveal something that piques the reader's curiosity and persuades them to buy. You might describe what transformation the reader will experience by reading your book.

Be sure to research your book title on Amazon to make sure it's not taken or too similar to another book. Otherwise, you may inadvertently send traffic to someone else's book who already has lots of reviews for theirs!

Another cool benefit to choosing a unique title is that if enough people buy your book, at some point it will start showing up as an option in Amazon's auto-complete drop-down list when customers are searching. This can be a source of extra, passive sales of your book.    

4) Write Your Book Description (aka Blurb)

If a reader hasn't already bought your book based on your catchy title or amazing cover, your book description should blow them away in a few hundred words. What is the book about? Who is it for? How will it benefit them and change their life?

Try to hook the reader in the first sentence. In fiction, this would be the primary conflict. In non-fiction, it would be the central idea of your book and transformative value to the reader. Use the next few paragraphs to set out/up expectations or story and use emotion to convince the reader to buy.

5) Research Your Keywords and Key Phrases

Amazon gives you 400 characters of space across 7 text boxes to enter a bunch of keywords and key phrases. These will help Amazon properly categorize your book and help readers find your book via the search function.

I think of these as the "money words." Adding or leaving out one great keyword or key phrase could mean the difference between hundreds or thousands of dollars in sales revenue.

Amazon is a great starting point for doing your keyword research. Type in words, phrases, and questions that your ideal audience would be using when searching for their next book. As you begin typing, Amazon will automatically suggest/add popular words and phrases that people have been using to find books like yours.

A full explanation of keyword research is beyond the scope of this guide but the above will get you started building your keyword list. Use Amazon in combination with other keyword search tools to make your master list of keywords and key phrases. For more ideas, try Google, Ahrefs, Semrush, Ubersuggest, and answerthepublic.com.    

6) Choose Two Product Categories

Within KDP you can choose to list your book in two categories which best represent your book from their expandable list of options. You can also check out individual book pages on Amazon and scroll down to the product details section to see what categories other similar books are listed in.

If you find more than two relevant categories you could list your book in, you might consider choosing one of the less competitive ones. Note that the keywords and key phrases you chose above will help get your book listed in different categories.

So in addition to the two categories you choose in KDP, it's possible for your book to be listed in up to eight more categories through your keyword choice. This is powerful for discoverability so it's worth spending as much time as you need on to get it right.

To get your book listed in more than two categories, you need to contact KDP support from within your account and tell them the additional categories you'd like to be listed in.

7) Upload your book in KDP

Before you upload, make sure your book is formatted in a supported file type. Currently accepted file types include Word (Doc/Docx), HTML, MOBI and ePub, RTF, TXT, PDF, and Kindle Create.

Navigate to the "Bookshelf" menu tab. There you'll see options to upload your ebook or a paperback. If you've gone through all the steps you'll have all the details ready to enter for your book listing.

8) Create Your Book Cover

You've spent a decent chunk of time creating your book, so it makes sense to create an eye-catching cover to give your book the best possible chance of success. This is one aspect of the publishing process it's strongly worth considering getting a professional to handle for you.

There are tons of vendors of professional pre-made covers online. For a budget cover design, check out Fiverr. If you want to go the free route, check out sites like Snappa, Canva, and Youzign. If you're comfortable using Photoshop, there's plenty of sites that you can download free templates from.

If you use a graphic designer, many of them have subscriptions to stock photo sites and can choose and license a photo for you. If you want to choose a photo yourself, check out sites like Depositphotos, Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, Dreamstime, BigStockPhoto, and CanStockPhoto.

Research covers of other books selling well in the same niche as yours. Take a few screenshots of ones you like (factors like style, colors, fonts) and send them to your designer. It's a lot easier to show them than try to explain in words. This also cuts down on the number of revisions requests you'll need to ask for.  

If you plan on publishing lots of books, it's worth subscribing to a few of the stock photo sites' email lists. They are always offering discounts and deals throughout the year so you can save some money.

9) Pricing Your Book

You can choose any price for your book in this section. The most common and recommended range within which to price your book is $2.99 to $9.99. This makes the book eligible for a 70% royalty rate.

Pricing at $0.99 is generally used as a special offer or early bird deal, or for novel-length books which can make up for the lower royalty rate (35%) by selling more copies and gaining more page reads (KENPC).

There is a checkbox on the pricing page which you can tick if you want your book to be included in KDP Select. This makes your book exclusive to Amazon for 90 days and makes you eligible to earn a royalty for every page a reader reads via their Kindle Unlimited (KU) monthly subscription.

10) Publish

Finally. Everything's done. There's nothing left to do except hit the publish button, book a flight to the Maldives, sit back and watch the royalties pile up in your bank account. Or, you know, start working on your next book.

Congratulations on publishing your book!