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How to Publish a Book On Amazon (Step By Step Guide + Pros & Cons)

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Amazon Self-Publishing: What is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)?


It might sound self-explanatory, but Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an Amazon platform, that allows you to publish your paperbacks and ebooks on Amazon by yourself.

KDP Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing


As an author, you have 2 options when it comes to publishing your book: 

Traditional Publishing

When you choose traditional publishing, you have to sign the contract with the publisher who will bulk print your books for sale. 

Publishing your book in a traditional way means you have to send your work to a local publisher who needs to read and approve it before printing. This process is not only time-consuming, but also subjective – the publisher may reject your book if they personally don’t like it.

KDP Self-Publishing

On the other hand, self-publishing enables you to publish your book yourself, without someone subjectively reviewing your work and determining whether to publish it or not.

Many authors nowadays prefer self-publishing over traditional publishing for several reasons:

  1. It’s an easier and faster process – when you self-publish your book via KDP, your work will get reviewed within 24 to 72 hours.
  2. It’s accessible to a larger audience – unlike traditional publishing, which is accessible to local audiences, your self-published book could reach a global audience. The readers notice your book on the Amazon platform and can purchase either an eBook or a paperback and get it delivered anywhere in the world.
  3. No upfront printing fees – KDP allows you to list your book without having an inventory in advance. Rather, you can print your paperbacks on demand, only after you receive an order.
  4. No risk – if there’s no demand on your book, you’re not left with tens or even hundreds of pre-printed paperbacks. Printing on demand also means your book will never be out of stock.
  5. More profit – self-publishing allows you to get up to 70% of the royalties on your book, while traditional publishing gets you around 5-15%.

How Much Does it Cost to Publish with KDP?


Self-publishing your eBooks and paperbacks with Kindle Direct Publishing is completely free.

However, you’ll need to pay a printing cost when your paperbacks sell. Print cost varies depending on page count and ink type – black or color. KDP will automatically calculate your printing costs based on print options you choose so you know how much you’re paying in advance.

And the best part about selling paperback versions of your book is that you can print your books on-demand, meaning only after the customer makes the purchase.

How Do KDP Payments Work?


Kindle Direct Publishing pays royalties (up to 70%) each month.

Here’s how KDP Royalties work:

You can currently choose between 2 royalty rates: 35% and 70%.

  • 35% Royalty: for when you price your book below $2.99 and above $9.99.
  • 70% Royalty: for when you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99.

They typically release payments within 60 days after the end of the month in which the sale was reported.

KDP payment methods:

  • Direct deposit
  • Wire transfer
  • Check

KDP thresholds:

Direct deposit doesn’t have any minimum thresholds to withdraw your earnings.

But wire transfers and check payments do and it’s $100, £100, €100, $100 CAD, ¥10,000 1,000 MXN or $100 AUD.

Payment schedule:

Month royalty threshold metWhen you’ll receive your payment
JanuaryEnd of March
FebruaryEnd of April
MarchEnd of May
AprilEnd of June
MayEnd of July
JuneEnd of August
JulyEnd of September
AugustEnd of October
SeptemberEnd of November
OctoberEnd of December
NovemberEnd of January
DecemberEnd of February

A Step By Step Guide to Amazon Self-Publishing


So you’re considering self-publishing your book on KDP but don’t know where to start? In this guide, I’ll walk you through the self-publishing process step-by-step, so you can list your book to a large audience.

Let’s begin!

Step 1 – Create a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Account

First of all, visit kdp.amazon.com and sign up or sign in if you already have an Amazon account.

Once you’re logged in, you need to enter author, payment and tax information to finalize your KDP account.

Step 2 – Choose a Book Title, Subtitle, Description and Author(s)

At this step, it’s time to add information about your book. You’ll be required to enter a title, subtitle and a short description to help readers find your book in the Kindle library.

Your book description is like a sales pitch – it’s one of the most important parts determining your book’s success. Book description helps readers understand what the book is about and decide if it’s worth their money or not.

Here are some tips that might help you craft the perfect description that will sell your book:

  • Catch readers’ attention with the very first sentence
  • Write your book description like a sales page, not just a dry summary of your book
  • Make the description feel personal and relatable
  • Make sure readers get what to expect from your book

Amazon gives you 4,000 characters to craft the short yet catchy description for your book.

You can also add multiple authors who contributed in your book at this step.

Step 3 – Choose Your Amazon Keywords

Choosing keywords for your book is a very important step. Keywords are what readers enter in the search box to discover interesting books for them.

In order for your book to come up in the search results, involve all the keywords related to your content.

Note that you can use max of 7 keywords for your book, so make sure you only add relevant ones.

Step 4 – Select Your Amazon Categories

Adding categories to your book listing is another critical marketing decision. Along with keywords, readers search for new books filtering the categories as well. That’s why it’s important that you select what category your book belongs to.

Amazon books main categories:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Juvenile nonfiction
  • Comics & graphic novels
  • Education & reference
  • Literary collections

You can add your book to up to 2 categories and each main category consists of several subcategories as well.

Step 5 – Upload Your Manuscript to Amazon

After you’ve entered all the details about your book, now it’s time to upload your manuscript to be published. You can upload your file in doc/docx, PDF, TXT or other formats.

Amazon offers you Kindle Create that beautifully formats your manuscript and turns it into a professional book.

Step 6 – Create Your Book Cover

Your book cover is what catches readers eyes first and people do judge books by its covers. That’s why it’s the extremely important that your book cover design looks professional and catchy

If you’re not a design expert, I’d highly recommend you hire a professional who would design your book cover and set it up for success.

Step 7 – Price Your Book

Pricing your book is an important decision to make. 

As a new author you might be asking: “how much should I price my book on Amazon?”. 

It’s completely up to you, but generally, the best price for your first book would range from $2.99 to $9.99.

According to the most popular pricing strategy, it’s better to price your book for $2.99 and increase its price by $1 each week.

Be aware, that the royalty payments vary from country to country and you can increase your earnings by enrolling in the KDP Select program.

How to Create a Paperback of Your Published eBook?


Creating a paperback of your published eBook is an easy process as you already have entered all the details . All you need to do is to make your eBook available on Amazon bookstore. 

In order to turn your eBook to a paperback version, go to KDP Bookshelf, find your eBook and click ‘+ Create Paperback’. Amazon Kindle will update your paperback details according to the details you’ve provided for your eBook.

Moreover, they can take care of printing and handling your paperback versions on-demand and subtract printing costs from your royalties. This means you don’t have to pay any upfront fees and hold a large inventory in hopes of selling your paperbacks.

What are Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing on Amazon?


Still not sure whether self-publishing on Amazon is a good option? Let’s take a look at pros and cons of KDP publishing that can help you make a more rational decision.

Pros

  • It’s free – whether you’re self-publishing an eBook or a paperback, it’s completely free to put your book in front of readers.
  • Quick turnaround – you can expect your book to get published in under 72 hours.
  • No subjective thoughts – self-publishing allows you to publish any book without someone’s subjective approval. Unless your book violates KDP Content Guidelines, it’s good to publish.
  • Get up to 70% royalty rates
  • Reach a large, global audience – Amazon is a huge marketplace and your self-published book will reach readers around the world.
  • No financial risk – ability to print on demand, only when your paperback sells. You don’t have to hold a large inventory in hopes that your books will sell.

Cons

  • The 90-day exclusivity clause – when you publish your book on Amazon, you can’t sell your eBook elsewhere during this period.


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