Do you have an idea you want to share with the world?
Publishing a book on Amazon is a great way to see your name in print, increase your brand visibility and reach, and add another revenue-generating product to your lineup. Writing a book gives you authority, enhances marketing, increases lead generation, spurs a conversation around your company, and boosts the bottom line.
And you don’t need to work with one of the big publishers to see the same profit and advertising boosts. Self-publishing is the trending way to grow your business in just days.
What are the benefits of self-publishing on Amazon? What does the publishing process on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) look like?
Why self-publish on Amazon?
Publishing on Amazon allows you to access millions of readers instantly. You can publish an eBook or paperback at the same time with just the click of a few buttons. It takes less than 5 minutes to publish your book, and it will appear in Kindle stores in 24-48 hours.
You also have high growth potential. In most countries, you’ll earn 60-80% royalty on your sales, and you can earn even more through the KDP Select program. You also get your own list prices based on your profit margins and audience. This can be a great way to add more revenue, especially in the early stages of a product launch.
Amazon also gives you the option to maintain control of your copyright and distribution rights—whether you publish in digital (eBook) or print. However, it’s important to note that if you choose to hold the copyrights to your book, you’ll only receive around 30% royalties as opposed to the average 70% mentioned above.
Plus, your paperback books are printed on demand, so you’re always in stock. You never have to worry about wasted inventory sitting there.
Because it’s an online product, you can actually make changes to key parts of your book at any time. This allows you to constantly optimize your book to reach the greatest readership base.
Amazon also offers tools and resources to make sure you write, edit, and market your book for the best possible success. With Kindle’s ecosystem, you’re able to create strong products with minimal effort.
So how do you create and self-publish a book on Amazon?
1. Write the book.
The hardest part of self-publishing is choosing an idea to write about.
What is the goal of your book? Do you want to be an authority on a specific topic in your industry? Do you want more people to learn about your brand? Do you want to teach about your unique products and services?
Knowing what you want to gain from publishing a book is a good starting point. This can help you outline what the structure of your book should look like.
From there, it’s time to get writing. Often, the hardest part is just starting. So sit down and get going.
2. Hire an editor.
The biggest mistake self-publishing authors make is not sharing their book with professionals before publishing.
Even though you’re self-publishing, you don’t want to be the only one who has eyes on your book before it goes “to print.” Editors ensure that the flow, content, and grammar of your book will best engage your audience.
It’s easier than ever to outsource editing to a freelancer or content company. You pay a flat fee and the editor will respond with in-depth edits and structural advice.
This is a great way to ensure that your book will relate to your audience and promote your brand successfully.
3. Find a designer.
On Amazon, one of the most important aspects of selling a self-published book is the cover. Customers will judge your book by the quality and intrigue of your cover.
You want an eye-catching cover, and you may also want engaging designs throughout the book—especially if you’re creating a children’s book or product manual.
You can work with an illustrator to create gorgeous designs, or you can outsource to a marketer like Seller’s Choice who knows how to use cover and package design to intrigue an audience.
4. Follow Amazon’s guidelines.
When preparing your manuscript and cover, you want to make sure that you’re following Amazon’s quality and content guidelines.
Following these guidelines can also help you edit your book for clarity and value.
If you don’t follow Amazon’s rules, your book—and even your entire storefront—could be removed from Amazon.
5. Sign in to Amazon.
Once your book is ready to be published, use your Amazon account to sign in to KDP. You’ll want to make sure your browser is updated to properly preview your manuscript.
Go to Bookshelf and “Create A New Title Section.”
From here you can either create a Kindle eBook or Paperback.
6. Fill in the details.
Below are the details about your book that you’ll need to include before publishing. This helps Amazon properly categorize your book and improves visibility for users when searching for books.
- Language: This is the language in which your book is written.
- Title: The title should be catchy and interesting. Typically, this should be the actual title of your book. You can also include a subtitle to further engage your audience.
- Description: This is what appears on Amazon’s detail page. It’s the reader’s first experience with your book. This is like the back cover of a physical book, which customers read to see if they want to purchase the book. You want this blurb to be more like an advertisement for your book, rather than a summary of the content.
- Author: This is the primary author’s name. The name should remain consistent with other books by the same author. This improves searchability and visibility.
- Contributors: Include anyone who deserves credit for the book, like editors, illustrators, and translators.
- Series/edition number: If your book is part of a series or edition, include the series name and volume. This helps improve search and repeat purchases.
- Categories: Amazon categories are like the sections of a bookstore where you would find this book, like fiction, history, business, or self-help. You can choose up to two browse categories, which helps users browse through types of books they’re interested in. Try to choose categories with books that rank between 10,000-30,000; any books ranked 2,000 or less are highly competitive, while above 30,000 are usually too under-searched.
- Keywords: You can use up to 7 keywords that describe your book. These should be relevant to your book and highly searched. Don’t repeat keywords that are in the title, category, or description. Click to learn how to find and choose the best keywords for your Amazon products and books.
- Publishing rights: You’ll select whether you hold the copyrights to your book or if the book is published under public domain.
- Age and grade: If publishing a children’s book, select the age and grade. This is one of the most popular filters for parents searching for books for their kids. This is a great option if you have a kids’ or family brand.
- Pre-order: You can decide whether to release the book now or make it available for pre-order up to 90 days. If you choose to pre-order, your book will automatically be released on Kindle to customers who have pre-ordered it.
- Adult content: Label if your book contains language, situations, or images that are inappropriate for children under age 18.
- Price and royalty: You’ll then choose the price of your book as well as the royalty plan. Amazon sometimes allows you to determine how you’ll be paid out and the percentage of royalties you’ll receive.
- Print options: If creating a paperback, you’ll also choose your print options. You can select the ink, paper, trim size, bleed, and cover finish. This allows you to customize your book for your audience and preferences.
7. Upload and preview.
You’ll then upload your manuscript and cover. Remember that the cover and book description are your two key marketing tactics for selling your book.
After uploading, you can preview your eBook or paperback. KDP uses software that allows you to visualize how your book would appear on a Kindle or in book form—right from your desktop.
If you are creating a paperback, you might want to also order a proof. This sends a copy of the book to your home so you can ensure the printing appears the way you want.
Pro-tip: Make sure your paperback and eBook match in title and author. The KDP platform will search Amazon to pair matches together to make the browsing process easier.
Before publishing, make sure you are aware of all of Amazon’s Terms and Conditions.
When you’re pleased with your book manuscript and details, hit “Publish.” You’ll see it appear in Kindle’s marketplace in 24-48 hours. Customers will be able to have access to your eBook or print as soon as it enters the market.
The hardest part is hitting publish. Put aside your fears. With KDP, you can always change or remove your book if it doesn’t turn out how you want. So take the leap, hit publish, and start connecting with your audience!
Don’t simply publish your book and let it sit there. There are hundreds of thousands of books on Amazon. You can’t bank on Amazon’s algorithm to promote your products. You need a clear and defined marketing strategy.