Amazon Self-Publishing – Facts and FAQs

by | Mar 5, 2021

If you’re an author, it’s probably you considered the possibility of publishing your work on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), the world’s largest self-publishing platform.

Well, you’re in the right place. In this simple guide I’ll explain how to publish a book on Amazon in the fastest and easiest way. You’ll see that in a short period of time, which usually doesn’t exceed 72 hours, your book could be generating its first sales.

Let’s see.

What is KDP?

KDP is Amazon’s self-publishing platform, which controls around 80% of the eBook market in the US, so for independent authors, KDP is the first sales option.

It’s important that you know that KDP offers two services: KDP and KDP Select.

The difference is that KDP Select offers some additional options to the regular service and with this, Amazon acquires the exclusivity of publishing your work for at least 90 days.

How do I publish to Kindle Direct Publishing?

Publishing your work on Amazon KDP is a fairly simple process, the important thing is that you have certain information on hand when the system asks for it. In this way, you avoid wasted time and frustrations.

Once you’ve your finished work – or at least a final draft – in addition to a good cover for it (.JPEG), you should have:

  • A good book description.
  • Your book’s metadata. This includes title, subtitle, page length, etc.
  • At least 7 keywords related to your book’s topic.
  • At least 10 related categories
  • Information regarding your bank accounts
  • As much as possible of your personal info

Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing Account

If you already have an Amazon account, you can use that information to log in into KDP, but you can also create a new account.

Once you’ve logged in, you have to fill in some fields with personal information:

  • Country and address of residence
  • Names and surnames
  • City
  • Phone, etc.

In this section, they’ll also ask you for info about your bank accounts and about taxes – wait, it’s nothing to worry about.

Remember you can modify this information, as well as the information about your book, whenever you want.

Adding a Title to your KDP Bookshelf

For Amazon KDP to save all the information about your work in your own KDP Bookshelf, you’ll need to assign a name that will serve to identify that “virtual space” where your book will exist.

Just choose the Kindle eBook option.

Choosing an Effective Book Title and Subtitle

You should think in terms of marketing here, since you must provide metadata about your book, and this includes, apart from the title and subtitle – the most important – any information that helps your book “reach” your target audience (topic, author, edition, etc).

A good title and subtitle are powerful tools for telling your potential audience what your book is about. Just remember avoiding any words or phrases against Amazon’s policies.

How to Write and Format Your Book Description for Amazon

If a beautiful cover and a powerful title/subtitle are what attract your potential readers in, a well-crafted description is what will help you make the sale.

First, try observing how other successful authors on Amazon format their descriptions, this will help you in getting an idea about what works well.

Regarding the format itself, KDP uses HTML, so you must use an online tool for this.

Picking book keywords

Another important aspect of marketing is keywords, as these are words or phrases that your potential buyers will use to “find” your book on Amazon. KDP allows you to define up to 7.

Use an online tool to investigate which keywords – related to your topic – are the ones that people usually use.

Find a balance point between general and niche words.

How to select book categories

Amazon KDP has more than 16,000 categories – and it allows you up to 10 for your book – so it’s essential that you’ve it clear from the beginning.

This is of similar importance to keywords, as it makes it easier for potential readers to find your book. You must also find a balance point between general and niche categories.

Do some research on Amazon for books similar to yours to get a better idea.

Scheduling your book’s launch date

Before defining a release date, consider any relevant tasks that may affect your work once it’s in the market. This includes marketing tasks or anything to improve its overall performance.

Play it safe, think about it so that you don’t have to run solving aspects that you hadn’t foreseen.

Uploading and previewing your manuscript and book cover

In this step you must upload a copy of your book and cover in .DOCX and .JPEG/ TIFF formats, respectively. KDP will take a few minutes to verify that everything is in order.

Regarding the cover, follow these tips:

  • It should fit your book’s topic
  • It should have a ratio of 1.6:1, dimensions of 2560×1600 pixels and a minimum resolution of 300 PPI
  • Check that it looks good in your browser and in the Kindle app, both mobile and desktop

Kindle Direct Publishing pricing

Amazon allows you to use two royalty plans on its platform, one for 70% and the other for 35%.

If you prefer the 70%, you should sell your book at a price between $2.99 and $9.99, since if you want to set the price higher, you’ll have to choose the 35% plan. More information on this topic here.

If you’re a new author, it’s best to give your work a low price, so you’d attract your first buyers easier. In any case, remember that you can modify prices later, as it suits you.

Amazon Self Publishing – Frequently Asked Questions

Is eBook the only format I can use in Amazon for my book?

No. Amazon also allows you to sell books in print and audio format.

Can I offer my book on other platforms while it is published on Amazon?

You can do this as long as you haven’t signed up for the KDP Select program.

Do I have to pay upfront cost to publish my book?

No. Amazon makes money from your books only when you generate sales.

I’m an author, but I know nothing about marketing. Will Amazon help me with that?

Yes. Amazon has powerful marketing tools and support resources that will make your life easier in this sense.

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