How To Publish A Book On Amazon In 2020
If you have a book and aren’t sure how to publish a book on Amazon, you’re in the right place.
The changes over the last year alone have made this updated step-by-step guide to publishing on Amazon a much-needed resource for the self-publishing author.
You probably have some questions going into this:
- What’s the best way to publish a paperback option for my book so Amazon will list it on the same page as my eBook?
- What’s the deal with CreateSpace, and how is KDP Print different?
- How do I set up my book on Amazon’s KDP dashboard to make it visible and irresistible to my target readers?
Read on for the answers to these and other questions.
Whether you want to create a Kindle eBook, a paperback, or both, if you’re looking at self-publishing on Amazon, I hope you’ll bookmark this post and let it guide you all the way to the finish line.
This article won’t cover the writing, finishing, launching, or marketing of your book.
What you’re diving into here is a step-by-step guide to publishing a book on Amazon Kindle and KDP Print.
When you’re finished, you’ll know everything you need to know on how to publish your book on Amazon — and you’ll be minutes away from becoming a published author on the biggest book-selling platform in the world.
So, let’s dig in!
(Sidebar: If you’d like to learn our strategies for writing a bestselling book, then I suggest checking out our free checklist, which is the exact 46-point guide we’ve used to sell one million copies of our books.)
- How to Publish a Book on Amazon
- How to Publish an Ebook on Amazon
- How to Publish a Print Book on Amazon
How to Publish a Book on Amazon
First of all, you’ll sign in to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or sign up to create a new author account.
The next steps depend on whether you’re creating a new Kindle eBook or a print paperback.
How to Publish an Ebook on Amazon
1. Under “Create a New Title,” select “+ Kindle eBook.”
KDP will then take you to the three-page setup to create a Kindle eBook.
2. Fill in your “Kindle eBook Details.”
Next, you’ll specify whether this book is part of a series. If so, type in your series name (e.g, “Books for Writers”) and your book’s number in that series (presumably “1”).
Then, you’ll enter your author name and the names of any other contributors (e.g., a co-author, or the person who wrote your book’s foreword, if you have one).
Now, you’ll type (or paste) in a book description — using some HTML tags to format it in a way that will help you grab and hold onto your target reader’s attention: heading tags for the hook; a bulleted list (for nonfiction), bold type or italics, where appropriate; etc.
This online HTML editor makes it easy to format your description, and you can simply copy and paste the text from the HTML pane to KDP’s book description field.
Don’t forget to include a clear call to action (CTA) at the end, using larger type (a heading tag) to make it stand out.
From here, we move onto publishing rights, where, if this is true, you’ll select the words, “I own the copyright and hold the necessary publication rights.”
Next, you’ll add some keywords. KDP lets you add up to seven, so make the most of this opportunity to help Amazon browsers find your book. KDP Rocket is a great tool for helping you pinpoint the best keywords for your book.
After keywords, you’ll need to choose two Amazon categories for your book.
If you’re not sure which ones to pick, look at the categories of other books in your genre that are most similar to your book and that are doing well.
Next, you’ll indicate whether your book has an age or grade range. You can leave this alone if your book isn’t written specifically for children.
Finally, on this page, you get to decide whether you want your book to release immediately upon publication or whether you want a pre-order period.
With the pre-order option, your book won’t be available until the release period ends, but your book will be live and visible to book browsers, who can pre-order your book for the special price you set, and you have time to build some buzz before launch day.
3. Add your “Kindle eBook Content.”
Once you’ve hit “Save and Continue” on the first page, KDP will take you to the second one, where you’ll upload the content for your Kindle eBook.
First, you’ll need to tell Amazon whether you want DRM protection. Since the “yes” option has been known to prevent legitimate buyers from accessing your book, we recommend you choose “No.”
Next, you’ll upload your eBook manuscript. You can use Kindle Create to convert your eBook’s interior file to MOBI format, which is the format Kindle uses.
Or you can upload your file in one of the other formats KDP accepts – Word, HTML, ePUB, etc. KDP will begin converting your file to MOBI once you upload it.
After this, you’ll move on to your Kindle eBook’s cover, where you’ll upload a cover file in JPG format. We do not recommend using KDP’s Cover Creator, because the best result from this tool is still far beneath what your book needs and deserves — which is a well-designed cover, ideally created by a professional (like the folks at Archangel Ink).
Once KDP has finished compiling your eBook with the interior file and cover, you’ll Launch the Previewer to see how your book will look on Kindle and scan it for formatting issues or problems with your cover (image resolution, etc.).
KDP will also let you download a preview to your computer or Kindle device if you want to see how your book will look on your Kindle e-reader or app — and how it would look to your Kindle readers if you published it now.
You’ll need to approve this Previewer copy on KDP in order to continue.
4. Set your “Kindle eBook Pricing.”
Once you’ve hit “Save and Continue” on the content page — after previewing and approving your book — you’ll move on to the third and final page, which is where you’ll set your price.
The first order of business on this page is to decide whether or not to enroll your book into KDP Select — which makes your book exclusive to Amazon in exchange for promotional opportunities and greater visibility during the first 30 days of the 90 day period.
KDP Select also makes your book available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, giving you the chance to earn extra money from their “page reads.” We highly recommend this to all new self-published authors
Next, you’ll tell KDP whether you hold distribution rights for all territories or just for specific individual territories.
If you’re the author of this book and have never published it before, you have worldwide distribution rights. Selecting this option means book buyers around the world can order your book from their own country’s Amazon site (e.g., amazon.com.uk, amazon.com.de, etc.).
Now, you’ll set your book’s price and see what royalty you’ll earn per sale at that price.
If you want to earn 70% royalties, you’ll want to set your book’s price to at least $2.99 but no more than $9.99. Any price outside this range earns a 35% royalty.
After setting your price, you’ll decide whether or not to enroll in Kindle Matchbook, which gives readers who purchase your print book the option of buying your Kindle eBook at a reduced price or (if you choose) downloading it for free.
Next, you’ll decide whether to allow Kindle Book Lending — where those who buy your eBook would be able to lend it out to friends and family within the first 14 days.
5. Hit Publish!
At the bottom of page three, you’ll agree to the terms and conditions, confirm that you understand your rights and responsibilities, and either save your book as a draft (to publish later) or click “Publish Your Kindle eBook.”
If you do the latter, KDP will give you a popup window letting you know that (unless they find a problem with it) your book will go live on Amazon within 72 hours.
How to Publish a Print Book on Amazon
Authors who want a paperback option for books sold on Amazon used to create and publish one using CreateSpace — a print-on-demand (POD) company owned by Amazon.
CreateSpace began as BookSurge in the year 2000, and Amazon acquired it in 2005.
But since CreateSpace closed in 2018, all its functions, tools, and resources have been moved to KDP Print — the “in house” paperback branch of Kindle Direct Publishing.
KDP Print now gives authors the chance to order proof copies of their paperback books before publishing them — a feature that used to give CreateSpace an edge over the younger KDP Print.
But publishing with CreateSpace meant you had to log into two different websites to check your sales stats.
Publishing your paperback through KDP Print means you’ll see the sales stats for both of them on the same page.
And the new beta version of the KDP Reports page makes it even easier to see the sales numbers for each book and its print and eBook options.
1. Under “Create a New Title,” select “+ Paperback.”
Just as with the Kindle eBook setup, you’ll start by signing in to KDP (or signing up) and going to “Create a New Title” on KDP’s Bookshelf page.
Select “+ Paperback” to go to the three-page setup for KDP Print.
2. Fill in your “Paperback Details.”
Page one is for your paperback’s details. You’ll start by selecting your book’s language and entering its title and subtitle.
Next, if your book is part of a series, you’ll type in the series name and your book’s number in that series (which is most likely “1”).
If your book is a new edition of an already published book, you’ll next enter the edition number.
For example, if you published a book of the same title a couple years ago, and you’ve created a second edition of the same book, you’ll enter “2.”
After this, you’ll type in your author name and then the names of other contributors to your book (co-authors, the person who wrote your book’s foreword, etc.).
Now, on to your book’s description. If you need help writing a powerful book description, check out Bryan Cohen’s book, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis and the free cheat sheet he provides as a bonus.
Focus on hooking your target readers with your first sentence and holding their attention with clear, compelling sentences and — if this is a nonfiction book — a bulleted list highlighting the ways your book will help make their lives better. Don’t forget to wrap up with a compelling call to action (CTA).
You can use an online HTML editor to help you format your book description; then copy and paste the text from the HTML panel to KDP’s book description field.
Next, if you’re the author of the book, you’ll assert your publication rights, telling KDP, “I own the copyright and I hold necessary publishing rights.”
After this, you’ll choose up to seven keywords to help your target readers find you during their book searches. KDP Rocket is a great tool for finding the most effective keywords for your book.
Next, you’ll choose two Amazon categories for your book. This is where Amazon will file your book and choosing the right ones is critical to your book’s visibility. The categories you choose will also determine how likely your book is to reach “bestseller” status on Amazon. KDP Rocket can help with this, too.
Finally, at the end of this page, you’ll indicate whether your book has adult content — or content deemed unsuitable for readers under 18 years of age.
3. Add your “Paperback Content.”
Once you click “Save and Continue” on the Details page, you’ll move on to page two: Paperback Content.
Here, you’ll start by indicating whether you want KDP to assign you a free ISBN number for your book or whether you already have an ISBN number. In the latter case, you’ll type in your ISBN number here.
Next, if your book was previously published, you’ll enter a publication date. If you’re publishing this book for the first time, leave this blank.
Now, you’ll move on to the Print Options, where you’ll choose the following:
- Interior and paper type (e.g., “Black & white interior with cream paper”)
- Trim size (e.g., “6 x 9 in”)
- Bleed settings (bleed or no bleed)*
- Paperback cover finish (matte or glossy)
*Bleed allows images and illustrations to be printed at or off the edge of your page. If everything in your book is within the set margins, you’ll select “no bleed.”
Next, you’ll upload your book’s formatted interior file in PDF format.
Then you’ll upload a PDF copy of your book’s full cover (front, back, and spine in one file). KDP Print does have a Cover Creator tool, but we don’t recommend using it, because it won’t enable you to create a cover that looks professional and will help you sell copies of your book.
If you want to become a well-paid author, it pays to invest in a high quality cover your readers will love. We recommend the friendly and highly-skilled designers at Archangel Ink.
If your book’s cover already has an ISBN number and barcode, don’t forget to check the box that indicates that. If it doesn’t (if you’re asking KDP Print to assign a free ISBN number to your book), leave this box unchecked.
At the bottom of this page, you’ll Launch the Previewer to see a virtual copy of your print book and check it for formatting issues or problems with your cover (spine width, image resolution, etc.). You’ll need to approve this copy before you can continue, and once you do, KDP will tell you how much it will cost to print each copy.
If everything looks good and KDP doesn’t see any problems barring your book’s publication, you can save and continue.
On to page three!
4. Set your “Paperback Rights & Pricing.”
At the top of this page, you’ll tell KDP whether you have worldwide distribution rights — which you have if you’re the author of the book — or whether you can only distribute it in specific individual territories.
For example, if you’re publishing a new copy of a book that is available on public domain the United States but nowhere else, you’d select “Individual territories” and check “United States.”
Next, you’ll set your book’s price and indicate whether you want “Expanded Distribution.” KDP will calculate your royalty based on the price you choose and whether you check that tiny box.
Expanded Distribution helps you reach more readers by distributing your paperback through libraries, schools, bookstores, and other online retailers, so we recommend you check this box. You’ll have to set your price a bit higher to compensate for the added cost and lower royalty rate, but the greater visibility is an advantage no serious author should pass up.
At the bottom of this page, you’ll have the option of ordering a printed proof copy of your book before you publish it. If you choose this option, be sure to finish the order within 24 hours of requesting it, or the order will expire, and you’ll have to go back into KDP and order it again.
If you’re ordering a proof copy and want to look through it before publishing your book, click “Save as Draft” for now. Otherwise, move on to the next and final step.
5. Hit Publish!
If you’re all set to go, click “Publish Your Paperback Book.” A popup will appear to let you know KDP is now processing your book for publication, and you’ll see it live on Amazon within 72 hours.
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What Happens Next?
You did it! You’re now officially a published author on Amazon, and if their staff doesn’t find any problems with your book’s setup, you’ll be able to share a link to your book’s Amazon sales page within 72 hours.
You’re probably wondering what comes next, and I hope you’ll check out more posts on Authority.Pub to answer that question.
Also, check out our Bestseller’s Checklist as soon as you can to learn about launching your book, marketing it for continuing sales, getting book reviews, etc.
Now that you know how to publish on Amazon, how soon will you become a published author?
If we’ve answered your questions and made you more confident and excited about publishing your first book with Amazon, this article has fulfilled its purpose. We look forward to hearing about your new book and helping you with every step of the self-publishing process.
And may your courage and creativity influence everything else you do today.