A Visual Guide To Publishing Your eBook on Kindle

For years it has been only the exceptionally gifted or the very lucky writer who ever saw their books in print. Today, thanks to digital publishing, virtually anyone can publish their own book. This article is a step-by step tutorial that will show you how to publish your own e-book on Kindle at almost no cost to you. Before we dive into the process, we’d like to make one point clear: it’s one thing to publish a book, but it’s another to sell it. Before you spend the time and energy publishing your book, you may want to spend some time thinking about how you plan to get it in the hands of readers. If you’re looking for help, check out our other articles, especially this one.

Why Kindle?
A Kindle reader is a device that displays an electronic version of a book that is downloaded by a customer.  In addition to the Kindle reader, the company has programs and applications available for most smartphones, electronic tablets and computers—both Windows and Mac. Kindle is a subsidiary of Amazon—one of the largest online retailers in the world. While there are other platforms available for publishing e-books, the vast majority sold today are sold through Kindle. By publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing, your book becomes available to millions of people around the world.

Another reason to publish with Kindle is the fact that they spend a lot of money promoting their titles to their customers. And they don’t just promote popular authors. When our first book was published, Amazon adds for the book were found all over Facebook. We didn’t pay for these ads. Amazon paid for them.  Free targeted advertising is a service that other publishers don’t offer.

Finally, if you’re technically challenged when it comes to creating and uploading print files, Kindle makes the process straight-forward and easy to understand.

Sign Up or Sign in to an Account
Go to the homepage for Kindle Direct Publishing and sign into your account or create a new account if you don’t have one.  After you’re logged in, click “Get Started.”

Note: You may be required to provide your bank account information, as Amazon will either send you a monthly check or directly deposit your royalties in your bank account. You can choose how you receive payment.

SignInKDPAdd New Title
Once you are signed in, you will see the Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard.  This is where you will add new book projects, view reports on book sales and launch promotional programs. If your book is ready to be published, click “Add New Title 1.”

Add_new_title

Enter Your Book Details
Here, you will provide Kindle with the details of your book including the title, sub-title, publisher, author(s) and description.

Description
A major mistake many authors make is failing to recognize the importance of the book description. Kindle allows 4,000 characters for the description. Our advice is to use as many words as possible in the description without making it sound repetitive. Amazon’s search engines match up your book with customer searches based largely on key search terms found  in the book’s title, sub-title and description. If you want your book to be recommended to potential buyers it would be wise to make the description as full and complete as possible. We included the chapter titles in the description of our first book in order to help readers find the book through key search terms found in the chapter headings. Give serious thought to the description. You might check out our article on creating a description that will help sell your book.

ISBN
Although print books require an ISBN number, Kindle does not require one for e-books. If you have one, you may use it, but it is completely optional.

Enter_book_details

Book Category
Kindle encourages you to add up to two categories for your book. You may want to do a little research before you decide on your book’s categories. The category choices can weigh heavily on sales and rankings. Ideally, you want your book to be in a category where it has a chance to compete with other books for a spot in the top 10 of the category you’ve chosen. If you are a new author, you may want to place the book in a category with fewer books, because it will give your book a better chance to rise to the top of the category.  Placing the book in a category with tens of thousands of similar books will almost guarantee it will get lost in obscurity. Check out our article on choosing a category for more information.

Keywords
Kindle allows up to seven keywords for your book. We suggest using all of them. Keywords can be single words or they can contain strings of words such as “prophetic ministry” or “raising the dead.” Keyword selection is another important consideration as search engines tend to match up buyer search terms with the keywords you provide. We’ve developed a process that allows you to determine which keywords are most commonly searched for by potential buyers. See our article on keywords for more information.

Add_categories

Category_Menu

 

Upload or Create a Cover
We strongly encourage you to create a visually appealing cover for your book. A good cover design draws the attention of potential readers. Kindle makes it easy to create a simple cover if you don’t have the design skills or money to pay for a professional one. Just follow the steps below.  (If you have your own cover image, check to see that it meets Kindle’s format requirements.)

Choose_Cover

 

If you choose to create your own cover:
Click the Cover Creator button and launch the program.  Follow the instructions to create a background image, select a color scheme and a layout for the text and choose your fonts. When you are satisfied with the cover, save it and click preview. If it looks good, save it and come back to the this page to complete the next step.

Cover_creator

 

 

Cover_proof

 

Upload Your Book File
First, choose if you would like to enable digital rights management (DRM). If you enable digital rights management it is (in theory) more difficult for others to share or sell your work without your permission and without paying you a royalty. Some authors encourage sharing of their work without payment as it can create a wider visibility for their work. If you don’t want your work being shared without your knowledge and without payment, select “enable digital rights management.”

Digital_rights_management

Next select “Browse” to locate your book file on your computer.

Upload_book_file

Types of Formats
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) lets you upload and convert your final draft from several formats. For best results, they recommend that you upload in DOC/DOCX (.doc/.docx) or HTML (.html) format. Be sure to read through the tips below for your preferred format prior to publishing.

KDP accepts the following formats:

WORD (DOC or DOCX)

We developed a simplified approach for creating a Kindle file from a Microsoft WORD document. Check out this video for step-by-step instructions.

  • KDP accepts most DOC & DOCX files; however, some files which contain complex formatting may not convert well. Be sure to use the previewer to check your file’s conversion if it contains tables or is graphic intensive to ensure conversion was successful. For more tips on formatting in Microsoft word please visit their Help page.
  • Kindle books can be viewed in different font sizes, depending on the reader’s preference. Page numbers, font sizes and margins created in Word will not be applied.
  • The “Page Break” feature in Word should be used to create intentional page breaks (i.e. ending a chapter for a smoother transition and better reading experience).
  • Images can be added using the ‘Insert’ function in Word. Do not use the copy/paste function.
  • If you’re submitting your file in DOC or DOCX format, the entire book text should be uploaded in one file.
  • Do not include a cover in your book file. Kindle will automatically embed the cover file you selected in the previous step.

HTML (ZIP, HTM, or HTML)

  • If your HTML document contains images, please compress all files into a single ZIP file before uploading.
  • For help with HTML please see KDP’s Basic HTML Formatting Guidelines.

Verify Upload
When you have successfully uploaded your file and it has been converted, you will see the following screen verifying that the file was uploaded and it passed the spell-check test.
Note: KDP’s spell-check feature should not be relied upon for accuracy. It is unlikely that it will catch all misspelled words. The best way to spell-check your document is to rely on the services of a good editor.

Successful_upload

Formatting and Previewing
If your book has minimal formatting requirements and does not include tables, images or bullet lists,  Amazon’s upload service is extremely good at retaining your formatting. Nevertheless, you should always preview your work after successfully uploading it. If your book contains images, charts, tables or lists, you may need to use a special program to convert the file to preserve formatting.

Consider the fact that an eBook is displayed on a screen. Screens come in many different sizes, from iPad Mini’s to iPhones, full-size iPads and desktop computers. Books that include detailed graphics will never look as good when displayed on an electronic screen as they do in print.

After uploading your book file, use the “Online Previewer” link then, from the drop-down list select a device and preview how your book will be displayed. The menu allows you select different devices and either landscape or portrait orientation for previewing.

 

Kindle_preview

Save & Continue

Save_continue

 

Set Your Price

Rights_pricing

 

Select Territories

Select_territories

Amazon lets you set nearly any price you wish for your book. However, there are two royalty options: 35% or 70%.

Set_price

Here are some things to consider:

  • You can designate your book for sale in only certain countries, or worldwide.
  • If you price your book below $2.99, or more than $9.99, Amazon will only offer the 35% royalty option.
  • In some smaller markets, Amazon only offers the 35% royalty. (The 70% option is available in the U.S., Canada, UK and most larger markets.)
  • When you choose the 70% royalty option, Amazon also deducts a small “delivery fee” for each book sold. This is their additional fee for wirelessly distributing your work, and is based on the file size of your work. In the U.S., this fee is presently set at 15 cents per megabyte. (A Word document of approximately 100,000 words and with minimal graphics is typically no more than 1 MB.)
  • There is no delivery charge with the 35% royalty option.

Thus, if you charge $2.99 for your work and choose the 70% royalty option, your royalty for each book sold is likely to be:

$2.99 x .70 = $2.09 before delivery fee

$2.09 – .15 (delivery fee) = $1.94.

You earn $1.94 for each book sold. (Authors are solely responsible for paying taxes.)

MatchBook

Match_book

Lending

 

Lending

 

Confirm & Publish

Confirm_publish

Once you’ve published your book, it takes Amazon 24-48 hours before your book will be available for sale on their website.

 

KDP Select

Amazon aggressively promotes their “KDP Select” program. With KDP Select, if you agree to publish your work on Kindle—exclusively—for 90 days and allow Amazon customers to borrow it for free, Amazon will pay you a small fee each time the book is borrowed. Typically, this fee is close to the royalty you would have received had the book actually been purchased.

KDP_select

Amazon obviously wants everyone to have their work available exclusively through them.

Given Amazon’s market share, you may wish to try KDP Select. It will prevent readers from purchasing your book on Apple’s iBooks service, or other platforms, as long as your book is enrolled in the program.

Paperback Printing

KDP offers an optional service where they will convert your ebook to a paperback. We have not tried this service (it’s currently in Beta) because we create our own print book files. But if you have limited funds, you may want to check it out. More information on the paperback option can be found on this page.

Amazon Author Page

Once your book is available, we also recommend creating an Amazon author page—a free service that links your biography, personal website, and social media pages with your book listing.

Final Thoughts

Publishing ebooks with KDP does require you to learn their system, a system which is continually being updated. Our experiences have been positive overall. We sell a lot of ebooks through Amazon, and all of them are permanently enrolled in KDP Select.  We have no regrets about making KDP our exclusive distributor for ebooks.

If you have specific questions about publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing, you’re welcome to email us through our contact page.