Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows anyone to sell books. All you need to open an Amazon KDP account and sell books on Amazon is free. You also get paid every time a book is sold. In just four steps, we’ll show you how to set up Amazon KDP accounts and sell books on Amazon.
How Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing works (KDP).
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing allows independent authors to sell e-books as well as print-on-demand books through Amazon. You don’t have to pay anything to join KDP. Every time your book sells, you will be paid a royalty of 35 to 70% of the book’s cost.
KDP authors can sell on Amazon and other marketplaces, such as Smashwords. You can also enroll your titles in Amazon’s exclusive sales program KDP Selection. KDP Select titles cannot be sold directly through Amazon. However, in return for exclusivity, they are eligible for additional promotions such as:
- Listings for Kindle Unlimited (KU – Amazon’s most popular subscription program pays authors per-read, rather than per-sale.
- Listings on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – This gives every Kindle owner access and, like KU, you are paid per-borrow.
- Inclusion into KDP Select Promotions – Special pricing countdown and limited-time pricing help readers attract and grow their book reviews.
KDP Select allows KDP authors to choose whether they want to list all, none or a select number of titles. This gives you complete control over where and how your books will be sold through Amazon. We’ll now show you how to use KDP to start selling e-books through Amazon in just four steps.
1. Register for your free Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account (KDP).
No matter if you have a book in the works, you can open an Amazon KDP account. It’s actually a good idea not to have a book yet, but you can still open an Amazon KDP account. This will allow you to access KDP’s many useful tools and publishing tutorials. Once your book is completed, you can already create an account.
Go to kdp.amazon.com to set up your Kindle Direct Publishing Account. You’ll see the following screen:
In a short video, the KDP sign in screen guides you through the basics of up-front.
You will need an Amazon account in order to create a KDP Account, as you can see from the yellow Sign-in button. Note that Amazon strongly discourages individuals from having more than one Amazon account. Dave Chesson, Kindlepreneur says that authors can open a separate Amazon account under a business entity. This is a great way to seperate your book sales and your personal Amazon account.
“Writers and business professionals can sell books on Kindle direct Publishing without withholding any royalty payments,” states Chesson. Amazon has the appropriate tax form to include royalty earnings on business taxes. It’s smart to keep your royalty earnings separate for professional authors and those who sell books on Amazon for business.
Once you have decided how you want to proceed, as an individual or as a business, you can create your Kindle Direct Publishing Account. These are the details you will need to sign up for your KDP account.
- Your business or author name
- Your phone number and address (for Amazon, but not public access)
- For royalty payment deposits, your bank routing number and account number
- Your tax information (Social Security number, for individuals, or Employee Identification Number (EIN), for businesses entities
This information will allow you to sign up for your KDP account in just five minutes.
It takes only minutes to set up your Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Account.
After you have set up your Kindle Direct Publishing account, you can log in to your KDP dashboard as shown below.
Visit the Amazon KDP help center to quickly learn the ins-and-outs of selling books on Amazon.
You can upload, price, manage and track all your Amazon book titles through the KDP dashboard. You’ll also find many tools that will help you publish e-books as well as print on demand paperbacks or audiobooks. Then, market them across the Amazon marketplace.
You should explore these tutorials and tools before you publish your book. To understand the expectations of Amazon KDP regarding writing quality, you should also review Amazon KDP’s content and quality guidelines .
2. 2.Set up your Author Page in Amazon’s Author Central
It’s important to set up your Amazon KDP Account. Next, you should create your Author Page in Amazon’s Author Central. This page allows you to list all your titles in one place on Amazon. It also gives you the opportunity to share your biography with other Amazon customers.
It takes only minutes to set up your Author Page in Author Central.
To create your Author Page you will need to sign up to Author Central. This takes only seconds and is completely free. The entire process can be automated as Amazon pulls in your information from your Amazon account.
Once you confirm your author identity, Amazon will connect any books you’ve already published to your page, like my book below:
Once you’ve confirmed everything, Amazon will email you a link to your Author Page setup screen, where you can add your head shot, bio, blog posts, and even your speaker or appearance schedule if you have one. It can take Amazon a few days to make your Author Page live, so it’s a good idea to set it up when you create your KDP account so it’s ready when you are.
Your Amazon Author Page is hosted on Amazon and once set up, it lists all of your titles in one place.
Joanna Penn is a well-known author, who publishes fiction and nonfiction books in Kindle and print. She makes great use her Amazon Author Page as a marketing tool. This page features her titles available on Amazon and includes video and a blog post that will help her readers to learn more.
Joanna Penn uses her Amazon Author Page as a hub for her books, plus exposure for her blog posts from her WordPress website .
3. Amazon KDP – Create your book listing
Once your Kindle Direct Publishing account is set up, you can concentrate on writing your book. Once your manuscript has been edited and the cover art is complete, you can upload it to Amazon KDP to make it available on Amazon.
You will need to create a listing in your Amazon KDP dashboard. Click on your Bookshelf to select the book you wish to publish. For most KDP authors, this will be a Kindle ebook. If you want, you can also publish paperbacks directly from this screen.
You can create a listing for an e-book or a paperback print-on-demand book, but you can also add a paperback option to your e-book listing now or later on.
KDP guides you through a 3-screen process to create your book details, upload your cover and e-book content, and then set your price. Although it’s very easy, it can be a bit more complicated if you have some details in advance.
Creating a book listing in KDP is pretty quick if you have everything prepared ahead of time.
Screen 1 – Details
Your Book Detail screen is the first screen. It’s also the longest. Once all required fields have been completed, you can’t move on to the next screen. Here are some things you can do ahead of time to speed up the process.
- Title and short subtitle. Be sure to include your most important keywords or phrases.
- Select categories for your book. You can list your title within two categories. Learn more about how to select e-book categories and research methods in our ebook publishing guide.
- Key phrases or keywords – Help readers locate your e-book on Amazon by listing up seven keywords or key terms related to your title.
- Book description Amazon allows you to use 4,000 characters for your e-book topic. Make it appealing to readers so they want to read more. Include keywords throughout.
- Series and Edition numbers – You can include this information if your book is part a series or a new edition.
- Contributors You can mention the names of editors and collaborators in your book credits.
Screen 2: Amazon E-book Content
Once you have entered your book information, you can upload your e-book file or cover art to the next screen. You will need the following:
- Kindle file – This is usually a Kindle-ready.mobi or a.ePub that KDP will convert automatically upon upload. Find out how to save your e-book for Kindle.
- Cover art Kindle Direct Publishing allows cover art to be saved as a.jpg and.tiff files. The KDP cover artwork guidelines recommends a size of 2,560 pixels high by 1,600 pixels wide. To create a cover that is eye-catching and meets the guidelines, you can either use KDP’s free cover maker or the Canva e-book templates, or hire a Fiverr designer to help you.
KDP’s e-book publishing process is a simple three-screen affair.
Notice! Note! ISBNs can be used for e-books, but they are required for printed books. Amazon will assign an ISBN number to you for free if your paperback book is published through Kindle Direct Publishing.
KDP will show your files as successfully imported once they have been uploaded. This step should be easy if you follow our Kindle format guide. After uploading your e-book, you can see how it will look on different Kindle devices using the built-in Kindle Previewer.
KDP’s online preview lets you test drive your new e-book in different Kindle screen sizes.
Once you have checked everything in the Kindle previewer you can move on to the final screen. Here you will set up your pricing and finalize a few details before launching your book on Amazon.
Screen 3: Pricing
The last screen will allow you to set the book’s price and royalty preference. You can also choose the Amazon marketplaces where the book will be sold. You can also enroll your book in the KDP select program to enjoy the Amazon exclusivity benefits.
E-books priced at $2.99 and over qualify for a 70 percent royalty payout. E-book titles under $2.99 only receive a 35 percent royalty payout.
The Pricing Screen is not as complicated as the other screens. However, you will need to make some important decisions. These decisions are not set in stone. You have the option to change your pricing or opt out of KDP Select, as well as your royalty percentage. These are the things you should keep in mind when making these final decisions:
KDP Select Benefits & Enrollment
KDP Select allows you to many promotional tools that can be used to increase sales. Each title is eligible for enrollment and the program runs on a 90 day cycle. Your book will be in KDP Select. However, the same content cannot be published in an e-book or blog. You must wait for the 90-day period to expire before you can publish your book elsewhere. You can renew your title in KDP Select if you wish to keep it long-term.
KDP Select allows you to:
- You can sell your book for the price that you have set
- Kindle Unlimited (KU), or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library(KOLL)
- Limited-time Free Book Promotion
- Limited-time Kindle Countdown Offers
These promotions are not available to titles that aren’t part of KDP Select.
Self-published authors with full copyright can publish anywhere. Amazon even makes it easy by automatically converting currencies. If you are publishing to an international business or in collaboration with others, it is important to ensure that you have the correct tax structure and rights to publish in all or some of these countries.
Pricing & Royalties
Amazon allows you price Kindle Direct Publishing ebooks starting at $0.99 and ending at $200. Amazon will not allow titles to remain permanently listed at $0. Only titles that are enrolled in KDP Select can be eligible for free pricing. Pricing also affects the royalty percentage that you choose and thus your profit potential. The 70 percent royalty is available to titles priced at or above $2.99 A book can be sold for less than $2.99 but your royalty is still 35 percent.
This screen contains the main elements. You will need to check off a few additional fields, but they are quite self-explanatory. You can now click Publish your Kindle E-book after you have completed the fields.
And that’s it. Congratulations! You’re now a published indie author. Your e-book listing will appear live in Amazon’s Kindle marketplace within 72 hours, and KDP will email you the notification when it’s live. Ours took about 45 minutes to become live and available for purchase:
Once you have created your listing, submit your format e-book to Amazon KDP. It takes only minutes to be a published author.
Ok, so clicking the Publish button isn’t but. It’s only the beginning of your work. Now you must market your book on Amazon as well as other outlets. This step will depend on whether you participated in Amazon KDP Select.
We’ll discuss your marketing options based upon your KDP Select selection, and then we’ll cover other ways to market your ebook and draw readers.
Amazon KDP Select – Enroll Your Title
Your e-book as a KDP Select title will be listed in both lending listings. You’ll get paid per-borrow or per-read based on the program’s payout plan. While you can have a KDP Select title and not be eligible for these lending programs, most authors find them to the best way to gain reviews and build a readership.
This is not the only benefit. Chesson says that KDP Select’s success is due to writers who look at every aspect of the program, not just the KU or KOLL benefits. To gain new readers, you can use Kindle Countdown Offers and book promotions that are limited-time . These strategies can also be used to increase momentum for titles that have been out longer.
These promotional benefits will be available to you if your title is enrolled in KDP Select.
If you’re not enrolled in KDP Select,
You can also sell your book through other e-book marketplaces, such as B&N Press (Barnes & Noble NOOK readers), Kobo and Apple iBooks. These listings can be handled by you, just like Amazon KDP. You will need to create your own account, profile, and upload titles. You can also use an ebook distribution service such as Draft2Digital and Smashwords to distribute your ebook to these sites, among others. Although these distribution services cost an additional fee in addition to the royalty payments other sellers marketplaces make, the time saved is generally worth it.
You cannot sell titles that are listed in Amazon’s KDP Select program through other marketplaces as part of the exclusivity arrangement. This is a great way to market your product to more people even if you are not a participant in KDP Select.
Other Amazon Marketing Strategies
Amazon’s book advertisements can be used to get readers, regardless of whether your title is in KDP Select. Although this comes with costs, these ads are keyword-driven and can be very effective for getting titles in front readers who are interested in their topic.
Amazon ads are run on the pay-per click (PPC) model. You only pay when a potential reader clicks the ad and visits your e-book listing page. This is half of the battle for attracting readers. You can also decide your budget and the amount you are willing to pay for each potential reader who clicks on your ad.
You can choose from two types of Amazon ads once your book has been listed in Kindle Direct Publishing.
Sponsored Product Ads
These ads allow you to specify the keyword and appear at Amazon’s top search results as sponsored products. These are the top two results for our search “how to publish an ebook”.
Amazon’s Sponsored Product Ads use keywords to appear in targeted search results.
E-books: Product Display Ads
These ads are listed as related products in other ebooks or product pages.
Amazon’s Product Display Ads are listed as “related items”, on the Amazon listing page for other products.
Request a review
Amazon reviews are an important marketing tool for authors. However, Amazon has strict guidelines regarding reviews. A review is not a tradeable copy. You cannot offer compensation for reviews. And you can’t ask to be given a “good review”. You can request a review. The best way to ask is to put the request in the back of your ebook, such as this:
Matthew Mather, the author of “Nomad” and many other titles, asks for a review at the end of each book.
You can thank your reader by including a link in your “back matter”, such as the page above. Kindles automatically request this from readers who have completed a certain portion of a book. This will let your readers know what to do.
Market Your E-book outside of Amazon
There are many other avenues that you can market to potential readers, as well as build a fan base. Here’s a list of elements you should consider.
Start Your Own Website
Joanna Penn, best-selling author and nonfiction author, says that a website is a key component of author careers.
Joanna Penn manages multiple author websites to reach her fiction and nonfiction audiences.
The best authors see their e-books simply as products that can be sold. A website is for them a primary marketing and branding tool.
“It’s how agents, publishers, journalists and bloggers judge your professionalism,” states Penn. Penn attributes much of her success to her website’s reader base and the email lists she has built through them. Joanna Penn, author and coach and founder of The Creative Penn says, “I have built a multi-six-figure company off the back of my email lists and author websites.”
Penn, along with many other successful authors, turn to WordPress to build a simple and affordable website. Bluehost is only $2.95 per monthly. You can even get a quick start WordPress tutorial to help you with the setup process. To get started, enter your name below.
Send a Press Release
Two types of authors can use press releases to effectively market their books: business professionals and those who are publishing a book in a series. Press releases can be targeted at journalists, bloggers, and publications that follow your genre to help spread the word about the latest installment. A press release targeted at industry-related publications and reporters can help you get coverage, reviews, commentary, and even interview opportunities.
eReleases.com allows you to target specific audiences with your release distribution. eReleases also gives you the tools to create and manage distribution, or you can hire seasoned professionals to do it for you.
Create an email list
Once your website is live, you can begin building your email database to communicate with your subscribers. To market your current or upcoming titles via email marketing, you can connect to an email marketing service. To entice readers into signing up for your mailing list, you can use sneak peek chapters, new releases, and promotions that are first to the public.
Make the most of your social media channels
You can create social media author Pages on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram and share posts about new releases, teasers of works-in-progress and free promo announcements. This will help you connect with your followers and build a following.
Participate in Book Clubs or Reader Collectives
You can also attract new readers to your books by joining local and online reading clubs. GoodReads (part Amazon), Reedsy Discovery and LibraryThing all have specific reader communities you can use to promote your e-books. You can give away free e-books or giveaways depending on how you use KDP Select. Or, simply announce any KDP Select promotions that will help you gain new readers.
Here are some mistakes to avoid when selling books on Amazon KDP
Expecting instant results is the biggest mistake when selling books through Kindle Direct Publishing. Selling an ebook is like marketing other products. It requires dedication, work, time, effort, and a variety of marketing channels. Authors rarely see a return on their investment after publishing multiple works and marketing them all. This is why it is so important to build a readership.
Publishing a poor work on Kindle Direct Publishing is the second biggest mistake new writers should avoid. Badly edited books with many errors and poor writing are a big turnoff for readers. And messy covers won’t help you sell your book. Both errors are against Amazon’s quality guidelines. Don’t rush to publish. You should take the time to edit and create a cover that is memorable.
There are many freelance editors and cover design professionals who can help you create e-books on Fiverr. These experts are well-versed in Amazon’s quality guidelines, and can give your work the professional shine it deserves.
The bottom line
It is easy and difficult to learn how to sell books through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. After your book has been written and saved in Kindle format you can sign up for Amazon KDP to list your book on Amazon. There are only a few pieces of information and decisions that you need to make.
The real work begins once your Amazon book listing has been published. This is where you market your title and author brand. Amazon offers many tools to help you do this, including a free Author Page and KDP Select’s many promotional possibilities, as well as paid ads. Your work can be promoted beyond Amazon’s borders through other e-book marketplaces and press releases, online book clubs, collaboratives, and your website, email, or social media outlets.
Do you have any e-books you are working on? Let us know what e-book creator platforms you use and which marketing tools you use to do the job.
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