eBook Publishing

9 Steps to Self Publish an eBook on Amazon Kindle

So, you have written a book or are in the process of completing one & you wish to make it available for people to read it. 

You need to find an agent (with a niche like romance, self help, technology) who will get in touch with book publishers like HarperCollins or Penguin Books. Listen to the agent, if he or she says add or remove something from your book, please do so. The agent will then negotiate a contract with a publisher (which takes months). Agents usually take 15% of book sales. Add to it some other costs of marketing of your own. And you don’t know how any people will buy it in the end.

Wait.. seriously? 15% of the profit? After going through so much? 

However, in today’s digital world you can publish a book for free. Self publishing books has never been easier. Lot of well known authors have self published their eBooks & are making a 6 figure income yearly, from just eBooks. 

There are many platforms to publish eBooks apart from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing namely:

  • Barnes & Nobles
  • Kobo 
  • iBooks by Apple

Then there are book aggregators like:

  • Smashwords
  • Draft2Digital
  • Publish Drive
  • StreetLib
  • And many more..

It does not take money to publish on any of these platforms. And they also have their own marketing tools which help you increase sales. That’s why, this is the perfect time to jump in the eBook publishing business or self publish an eBook.

So now the question is why should you publish Amazon Kindle? I’ll tell you why.

Do you know how many Kindle devices have been sold in the world till date? As amazon does not reveal this data however, according to various researchers, Amazon has easily sold over 50 million Kindle devices since the launch of Amazon Kindle in 2007.

According to eBooks.com, in the year 2019 Kindle had a market share of 67% in the eBooks market. The bookseller estimates that the global eBook sales is at a massive 36% by unit sales (no of books sold).

  • Kindle is available in 13 countries from where you can publish your eBook. 
  • Their customer support is fantastic.
  • They have a Kindle cloud reader for desktops.

There are many more advantages of self publishing on Kindle.

Related: How to Correct Writing Mistakes in a Novel or a Blog

So, in this article, I have explained the process of self publishing an eBook on Amazon Kindle in 9 simple steps.

  1. Format an eBook to upload
  2. Setup an Amazon KDP account
  3. Enter eBook details
  4. Add Keywords & Categories
  5. Upload eBook file
  6. Upload Cover page
  7. Set a price for the eBook
  8. Publish the eBook
  9. Marketing the eBook

Let’s get started then.

1. Format an eBook to upload.

Yes, there is a different format for an eBook that you usually need to convert it into before publishing. There are numerous formats that are supported by Amazon for an eBook. The list is as following below:

  1. Microsoft Word (Doc/DOCX)
  2. Kindle Create (KPF)
  3. HTML (ZIP,HTM or HTML)
  4. MOBI
  5. ePub
  6. Rich Text Format (RTF)
  7. Plain Text (TXT)
  8. Adobe PDF (PDF)

MOBI is a format developed by Amazon specially for eBooks. Epub is a widely used format for all eBook publishing platforms.

I preferred ePub for the eBook that I published on Kindle. You can convert a Word file to ePub by using Google docs. I use the Calibre software for converting to ePub.

Note: The ePub file should not have a cover page as it needs to be uploaded separately later in the process.

2. Setup an Amazon KDP account

In order to publish an eBook on Kindle Direct Publishing platform you need to have an account on Amazon KDP. Creating an account is free. 

#1 – Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/ to create an account. If you already have one for Amazon shopping, you can use that too.

#2 – Sign in with your Amazon account by clicking on step 1 in the image above. Or you can create a new account by clicking on step 2 in the same image. Then follow the steps to register for the account.

#3 – Enter your tax information and bank details. Unless you fill out these fields you won’t be able to set up an account.

You can find more about tax information and adding your bank account on the Amazon KDP help page.

Related: 10 Best Writing Courses on Coursera (Screenwriting Included)

3. Enter eBook details (Author, Title & Description)

Once you have logged in to your account, go to Bookshelf and click on the Kindle eBook box

Kindle eBook details page will open up as below.

You can select the language in which you have written the eBook.

Book Title : Enter the title and subtitle of your eBook. You need to come up with a title that perfectly suits the genre of the eBook you have written. You can use a book title generator for it.

The Series and Edition Number are optional. Fill these tabs only if you have at least 2 or more eBooks in the pipeline, on the same topic.

Author : In this tab, enter the author name or the person who has contributed in writing the eBook.

Contributors: If there are more contributors, enter their names.

Description : This a very important part in Amazon SEO, just like the title and keywords (which we’ll cover next). Description has to be in html format. You can use an Amazon Book description generator to convert the description you have written into the html format and then paste it into the tab above.

If you own the publishing rights to the book (which you obviously do if you have written it), select the “I own the copyright and blah..blah”

4. Add Keywords and Categories

Keywords : You can add up to 7 keywords. The keywords have to be selected carefully, so as to rank higher when people search for a particular eBook in any genre. You can find free and paid keyword search tools for Amazon if you do a simple search on google.

Categories : Amazon allows only 2 Categories for books and eBooks.

Click on the “Set Categories” tab and select 2 specific categories which related to your eBook. You might want to also google the most profitable kindle categories before you decide to write an eBook.

5. Upload eBook file

Before uploading the eBook file, select “Yes” for Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Then click on the upload eBook manuscript and upload the file which you have converted to ePub.

6. Upload Cover page

Designing a perfect cover page for any book is a critical part of marketing. You can get cover pages designed by freelance designers on Fiverr or Upwork. Another online tool is Canva which is an easy to use online software used by professionals for designing cover pages.

Amazon eBook cover specifications are available on the kindle help page.

After uploading the cover page, click on launch kindle previewer to preview the eBook.

There is no need for an ISBN for an eBook on amazon.

Territories: There are 13 marketplaces (All territories) where kindle eBooks are available for download. You can choose any 1 marketplace (Individual territories) or all 13.

KDP Select Enrollment: Amazon KDP Select is a program where you have to exclusively keep the eBook on Amazon for 90 days since the date of publishing.

What this means is you cannot keep the book on any other eBook publishing platform like Kobo, Barnes & Nobles, etc. However you can keep the physical copies of the book for sale on other platforms. The question is whether enrolling in KDP Select is worth it? 

The answer to this depends on what kind of eBook you are selling. However, let us understand what KDP Select has to offer & the disadvantages of it.

Advantages of KDP Select:

  1. Kindle Unlimited (KU): These users get your book for free or at discounted price. They are those customers who read a couple of books in a fortnight. So that means even if your book is free, more sales are made & more reviews are written. This triggers the Amazon algorithms into showing your eBook on the SERPs more often (as Amazon shows books on it’s SERPs based on book sales & reviews).
  2. Kindle Countdown Deals: For 7 days out of the 90, you keep your book at a discount. This is called a countdown deal. You can earn the same royalty (70% or 35%, covered later in this post) for the deal. For example:

If your ebook price is $3.00 (70% royalty) & you keep a countdown deal for $1.00, then you will receive 70 cents for each of the copies sold in the 7 day period. Whereas, if your book is not in Kindle Select & you still run a promotion, you will receive only 35% royalty if your book is priced below $2.99. That’s 50% less!

  1. Free Book Promotions: You can keep your book for free for 5 days during the 90 days. However, not in the same 90 day period. Authors like Jane Friedman, Ashley Emma & Amanda Hocking have used these tactics to generate more than $50,000 in ebook sales. 
  2. Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL): Those who are Amazon Prime subscribers & own a Kindle, then they choose to borrow from over 75,000 titles without worry about returning the book on time. And that too for Free. Authors like you can get royalties on the basis of per-page-read.

So should you check the box that says enroll? Definitely, if you are a fiction writer & a first time author. Then, after 90 days are over you can publish your eBook on the other platforms.

7. Set a price for the eBook

Ebook pricing is very tricky to understand. For Amazon.com, I have listed the List Price requirements here which are very much similar to their pricing policy in other 13 marketplaces.

To receive 35% Royalty:

  • If your eBook file size if less than 3mb, you have to list the price for at least $0.99
  • If your Ebook file size is =3mb or more & less than 10mb, you have to list the price for at least $1.99
  •  If your Ebook file size is =10mb or more & less than 10mb, you have to list the price for at least $2.99

To receive 70% Royalty:

  • You have to list the price for at least $2.99 & upto maximum of $9.99. File size does not matter here.

While selecting other countries, Amazon automatically converts the equivalent of USD to the country’s currency you have chosen.

In the next option in your KDP dashboard (I have not put the image here), you can decide whether to allow book lending to other Amazon kindle users or not.

8. Publish the eBook

Now that you have completed every minor detail in the Amazon eBook publishing process, you can definitely hit the publish button.

Here, I have covered the basic self publishing process for eBooks on Kindle. There is still a lot to be understood about publishing an eBook on Amazon Kindle which I will be covering in my upcoming articles. 

I’m mentioning some tactics below to help market your eBook to generate more sales even when you have minimized your marketing efforts.

Also Read: Top 10 Free & Paid Screenwriting Software Tools(2020)

9. Marketing the eBook

There are so many platforms to let people know that you have a book coming out. I’m mentioning a few here as this is a huge topic & many authors have become book marketers using their own methods.

1. Free & Paid Book Promotions sites

There are some websites that let you pace your ebook cover on their platform(for a couple of days) for free & up to $4-$5. They also have a massive list of subscribers whom they send an email blast about your book. This really helps in sales. You can get some free book promotions sites by just googling them. You can get a compiled list by Kindle marketing expert Dave Chesson on his website.

2. Using Social Media

The power of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook & Instagram is so much that there are different strategies just each of them. 

  • Twitter is the best platform to start promoting your eBook. There are so many writers on twitter that respond to queries & comments, you can reach 5k followers in days, if you use it post twice/thrice a day using relevant hashtags.
  • Facebook is another best way to connect through FB groups & posting your links there. Paid ads on Facebook do work. You can get some Cheap Paid Ad Courses on Udemy to understand how to place them for excellent sales.
  • Instagram is perfect for authors getting those crucial reviews by posting about some positive reviews you might have generated so far.
3. Amazon Ads

Just like facebook ads, you can boost your sales by promoting your eBook on amazon. There are many videos on YouTube on this. I found it easier to implement than facebook ads. You can also check out this Amazon KDP Ads course on Udemy for it.

4. Email Blasts

Send a bunch of email blasts to your subscribers about your eBook. If you don’t have any subscribers you can check out this post from Neil Patel on how to get your First 100 Email subscribers

These are just the tip of the iceberg strategies that you should know. Without trial & error methods you won’t know what is working & what is not. Relentless marketing efforts are the only way to successfully promote your eBook which will generate revenue in the long run, even if you slow down later on.

So, what are you waiting for? Start publishing your eBook.

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