Publishing a book on Kindle: your top 10 questions answered
Thinking of publishing a book on Kindle? Know nothing about KDP or the publication process? Keep reading.
Here are 10 questions and answers about publishing a book on Kindle to help you understand the basics.
1. Can I self-publish my book on Amazon Kindle?
Yes, you can self-publish your book on Amazon Kindle – no matter which genre you write in (fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, poetry, children’s books). And given that Amazon is the biggest bookstore in the world, why wouldn’t you?
Once everything is finalised (book, cover, blurb/description) and your account is set up, your book is published and available to the worldwide market within 72 hours. Plus, you can earn up to 70% royalties for every ebook sold in specific countries (US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and more).
If publishing a book on Kindle is something you’re intent on doing, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with KDP’s terms and conditions, too.
2. What is Kindle publishing and how does it work?
Kindle publishing is Amazon’s free publishing platform (KDP). Well-established and easy-to-navigate, KDP allows you to publish in both paperback and ebook. One physical book to wave proudly at family and friends, and one to read electronically on a Kindle/tablet/phone/PC.
To start the publication process, you’ll need to set up a KDP account using the same log-in details as your Amazon account. Add your personal information (contact details plus banking and tax info). And then, upload all of your book details (final interiors, covers, description) and choose your keywords and categories and selling price).
3. How can I self-publish my book on Amazon?
There is a specific publication process which looks like this:
Step 1 Proofreading & Editing
Make sure your book has been proofread and edited to perfection. Don’t risk poor reviews. This crucial step can play a part in your book being a success or a flop.
Step 2: Designing Your Cover
You’ll need to create an eye-catching cover (front image only for your ebook and front, back and spine for your paperback).
Step 3: Formatting for Kindle
Again, if your book isn’t text-heavy, I’d recommend downloading a book interior template from KDP. Just cut and paste your manuscript into the template. Here’s the link for more information about formatting your paperback Format Your Paperback (amazon.com)
Step 4: Typesetting for Print
Again, if your book isn’t text-heavy, I’d recommend downloading a book interior template from KDP. Just cut and paste your manuscript into the template. Here’s the link for more information about formatting your paperback: Format Your Paperback (amazon.com)
Step 5: Setting Up Your Amazon KDP Account
KDP offers a detailed step-by-step explanation about setting up your KDP account. My advice would be to have all of your details ready before you start on the ‘Account’ section. Make sure you have your tax number (or national insurance number) handy, plus all of your bank details, so you can work through the questions without having to stop and start.
Step 6: Writing Your Amazon Description/Blurb
Your Amazon description is just your blurb (the sales pitch on the back of your book) with a few extra hooks and calls to action added. If you’re struggling to write your blurb or Amazon description without giving away the whole plot, I can help. Check out my £29 offer here. Write Your Blurb — Michelle Emerson ¦ Self-Publishing Services UK
Step 7: Choosing Your Keywords & Categories
Decide which keywords a potential buyer would put into the search bar if they were looking for a book like yours. Think about setting (eg NE England), story tone (heart-warming/feel-good), plot themes (coming of age, forgiveness), and character roles and types (strong female lead and single father).
Step 8: Uploading Your Book & Checking it Over
When you’ve got everything ready to upload, I’d suggest you keep your Word document handy as you work through the previewer so you can quickly fix any errors you spot. Writing them down and trying to match the page number (particularly with the Kindle version) increases the risks of more mistakes being made.
Step 9: Pricing
When your books are uploaded, you’ll see the minimum price you can charge for the paperback (given by KDP and based on their printing/distribution costs) and the two royalty options for your eBook/Kindle book – 30% or 70%.
Step 10: Pressing Publish
Once you’re happy with everything, it’s time to press publish and wait for your email from KDP to say, ‘Congratulations, your book is now live on the Amazon store’. It will be one of the most exciting and anticipated emails you’ll ever receive.
For more details about the KDP publication process, check out my blog: Publish Your Book on Kindle – The Step-by-Step Guide — Michelle Emerson ¦ Self-Publishing Services UK
4. How long does it take to publish a book on Amazon?
You can upload everything to your KDP account in a matter of minutes. The review process takes up to 72 hours. In the UK, fiction books take around 12 hours for the Kindle version and 18-24 for the paperback, from my experience.
5. Is publishing on Kindle worth it?
I’d say, ‘YES’! it is worth publishing on Kindle. There are heaps of benefits – many of which I cover in my blog: 13 Surprising Benefits of Publishing on Kindle. 13 Surprising Benefits of Publishing on Kindle — Michelle Emerson ¦ Self-Publishing Services UK
As with any venture, you will need to put the work in. But if you’re happy to do so, you’ll find that publishing on Kindle is worth it.
6. Can I make money using Kindle books?
Again, I’d say ‘YES’! You will need to keep your business head on, though. Look at Kindle book publishing as a long-term business.
It’s certainly no get-rich-quick opportunity, but if you’re writing and publishing content that people are searching for, and you’re projecting a professional image and marketing your books consistently, you should be able to make money.
7. Is it easy to self-publish on Kindle?
On the whole, I think it is easy to self-publish on Kindle. The system is user-friendly, and KDP provides many videos, tutorials, and tips as you navigate the publication process. The KDP community is also a good source of support.
You will inevitably go through trial and error experiences. But remember, we’re all novices the first time we try something new. Don’t beat yourself up for not understanding everything the first time around.
8. Can I publish on Amazon with a pen name?
You certainly can publish on Amazon with a pen name. Just add it in the ‘Primary Author’ box when you upload your book. Your account details will remain the same, but once you add a nom de plume, no one will know it’s you. You can have some fun and use a picture of yourself in disguise (shades, scarf, sombrero) for your Amazon Author Central page.
9. Is publishing on Amazon free?
Publishing on Amazon is free. But … there’s always a but, isn’t there? … you will need to learn the publication process if you want to avoid costs.
If you want to ensure your book smacks of more pro than amateur, I’d recommend investing in a proofreader. If your budget will stretch, a good cover designer and typesetter are also worthwhile investments if you’re serious about becoming an author.
10. What are the benefits of publishing with Amazon?
There are many benefits of publishing Amazon (as mentioned in number 5). It’s the biggest bookstore and online retailer in the world.
The top benefits of publishing on Amazon are:
Flexibility – even once you’ve published your book, you can still make changes. It’s usually the case that a pesky typo shows up once the book is ‘live’, but with KDP, you don’t have to worry. You can just fix it and republish the new version.
Good royalties – traditional publishers cannot compete with Amazon’s royalty programme. With up to 70% royalties paid on each book, you won’t be putting in all the hard work for the fat cats to cream your profits.
Creative control – you have full control over the publication process and how you want your book to look; your cover, the content, price, layout, etc. If you publish through a traditional publisher, you essentially hand your creative freedom and control over them. Now, that is frustrating for a writer/creative, isn’t it?
Speed – not only will you be able to upload your book to KDP in a matter of minutes, but it will be for sale worldwide within 72 hours. Pretty fast, if you ask me.
Cost-free – as I mentioned earlier, publishing on Amazon is free. You don’t get much for free these days. Give it a try – there’s no financial risk in doing so.
Do you feel more knowledgeable about publishing a book on Kindle? I hope so. If there’s any aspect of the process you would like help with, please get in touch.
I can help with everything from proofreading and writing your blurb to publishing on Amazon. Publish Your Book On Kindle and In Print — Michelle Emerson ¦ Self-Publishing Services UK
If you have any questions, please ask away in the comments.