The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing on Amazon [Step by Step]

By Steph Fraser | Posted on April 6th, 2019

Gone are the days of waiting months or even years for a publishing company to share your work with the world. Now you can publish your book any time and get millions of people to pay for the privilege of reading it by self-publishing on Amazon.

Self-publishing on Amazon has given birth to new generation of authors that do not want to pass through the hurdles of agents and publishers, who might just ignore or reject them anyway.

One of the self-publishing services provided by Amazon is known as Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which has helped writers out of the stagnating traditional publishing process by allowing them to sell the digital version of the book.

If you are a writer looking for ways to get the world to read your story, go through this definitive guide to self-publishing on Amazon for details on how to write a quality book, publish, and start earning some passive income

How to Write a Best-selling Book to Self-Publish on Amazon

You can consider the self publishing Amazon method. It is easy and anyone can do it. You only need to sign up as a user, follow the steps, and upload your book. If you want to make good sales from your book as a reward for all your time and effort, you need to create good content. You need to produce something that people will read and promote sales by giving good reviews.

The Topic

The first step is coming up with a topic that is interesting and unique. It should give your readers an insight into what the book is all about even before they get to read. After thinking of a good topic, your next step is creating an outline of the content. It’s essential to break your content down into chapters so your readers don’t get lost or bored.

The Research

The next step is carrying out extensive research to gather detailed and authentic information to feed your readers. You can add your experience if you have in-depth knowledge of the topic. Through research, you can get the opinion of others, analyze it objectively, and know where to include it in the book.

The Writing

Start writing your book after researching. Set a milestone to write a particular number of words each day and dedicate time to achieving it. If it is a true “book” you are wanting to create, a novella is 30-50,000 worlds while a full novel is anywhere from 55,000 to 300,000 words. The average novel is around 80-100,000, so let this be your ballpark goal, at least in the beginning.

After writing, read through the book to correct any spelling or grammatical errors. You can use available software for correction or hire a proofreader who will make the content sound professional. You might also want to hire a graphic designer who will create a good cover. A good cover, even on a digital book, will give a good impression and increase sales.

The next important step is giving your book to a family member or someone knowledgeable in your chosen topic to read and provide constructive criticism.

Self-Publishing on Amazon

Here is a step-by-step guide to publishing on Amazon Kindle and how to do it right.

Sign up

The first thing you need to do is visit Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (kdp.amazon.com) and create an account if you are a new user. After creating the account, you’ll see “create a new title” on your dashboard. Click on it to bring up the button “Introducing KDP Select.”

The KDP select is an optional program offered by Amazon to help promote your book. It will help it reach more readers in countries like the U.S, U.K, Germany, France, Canada, etc.

When you opt to use KDP select, you earn royalties up to 70% from sales to countries like Japan, India, Mexico, and Brazil. Your book will also be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) and Kindle Unlimited (KU) which helps in creating more awareness of the book, which might help sell it.S

Manage your Self-Publishing Options

Self-publishing on Amazon will help you earn more money and a fan base because of the promotional tools offered for the books. Amazon will help promote your book further if you submit your book for free reading for 90 days after publishing. It is a highly recommended program.

Every author who has publishing rights to his book is eligible to enroll in KDP select. If you don’t have exclusive rights to the contents of the book, you are ineligible.

However, you need to know that enrolling into the KDP select means you have given Amazon the sole rights to distribute your books digitally. This means no other online publisher can distribute it. You cannot upload your writing in any other platform, but you can spread it physically (offline).

If you are enrolling a new book, click “Enroll in KDP select,’ but if you’ve already published the book on Amazon and feel KDP select is worth a try, go to your bookshelf and click on the ellipsis button under the KINDLE EBOOK ACTIONS. You can find it close to the book you wish to enroll. When you click it, choose the option ‘Enroll in KDP select.”

Entering your Book Title and Subtitle

The next thing to do is enter your book details which include the title and subtitle.

When entering the name of your book ensure that you add the appropriate keywords readers might be searching to increase your chances of appearing in search results.

Your book name and subtitle should give a general idea of what the book is about especially if it’s non-fiction.

Write the Book Description

The book description is a short blurb that reveals the basis of the book’s plot or theme. It is what usually be found on the back of a traditionally published book. Most readers try to get a glimpse of the message the writer is trying to get across by reading the blurb on the back cover. Or, in the case of self-publishing on Amazon, the description alongside the cover image.

Often readers will decide if they should purchase your book through the book description. Keep this in mind when writing the book description, and ensure you hit the main enticing points that will make it appealing for your readers.

Make it Interesting

If your book description is boring, then the chances of getting people to purchase the book are almost nonexistent. You need to make them feel like they are going to miss out on a lot if they don’t read it.

For example, if your book was about self-development, you’ve got to describe how motivated the reader will feel about taking charge of their life after reading the book. You can be more specific by making bullet lists.

The first line in your description should be strong enough to keep a potential buyer interested in reading until the last line. You might want to start with a catchy statement or rhetorical question, anyone you choose, ensure it is easy to read and understand.

Don’t Boast

When writing the book description avoid making it too salesy. Don’t immediately including any award you might have won or why you are the best writer. Instead, focus on the value the readers will gain by reading your book. They should know you understand their struggles – this will tell them they can they truly trust that your book will provide solutions. They should see if they are going to learn something unique from reading it.

Think Strategically

Another way to make your description attract more sales is by including target keywords. You can get the right keywords by doing some research on Google and Amazon to know what people are searching for. Include what you find in your description so that potential readers can find your book.

You can decide to make your description captivating by adding bold, uppercase, or italic effects. Combining these will capture potential buyers by catching their eye. If you do this, ensure that what they see is worth reading.

Finally, you should proofread your description before saving. It may help to ask someone else to go through it and see if it has any errors, and if they find it interesting.

Include a call to action that will compel your readers to purchase the book. it could be something like “Don’t waste any more time, go to the top of this page and get this amazing book that will teach you how to make money through blogging.”

Enter Author’s Name

For the author’s name, you can decide to write your original name or pen name. The next step is to verify your publishing rights.

Under the column for publishing rights, you will see a button for public domain work or publishing rights. Click on “I hold the necessary publishing rights” to verify you own the publishing rights to your book.

Targeting your Customers Through Categories

You should take this next step seriously as it determines if your customers find your book or not. Here you will need to add your book to a category where the right people will see it. The more specific your niche, the better. Also, there is a space to select the age range, which is necessary for those writing children’s books.

Also, remember to include your search keywords so that people who are searching for related topics can find your book. After this, ensure to make the book available immediately even if it’s not perfect as you can always make changes after publishing.

Uploading Your Book Cover

You should have a book cover designed by a professional designer. If you don’t have a cover, try creating one using Amazon’s content creator. You should know that this may not look as appealing as something done by a professional. They say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but everyone does it. There are so many options on Amazon, people can afford to be picky and judgmental.

After uploading the cover, select a Digital Rights Management (DRM) option. DRM allows readers to lend your book if you enable it, but if you don’t want lenders, you can click on ‘Do not enable.’ Click the ‘What’s this’ button to find out more about your DRM.

Uploading your Book

Now it’s time to upload the book for which you’ve made all the preparations. Your book should be in formats such as word (DOC or DOCX), MOBI (mobi), EPUB, Kindle Package Format (KPF), Adobe (PDF), Rich Text Format (RTF), Plain Text (TXT). Upload your chosen format and click preview to ensure it was correctly converted to prevent misinterpretation of your book.

It should be noted that Kindle prefers you use the Microsoft Word format. If you cannot use a Microsoft file, take advantage of the Kindle Create to format your content into an attractive and well-formatted KPF eBook. Even if you’ve used the doc or docx format, you can still use the kindle create to give your eBook a professional look.

Moreover, when you convert your book to KPF file, it makes the typesetting of your book compatible with any Kindle device and application such as tablets, e-readers, phones, and other apps.

If you uploaded doc or docx format for your eBook, check the preview to ensure it converts well. This is especially important for those who have graphs and tables as part of their contents. You need to do a few things before uploading a Microsoft Word format:

For you to separate sections or chapters in your book, you need to use the page break options in Microsoft word rather than using the ‘enter’ button.

  • When adding images to your content, use “insert” and not “copy and paste” to add pictures from your computer.
  • Your book content should be in one file, but don’t add the cover image to it. You will have to upload the cover image and content separately.

Setting Price and Royalty

First, you want to verify the territories in which Amazon is permitting you to distribute your books. It may be worldwide or restricted to certain areas. After confirming, you can go ahead and select your pricing. You will need to be careful about doing this to avoid scaring your potential customers away.

UseKindle Matchbook and Book Lending When Self-Publishing on Amazon

If your book is also in print form, you may want to enroll in Kindle Matchbook to allow your readers who already have the printed books to get a discount when purchasing the Kindle version.

Allowing the Kindle Book Lending allows readers to lend your book for a maximum of 14 days. Unfortunately, This may decrease sales as it allows some people to read it for free, but it can increase outreach and popularity. If someone loves it enough, they may buy it for themselves even after they’ve read it.

Finally: Self-Publish!

Once you are done setting the right terms and uploading, your book will be live within 12 hours for all the potential readers to view. Congratulations on getting your book self-published on Amazon.

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