How to publish an ebook on Amazon- Complete Guide

Being a published author is not just a source of fulfillment, it marks a turning point for so many people in their different fields of endeavor.

From establishing you as a thought leader to giving you the chance to expand your influence and gather a new audience, publishing a book has been rewarding and fulfilling to published authors around the world.

For me specifically, publishing my first work in 2015 was one of the biggest milestones for me. The feeling was explosive. I didn’t believe I could actually become a published author at that time, because the odds were not in my favor.

Not only was I an unknown name, there was no way I could afford the connections or the onerous requirements of top publishing firms to get published by them. So I had to find a way around it.

Thankfully, with the emergence of Online platforms like Amazon’s KDP, Lulu, I was able to secure a place to publish my book without lifting a finger or feeling bad from series of rejections from publishing houses.

Today, 5 years later, even more people are embracing the opportunity to become published authors online.

Many more are becoming very successful after publishing their books online and even more people are achieving their dreams of becoming published authors.

Why you should Publish Online

Now, the question is not just about why you should publish your book on Amazon, the other question is, why haven’t you considered publishing your book online?

With the continuous widespread acceptance of online publishing platforms like Amazon’s KDP, Lulu, etc., it’s becoming easier for even more people to publish their books and become published authors.

So why shoudn’t you join the band of indie authors if you really want to?

For me, before I published my book online in 2015, I had already tried to embrace offline publishing without any success.

I couldn’t afford the bills as at that time or the marketing budget for my book so after months of trying to raise funds unsuccessfully, I had to quit.

That is how the dream died. And till date, even when the manuscript is still available, I have not yet found the motivation to publish that book anymore.

So technically, the project never saw the light of the day because I couldn’t afford the cost of traditional publishing. Perhaps that would have been different if only I could use online publishing as an alternative.

For you, the reason you want to publish your book online could be different. It could be based on what you’re writing about, your budget or your ability to get the word out for your book.

But one thing that’s also very important is that online publishing empowers you to publish your book without discrimination, stress or excessive monetary budget.

Top Reasons to Publish on Amazon

The following are reasons you should publish your book on Amazon…

1. Publishing on Amazon Kindle, Createspace or ACX is free. You don’t pay anything to get your book published.

2. No one asks you to wait for some time or provide any credentials before getting started. You or any internet John Doe can get published on amazon whether you just wrote your first ever article today or you’ve been writing for a millennium.

3. Publishing on amazon is fast and simple. It takes approximately less than 30 minutes to get your book published on the amazon platform when everything is put in place.

And it’s so easy that even a non-techie person can upload their books and get published in minutes.

4. It takes just a maximum of 72 hours to get your published book live on Kindle and accessible to people all over the world right there on Amazon.

5. Make money selling your digital books online. Yes! Make up to 70 percent royalty on amazon when people buy your books. Earn some money when people borrow your books.

6. Update your books anytime. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s already been published, you can always update and upload your books without paying additional fees.

7. Fix your selling price at any amount you feel like and publish in digital format, print copy or audio format.

8. Free traffic and ready to buy audience to market your books. (especially when you conduct a decent research with appropriate keywords). 

I can go ahead and list out the many benefits of publishing with Amazon but, there are also certain things you need to consider before selling your book on Amazon. I have listed them in this post.

Now, let’s discuss the steps you need to take, to publish your book online.

Steps to Publish on Amazon

Before we proceed, this tutorial will be focused on publishing a digital book or what we call an eBook on Amazon. Although there’s not much difference between the steps used in publishing an e-book and a paper back.

So, the platform used for publishing ebooks on Amazon is the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

The KDP from Amazon is divided into two sets viz; the basic Kindle Direct Publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing Select.

These two programs will give you the chance to publish your books to millions of Kindle users but the format for both platforms are slightly different.

For instance, KDP Select only allows you to publish exclusively on Amazon while the latter still gives you the chance to publish both on Amazon and any other platform you’d want.

This means that if you opt for KDP Select, you can only sell your books online via Amazon channels. You are not allowed to sell it elsewhere; not even on your website, until you opt out of the program.

Choosing either of these options can be quite tricky but, ou need to consider your goals and options very well before proceeding to setle for either of them.

Considering the peculiarity of your publishing goal, you may you may get to notice that while self publishing on your website is a great thing to do, gaining access to the massive audience on Amazon is even a greater reason to publish on Amazon. With this, you may decide to opt for Amazon KDP Select.

On the other hand, if your book is already making some decent sales on other platforms outside of Amazon, you may want to skip the KDP Select Program.

To make the right choices on either KDP or KDP Select, you have to take a good look at the big picture for your book, alongside your goals and the possibilities for you, both on Amazon and other platforms.

Now, let’s check out the step by step process for publishing on amazon below…

Researching your book idea

It is not enough that you have an idea about a book you want to write… To become a successful author on Amazon, you want to write a book that people will want to buy.

To have a good idea about the kind of book that people will buy, you’ll need to run some research on best selling books in the niche you want to write your book about.

So, if your book idea is a non fiction; focused on how to start a business online for instance, you want to research other best selling Amazon books within that same niche and find out what they are doing right.

The research will guide you on what your potential audience is looking out for, what is appealing to them in terms of Book Title, Cover Design, Book Content, Keywords etc.

As soon as this is sorted out, you can then work on writing your book to meet up with these standards. You can read more on how to write a book that sells here.

Writing and finalizing your book

After you must have completed your research, the next thing is to write and finalize your book.

Although there are a number of ways you can format your book for Amazon, the preferred format for most authors is the MS Word Format.

Where you choose to write your book in the Word Format, you can add some finishing touches to it via the Kindle Create, a free program designed to help transform a manuscript written in Microsoft Word or PDF format into a nicely-formatted Kindle ebook that’s ready to sell in the Kindle store.

I have written a comprehensive guide on how to format your book for Amazon here.

Create an account on Amazon

Headover and create your publishing account on kdp.amazon.com. Giving them all the necessary details like your bio, a headshot and any other detail you want to add.

Format your Book

Since we’ll be focusing on digital publishing here, your formatting should also be done in a way that complies with Amazon publishing guidelines.

That’s because the layout and format of an eBook is not going to be the same with that of a print copy because of the platform it’s going to be read on.

Also, like i mentioned earlier, if you’re writing your book on a Microsoft word processor, you may have to re-format it with Kindle Create so it can be properly displayed on the electronic reader.

Read details formatting requirements for publishing on Amazon here.

Choosing a Publishing Plan

Currently, there are two popular publishing plan exclusive to ebooks on Amazon viz Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select) and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Although Both programs connects you with millions of Kindle users around the world. KDP select does not allow you to publish your ebooks to any other platform except Amazon.

This means that If you choose to publish on KDP select, your books can only be made available on amazon stores alone. You can’t publish it on any other online book store for a specified period of time..

Also if your book is available for free or pre-order on any other platform, it is not eligible to be published on the KDP select program.

On the other hand, if you’re settling for the ordinary Kindle Direct Publishing, you can also publish your book elsewhere including your website and any other retail publishing websites online.

Here’s how to know the best publishing plan between KDP Select and Amazon KDP…

If you want to publish on Amazon and other online publishing platforms, then you should go for the normal KDP.

Although when you choose this program, you will not have access to the Amazon promotional services for publishers but you will be able to publish on any other platform you’d want, alongside Amazon.

On the other hand, in a situation where you want to publish exclusively on Amazon, and use the free promotional services for your book among other few benefits, then the KDP select program is the best way to go.

Another thing you should note as you get set to publish on Amazon is that if you’re settling for the KDP select, you can still promote your books on other platforms but you can only sell it on Amazon.

And the Goodnews about the KDP select is that you can opt out of the program after the first 90 days.

This gives you the chance to publish your books elsewhere after the stipulated period. Although you’ll also give up the benefits that comes with KDP Select the moment you opt out of the plan.

In a nutshell, you can always decide to try the different approaches and see what works best for you.

Adding your book on KDP

From your dashboard area in your KDP account, where there are certain forms you’ll have to fill and add some details about your book, before uploading it.

Right on your book shelf (still within your account), select + kindle eBook.

Next, you’ll be prompted to enter your book details. This should include the name of your book, title, short description etc.

This is where a good knowledge of the appropriate kewords will be very important in helping your books to get the right rankings from the Amazon Search Engine.

You’ll also need to categorize your book in a way that will help you reach your exact target audience by adding the keywords they’ll most likely use while searching for your kind of books on Amazon.

PS: Be sure to include the keywords in your short description.

Pay close attention to this aspect of the listing process because this will to a large extent decide the success of your book.

Also; if you’re not very conversant with this, you can hire us to help you through the process.

Creating your Book Cover

After filling out the listing, you’ll have to create a book cover for your work or upload a pre-made copy if you have any.

If you don’t have any cover designed for your work, there are some pre-made templates of book covers on the KDP platform. This can serve as a guide as you create a cover for your book.

Otherwise you can use a free platform like Canvas to design a book cover from pre-designed templates or get a graphics designer over at Fiverr.com.

If you’re engaging an external graphics designer, you should note that for best quality, Amazon requires your cover design’s Height/Width ratio to be fixed at 1:6. Be sure your design falls within those limits.

Also, make your cover design catchy and attractive to potential buyers. And well illustrative of the content of your book.

Uploading your book on Amazon.

Finally, after you’re done with adding all the necessary information on your about to be published book, the next thing you want to do is to upload the book on Amazon.

Before we proceed at this stage, remember that Amazon accepts only the following document formats, Msword Doc, PDF, HTML, MOBI.

Also, for me personally, I prefer you upload your books in the PDF format. It helps in keeping your book’s interior design and styling intact. Although Amazon prefers you keep your book in the word format for ease of formatting.

To upload your finished book on Amazon, click on “browse” and you’ll be taken to your device (computer or smart device) where you’ll begin the uploading process.

When you’re done, use the “preview function” to preview your book, see what it will look like on different devices when it’s being read and then make adjustments as appropriate.

Fixing a Price For your Book on Amazon

After you’re satisfied with the preview of your yet-to-be published book, you can now settle on a price.

Before fixing a price for your book, there are so many things you want to consider.

For instance, the length of the book is important. Also, your name, the value you’re passing across, your target audience, the prices of other similar books within the niche etc.

For most beginners, the automatic pricing for their first ebook is usually around USD2.99.

There are people who price their book far lower than that but like I mentioned earlier, everything depends on certain factors including your goals, motivations, exposure, audience, content, etc. You have to take these into account before fixing a price for your book.

When you’re done setting up your price, you can now click publish and then your book will be forwarded to the Kindle Direct Publishing Team.

It will take a maximum of 72 hours for your book to be reviewed and uploaded for purchase. It can also be uploaded before 72 hours.

Now, before your book is finally live on Amazon, you can use the time between when the book is being uploaded and when it’s yet to be live, to promote the book and get the word out, even before it’s live on amazon.

How to Make More Money With Your Book on Amazon

It’s a no brainer, Amazon is the number one publishing platform for self published authors around the world. It is also one of the best platforms to make a lot of money as a published author.

However, beyond publishing your book as an ebook on Amazon, you can also publish it as a paperback on same KDP.

Publishing as both ebook and paperback opens your book to a new audience beyond those that just want to read it online.

When you publish your book as paperback, Amazon prints your book on demand and subtracts your printing costs from your royalties.

To publish a Paperback of your ebook, Go to your Bookshelf, find your eBook, and then click + Create paperback.

When this is done, Amazon will update your paperback details with the details you provided when you set up your eBook earlier on.

PS: Note that there is not much difference between the requirement for publishing an ebook and the one for publishing a paperback on Amazon.

In conclusion, i want you to remember that Amazon can indeed give you the opportunity to get a shot at becoming a published author if you get through the steps i’ve listed above.

Also, besides Amazon, there are other platforms you can publish your books online. I have written about them extensively in this post.

So, here’s the end of this tutorial. Do you need professional help on ideas to write about or publishing your book online, let’s work with you.

Now, over to you! Do you have questions or comments on Publishing on Amazon? Let’s hear you!

10 Responses

  1. Can you kindly help me?
    I unguidedly filled the tax section. How can I correct that?
    Secondly, I’m having difficulty with my royalty payment pls. The options are all abroad.
    How do I get my royalty in Nigeria?
    Thanks

    • Hello Chris,
      You can always edit the tax form and then have it updated as desired.

      For the payment options, Amazon currently does not make direct payments to Nigeria but you can always get around this by opening a US account and having it linked to your Amazon profile.

      Do let me know if you have any other issues.

  2. Thanks a lot for this Victor, my namesake. Please I have an English book for WAEC/NECO – more of a pedagogical book. Is it possible to publish on Amazon? Or what other options would you prescribe for me?

    • Hey Victor,

      The pleasure is mine.

      Yeah, you can go ahead and publish your book on Amazon. One thing you have to consider before publishing there is the availability of your target audience on that platform. Will it be easy for them to access and buy your book from there?

      Where this is sorted, you can go ahead and publish on Amazon.

      If the survey is not favorable to you, you can consider other digital publishing alternatives like Okadabooks etc.

  3. Please how do I open a US account from Nigeria? Which banks offer this service? I know UBA and Zenith advertise on CNN, but can they open a US account for me without me going to the US?
    Thanks

    • You can open a US bank account directly in the US or through a trusted resident in the US.

      If you’re looking at using the account to receive payment from your Amazon publication, there are alternatives that can work for you.

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