publish a book on kdp

How to Publish a Book on KDP (November 2023 Edition)

publish a book on kdpLearn how to publish your book on Amazon KDP! This step-by-step tutorial covers the entire process, including the eBook, paperback, and hardcover editions. You will need all your metadata, interiors, and covers ready in advance. For a brief ten-minute video tutorial of this post, watch here. Otherwise, let’s get started!

Publish a Book on KDP: eBook

Step 1: Edit eBook Details

  1. Sign into your KDP account.
  2. Click the +Create button, then select Create eBook.
  3. Fill in your title and subtitle.
  4. If this book isn’t part of a series, scroll on. If the book will be part of a series, click “Add series details”. If you already have a series you want to add this book to, click Select series. Otherwise, select “Create series.” Then, choose whether your book is a main part or supplemental part of the series. A great example of a supplemental part of a series would be a workbook or short story spin-off. The next option, select “Go to series setup.” Name your series, then select ordered or un-ordered. Fill out the description, then click “Submit Updates.” Amazon will create a landing page for your series.
  5. Next, list the edition number if what you’re publishing is anything beyond the first version. Otherwise, leave that spot blank.
  6. Fill in your author name. You can add any contributors who’ve given you full permission to use their names.
  7. Write and format the book description with up to 4,000 characters and a wide array of formatting options (i.e., bold, italics, underline, etc.).
  8. Verify you own the copyright. If you wrote the content and are not contractually obligated to a publishing company, then you own the copyright as soon as you hit the first keystroke. While registering a copyright isn’t mandatory, it’s certainly worth considering. In the event you’re publishing public domain work, you must disclose it here.
  9. In the next section, disclose if your book has sexually explicit images or language inside the book or on the cover. Set the reading age only if your audience is limited to an age range. This is particularly helpful for children’s books and erotica books.
  10. Set the primary Amazon marketplace you want to showcase your book, which offers specific categories tailored to the chosen region without affecting distribution. For instance, US-based authors might want to select the US for their primary marketplace. Choose the region that best suits the reading audience you’re primarily catering to. To be clear, selecting a primary marketplace does not prevent distribution to other regions.
  11. Take your time selecting from one to three appropriate categories for your book. Think of it like placing your book on the proper digital bookshelf alongside other similar publications.
  12. Fill in the seven keyword slots. You can have more than one word in a keyword phrase and up to 50 characters per keyword slot. Kindlepreneur wrote a fantastic article recently about keyword selection for the seven backend keywords. Give it a read if you’re lost.
  13. You can choose to release your book immediately or set a pre-order for up to a year in advance. KDP will provide you a product page to share and sell pre-orders till your pre-determined book launch date. You must have everything ready to publish within 72 hours of the official launch. Choose this option carefully, because I’ve heard of authors having issues that weren’t adequately prepared for a book launch. I strongly recommend having all your assets ready when setting up a pre-order, so you’re not left panicking when Amazon accidentally publishes your placeholder text manuscript. Skip the heartache and have your book completed so all you have to focus on is marketing and promoting the book, not scrambling to recover from an issue outside of your control.
  14. Now, hit “Save and Continue.”

Step 2: Edit eBook Content

  1. Digital rights management is supposed to protect your eBook against piracy. I don’t recommend this option because it tends to punish your readers, and is only mild speed bump to most book pirates. Seriously, look up videos on videos “how to remove DRM on ebooks.” It’s rather easy. However, feel free to research if DRM makes sense for you. Once you select this option, you cannot undo it unless you delist the ebook, then publish a second edition without it.
  2. You can upload your manuscript are in KPF, docx, or epub. I highly recommend epub over the other options. It’s less hassle and mostly honors what you’ve created for your interior. The other options tend to have formatting issues. Not to mention, KPF is the file format created by Amazon’s Kindle Create software that is strictly for publishing books to KDP. If you have no intent of going beyond Amazon, then Kindle Create and their KPF file might be for you.
  3. Select “Upload a cover you already have” and then upload your cover file in JPG or TIFF only. If you don’t have a cover design, you can use their cover creator. I strongly recommend hiring a professional designer to increase your chances of making a sale.
  4. For the AI-Generated Content section, disclose if you used artificial intelligence to generate any text, images, and translations of your book. Select the degree of AI-generation used in the book from each dropdown. The distinction between AI-generated and AI-assisted makes a huge difference. If you’re using AI to help clean up your grammar, outline your book, or create non-published character profiles, that’s AI assisted. If you’re using AI to write your book, create digital images, or translate your books, then that’s AI-Generated. Contact KDP support through the “Contact Us” if you’re unsure of what to check.
  5. Select “Launch Previewer” to see how your ebook looks across a range of devices and display settings. Keep an eye on the automated “Quality Issues” display on the right. You can dismiss the issues or have them emailed. Click “Back” in the top left corner once you’re done reviewing your book.
  6. If you have your own ISBN and publishing imprint, enter it here. I’ll discuss ISBNs when uploading the print books.
  7. Click “Save and Continue.”

Step 3: Edit eBook Pricing

  1. Decide whether you want to enroll your eBook in KDP Select or not. Once you select this option, you’re obligated to keep your ebook exclusively on Amazon for the next 90 days. KDP Select is set to renew automatically, so you’ll have to go back into your dashboard later to deselect it should you want to opt-out of the program. Simply deselecting does not mean your ebook is out of the program. You still have to fulfill the enrollment period.
  2. Keep your selection for territories on worldwide if you own the rights. Selecting individual territories diminishes your reach. If you’ve sold the rights of your book to someone else for a specific region, then you will have to select individual. For most indie authors, this isn’t an issue, so choose worldwide.
  3. For ebooks priced $2.99 and $9.99, set your royalty at 70%. For pricing outside that range, choose 35%. eBooks set at the higher royalty will have a delivery fee, whereas the lower option has no delivery fees.
  4. Set the pricing for your primary marketplace and KDP will adjust the other regions accordingly. I recommend pricing just below the dollar to be appeal to more browsing customers. Experiment with pricing strategies, because there’s truly no exact science to hitting the right price point. What works for your readers may not work for mine and vice versa.
  5. Click “Publish your Kindle eBook.” Next, you’ll be prompted to “Start your paperback now.”

Once you click that last button, KDP will send you over to the paperback set up. Don’t sweat it too much, because you’ve done most of the heavy lifting through the ebook upload process.

Publish a Book on KDP: Paperback

Step 1: Edit Print Book Details

  1. The metadata from your ebook automatically carries over to your print book iterations–both paperback and hardcover. However, you must choose three print-relevant categories since the previously selected categories were for the ebook. Take your time on this step.
  2. For keywords, I cast a wider net by using a new set of keyword phrases relevant to print books.
  3. You must share if you’re publishing a low content book, including journals, notebooks, and planners. Large print is for visually impaired readers, requiring a specific type of format and layout.
  4. If you published the book previously, enter the date, otherwise, leave that spot alone. After that, you can select whether to release your paperback book immediately (after approval) or schedule it for a later date. This option allows you to publish your paperback book on an exact date and order author copies before that launch date. Unlike ebook preorders, you will not get a product page until the scheduled release date. The KDP team also recommends scheduling at least three to four weeks ahead of your launch date if you want to have any author copies on-hand. The author copy fulfillment times typically takes about 7 to 10 days.
  5. Select “Save and Continue.”

Step 2: Edit Print Book Content

  1. An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique identifier assigned to a book for identifying, organizing, and tracking in the publishing industry. Feel free to use the free ISBN provided by Amazon. Since I own an ISBN, I’ll enter my details here.
  2. Select your print options. You can choose the paper type, the trim size, and the cover finish. The bleed settings should stay as no bleed, if it’s a normal print book. Should any of your content extend beyond the margins (i.e., graphics), you’d select bleed. Just remember to keep all text out of the bleed, because KDP will reject it.
  3. Next, upload your paperback manuscript; I recommend formatting in PDF. They accept other file types but those options tend to be wonky and rife with issues.
  4. To upload a cover file. you must have it formatted in PDF. No exception.
  5. While you’re waiting for your files to process, fill out the AI-Generated Content, the same way you did for the ebook.
  6. Select launch previewer to proof your book. Any detected errors will appear in the left panel. Some issues are minor and won’t create any problems. In the event they do, contact KDP support for assistance or hop into my Discord community for help in troubleshooting.
  7. Click “Approve” if your book looks alright. Should you have any issues now or need to update the manuscript later, you can upload a new manuscript to replace the old one. When you’re done doing an update, you will have to hit publish again for the changes to be approved and applied.
  8. The summary of the base print costs is what the customer covers. You get 60% of the amount you price the book beyond the base cost.
  9. Click “Save and Continue.”

Step 3: Edit Print Book Pricing

  1. Again, leave distribution at “All territories” to reach the most markets, unless you don’t have publishing rights for a given region. You’d know if you don’t have the publishing rights because you would’ve had to sell them to somebody or made a legal arrangement with a business.
  2. A general rule for book pricing is to set it around other books in your niche. Again, you get 60% of that cost minus the print fees. As mentioned previously, pricing advice isn’t one-size-fits-all, so test out various price points to see what works best for your book.
  3. To reach even more markets, select Expanded Distribution. Royalties will drop in that category only and won’t affect what you get paid through sales on Amazon.  Ingram Book Group fulfills order through their US and UK distribution only. If you want to reach all 40,000 online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores, and libraries, go right to the source through places like IngramSpark or Draft2Digital. Besides, you’ll get a better royalty elsewhere.
  4. Adjust the pricing below the dollar for the twelve marketplaces, like you did with the eBook. Pay closest attention to the pricing including VAT (value added tax). It’ll take a little finagling, but is worth the extra effort.
  5. I recommend ordering a proof if you haven’t published books previously. This’ll identify any issues you can’t detect through the digital proofing phase. You can always hit “Save as Draft” and come back after you’ve reviewed your physical proof.
  6. Once you’re set, click “Publish Your Paperback Book.”
  7. Click “Done” to publish the hardcover book. This is going to be even easier now that the ebook and paperback are set.

Publish a Book on KDP: Hardcover

Step 1: Edit Hardcover Details

  1. Select “Create hardcover” by the book you want to publish. For whatever reason, the hardcover option isn’t as automated as publishing from ebook to paperback. That’s okay, because you’ll have all the paperback details migrated over to this variation. You won’t have to painstakingly search for the right categories this time, too.
  2. Again, I change out my seven keywords to cast a wider net for discoverability. You do NOT have to change your keywords, that’s solely up to you.
  3. Much like the paperback, you can schedule the release of your hardback book. Just a friendly reminder, schedule a paperback release at least a month in advance if you want to order author copies for the launch date. You’re not required to order them, but it’s a nice feature if you’re planning a massive in-person launch party or in-store appearance. Once you’ve reviewed the metadata and made any changes, hit “Save and Continue.”

Step 2: Edit Hardcover Content

  1. Since the hardcover book is a deviation from the paperback, you’ll need to assign a new ISBN. Again, feel free to use their free ISBN. For me, I already own an ISBN for the hardcover.
  2. Choose all the print options, then upload your manuscript. You can use the same interior for your hardcover and paperback books. Sadly, the same isn’t true for the covers since hardcover books require a larger bleed line.
  3. Upload a hardback-specific cover.
  4. Once you’re set, choose the appropriate option for AI-Generated Content.
  5. Hit “Launch Previewer” then proof your book. Keep an eye on the left panel for any quality issues. Once you’re set, hit “Approve.”
  6. The base print costs for a hardcover are considerably more than paperbacks, so keep an eye on it. KDP bases the print costs on page count and ink (black or full-color).
  7. Once you’re set, hit “Save and Continue.”

Step 3: Edit Hardcover Rights & Pricing

  1. Much like the paperback, select the territories, set the pricing, and adjust the regional pricing. Expanded Distribution is unavailable for hardcover books right now. In due time, I’m sure KDP will roll out this feature, so stay tuned to this site for relevant updates.
  2. Much like the paperback version, you can order a proof before hitting publish. Simply hit “Request proof” then “Save as Draft.” Otherwise, click “Publish Your Hardcover Book.”

Final Thoughts

After publishing all three options, the eBook was available within hours and the print copies became available approximately 12 hours later, with notifications received via email. I already created a universal book link so you can take a look at what I published for this post and accompanying video: DaleLinks.com/48HoursBook.

I ordered the paperback proof and got it within three days, but I’m still waiting for the hardcover edition. The hardcover books have never impressed me from KDP, but many folks swear by how good they are. Maybe I’m just being fickle, who knows. I’ll let you be the judge.

What has your experience been like with KDP? Do you have any questions I can cover in this process? Or, can you offer any suggestions for authors just checking out KDP for the first time? Hit me up in the comments below!

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